Collections Pick: Gary Buck Bass Guitar

By Jesse Moffatt

As we end our sixth week of Studio Bell’s closure and continue our “new normal” of working from home, I’ve been reflecting on what we as an organization have been able to accomplish over the past number of years, along with the opportunities that I’ve had to build, maintain and preserve a collection of musical instruments and artist memorabilia. The journey has been both rewarding and difficult, filled with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and at times desperation—particularly when we rely solely on donations or loans to build a world-class collection. A collection built by donation is done by building relationships, creating strong partnerships, and by respecting that it takes time. Over the next number of weeks, possibly even months, join me as I share anecdotes about some of my favourite collection items, the history behind them, and stories about the people who supported our vision to be a national catalyst for discovery, innovation, and renewal through music.

While working from home, I’ve been missing the collection, especially a musical instrument I would frequently walk by at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. I don’t miss the instrument for its aesthetic beauty, playability or rarity, but rather for its meaning to me. The instrument is the Gary Buck Bass Guitar. It was made by Kay and owned by the late country renaissance man, Gary Buck. Gary was an early member of the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), and a founder of, and inductee into, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. He spent his career as a singer, songwriter, TV host, record executive, and industry builder.

Over time, Gary’s tenacity resulted in the creation of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, a collection that was created with very little to no money. Incredibly, he built the entire collection with relationships, his desire to tell the collection’s story, and an unwavering determination that his vision would be realized. When I see Gary’s bass guitar, I’m reminded that one person’s vision and determination can lead to amazing things. The Gary Buck, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection was acquired by NMC in 2009 and remains our largest acquisition to date.

Learn more about the Gary Buck Bass Guitar and other notable artists who played Kay guitars here.