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Life and a Guitar

posted 2/3/2009 7:53:33 PM |
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It all started with a cheap Mexican 1960’s Reissue Stratocaster. Potential. Good enough rosewood neck, but a gem of a body hidden under poorly-sprayed pearlized red paint. Adequate pickups, nice firm vibrato. I put good strings on, tuned up, and distant but clear as a bell the first notes rang out. Potential. Turn on the amp, let the tubes warm up while everything gets plugged in and ready to go.

Potential wants to become kinetic as I turn up the volume to just before total distortion, and the air is alive; second-order harmonics on the edge of consciousness and the slightly thin-sounding Strat gets a first voice. Strum through “Breathe” and “Time” (Pink Floyd day again). Sounds swirl, the world fades and I listen as I play, hearing what needs to be done.


The guitar comes completely apart. The neck gets tweaked straight. The body gets sanded and routed for the new electronics. Vintage black pickguard fitted, the first coats of primer sprayed. I drill a hole for the new switch and wire the pickups, switches, and finally add the right capacitor for a ’69 Strat. Spray the pearl black paint, wet-sand, repeat. Get impatient and leave off the last bit of polishing. Take my time, tweak and adjust and it is time.


Potential is realized. A delay and “Run Like Hell”. Crank it past that clean place and do some “Baba O’Reilly”, “Behind Blue Eyes”. Just right. Zen, and played until it has each chip and worn spot waiting to tell a story…

Just thought I'd break the ice,

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Life and a Guitar