Ironic, isn’t it? The more things happen and the more things I should be posting on here, the less time I have to do it. So what’s happened since the ringing in of the new year? I’m sure I’ll forget something but here goes anyway:
- I busted my Gibson Les Paul. It was late on a Wednesday evening, and I was playing around on the computer and on the guitars. I got up to get a refill on my drink and I bumped it on the stand as I walked past. I turned around just in time to see it tip over in slow motion onto the ceramic tile. I wasn’t fast enough to catch it. It hit the floor with a solid crash! I picked it up and inspected the hardware. Knobs weren’t shattered. Pickups were fine. Bridge looked good. Everything looked okay. Then I looked up at the headstock. Not so lucky there.
This picture was taken after I released the string tension. At the bottom of the break, it had been separated by about an inch. My heart sank. I bought this guitar new 17 years ago and it was my first professional quality instrument. Luckily, I have several backup guitars that I’ve purchased this year so I won’t have to miss any gigs, but I’ll miss being able to switch up to the Paul on the 2nd half of a show.
As I did more research on this particular type of guitar injury, I realized that this is a common structural failure in Gibsons, and that this break isn’t too bad. I’ve seen some where the headstock was completely separated and shattered into several pieces. It can be repaired… more on that later.
- Oh, is it later already? So I decided that a delicate matter such as repairing my guitar should be handled by a skilled luthier. The nearest places that I’m aware of that would be up to the task are in Chicago, so into the big city I go. I decided to make an event of it. I took my son Joe and invited Tim and his boys along for the ride. We went and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then went adventuring into the depths of the city to find a shop called Schroeder’s Audio.
Apparently, Tim Schroeder is the top guy in the city for repairs of this sort. I’ll never know, because the jackass decided to post a note on the door to his business that he only accepts clients by appointment now. Well, putting something to that effect on the website might have been nice, instead of making me drive all the way out to Chicago. So we then went for the backup plan. There was a place on the north side that looked nice called Chicago Fret Works. That’s where my guitar is now, patiently waiting to be repaired. They’re also going to give it a setup and smooth out the frets and such. I figure it’s been 17 years of playing on it, it’s certainly in need of some maintenance.
I didn’t have much time to look around the shop while I was there. I spent most of my time talking to the guys about my poor, busted up Paul. I did notice, however, that they had a beautiful Rickenbacker hanging on the wall. Looked like a 620. If it’s still there when I go to pick up my Les Paul, I just may have to take a look at it! I might have them do some custom work on my Peavey 5150 mkII amp head. Its about 12 years old and probably needs a new set of capacitors and tubes. I’d also thought about having them modify it to run at half power, but be switchable between 6L6 power tubes or EL34 power tubes. Depends on how much it’ll all cost.
- On January 24th, it finally snowed! It snowed so much that all the idiots on I65 simultaneously forgot how to pilot their motor-coaches on top of this mystical white substance falling from the sky! This was also the first time I got to take my new 4×4 Suburban and use the 4 wheel drive. I am amazed at the technological advances that they have been able to incorporate into vehicles. This thing handled like I was driving on dry pavement. Seriously, if it weren’t for all the white stuff and the idiots, I wouldn’t have known it was snowing. Perhaps the best part about all the technological wonders that make it so stable and safe on snow… is that I can turn them all off and have fun! Yep, shut down all the traction control, StabiliTrak and automatic 4 wheel drive, and this behemoth swings the ass-end around just as good as the Pontiac LeMans used to! Don’t act surprised… you knew I would.
- On the evening of Friday January 25th, my Aunt Marie passed away. She was 98 years old, and was one of those rare people who was able to keep her wit, charm, humor, looks, health and independence well into her nineties. As a matter of fact, she was still driving up until she was 95! We should all hope to live as long and live as well as Aunt Marie.
On January 26th, my son David participated in his first ISSMA Solo and Ensemble contest. He was pretty nervous since he had never done anything like this before. When you’re nervous and self-conscious about performing, you tend to hold back. When you hold back, you make mistakes and don’t develop the best tone that you’re capable of. David took his first steps toward learning how to be a performing musician by learning these things that Saturday morning. But despite his nervousness and shaky start, he pulled it together and did very well. He did well enough, in fact, to earn a gold medal for his performance. And perhaps best of all, he loved participating in it and he plans to come back and do it again next year. We were all very proud of him!
But enough retrospective. Looking forward, I have 2 gigs coming up in February. There’s the fundraiser that Six Five Nine is playing on Feb 16th and Gone Shootin’ is playing Miso’s Overflow Tavern again on the 23rd of February. I certainly hope to see you there!