|“I’m giving off good vibrations…”|
OK, so a bit of an aside in tonight’s musings.. Confession: I’m an avid guitar player; a semi-serious, gradually improving, never gonna be a Rock Star but I just love it kind of player…I love all guitars, even really crappy ones, as they each have a distinct voice and maybe something to teach you, if you give them a chance…like people in a way…So heading down to the humid semi-tropics, I left all my good guitars back at the farm in New York…Hit the Aussie coastline, set some stuff up, and next priority was to find a guitar…Anything to get my finger-jones worked out…All you musicians know what I’m referring to here..it’s like an itch…and I was getting itchy. I tried Craig’s List down here, almost a ghost town.. Somehow I linked up with this site Gumtree.com, and that’s where everybody was.. Who knew..? Look it up, it’s free.. So after a few non-starters, I linked up with some guy in a non-descript, working class suburb of Brisbane..tired, but not exactly seedy.. He pulls out this musty, dusty old Yamaha 12 string with strings you could literally feel the rust on.. Last changed in the mid-70’s.. Weird thing was, the thing weighed a ton, a proverbial brick house. The woods were amazingly high quality; very fine-grained solid spruce top, full grain rosewood back and sides..Almost unavailable today at any cost… No loose braces or joints, straight neck… The thing sounded like shit….$250 Australian, no dickering.. I bought it, not wanting to visit any more such neighborhoods in a strange land. After all, I had a guitar… ! Done..Took it home, gave the fingerboard a nice drink of mineral oil, cleaned ‘er up, brand new set of strings.. Oh, BTW, in 30 years of playing, I have never changed an entire set of 12 strings..A real organizational and tuning challenge.. You should really try it, it’s a life list sort of experience, seriously….Now a funny thing happened, and it’s happening still.. On first session the guitar seemed stiff and tentative, the strings all sproingy and overly resonant. Plus, as any player knows, new strings slip out of tune and stretch a lot before they settle down.. I just tuned it back up to standard and let it rest.. The next day better, more resonant and warmer, but still stiff and lacking dimension. Now, almost a week into daily play, an amazing thing has happened; something discussed a fair amount but that I’ve not witnessed so starkly personally. This well built instrument, after lying fallow for 20 years, but with good structure intact, is waking up; coming back to life under my fingertips…I’m learning it’s ways, and it’s subtle strengths; it, in turn, is responding to my explorations..Our harmonics are converging and we are aligning our frequencies…or something…I know it may sound all west-coast zen-y and even ridiculous to a non-player, but it is happening…I am listening to it’s voice, and it is teaching me. It’s not remotely the same instrument it was one week ago…it has regained it’s voice and it is singing….