Thursday, July 1, 2010

So Long Old Friend

Well, I recently lost a dear friend of mine to old age (and some abuse). No, I am not speaking of old Henry down at the care center; I'm speaking of my dear old acoustic guitar. A crack in the neck of the guitar became a large gap, causing the strings to want to pull away from the fretboard.

For many reasons, I don’t really consider myself a true “guitar player.” First of all, I only know the guitar well enough to play rhythm guitar—and even then, I really only know how to play one type of rhythm really well: Jamaican based rhythms such as ska and reggae. What I know how to play, I can play quite well, but it is quite limited. In addition, I don’t know scales, so I can’t play solos. Also, I don’t know the names of the chords that I play. I play entirely by ear and memory. This was kind of hard for past band members that I worked with, but they got used to my unorthodox ways, and we worked great together.

But if this is all true then why, you ask, do I care that my old acoustic guitar is no more? Well, when I started playing guitar at age 18 (more fully at 21), I did so with the sole intent of writing music. That’s all I wanted out of the guitar originally, was a way to write music and play it, and not to play the guitar for the sake of playing it. In a way the guitar just served a utilitarian purpose. However, somewhere along the way I grew to love my guitar. I grew to love it because it enabled me to do what I love to do—write music and play it.

That guitar has been through a lot with me; I have written songs on it during the best and worst times of my life for the last 10 years, reflecting many aspects of my life. I am proud of some of the songs that I have written—not proud objectively, as in I feel that the songs compare well with the songs of others—but proud subjectively, as in I see some of my music as a personal accomplishment.

The death of my guitar is the end of a chapter. I am now taking over my wife’s old guitar. Hopefully it brings with it the same kind of inspiration that my old guitar seemed to.


James said...

How sad! I remember how hard it was to sell my first bass. To lose one to a broken neck must be even worse!

Zachary and Elizabeth Carr said...
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Zachary and Elizabeth Carr said...

I sincerely morn your loss. A friendship with a guitar is of a unique kind, indeed. It gives you back EXACTLY what you put into it. You are at once master and benefactor. When you are moved to move it, it in turn moves you. It is a sad day when the crippled body can no longer serve in releasing from the expanse of creation the sounds that its friend chose to set free. Anyways. I'm glad you have another, though.

Andy said...

Hey thanks Zach, I've just now seen your comment after all of these weeks. The new guitar (my wife's guitar) isn't quite the same, but I am planning on getting an acoustic/electric over Christmas anyway.