Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Giver of Guitars...

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to a fundraiser for an amazing local restaurant, Farm Haus. As is par for the course at a fundraiser, there was a 50/50, so I kicked in my $10, got my 15 tickets, and commenced to eating my crawfish boil and drinking some delicious local beer. A couple hours later, they did the 50/50, and I won. It was $158 or something like that. Without consideration, when they came to give me the money, I told them to give it to the restaurant. Now, I am not a rich man by any means. I make a decent living...I am comfortable. I don't want for much, and I am thankful for that every day. This gesture just seemed completely natural to me. I didn't need that money when I got there, and they did. Why would I not give it to them? Oddly, there seemed to be a genuine sense of surprise by patrons and the employees.

This morning, while my laundry was in the rinse cycle, and my computer was rebooting, I picked up this guitar.

Like most of my guitars, this bad boy has been heavily modified. The pick-ups have been swapped for Vintage Vibes which are my go-to pick-ups. I added Sperzel tuners, swapped the three way pick-up selector for a five-way rotary knob which allows for more tonal combinations, and had the finish on the neck sanded and oiled so it plays faster. Essentially, I turned an adequate $500 guitar into a pretty amazing $800 beast. While it was in my hands and I was banging out a blues lead, I knew, one day, I would give it away, probably one day soon. Note, I did not say sell it.

This is not the first time I have done this. 

I had purchased a used guitar from a buddy with the intention on relicing it out, basically beat it up, make it look old, weathered, like me. And we did. I replaced pick-ups, tuners, added a bigsby, like normal, and then had it reliced. When I got it home I realized I was being ridiculous. I already had two guitars with similar body styles, and one of them was an actual 1974, so why did I need this third guitar? I didn't. So I gave it to Patrick Swan. Pat and I were just starting So Much Closer, and while he had a couple guitars, he didn't have what I considered to be a "good" guitar. I am a guitar snob, what can I say. He was recently married, so I thought it would be a cool wedding gift. And, I think, if you ask Patrick, it was. 

The second guitar went to Tawaine Noah. I met Tawaine through Patrick, and the kid has never ceased to amaze me. While I am probably a more deliberate writer, probably consciously use more poetic devices, incorporate all the things my father taught me, all the things my professors taught me, he is better. There is something in his soul that is able to escape to the paper in a way that makes me wish I had written it. Here are a few of my favorite lines...
I go to parties just so I don't feel alone. My girlfriend likes me, so she waits until I'm cheat on me.
Sometimes in your car, it feels we're going faster than we really are, but I focus on the scrolling bars below and realize we are taking it slow.
Your coffee is bitter like I, at least its got an excuse. Like you it's cold and tastes like scotch...
He just moves me. So, when I saw him scramble around on stage to get a replacement guitar when his guitar would not stay in tune, I knew he was getting my SG. Like the others, I had purchased a mid-grade SG, upgraded the crap out of it to make it a pretty amazing beast, but it felt like a toy guitar on this big body. I have loved SGs for as long as I can remember and always wanted one, but when a guitar doesn't feel right it ends up spending time in its case when it should be being played. So I gave it to him. To be honest, I don't think I have ever seen anyone more appreciative. What I didn't know was Tawaine had recently been obsessing over SGs, and now he has his very own. So worth it for me. 

To be honest, I am not sure why I am this way, why I give the way I do, why I place no value in money above what I need to be comfortable, but I am glad I am. Both my mother and my father have these tendencies, so while there were no direct discussions about being a giver, I am sure I got it through osmosis or maybe it is genetic. I can remember getting birthday money as a kid and rounding up all my skater buddies so I could take them to Pizza Hut. I reckon guitar giving is just a continuation of the pizza party.

No comments:

Post a Comment