I will not post all of this but bits and pieces. Hope you enjoy whatever shows up. It is not linear and will need to have it's table rearranged but what the hell.
The first guitar was a nylon string one that I did not learn how to play. I didn’t. I did not learn any of the basics to guitar playing that I wish I had learned. There is a problem in time traveling or time messaging in that neither exists. There are many things that are problematic because they don’t exist. I am aware of this. Believe me on that. It is just that for the sake of this paragraph and some other that may come after it the point is important.
So…it IS too bad that time messaging does not exist because I would certainly text out the message to myself that it would be a damn good idea if I learned how to read and write music and, while I’m at it, that I should spend some more time at practicing the guitar instead of what I am relatively sure I was doing back then when I was, what, sixteen or seventeen. What I was doing was thinking about young women of my age. I was not original in that singular line of thought. But as I was not a conversation starter in those days I don’t think I even spoke to anyone my age about these matters. We weren’t encouraged to do that. No…I wasn’t encouraged to do that. For all I know all my fellow fellas were having conversations about that topic every five minutes in between classes and at Bernie’s Diner…which I was never invited to hang out in anyway. I have grudges that are mild but are now resurfacing. Wait. They’re gone.
So even though that was arguably my first guitar I do not long for it. In the same way that I do not long for my first “official” girlfriend. Her name was Judi Etra I think. She was possessive back then. My hand was always being grabbed and held on to. I am sure there were qualities about her that my parents liked. One of them, I know, was that her family had a lot of money. I do not know how much they had. I was not judging people by those criteria back then. In the town that I lived in back then there were very few Jews were anything but middle class at some level of that middle. Some were way above the middle and you usually were able to tell by the size of the house and the size of the car. So my non judgemental leaning was actually very near-sighted and skewed. But, hell, write me a note on that one.
As I remember it now Judi’s sister Carol had a beautiful voice. Played guitar. Had that Joan Baez thing. She owned a Martin. Of course she owned a Martin. That was before I knew the ruling families of guitars. I didn’t look at the headstocks to see who made what. I didn’t understand or comprehends or, perhaps, give a shit about the legacies that intrigue me know. Of C. F. Martin learning his craft in Germany and of Orville Gibson constructing a guitar in a manner that was not, as I see it, earthly but otherworldly. I have looked at pictures of the early Gibson and ached to touch it and smell it. I do smell guitars. When I pick one up for the first time here is what I do. I feel it in my left hand. I feel the neck and its dimensions. I wrap my left hand around that neck and open my thumb and the rest of my fingers to let that neck sit in the web of my hand. Then I close my hand around it and ease my palm into the neck to see how it feels. I close my fingers without making a chord and then I make an E chord and move it up and down the neck to feel the dimensions of that neck. I do not like a thin neck. I do not like a narrow neck. I do not need a fast Fender feel on a guitar. I am not that good. I am not Mark Knopflerr. But I want that thickness in my palm. If the neck is too thin my fingers close in on one another. I want it to feel like a baseball feels when you are about to pitch. How the ball is made for your hand and your hand is made for that ball. I want the neck to feel perfect. It doesn’t matter how expensive the guitar is at that point. It doesn’t even matter what it’s made of or how its made. We ain’t down to tine yet. Not that far. Now it’s about the right feel. I have a guitar that feels so so good. I can feel it now sitting here at the typewriter. I cannot remember so much in my life but I can vividly recall that guitar neck in my hand. It was made in Holland. It was made by a company called Egmond. What that name is most associated with in guitar history is The Beatles. Mostly Paul and George. Paul’s earliest (I think) bass was an Egmond and George’s early early guitar (maybe his first) was an Egmond. What’s his name from Queen. Brian May. Him too. That’s because these Egmonds were cheap the way the bargain stuff is cheap over at Guitar Center. Fender Squier Cheap. First guitar cheap. This one I have isn’t small. Maybe the biggest dreadnought I have. A boomy thing with an actions I would love to correct and scratches and rub outs here and there that, also, I would love to make go away. The neck is a glory of a neck. The neck is multi-dimensional. The neck fits that webbish palm part of my hand as if someone said that they needed to measure me for a guitar neck and this is what came out the other end. I put steel and silk strings on it so keep the tension down. Muffles a bit but jingles a bit also. Beth loves the guitar. That makes it even more unique. Oh…I made this guitar a truss rod cover. The rod itself is twisted and bent a bit and I am not at any point where that is something I can correct. But it is a beautiful truss rod cover. Smooth and sunbursty. Not that making a truss rod cover is a huge achievement. It ain’t a guitar. But it is a beginning isn’t it? Also the guitar is heavy. Not Guild like a brick shithouse solid and heavy but weighty. You know you’re holding it. You know you got it. It has a boomy bass end and an inconclusive treble. But it is a pleasure. Made of what? Hell if I’m sure. Laminated probably. Maybe birch. I don’t know. It is certainly not carefully selected western red cedar with God’s own mahogany back and sides.