I realized that I have a relationship with my guitar. I know; it sounds weird, but it’s true. My guitar is a Guild D-25, accoustic, bought new in 1983. I’m the original and only owner. It wasn’t a particularly expensive guitar at the time, but it had “good bones.” The guitar has aged gracefully. It has some nicks and scratches, and there are wear-spots on the fingerboard. But it has a beautiful tone. The bass strings, especially, “sing.” Its music is true, and its action is good. (Sorry if the technical meanings here are escaping my non-guitar-player-readers.)
This summer at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival whenever I had the guitar out, someone would inevitably comment on it: “Is that a Guild? Sure sounds nice!” I was touched. No, really; that’s exactly the word I mean to use. I was touched. It was like someone complimenting my wife, for crying out loud. I don’t know why I felt that way, but that’s the way I felt. (My response was generally, “Yeah; it’s got some age on it. It’s over 30 years old and aging gracefully.” To which the common reply was something like, “Yeah, Guilds of that age are special.”)
The thing that made me realize that I had a relationship with my guitar was when I was thinking yesterday that I really should practice more and improve my guitar playing … because my guitar deserves a better player! That’s literally what I found myself thinking! Now stop and realize that the reason my guitar is aging gracefully is because I’ve been playing it and caring for it all these years. If I had treated it badly, it wouldn’t be “aging gracefully.” If I had been hard on it, or if I had been neglectful, it wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in today. I gave it the patina that it has, and now that patina is urging me to improve my guitar playing. If that isn’t a relationship, I don’t know what is.
For the first time, I understand why BB King has always named his guitar Lucille.