by Jeff Niesel
Earlier this afternoon, local reporters attended the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to view the installation of one of Robert Lockwood Jr.’s guitars. Japanese guitar builders Moony Omote and Age Sumi gave Lockwood, the blues hero who lived in Cleveland from 1960 until his death in 2006, the 12-string semi-hollow bodied guitar in 2000 on his 85th birthday. They also built a matching guitar for his bassist, Gene Schwartz, but Schwartz, who was on hand for the installation along with local Lockwood fan and archivist Nick Amster, never received the instrument and to this day doesn’t know what became of it. Lockwood widow Mary Lockwood donated the guitar to the Rock Hall. “It was in the attic where the movers had put it and I was thinking where is the better place to put it than in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” she says, “where the family and the future family can come and look at it. If anything happened to me, what would happen to the guitar? It would be lost forever.” Lockwood said she also has “all the suits he ever wore” and several of his 12-string guitars. Though he died six years ago, Lockwood’s legacy lives on, and local clubs still celebrate his birthday every year. “There is nobody that can play like Robert,” Lockwood says. “He just played his guitar — none of that pick-up stuff was on his guitar. I loved his music because when he played the guitar, he just played it.” The guitar is on display on the Rock Hall's first floor along with a collection of guitars from other famous blues players.