Superior Craftsmanship | Superior Tone
Alf’s guitar features a bound headstock with a handsomely aged pearloid
veneer that, unfortunately, bears no labels or marks to indicate who made
it. Note the well-worn tuning buttons and the zero fret.
spend his saved-up cigarettes on a guitar moved up the chain of
command and was approved. A prison guard apparently bought
it on his behalf. The receipt from the August Becker Musical
Instrument shop specifically notes that “The aforementioned
instrument is the property of A.E. Binnie (inmate 39159). He
has bought and paid for it out of his own means, or resources.”
When Alf got the guitar, says Joan, he “just about fainted.
Because it was a beautiful thing and it was just handed to him.
He was absolutely floored.” It was a copy of a Gibson L series, but
nobody has been able to find a maker’s mark on it, so its prov-
enance is unknown. A luthier who repaired its neck after the war
said it is a very fine instrument. One can only imagine the solace
and the relief from boredom such an instrument could afford. Not
to mention the camaraderie that came from being able to form
bands, which—according to accounts and photographs—was not
uncommon. Performances, however, were rare, and life in camp was
interrupted by lockdowns after escape attempts and outbreaks of