About the book
“Basses and Guitars: The Huckabee Collection” is now available at mikehuckabee.com. Written by long-time Vintage Guitar Magazine senior writer Willie G. Moseley and with a foreword by legendary guitar virtuoso James Burton, the book is a collection of the stories behind the guitars owned by Mike Huckabee as well as the guitars themselves.
New book showcases stringed instrument collection of Mike Huckabee
It is said that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is a different kind of politician, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s assembled a different kind of collection of basses and guitars.
The governor’s zeal for guitars and basses began—as was the case for an untold number of other youngsters—when he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Almost three years later, at the age of 11, Mike’s Christmas present in 1966 was a Penncrest model 1580 electric guitar and amplifier, purchased from a J.C. Penney catalog.
And that exact instrument is one of the guitars and basses displayed and chronicled in the “Personal Time (Warp) Machines” chapter of BASSES AND GUITARS: The Huckabee Collection.
So why did Huckabee opt to participate in a photo-centric book project about his instruments?
“It had been suggested to me by more than one person,” the governor said, “and I loved the idea, because the collection is eclectic, with lots of stories behind the guitars.”
The book’s author is Willie G. Moseley, Senior Writer for Vintage Guitar Magazine. Willie has been writing for VG since 1989, and BASSES AND GUITARS: The Huckabee Collection Is his fifteenth book.
“I always appreciate it when guitar articles I’m researching happen to reveal intriguing ‘people stories’ that can be interpolated,” said Moseley, “and working with the governor on this book meant that I got to interview numerous luthiers who had built basses that are part of his collection. The governor also told me some great stories about why he was inspired to collect certain instruments.”
“I’ve known of Willie for years, from his many books and his work in Vintage Guitar Magazine,” said Huckabee. “I knew he would be the perfect author.”
BASSES AND GUITARS: The Huckabee Collection isn’t a high-end “coffee table book.” Its egalitarian presentation is no-frills, but the full-color images of Mike’s instruments are accompanied by detailed chronologies and information.
“The focus is on the instruments and the stories behind them, and not on the ‘box’ the stories come in,” the governor explained.
Chapters in the book include instruments (“plain” and autographed) that have been presented to Huckabee, Beatles-oriented instruments, and utility guitars and basses. A separate chapter profiles the three workhorse basses used on his weekly television show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
“In my opinion, the governor’s TBN show has a type of infotainment format that works,” said Moseley, “and that influenced the approach to the book—keep it accurate, and present the images and information in a straight-on and enjoyable format.”
Legendary guitarist James Burton wrote the foreword for BASSES AND GUITARS: The Huckabee Collection. Among the other participants who discuss the guitars they’ve played on the Huckabee TV are Doyle Dykes, Mark Farner, Steve Wariner, Vince Martell, Greg Martin, Doug Phelps and Richard Young.
Huckabee was asked if he had any favorite “people stories” in the book.
“Great music stories are really ‘people stories’,” he opined. “One story I love to tell is about getting a letter from Peter Cetera after he saw me play on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and he had the Pat Wilkins bass made for me. The bass is special, but so is the story!”
While the Wilkins bass is a custom-made instrument that he uses on this TV show, Gov. Huckabee is also proud to note that his cheap 1966 Penncrest guitar—which he reacquired in the late ‘90s after some 30 years—is also displayed in full color in his collection book.
“It’s the one that started it all,” he said.
BASSES AND GUITARS: The Huckabee Collection is published by
P.O. Box 238,
Morley, MO, 63767
The book is available from mikehuckabee.com or at standard retailers.