Polyamory

When i completed my undergraduate degree, i treated myself to a spiffy new guitar – a 1985 Fender Balboa, with on-board electronics and a cut-away.  That guitar and i had some times, we did…

Open mic nights, festivals, garage bands – even a brief stint playing in a bluegrass band.  Mostly?  He was my therapist.  He held fast through some rough times – the years i took my anger out through music.

Some of my friends refer to it as my “Angry Lesbitarian Music” phase.  i could take a Carole King song and make it scary enough to creep out a room.  Will you still love me tomorrow?  Huh, motherfucker?  HUH?!?!

i was rough on him.  Aggressive flat picking tore up the sound hole.  We spent 25 years together, and that guitar saw me through my separation, divorce and empty-nest  transitions.  A few spectacularly bad relationship decisions, too.

Somewhere along the way, i became less angry.  My passions were re-directed in far more productive and pleasant pursuits.  The guitar was collecting a good bit of dust.  Other than pulling it out for a few weeks before the annual Christmas gig at work?  Neglect.

In 2009, i started playing around… with other guitars.  Checking out the Martin owned by my gig-buddy at the office.  The sweet Taylor my “chicken pickin’” friend adored.  Pretty soon?  i was visiting guitar stores.  Checking them all out…

Fell hard for a Gibson DSR CE Acoustic Electric.  Loud.  Clear.  Balanced top and bottom.  Felt right as i worked all the way up the neck.  He came home with me a few days later…

The euphoria lasted about a year – even pushing me to do my first (and only) guitar corset Friday!  i soon got busy with other pursuits.  Played a few gigs here and there, but lost the spark and the Gibson became a bit of a ‘hangar queen’ – looking lovely in my living room, but getting very little love.

The old Fender had been stowed back in his case, and taken to the basement storage room, with all of the other much-loved, but abandoned toys.

Got word a couple of months ago that an exceptional local guitarist would be accepting a limited number of new students.  This awakened the dormant guitarist, and i jumped on the offer!  The chance to put some discipline into the process while sitting at the knee of screamingly crushworthy guitarist?  Hells yeah!

Nervously taking out the dusty Gibson for my first lesson, i discovered that he had some alignment issues.  High end of the neck was out of whack.  My guitar teacher offered up the name of her most trusted repairman.  Not wanting to let her down so early in the game, i made plans to get the Gibson to the shop for a tune up.

Dennis asked me to sit down and play a little so he could work the set up to my style.  The good news?  An easy tweak – no more than a few days.

Just in case it took longer, i climbed into the storage room and blew the dust off the Fender.  A fresh set of strings, and i was able to keep putting in time every day to work the callouses and restore muscle memory.

It was a little like rediscovering a lost love!  i remembered why i fell for that Fender in the first place!  He can take anything i throw at him – and beg for more!  The harder i play?  The better he sounds… i was looking forward to introducing him to my guitar teacher.

But Dennis had worked his miracle, and the Gibson was ready on Tuesday.  Retrieving him on my lunch hour, Dennis was anxious to see my reaction.  Sheer, unadulterated joy!  Dennis had built a custom saddle, and the sounds coming out of that guitar were astonishing!  Better than when i bought him!

Still loud and strong, but very fast. A delicate touch!  Think about touching the strings and it happened…  i couldn’t wait to get him home where we could be alone for a while.

Dennis:  If you want the action a little higher?  I can do that!  Can set it up with some heavier strings, too.  It sure has a beautiful sound, though.

daisyfae: i like this.  It feels good, but completely different from the Fender.  i…. i think i want to keep them both. Just the way they are…  i’m pretty sure i can maintain both relationships…

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in case you came here looking for info on polyamorous relationships?  nice article here

51 thoughts on “Polyamory

  1. They say you can get muscle memory back, but it’s ‘way much better never to “lose” it in the first place. And arthritis is no help. :=(

    I wish The Man would play his guitar more often. Suspect the gat would like it, too.

    • during the ‘breeding’ years, it just wasn’t possible to play often – it wasn’t until the spawnlets were over 5 years old that i could put the guitar out on a stand. It was safer to keep it in a case, under the bed… the muscle memory is coming back. strangely, i seem to be remembering every song i’ve ever played – they are coming back one at a time! can’t remember why i went into the kitchen, however!

  2. I love this story. I know zero about guitars, but I was developing a real attachment to the Fender! Keep them both … just the way they are. Good judgment call there. There really are a couple of things in life that just can’t be replaced no matter how good the new thing is.

    • Thanks, George! i have many other guitars, but these two are meant to be played – loud and often! i still have the first guitar i ever bought – with my babysitting money when i was 14 years old!

    • when i put new strings on the old guitar (and i HATE re-stringing guitars), i felt a little guilty… i love the new one, but there is SO much comfort with the old one. we fit together…

  3. How nice. And it shows what a HUGE heart you have, room for much love. Just not at the same time. Same day perhaps, but I defy anyone to play two guitars at once.
    And, more seriously, it is posts like this which make me mourn (again) my carboard ear.

  4. Rough on him? I thought that objects of grace and beauty were of the feminine persuasion. Like the USS Enterprise or skyscrapers. Or guitars.

    I usually just throw on some new strings and call it a day. What sounds better than that first strum with a new set of strings? Not much. So bright and fresh.

    What I do to a guitar cannot be considered playing. It’s a good there isn’t a law on the books against what I do to a guitar. Would LOVE lessons. Love ‘em.

