Reunion with Val

This is a story about an unusual reunion. If we are friends on Facebook, you might already have read a few lines about this a couple of weeks ago, but here follows a more detailed account.

It all started when I got an email with an interesting offer: A former “girlfriend” would like to come and live with me again. I was a little anxious about how my wife would react to this. But when she heard about this old relationship, she said “go for it”. There’s a really good reason for this – because when I mention ”a former girlfriend”, I’m talking about a Valley Arts Guitar from the early nineties 🙂 Another reason might also be the fact that I don’t keep my guitars at home, so she doesn’t care that much about how many guitars I have 🙂

Over the years I have sold a few guitars. Luckily enough, I have only regretted a very few of my sales. One of the few sales I’ve regretted was the two Valley Arts Guitars I had during the nineties.

Back then I ordered my dream Valley after a lot of careful consideration and waited for ”years” before it arrived. When it finally came, I fell in love with this light brown beauty at first sight. The shop that imported the guitar for me was also very impressed and wanted the guitar to be on display in the shop for a few days so other customers could see it and hopefully be inspired to buy one of their own. I agreed to this, but it was about to become a major catastrophe for me. Later the same day another guitarist saw it in the shop and fell in love with it to. Actually, he bought it on the spot!! Apparently the salesman he talked to didn’t know it was mine or the reason why it was in the shop, so he sold the guitar with no further thought. Can you imagine my surprise when I by coincidence the very same night, saw that colleague play a concert on MY guitar. Fortunately, this fellow guitarist understood the situation, when I explained everything to him, so I got it back. My colleague ordered a similar guitar the following day and had to wait a while before it arrived from L.A..

The brown Valley Arts Guitar I sold around 2001-02

When I subsequently told the owner of the chain store about this, he laughed and told me that my colleague could have saved some waiting time, since he had a red one, similar to my brown one in another department of the chain store. My reaction to this? I bought the red one he was talking about, unseen over the phone. When I received it some days later I was blown away. The brown and red ones were like twins. And they ended up as my favorite guitars for many many years.

Polaroid from photoshoot in the nineties

Polaroid from photoshoot in the nineties – promoting Mesa Boogie and Valley Arts Guitars

You may ask why I sold these guitars after so many years of intensive use on hundreds of television shows, and countless studio sessions. Good question – I was persuaded to try a Washburn from their Custom shop as part of a new sponsorship deal. I grew very fond of this new guitar and the Washburn became my main guitar, for many years. A few years later, I realized I wasn’t using my Valley Arts Guitars anymore, and I thought it was a shame to have two great guitars gathering dust in my studio. So when I had to move the studio to a new place, I decided it was time for a clean up in my guitar collection, and I sold both of them along with a lot of other stuff.

For ten years I hadn’t given any of this a thought. But during the last six months, I have been thinking more and more about these sales, for reasons quite unknown to me. I suddenly found myself browsing Ebay in an attempt to find something similar used … but no such luck. I have tried finding the guy that bought the brown one. Since he wasn’t a professional guitar player it was possible he wasn’t using it anymore, and would sell it back to me … but no luck in tracking him down either.

And then one day, unexpectedly, I get an email from the guy who purchased the red one. He hadn’t used it for many years, and remembered that I, after the transaction, had told him to contact me if he ever wanted to sell it – so he did.

I must admit I was excited when he sent it to me, so I could try it again. But I was actually disappointed when I opened the case. What greeted me was a very beat up guitar. I emailed the seller and told him about my first reaction – he responded with a smiley and told me he hadn’t used it that much, but the former owner (me) had used it daily for many years 🙂

I began to recognize some of the scratches, and a lot of memories popped up – Still, I wasn’t convinced if it would make sense to buy it back.

My red Valley Arts Guitar
My red Valley Arts Guitar

The day after I spent some time changing the strings and adjusting it. I plugged it into my rig – it was pretty different from the guitar I now consider my first choice. I must admit I was confused. Later that day, I went into the studio again to try it out little more. I dialed up a high gain sound and selected the bridge pick-up, and then it happened – suddenly I could feel all of the guitar’s forces – suddenly we were like one. My fingers were flying and it felt like it was yesterday I had been playing this guitar from morning till late night.

Soren Reiff playing his red Valley Arts Guitar
Checking out my old red Valley Arts Guitar again

Just to assure myself that I wasn’t about to do something stupid by buying a guitar that I won’t use everyday, I told the story to a good friend and colleague of mine. He asked me: “What would annoy you the most when you look back on this in a few years – that you spent some money buying it back, or that you let the guitar slip away from you again?” … I put the money to transfer.

Setting up my old Valley Arts Guitar
Setting up my old Valley Arts Guitar

And now … It’s obvious to write something about a girlfriend or family member who has returned “back home”, … but it actually feels like the guitar never left. I do not know how often I’ll use it – but I smile every time I look at it and I think of all the good times we have had together – so “welcome home Val”.

Have a beautiful day


2 Replies to “Reunion with Val”

  1. Hej Søren. Har lige læst ovennævnte og synes at det var god læsning. Det var mig, som købte din Brown Valley Arts Guitar tilbage i 2005. Efter jeg købte guitaren blev den restaureret med nyt gold originalt Floyd Rose (Made in Germany) og alle de eksisterende Schaller dele og skruer m.m. blev også udskiftet med nye originale dele i gold. Jeg har ikke guitaren mere, men den befinder sig i Helsingør – tip top stand.


    Med venlig hilsen

    1. Good to hear from you Morgan – and nice to hear the guitar is around and hopefully used with a lot of joy 🙂
      All the very best

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