Gut Rumbles

November 13, 2003

New strings

I put a set of new strings on my old Martin guitar (1964 D-28) this morning. Damn, but it sounds fine. I should have taken that guitar to Blood Mountain instead of toting the Guild. But the Guild is my usual road guitar and I don't haul the Martin unless I intend to do some serious playing. I wasn't certain what would happen up there.

I play that old guitar and feel as if I have a familiar lover in my hands. That guitar and I have been through a lot together. We're both kinda dinged-up from life's hard knocks, but in some ways, those hard knocks just made us both better. I can't sing the high notes the way I once did, but that guitar has a bass sound that'll ring for 60 seconds when I put it down. I can thump the back with my finger and it goes "Booooom" and echoes for a while. I don't need to sing the high notes anymore. I just play the old songs in a lower key.

I look at the scars on that guitar and I remember where every one came from. That thing has been soaked in beer, sweat, smoke and whiskey for 40 years. That guitar has been played so many times that the pick-guard is worn and peeling off now. I've had it re-fretted four times and I actually broke the neck off at a party one night. (Somebody knocked it off a stand and it hit the wrong way) Randy Wood fixed it, and you have to look VERY closely to see the faint crack in the neck where it broke.

It sounds better now than it ever did, and it's ALWAYS sounded good. In a room full of guitars with no microphones, I can drown out everyone else if I want to. That guitar rings like a bell.

I wish that my son showed some interest in playing music. I would like to give him that guitar some day, when my hands are too old to play it anymore, and I would like to see him pass it on to HIS son in the distant future. We'll all grow old, but that guitar will keep sounding better. That's a mighty fine instrument. It should be played by people who appreciate it.

I always have, and I always will.


He just might take an interest in it when he hits puberty and wants the girls to notice him. Just the thought of Daddy Acidman's advice to his son ... oh my, oh my, oh my.

Acidman could be a granddaddy before not too many more years!

Posted by: Ms Anna on November 13, 2003 09:06 AM

Your post called "The D-18 Song", as done by Norman Blake, to mind. There are a lot of fine acoustics out there today, but for my money, nothing beats a nicely aged Martin. You already know this, but you're lucky to have that ax.

Posted by: robin on November 13, 2003 09:45 AM

Will you play with me? I meant, will you play for me?

Posted by: Lady Mae on November 13, 2003 10:07 AM

A 13-string lute gets more babes. It's more classical guitar though. G tuned down to F# plus an extra string in the bass.

However my experience is that rather than sounding better as they age, the neck or belly warps so it becomes unplayable. So you wind up with two lutes in your closet and play the Goya G10 instead. Dowland on a guitar. No chicks there. Finally you say the hell with it and go to the piano. You can play more stuff, but everybody's better than you on the piano.

Posted by: Ron Hardin on November 13, 2003 11:10 AM

nothing sounds better than a nice Martin with new strings. My friend has a 40's D-28 (i think?) and the history contained in that guitar is palpable when you play it. It isn't "mint", either. It's been played and loved and dragged all over the country by gods-know-who, and i imagine it still sounds as good today, with its scratches and the pickguard worn through and the soon-to-fail bridge that it did when it was first bought.

Posted by: pril on November 13, 2003 11:12 AM

With a Martin, the more you beat them, the better they sound.

Posted by: Acidman on November 13, 2003 11:37 AM

All this talk about guitars. Let's play.

Posted by: Willy on November 13, 2003 12:07 PM

Tiffany Eckhardt from _Girl Guitar_ (1996) (354k) recorded in a laundromat for the acoustics. It seems to me she ought to be more noticed. Looking for Signs and Nino's Cafe are her best albums. I guess this was her first. She's the best lyricist I've ever heard.

Posted by: Ron Hardin on November 13, 2003 12:41 PM
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