In March 6 IssueRussell County NewsBy Wade Daffron, Columnist
The other day I was working on a guitar.
That's just kinda my thing. Some people rescue animals, I “rescue” guitars. I've reassembled guitars which have suffered the fate of having their necks snapped off, refinished guitars covered in stickers, but stop short of any electronic work.
The last time I tried that, I plugged a guitar in and it snapped, crackled and popped like a bowl of cereal. Then it started smoking like a campfire.
Anyway, the other day I was working on a guitar which had the headstock snapped off.
(Nah, you really don't want me going into that. OK, I will...)
This particular axe came into my possession about 13 (unlucky number) years ago. It's a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Feel free to catch your breath) with a “natural” finish, and yes, it weighs like, 500 pounds.
As far as looks go, it's kinda rough (as am I), but it's almost a dead ringer to the one Mick Ronson used during Bowie's Ziggy Stardust period, or Marc Bolan rocked with T-Rex.
OK, so I got this guitar because like most Gibsons from the early 70s, it had a cracked headstock. I can fix that, I thought to myself.
My son Evan and I spent days, weeks, months repairing and restoring the guitar. It was looking great...until we put strings on it, and realized I did not use the proper type of glue.
The crack re-opened the very first time we tuned it.
More days, weeks, months passed, and we had the guitar ready to be played again. This time, it was a “perfect” as it could be. Looked good, sounded, good, felt good.
One evening, when I was jamming with some friends at the house, a person who shall remain nameless (Renee') came to the door and motioned excitedly for me. The way she was acting, I assumed one of the kids was balancing dangerously on a precipice, or had set something or someone on fire.
I set my newly-resurrected guitar on a stand and dashed toward her.
As I did, my foot became tangled in the cord between my guitar and amplifier.
The guitar smacked the floor, and the headstock literally flew across the room.
(I'm still trying to figure out how that happened since it had the strings still attached to it.)
I looked at the guitar, then Renee'.
“I just wanted to tell you someone called for you earlier,” she said. “I don't know who it was, but I guess they'll call back later.”
I looked at the guitar, then Renee'. I was trying to remember if there was strings attached to her.
“Oh my!” she said. “Isn't that the guitar you've been working on forever?”
So, days, weeks, months later, I was working on the much-maligned guitar. The crack had been somewhat expertly (?) repaired, and all that was left was a little “cosmetic” touch-up work.
Our three year old, Kate, came waltzing in.
“Watch ya doin?'
“You workin' on guh-tar?”
“Why you workin' on guh-tar?”
“Why yer guh-tar bwoke?'
“You'd have to ask your mother about that.”
“Mom bwoke guh-tar?”
“Why mom bwoke guh-tar?”
“I don't know.”
“Dad...I fix guh-tar?”
“Oh really? Do you know how to use any tools, Kate?”
“Do you know how to use a file, sander, or Dremel tool?
“Yeah, do you, dad?”
(Hmm...didn't know how to answer that.)
“OK, Kate, I'll let you fix it.”
I set the guitar on a stand and left the room to look for a piece of sandpaper.
When I got back, I noticed that Kate had, indeed, been “working” on the guitar.
“Kate, why are all these princess stickers all over the guitar?”
“Too make it pwetty.”
“Oh, I see. Well, do you think that will fix it.”
She shook her head rapidly.
“OK, we'll see if that works.”
I left the room again to find some tape.
When I returned, I noticed Kate trying to drag the guitar across the floor.
“KATE!” I yelled. “What are you doing?”
She stopped and stared at me.
“Kate, what are you doing?
She laid the guitar down and put a pillow over it.
“Why are you doing that, Kate?” I asked.
I moved the pillow, and noticed a crack had appeared at the headstock.
“WHAT HAPPENED?” I screamed.
Kate shrugged her shoulders, and sheepishly pointed at the guitar stand.
“Guh-tar fall down!”
“How did that happen, Kate?”
She shrugged her shoulders again, and turned her feet inward, looking at the floor.
“You ask Mommy?,” she said.
“But she's not even here,” I explained.
“I think Mommy did it,” she said.
I looked at the guitar, then Kate.
“Well, the stickers look pretty good, don't they? I said.
And we both smiled.