I'll admit to a wandering eye.


It's worse than that. I'd have to set down and make a list to remember all the slim waist, smooth neck beauties I've run my hands over, coaxing them along as I held them close to me, their inner vibrations melding with my own, indistinguishable as two became one.

Singularity and vibrancy are such an attraction to me. There doesn't seem to be any end to the combinations that can be found. I've sought them out, in nearly obsessive pursuit until we could be together, in a room where none other can interfere, to achieve a complete loss of self and turn myself over to the ecstacy of being right there with them in that precise moment.

Someone asked me recently if I have a "type". I thought for a moment that I was more evolved and could adapt to most anything. But at this stage, I do have a "type". I want earthy, warm, rich with experience. I like a flaw here and there, something that says there's more to know and see and feel with some added effort.

And so it is, that despite all the looking here and looking there, dabbling for awhile until I tire of the new fling and let go, I have never swayed from the one that captured my heart and soul some 50 years ago as a teenager.


In the summer of '66 dad had open heart surgery. He needed to stay home all summer to recover. I had some part-time "cash under the table" type work lined up in the neighborhood, as I was too young to work legally. But I gave it up so that I could dote on him all summer, doing all the grown-up tasks he would have, making him breakfast and lunch, dashing out to the store now and then for a copy of Field & Stream or Argosy which was a bit racier, for him to read while he recovered.

The old grocer at the corner market would ask, "This for your dad?"

"Yes it is sir."

"Ok. Well don't look at that ad on page 75 until he says you're old enough."

"Ok, sir. Thanks for watching out for me."

There were some blackberry fields on the way home with tunnels squashed down in them by planks stolen from some dad's garage. The tunnels were for miscellaneous pursuits like smoking cigarettes. Hidden and shady, on a summer day they were a good place to stop for 5 minutes to sip on a cherry soda and look at magazine ads.


Dad offered to pay me for staying home from my other jobs and so at the end of a couple of months he gave me $125. It was like a gold mine. He said I could spend it any way I wanted. He ended up worrying about having said that for at least another decade. He didn't really mean "any way" but he was a man of his word and that's what he had said.

That's when the affair began.


Recently, a friend who knows of my propensity to have my head turned asked about my favorite and if I had a photo to share. I pulled one up, sent it off and in return was told " She's gorgeous. OMG, really ? You have to let others know."

I don't typically buy into assigning gender to objects, but in this case, the object of my desire is so beautiful to me, flaws and all that I agreed to do something to tell others about her.

She's been through much. She's had too much work done some might say. Too much to retain value. It doesn't matter to me.

The finish was entirely stripped a long time ago except for the face of the headstock. I added red mahogany stain to the back and sides, and many coats of tung oil hand rubbed to a lustrous satin finish over all of her.

I dropped her running from the cops in Olympia around 1973. I was busking in the same parking lot Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl later slept in. It bothered some local business people and it became suddenly imperative to move along when the police began to approach. I didn't latch the top of the case properly so as we skittered it flew out and bounced on the asphalt. Twenty years later the famous guys stayed in their van behind my life long friend's studio on the waterfront. They were run off too, so in a way I'm sort of the trendsetter for that whole Seattle grunge scene.

That escapade produced a big V shaped slit on the treble side lower bout, and a hole punched near the end pin. I whipped up a batch of glue and bought some cheesecloth. I had a girl friend named Renee' come over and stick her smaller hand and forearm in there to do the work I directed. She was an actress and perfectionist, the exact person I needed; someone who was used to being advised what to do in her own art, who wouldn't let me down by being sloppy. I'm sure it was her only luthier repair, but it has held all this time.

Ten years ago I had a neck re-set done. A neck re-set means the neck is removed and re-installed at an appropriate angle. All those years of string tension put a stress on her. I wanted my original frets left in place because I'm used to them. My luthier went along with it but it took his truly master skills to get the buzz out of frets 14 and 15. At that time he hard-wired the De'Armond 5 pole pick up I'd had since 1968, using the end pin hole. 