    • Gender assignment is such a tricksy little thing… My first motorcycle (the ’74 Honda) was most definitely a “he”. The current one? Female. The guitars? Wrapping my arms around a guitar was the first intimacy i experienced as a young girl. Despite my general “omni-sexual” orientation? Suspect i’m mostly hetero underneath it all…

      Find a teacher. Take lessons. It is a BLAST! She was a little surprised when i showed up. i can play, just rusty. But she plays A LOT better! Has been doing it FOR A LIVING for years! i needed inspiration and discipline. i haz it now…

    • Yes…. i did that one, too. i could clear a room with the ol’ Ani DiFranco “Untouchable Face”. Men – and women – would quietly sneak out of the venue…

  5. Good on you Girl! Get back into playing, it’s similar to, but better than therapy. A couple of years ago I commented on one of your posts about you starting to play again and at the end I added thet I was thinking about ordering a new Collings acoustic. Well… I did, and have been the happiest futhermucker ever since. Keep on pickin’ as they say around here.

    • Welcome back, Davo! That was when i was farting around with the rock band for the summer gig… once the event was over? i lost motivation… having a teacher has been tremendous. And getting the guitars tweaked and tuned up so that i can’t keep my damn hands off of them? Lust! Glad you got the Collings, and that you’re still playing!

  6. Oh do I suffer with this affliction… 13 and counting at the moment! :-(

    I of course have a “reason” for all of them. The Les Paul is a Les Paul, the Strat is a Strat, the PRS is versatile, the Gordon Smith is lighter than the Les Paul… it goes on and on…

    Some sit forlorn for long time then I rediscover them and we have a fling whilst another sits jealously in the rack, in it’s case or wherever then I’ll move on – I’m such a gigolo with them all!

    • My total? Nine, including a Fender Squier bass… and that first guitar i bought, which is no longer playable. And my father’s Martin classical. Plus one i’ve loaned out to a friend…. And that Ovation 12-string that needs a little repair work… Hmmm… now that i have a good repairman? Oy… It never ends, does it. We are gigolos indeed… :-)

  7. Only 2? i always like when i see a band and the guitarist uses one guitar… of course i don’t mind when they switch every song either as long as they are rich enough to have a guitar tech tuning it so i don’t have to watch them fiddle around… and of course i have a soft spot for the Martin, J. Mascis’s favorite guitar, saw him play an acoustic show with it one time and it blew my mind, which isn’t that hard considering my mind is already blown…

    • See my response above… total is 9, but these are my main squeezes. i’m a guitar slut… saw the Indigo Girls live. they had a stage tech who hustled on and off stage for two hours tuning and re-tuning guitars. loved that they had a guitar bitch! here’s to blown minds, baby! it’s a weekend – off to kill a few brain cells!

  8. Lots of musicians have multiple instruments. The instruments differ, as you so beautifully described, and are some are more appropriate for one style than another. Watch closely the next time you are at a live concert. It was interesting at the Grateful Dead concerts to watch the roadies switch out guitars for Jerry Garcia. One time I saw three different guitars on stands behind him; during the changeover from one song to another he casually went back to the stands and grabbed another guitar, plugged it in and continued on. If you weren’t really paying attention you wouldn’t have noticed him making the switch…

    Teachers are wonderful for inspiration. and they provide an accountability factor that nothing else does.

    • Must be a lot harder for concert pianists to collect instruments! have noticed a difference in how i hold and manage the Gibson after the tweaking… gentle and light touch brings out this amazing sound. It will hold up to a good bashing, but doesn’t have the dark, gnarled and raspy thing that the Fender does… now to carve the hours out of busy days to spend the time i want to spend with them both!

  9. “A delicate touch! Think about touching the strings and it happened… ” My accent may be difficult to comprehend, perhaps I should just speak in tongues?

  10. I believe there’s ALWAYS room for more ‘git love!
    My ex had at least 7.
    Various models … bass, acoustic, etc.
    MY favorite was his Martin.
    I don’t know much about it as I can’t play an instrument to save my soul (does tambourine count?!), but I do know it was an older Martin and the sound was unbelievable!

    • A good guitar sounds better with age – which makes me want to live long enough to see how the 4 year old Gibson sounds at 20! There’s also feel and comfort… much like a long-term lover, knowing an instrument – the nuances of the ‘call and response’ – makes it such an intimate experience. If the god damned things could only give me back rubs and fix drinks, i could probably marry one!

    • Hi Mainstreet! Thanks for stopping by! Music has always been a form of therapy for me – what’s changed through the years is how much i need it! i’ve never been to a guitar factory – and now that you mention it, it really isn’t that far away!

  11. I love your creative spirit. You are unafraid to go out and tackle things some people wouldn’t simply because they might not think they would ever be good enough. And clearly you are, but I still admire your chutzpah!

    • tackle, and RE-TACKLE – because i never quite get anything down. when i started with this teacher, it was only the 2nd time i’ve had lessons… given that i’ve been playing for over 35 years? ’bout time i got some damn schoolin’….

      the older i get the less afraid i am of what anyone thinks. my ‘give-a-shit’ meter is permanently out of service. this is me. i do what i do. i try pretty hard not to infringe on other people. if they want to judge and heckle and laugh at the crazy broad who doesn’t have any filters? whatever… i’m pretty busy!

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