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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