The Musical Instrument Museum is, simply put, an absolute treasure in Phoenix's collective backyard.
New Times partnered with the MIM and the folks at Fender Musical Instruments to give away a signature Dick Dale guitar, signed by the man himself and designed to the exact specifications of the surf legend -- y'know, able to mimic the roar of his pet tiger and all of that.
The guitar couldn't have found its way into better hands. The winner, Mr. Don Hyde, 63, played music around Phoenix in the sixties with his band The New Construction. "We played rock & roll, country bars in Payson, and soul music at Car Hayden High School," Hyde says. The band also played some surf tunes, including some popularized by -- you guessed it -- Dick Dale.
Hyde said he actually forgot entering the contest on our homepage, and was surprised when he got the call that he had won.
The museum staff gathered to hand the guitar off in front of the Dick Dale exhibit, which features replicas of Dale's own musical history, including a Stratocaster, a couple Fender amplifiers, and a surfboard.
Surrounded by legendary instruments in the Artist Gallery, like the Steinway piano John Lennon played while writing "Imagine" and Eric Clapton's "Brownie" guitar, Hyde said the guitar was just what he had been looking for: a lightweight, acoustic/electric instrument he could plug into his tuck & roll Kustom amp.
Though medical conditions have kept him from playing seriously in recent years, he strummed a few chords for the small audience in attendance.
Hyde has spent the years since his rock & roll youth in retail management and in vocational education, spending time in California but returning to Phoenix in recent years.
Though he hasn't played out much for the last 40 years, Hyde said winning the guitar made him want to buy a surfboard, find a beach, play some music, and have a clam bake.
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"It's like Christmas in May," Hyde said. "It's better than two free tacos from Jack in the Box."
Much better, I'd argue. Best wishes to Mr. Hyde, who assures us he'll be following the advice Dale scrawled on the signed guitar: "Keep on playing."