Thursday, October 7, 2010
I’m rebuilding an electric guitar. “Do I play the guitar?” you might ask. Let’s say that I aspire to play the guitar. I own two guitars, plus the one that I’m rebuilding. I bought my first guitar at Linens and Things, of all places. I had a discount coupon; and during one of our visits there, before they went out of business, I bought it on a whim. It still seems strange that a store like Linens and Things would even be selling guitars. But I figured, “it’s only $45.00, if I don’t like it I can always throw it away.” I found out what I had already known; you get what you pay for. The open strings are in tune, but when you put your finger on any fret it goes sharp. Just like a broken clock having the right time two times a day, my guitar is perfectly in tune whenever I play an open string.
I practiced on it and tinkered with it to make it better than it was, but it will always be a beginner guitar. Then after a while, since I hadn’t thrown it away, I decided that it was time for me to invest in a real guitar, a real guitar that would allow me to grow as a closet guitarist. I spent about $90.00 more than my beginner guitar, but it is light years ahead in quality and tone. I had a friend who is a “real” guitarist play it and he was very impressed. His optimism made me feel good about my investment.
So, do I play the guitar? Well, I play scales, some pentatonic exercises and some chords. My personality inspires me to swing for the fences, so I am trying to learn things that are way out of my league; the beginning of Here Comes the Sun, some bluesy song intro and some Dire Straits solos. Do I play well? Don’t ask my family to answer that question. I’ll just say that “I’m getting better,” and let’s leave it at that. I was convinced that I’d never be able to play the “F” chord, but now I can play it with relative ease. I can’t stick the landing, but I can play it upon command.
What inspired me to buy an electric guitar? I thought it might be fun to see how the other half lived. We were walking around at an open air flea market where they sell a lot of birds, rabbits and other fun things. I saw this black electric guitar just hanging there in some guy’s booth. I looked it over and asked the guy how much he wanted for it. He answered $45.00. It had a couple of visible scratches, and was missing a tuner, so I offered him $35.00. He reluctantly said yes, a selling tactic that is supposed to make me (the buyer) feel better about my purchase. I didn’t know anything about electric guitars, but I had a good sense of pride in my purchase.
At home, upon further examination, I noticed a few more issues that weren’t so minor. It needed a lot of work; major refinishing, new tuners, re-wiring and filling and re-drilling many of the screw holes. If I had known anything about an electric guitar I never would have bought it. But what’s done is done. I like to make the best of things; it’s a challenge for me that nourishes my mind.
So, the saga continues. I’m not quite done with the reassembly, another weekend or two should do it. Pretty soon I’ll have another outlet for expressing myself musically. Maybe then you can ask me again, “Do you play the guitar?” I’ll probably say something like, “I’m getting better,” and perhaps I’ll add, “And I’m playing louder now, too.”