Thursday, March 8, 2007
My Guitar, My Friend
Just look at my friend for a minute. She's not young. She was designed in the US and made in Japan. She was built back in the 40's or 50's, as a copy of the high end guitars that were being built here. Who ever had this guitar before me, played her a LOT, and I can tell that although she has some bumps and bruises, she was dearly loved.
I dearly love her, too. Isn't she SO cute wearing my hat? She looks happy.
My first guitar was dearly loved, too, but I think he was a boy. =) - He was shorter, less shapely, thick neck and high action. I don't remember the first time I met him, but sometime around the age of 12, I picked him up and began to try to play. I managed to buy new strings for him and strung him up myself. Using just the memory of the 6 opening notes to the theme song of "Gun Smoke" I tuned him. I also found a basic instructional book with a good balance of chords. I don't know if it was ever in 'tune' properly, except in relation to it's own strings. It doesn't matter, because without my first guitar, I would not have learned to sing. It was because of this guitar that I trained my ear to hear music note by note instead of as a whole. It made me try hard and it helped me develop my voice. Unfortunately, my guitar met a heartbreaking demise, when I was near the age of 16 or so, and we were so poor that I couldn't get another.
About ten years later, I found myself working in a music store, surrounded by guitars of every sort, acoustic, ecoustic, electric, steel, bass. There were also mandolins, fiddles, stand up basses and the lot. Of course in a place like that, you hear the best of the local talent and it was a very rich atmosphere. Yet, I was still, ridiculously poor, and though I looked every time we got in "new" stuff through trades or sales, they were all just out of my reach. Until one day....
I walked in and saw a my girl. She was only $25! I could surely afford that, so I began to tinker with her and play around. The keys were a bit slippery, she had some damage, but I didn't care. The action was low, the neck narrow and long, the wood worn just enough to feel soft and comfortable. My boss and co-workers one by one noticed my interest in her and one by one, they held her for themselves, tuned her a bit and played her. Every single one of them said, "This guitar has a beautiful voice." I felt.... proud and a little special because this sweet little guitar - cast aside by someone, perhaps the family member of the person it had belonged to previously - had slipped by all the greats around me and fell into my hands. My boss, the store owner, wouldn't even let me pay him for her and I took her home.
Somewhere in the midst of marriage and pregnancies and toddlers and all that, she was put safely away. I wasn't taking any chances of her getting broken or even TOUCHED by crayons or markers. The very thought made me shudder. About a year ago, I brought her back out, and off and on I've been playing again. I had to put her back in her safe house while we had more kids in here, but now, it's a bit safer.
Last night I had my very first REAL guitar lesson, and I'm so excited. It feels like the beginning all over again and I'm excited to see where we are headed together. It's gonna be SO fun, and I'll always have someone to hold my hat.