For Andy Griffith, music was an important part of his everyday life. In fact, Griffith had the same guitar for over 50 years.
Griffith would often play the guitar when he was both on and off camera. Audiences can spot Griffith’s instrument of choice on “The Andy Griffith Show” at times. Some viewers may have thought it was a prop for the show. But Griffith personally owned the instrument and took it to production. As his character Sheriff Andy Taylor, Griffith played the guitar on his front porch or at his desk in the sheriff’s department.
“I still play that guitar. It’s a Martin D-18 with a clear pickguard. I’ve played this guitar on and off my TV shows for nearly 50 years,” Griffith told 13WMAZ.
Griffith often played music with actors while on the sets of his shows. For instance, Griffith and actors Don Knotts and Roger Emhardt sang the hymn “Church in the Wildwood” during a Season Three episode. The three sang an emotional rendition of the song, backed up by Griffith on his trusty guitar. Griffith always thought his co-star Knotts had a great singing voice.
Griffith also sang the original lyrics to “Fishin’ Hole,” the show’s theme song. Lyrics included: “Well, now, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole/ We may not get a bite all day, but don’t you rush away/ What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin’ stones.”
The show later shortened the them to its iconic whistling instead.
Andy Griffith Played in His Later Career
Griffith also treated viewers to his singing voice and guitar playing later in his career. While Ben Matlock and Andy Taylor were different characters, they both shared Griffith’s love for music. At times, Griffith would break out an instrument on “Matlock”
“I sang ‘A Closer Walk with Thee’ along with blues singer Brownie McGhee,” Griffith said. “Then there was a show where Carol Houston, an actress on ‘Matlock’ sang ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ accompanied by a choir. Boy, that was powerful.”
It’s safe to say that music remained a mainstay in Griffith’s life from his early days to his late-career. There was always time for a little song and dance. That guitar of his remained a constant and faithful companion whether Griffith’s career took him.