Thirty years ago I added a drop of epoxy in the nut to the fret slot for the 6th string. It raises it over the others and gives a great snap when I pull it Lightnin' Hopkins style.

I took it home and for tone, tried a set of medium heavy strings. I'd never done that before. I play medium to medium-light strings. There was a loud report and I watched the original Brazilian rosewood bridge split and fly off to the ball ends of the strings. That kept the pieces from scattering and being lost.

That was good. Losing them to a furnace duct could have been the result and is always a possibility in the 105 year old house where it happened.

I collected them, took them to my luthier and he let me select a blank of Brazilian rosewood from his stash (stock replacement bridges were available but the new ones are 1/16 of an inch less wide and nearly 3/8 less in length). I wanted my soundboard not to be effected so my luthier hand carved a perfect replica.

I put the open back, butterbean shaped Waverly Ivoroid tuners on it and some higher quality denser bridge pins with abalone dots to match.

It's beautiful to me even with gouges and nicks and splits. I like character.


I'm down to about a dozen or so guitars by this time as well as additional miscellaneous string instruments. I've sold off Gibsons, National Steel guitars, Epiphones, Richenbachers and such. I have a Civil War reproduction banjo, National lap steel guitars from the 60's, a walnut autoharp, harmonicas, a kalimba and other things setting around, as well as a 3 string custom cigar box guitar and a 12 string baritone guitar, hand made for me in a style of the 1920's. I have guitars that plug in and others that don't. The oldest two are from the 1930's.

But this one has been with me now for what seems like forever. All those others are fun to tickle and coax. I love to make them moan and shriek with the slide I occasionally wear on my left hand pinky.

But when I want to be alone, truly alone, where it's only me and whatever sounds are waiting to emerge I pick this one up. It's a 1961 Martin 000-18.


We've been together a very long time and I cannot imagine ever not having her with me.

If they let me in at the Pearly Gates I'm not about to sit around with a harp.

I'm going to get a bigger coffin and take this one with me.

Views: 559

Comment by alsoknownas on October 26, 2016 at 8:19am

Too revealing?

Comment by Rosigami on October 26, 2016 at 8:23am

What a beautifully intimate telling, alsoknownas. A great life long love story, told with all the grace and humor you've always shown in your writing. I especially like how you led us on so slyly at the beginning, like the opening riff of an almost- familiar tune, and then brought in the unexpected verses and inspired chorus with skill and talent.

Thank you for sharing your passion with us.

Comment by alsoknownas on October 26, 2016 at 8:35am


I'm glad you enjoyed the story and have such a complimentary comment to leave here.

Thank you.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on October 26, 2016 at 9:02am

"...and a hole punched near the end pin..."  When Willie Nelson finally had to have his famous guitar Trigger repaired...

...he went to Erlewine Guitars in Austin.  I wonder if he'll take it with him to his grave.  R&L ;-)

Comment by alsoknownas on October 26, 2016 at 9:45am


Thanks for stopping in. My friend's son hangs with Willie's son. I should pass the question on through to him.

I have two luthiers. Both named Todd. One in town : http://www.portlandfretworks.com

The other is in the Midwest. He built my 12 string: www.fraulini.com

Comment by marilyn sands on October 26, 2016 at 11:23am

I can relate to this bigly...I know Guitars - someday I'll share.  R&L

Comment by alsoknownas on October 26, 2016 at 11:37am

marilyn sands,

 Well then, thank you bigly for being here.

Comment by Annmarie Handley on October 26, 2016 at 1:35pm

That is true love.  And very sexy.  Great post.

Comment by alsoknownas on October 26, 2016 at 1:40pm


Why thank you!

I'm glad you showed up today and enjoyed your visit.

Comment by Dharmabummer on October 26, 2016 at 2:08pm

As you wrote of running your hands along the 'slim waist, smooth-neck beauties' I had an idea of where you might be going and I enjoyed the ride there. This is so wonderful-- sexy and fun and full of great details. And bonus points for using the word "skittered". I love that word. 


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