The Black Devon Guitar

Epiphone Headstock
Dave Bunker
Dave Bunker


In many ways, this luthier/guitar/music history story began nearly 400 years ago in England’s Old Country. I believe an awareness deeply embedded in my spirit may have set me on the path to accepting guitars and music in my life. It has been an incredible journey that has been with me throughout my life. I believe that many, if not all of you, follow this same destined path through the circumstances we face in our lives.

It was at the head of a beautiful ten-mile long valley called “Bunker Creek,” near Centralia Washington that the life of a prominent name in music would begin again. After 390 years of luthiers with our family arriving in America in the mid 1,600s, Bunker’s little valley looks almost the same as when it was originally found and settled by my great grandfather in 1856. It is now lined with picturesque small farms, 86 years from the first day I spent on the farm that January 3rd, 1935.

On this beautiful narrow valley, I learned the importance and benefits of music that were so deeply embedded in my mind. The lessons I learned would affect me for the rest of my life.

My folks, poor as they were, purchased my first guitar, a Black Devon Epiphone, when I was 14 years old, and guitars have been the crux of my life ever since.

This Epiphone guitar could better have been named “Fate.” On January 13th of 1951, a house fire nearly wiped out 13 Bunker family members. On this near fateful night, the Black Devon guitar was being used by 14-year-old David for music accompaniment. At the same time, the family sang songs together to celebrate their recent move to the small town of Forks, Washington. Little could anyone have known that a few hours later, their house would burn to the ground and that if not for my sister Joanne’s cat, probably no one would have survived.

This was only one night after arriving on January 13th to Forks, and 7 years since their beautiful Bunker Creek home had also been destroyed by fire. Nobody could have predicted that they would move to this small but popular town, better known today as the location for the movie-series “Twilight.” It was only by the constant running of sister Joanne’s cat across the foot of my parent’s bed and waking them that all of the family could make it out of the house that cold night in 1951. The Seattle Times the next day published photos and a story because of the significance of a cat saving 13 people’s lives.

Thank you, sister Joanne’s cat. Unfortunately, the guitar and the cat didn’t make it through that night, but with the help and watchful eye of a power within ourselves, a power that we all will recognize and understand someday, everyone in the house did survive!

Many years later, this story of the love of music, invention, guitars, and divine intervention goes on. Keep this in your mind, and maybe one day, your favorite pet will save your life!

Dave Bunker

Dave Bunker

Dave has been building guitars for more than 60 years. He has introduced many innovations that are now considered features on the finest, custom-made guitars.

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