TAC Spotlight: Ron L.

Ron L.


The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine

Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!

The TAC Spotlight is a weekly focus on members of Tony’s Acoustic Challenge who have posted at least one performance on the forums and are especially active in the community by showing exemplary support or inspiration for other TAC members. All TAC Spotlight featured members are nominated by other TAC members.

If you’d like to nominate someone to be honored with a TAC Spotlight feature, please submit your nominee here.

Say hi to Ron L.!


Central Iowa

# of years played

I have owned a guitar for over 20  years but didn’t play it with any regularity. Sometimes I wouldn’t pick it up for a year at a time.

Favorite 3 Bands:

This is a really hard question since there are so many that I like but three of my favorites are

SRV, Derek & the Dominos & Jackson Browne

How many guitars do you currently own?

I own seven guitars. Two electric, two acoustic and three Cigar Box Guitars. Up until a couple of years ago I had one electric & one acoustic.

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

I enjoy music & being able to play a song that I like on the guitar is great fun but it would be so much better if learning a new song was a little easier.

Why are you an active TAC member?

The only way to improve at guitar is practice & the TAC lessons give me something new to practice every day & that keeps me focused & motivated.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

Seeing the videos from other TAC members with all different skill levels convinced me that I could do it too.

What else would be cool for people to know about you?

My most recent guitar is a 1964 Gibson LG-0 that I rescued from craigslist. It had a plastic bolt-on bridge. The guitar had ladder bracing & the top had bowed up from string tension over the years & it needed the neck reset. I sent it to Scott Baxendale in Athens, Georgia who converted it to x bracing, planed & reset the neck, installed new frets, a rosewood bridge & a bone nut & saddle. I just got it back a couple of days ago & the transformation is amazing.

I got interested in Cigar Box Guitar when I came across a Justin Johnson video on Youtube. I couldn’t resist building one for myself. Half the fun of a CBG is building it so I built a couple more. Like anything guitar related, you always want just one more.

I have lived in Iowa for all of my life except for 4 years spent in the Navy. I have traveled across the US to all but seven states, Montana is one of the states I haven’t seen yet but maybe I’ll get there for the TAC retreat next year.


  1. Profile photo of Robert G
    Robert G

    Congrats Ron! Nice profile and some nice recordings. I’m encouraged to know you’re finding TAC worth your while after 20 years of being around guitars. If you’re making CBGs, you obviously know what you’re doing with restoring guitars and yet you sent your vintage Gibson to someone for what sounds like pretty expensive rescue work. How did you determine that a 1964 Gibson LG-0 from craigslist was going to be worth paying for the restoration? Or might it just have been that you’ve been looking for that instrument? Regardless, very nice to see you into the instruments.

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Hi Robert, Thanks for your comments. When I bought my LG0 the neck appeared to be solid & there was no evidence of it needing a reset. The person I got the guitar from said he got it from a family member who was the original owner. The guitar had been sitting in a closet for many years & had such great resonance & tone. I thought the price was more than fair so I bought it. After playing the guitar for a while it began to show signs of the neck loosening.
      I had seen a video of this particular model Gibson that had been restored & after doing some research on Scott Baxendale I was confident that he would do an excellent job & he did. The restoration was expensive but still less than buying a new mahogany Martin.

      Here is a link to that video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOyzBCkE21I

      1. Profile photo of Robert G
        Robert G

        Thanks for the explanation and link to the video. This gives me a bit more confidence to consider those “finds” that seems to come up every once in a while. I took a chance on a garage sale guitar that was not well thought out by me. But at $50 I at least got a lesson on what not to buy. I’ll be better prepared for the next find I come across. Appreciated Ron.

  2. Profile photo of Fred R
    Fred R

    Hi Ron

    Glad to send guitar greetings to central Iowa from eastern Nebraska. Blues is a great way of life!

    I get why you’d want to have a great restored. But how did you decide on this particular guitar? It sounds like you knew what you were looking for.

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Hi Fred, I get over to Sioux City a couple of times a year, right across the river from you.

