This Guitar Can Talk

By Donna Rypel

For Tom Long of Kennesaw, a 40-year career in the country music industry has some sweet memories. But none sweeter than a very special guitar he has in his possession.
His Yamaha guitar has over 200 signatures scratched in its wood frame from some of America’s top entertainers. The first signature was scratched in by singer Issac Hayes, and the last was scratched in by Brad Paisley, Long’s intern in Nashville, who has become a country music superstar.
“He was an intern from Belmont University in Nashville, and he was the 204th signature scratched into the wood grain of my guitar,” said Long, who told the young singer in 1993 he would be a star some day. “My old FG-180 was on the guitar stand next to my desk and I asked him to play me something,” said Long. The rest is history, as they say.
Many other stories like this grace the pages of Long’s book, “This Guitar Can Talk,” which was published in February. In between those two signatures on his guitar are those of stars like Blake Shelton, Dolly Parton, Joe South, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ann Murray and Pat Boone — All on one special guitar.
Long, a Vietnam veteran, said he enjoyed writing the book with friend Mike Stewart because music has played a big part in his life.  He co-founded the Atlanta Songwriters Association and worked at Lowery Music in Atlanta. He moved to Nashville in 1981 and served as president of the Nashville Songwriters Association while working for Tree Publishing.
“Besides my wife, music has been my second best friend,” said Long, who is married to wife, Belinda, and has three children. “Music is a release for people and a way to get away from their troubles.”
Tom Long’s book, “This Guitar Can Talk,” is available for purchase as a paperback or download to your Kindle at