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A kingly gift

SO, last night a close friend of mine bought a dang guitar for me, this lovely Mosrite Joe Maphis-model facsimile, a single-neck reimagining of the original double-neck body style, handcrafted by a young luthier fella out in Monterey, Cullyfornya who’s offering his wares el cheapo on eBay for purposes of getting his work out there and his name established.

Purty, ain’t she? All-mahogany construction, P90s, Bigsby tailpiece (or a clone thereof, probably made of Chinesium, I’d bet), 24-fret neck w/ real-deal abalone inlays, everything a growing boy needs in a guitar.

BACKSTORY: After initially declining, I finally knuckled under and agreed to give my friend’s young son Zachary guitar lessons, an every-Saturday course of instruction which cranked up just over a month ago. Zachary showed willing, revealing some natural aptitude right off, practicing diligently at home, retaining the simple riffs and smattering of music theory I showed him, eager and excited to come down for his weekly lessons instead of the whining, pouting, and foot-dragging you get from some kids.

This encouraging display of studiousness, unfeigned enthusiasm, and potential motivated dear old Dad—now fairly bursting with pride in his son—to buy a mini-Strat starter kit (complete with cable, strap, picks, and even a small amp) for him to use instead of the tired old acoustic student-guitar of mine he’d started out on. The relatively heavy bronze acoustic strings hurt the little guy’s fingers—which, as I warned from Day One, they will do. The lighter-gauge electric strings and slimmer neck-profile will be much easier on him.

Now as I believe I’ve recounted here before, I’ve taken in a good few students over the years, although I’ve never taught a beginner before. Two facts I painstakingly informed all the poor victims who badgered me into taking them on of, from the git-go: 1) I am a truly awful teacher, being a most impatient sort; and 2) I truly, truly HATE teaching. Right down to my very bones, I hate it, I just ain’t cut out for that shit. Hence my stern resistance to inflicting my piss-poor teaching qualities on my friend’s boy, a really sweet, good-natured kid who has known me his entire life as “Uncle Mike.”

Anyhoo, with the acquisition last week of Zachary’s mini-Strat, my bud Zach Sr decided I needed an electric guitar of my own, insisting that I scout around for one at a reasonable price. Z explained this unexpected guitar-buying spree by saying it really made his heart happy to see me re-engaged with playing as a side-effect of teaching his son. He just wouldn’t take my repeated “No!” for an answer, eventually pestering me into submission over the course of the past week.

So after unearthing the above pseudo-Mosrite on eBay, I bid on the thing and ended up winning, scoring what looks to be a really nice instrument for a mite over 200 simoleons with shipping. Supposed to be delivered anytime from this Saturday to next Thursday, and I have to confess I’m pretty excited about it. Don’t tell anybody, aiight?

There’s a crappy old Peavey Heritage amp here for me to play the Mosrite through owned by my friend Don, a VERY occasional player who swore up and down the damned boat-anchor was FUBAR’d, wouldn’t make a sound. After a bit of investigating I found it had a broken power tube, but the main issue seemed to be that the speaker cable had been disconnected at the head-section output, dangling all forlorn at the bottom of the amp unnoticed. Plugged it back in and replaced the catastrophically-blown tube with a new Sovtek 6L6, so it should be good to go now.

Next up, gonna have to look into getting my hands shut of the accursed DePuytren’s Contracture that forced me into retirement seven miserable years ago, robbing me of a lifetime’s self-identity and happiness, instilling much mental anguish, confustication, and despair in their place. There’s a new, non-surgical treatment for the affliction now which works pretty well, or so I’m given to understand.

Although Zach has sworn to keep after me about it until I give in again, there will be NO triumphant return to the stage pour moi, not ever. I’ve always held to certain standards and preconditions for performing onstage, and rolling up there as a wheelchair-bound object of pity is definitely not among ‘em. To my way of thinking, the elusive, indefinable quality known as “stage presence” is not just important, it’s absolutely indispensible; if you can’t swagger out there like you own that fucking stage, then you got no business being there at all. Performing onstage isn’t about being shy, modest, or self-effacing; it’s all about being bold, self-assured, and confident to the point of cockiness. A stage performer—ALL performers—must for the duration of their stage-time be larger than life, not some mumbling, diffident cipher. It’s the only way as far as I’m concerned, you’re just wasting everybody’s time otherwise.

So, not happening, then. I’ll content myself with torturing the cats and kicking out the jams in my living room, thenksveddymuch.


7 thoughts on “A kingly gift

    1. I’m sure it will, Barr. Although performing onstage and touring all over hell and half of Georgia was the center of my existence–my entire raison d’etre, really–for a lot of years, just sitting around the house blasting entire AC/DC albums on guitar by myself is also something I miss terribly. Getting my hands fixed and getting back to that is gonna be a real blast, no doubt about it.

      I knew I’d never really get far away from the addiction when I woke up the other night with a brand-new song in my head, all worked out and complete. That used to happen all the time; in fact, when I was truck-driving I kept a little note-pad and pen on me at all times, just for those out-of-blue nudges from The Muse. Most of my best songs were written that way, in fact.

      Okay, okay, the ones I consider to be the best ones, that is. 😉

      1. I used to keep a notepad by my bed because I would go to bed trying to solve some mechanical or electrical design problem, and often I would dream the solution. In the morning it seemed clear I had woken and approved my dream idea but could not remember it. So, I would write it down and many times over the years I came up with something to solve some design issue. Of course back then I barely slept and those “dreams” were in a semi state of sleep. I no longer have that problem. I may stay up late but when I go to bed I’m usually out of it pretty quick.

        Anyway, glad you have something to look forward to.

  1. Nice piece, have a huge respect for the guys who have taken their abilities to luthier, and even more for the guys who are good, im still just a nailbanger with a proclivity for building cabinets and such but swear im going to finally start building furniture, someday,

    play that baby!

  2. Trying to get a picture on here but cant do it,

    knowing you have an appreciation for fine luthier work.

    let me state, Im not a Swifty!

    but Taylor Swift has an incredible acoustic, curly koa face and sides, real nice piece, you can search it but will try and send you the picture. Looks like a Steve Grimes custom.

    1. Tommyboy, the easiest way to add a picture is to first save the picture to your PC. Then select the “Add Media” button at the upper left by clicking it. That will open a dialog box called Add Media. Be sure the “upload Files” tab is selected at the top (it is by default on mine), then click “Select Files”. That will open a window to your PC to select the picture from. You will need to change the dialog box to point to your folder location. Then double click the picture you want to display and it will start uploading. When the upload is finished you should see a button at the bottom right labeled “Insert Into Post”. Click that button and the picture should appear in your comment as a set of code. When you post the comment the picture should display. Note, you can change the size of the picture by modifying the code values by altering the values in the code where it reads width= and height=. Double those values and the picture will double in size. The resolution will not change however, so up sizing a small pic this way might cause it to be blurry. Be sure to keep the original ratio of the two numbers the same or withing a value of 1, unless you want it to be like funhouse mirrors…
      Lessee if I have that right…
      First Landing in a sailplane after about 20 years…

      1. I upsized that picture by a 1.5 ratio which makes it a bit blurry. That was cut from my video of the landing so not the best pic to begin with.

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