      I have been checking out pawn shops for years looking for an old guitar but it’s hard to find anything. I had recently seen a Youtube video of this particular model Gibson that had been restored so when I saw one listed on Craigslist at a reasonable price I didn’t hesitate. I also liked the fact that it was all mahogany since I like the tone of the Martin 15M series.

      Here is a link to that video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOyzBCkE21I

  3. Profile photo of Duane W
    Duane W

    Ron, Congratulations. Glad to see a Midwesterner getting some recognition. Last time I was in Des Moines was when the band I was with played at the “’06 Winter Blues Festival” in an old hotel downtown That was a really fun music packed, but brutally cold weekend. Thanks for the CBG link. My wife just brought home 2 boxes from a co-worker. Not sure if it was a hint of some kind. Look forward to hearing more of your playing.

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Thanks Duane, I was just in Des Moines last weekend for the Winter Blues Fest, 12 bands on 6 different stages. They have it at the Marriot now but I think it used to be a couple blocks away at the Fort Des Moines Hotel which is closed now for a complete restoration.

  4. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Great to learn more about you Ron. Congratulations on this week’s spotlight.

  5. Profile photo of Charles B
    Charles B

    Great Gibson rescue Ron! Congratulations on the spotlight. One of the many things I enjoy about TAC is getting to know a little about our members, did you use a real cigar box on the guitar’s you made? I would like to hear them played.

  6. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    Congratulations Ron! I always enjoy your songs and posts. You have inspired me to start looking for an old guitar to resurrect, possibly something from my birth year.

  7. Profile photo of Dru

    Happy time in the TAC Spotlight, Ron. It’s always nice to find out who the die-hard Jackson Browne fans are. He’s got a nice tutorial for 4 of his songs, including These Days, which is a favorite of mine, online at something called On the Path(?). Thanks for sharing your story and guitar history.

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Hi Dru, Thanks for the info on the tutorial, I’ll check it out. There’s a great documentary (From Byrds to Eagles) on Youtube that covers the LA music scene in the early 70’s that J B was a big part of.

      For Everyman is a great album that I still listen to often although I think Late For The Sky is my favorite. It’s really hard to choose one over the other. I love David Lindley’s lap steel!

  8. Profile photo of Michael D
    Michael D

    Congrats on the spotlight, and always though cigar box guitars were pretty cool. Cocoa Montoya is always a pretty cool show. Anyway, nice to meet you and hear your story.

  9. Profile photo of Jason T
    Jason T

    Congratulations, Ron. Those cigar box guitars are pretty cool things. I thought about trying to build one once, but never did….Have you ever posted any pics of those?

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Hi Jason, I posted a video in Open Mic with one of the CBG’s that I built last summer. Thanks!

  10. Profile photo of Dave H
    Dave H

    Ron – thanks for taking the time writing this up. Central Iowa, did you ever hang out at Blues on Grand in Des Moines? Great little blues dive, but alas gone now. I too look forward to that Gibson being shown.

    1. Profile photo of Ron L
      Ron L

      Hi Dave,
      The last time I was at the Blues on Grand was about 5 years ago to see Coco Montoya.
      Des Moines has a lot of great local musical talent & also a lot of great national acts come thru the area.
      I was able to see Tommy Emmanuel there in December.
      This Bio was written a couple of months ago so I have had the Gibson back for a while now & have posted several videos on the stage, Detroit Moan is one that I have posted.


  11. Profile photo of Tony

    Congratulations on your spotlight Ron, and thanks for your service to our Country! Looking forward to seeing that Gibson in some of your posts soon. I’ve often thought that it would be cool to find a vintage guitar and have it restored – I’m glad you shared that story. Enjoy your week

  12. Profile photo of BillG

    Hey Ron, congrats on the spotlight! Also that ’64 Gibson sounds like a real find. I am always checking pawn shops and antiques stores for a rare gem but haven’t found one. I hope you make it out to the TAC jamboree It’s going to be a lot of fun!


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