I was touched by Andy Powers’ recent column in Wood&Steel [“Lasting Value,” Vol. 101 / Issue 3].
Andy, you spoke about many ideas, but the one that really bore down was about old guitars. The appreciation for something that gets better as it ages, that does not depend on a “new, better technology…so you better throw your old one away and get on board for the latest…whatever.”
Like you, I also made a living with my hands. I rebuilt mouths, chewing machines that had collapsed over time. I had always worked with my hands as a kid — model airplanes, finding wood discarded from a nearby cabinet shop in the dumpster in the alley and recycling those discarded pieces of solid wood on my workbench into toys. What fun, building my own things. Later on, I became a dentist and continued the projects, creating beauty with people’s smiles.
Along the way, I discovered music, bought my first guitar at McCabe’s and began lessons. That was 50 years ago. The guitar became my friend after a stressful day’s work, and though I am only an intermediate [player], I kept learning to play better. I also accumulated many instruments, and found Taylor guitars. I own four: a 314, 614, 814 and a T5. I guess the GA just fits me right.
It would be impossible to relate to you how much I enjoy playing those guitars at this stage of my life. I play with several different guys, learning new songs all the time, creating solos, chord melodies and so forth.
My own aging (80 years) matches the aging of the wood. The sound, the timbre, the grain, the feel of picking up a beautiful instrument and knowing I can make something beautiful come from that guitar bring endless pleasure to my life and those around me. Both of my daughters, my son and several of my granddaughters are musicians, and I know that hearing live music around them as they grew up was influential in their aspirations to do the work that musicianship asks of us. When you spoke of something “lasting,” I think of the legacy that we leave others who are moved by creating music and bring that to their lives. Long after I am no longer here, the music will live on.