Thermomixed Up, Part 7: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
My younger daughter asked for a guitar for Christmas, so we put it on her list, and sure enough, on Christmas day, at our family gathering at Grandma’s house, there was a guitar shaped box in her pile of presents.
I also started playing guitar when I was six, and music was a pretty important part of my education.
At nine I started playing upright bass, and continued though high school, in high school I started singing in the choir, playing guitar in the jazz ensemble, and studying music theory. And of course I play in a rock band with a couple of high school buddies.
When I got to college (after a brief flirtation with mathematics) I declared as a music major, with guitar performance and music theory as my two areas of emphasis.
When I was 19 and well into my second year of studies, my father took me to the local luthier to buy a new guitar. The one I had been playing for my studies was my father’s, and while it had a sweet tone, it didn’t have real projection and the neck had poor intonation. The idea was that I’d would come home with a Takamine in the $350 range.
The problem was that my dad’s guitar really did have a sweet tone, and by the time I found a guitar that sounded as sweet (plus more projection) I was cradling a $750 guitar.
My dad was ready to buy it for me, but it was a lot of money, and something didn’t feel right; I didn’t come home with the guitar. Within six months I had traded music for photography, and the rest, as they say, is history.
To my mind, musical instruments are about as beautiful a man-made object as their is. Even as I write this I can remember being about 17 and handling an emerald green special edition Fender Strat with gold hardware and fairly well believing if I owned it it would make me a better player. (I already had a black Gibson Les Paul Custom. But you know; a Les Paul sounds like a Les Paul, and Strat sounds like a Strat.)
A couple of days ago I got email from my mom:
Subject: Nana had a meat slicer
From: “Linda Ryan” Date: Tue, January 3, 2012 7:44 pm
To: “David Ryan”
I always wanted one too. she [my father’s mother] cut the meat when she had big parties. it
seemed so cost effective and festive at the same time.
I never got one..now it istoo late. don/t need…..parties are over.
There is a young writer whom I admire who is less well known as a musician.
For a couple of years now I’ve been meaning to ask him about setting up a Mac-based home recording studio, but it keeps slipping my mind.
I though of it yesterday because we had one of his records on in the shop and I told my shopmates, “My friend who writes, he’s a musician too. This is his record.”
After I hit post, I’m going to send him email.