Wood and Strings

Run like hell and get the agony over with. –Clarence DeMar

I had just fin­ished mak­ing a new gui­tar. I enjoyed mak­ing gui­tars. And not just any gui­tars, and cer­tainly not stan­dard gui­tars. I made them of non-standard widths and unex­pected shapes. Noth­ing out of the box. But always aes­thet­i­cally pleasing.

I w0uld have been easy for me to use com­monly avail­able parts; I have done that many times. But I was dif­fer­ent, my drive had changed. I was express­ing myself in both wood and song, my muse wanted to sing. So every gui­tar, every­body, was carved by hand. Sanded and shaped, my eyes and my soul guid­ing my hands on the wood.

So it should come as no sur­prise that my cre­ations had a bit of a fol­low­ing. Locally at first, but word got around. They not only looked unique, but sounded incred­i­ble. There were a lot more peo­ple ask­ing me to build them a gui­tar than I had time to work. So I was choosy about who I took com­mis­sions from, and who I wanted to work with.

I had just fin­ished my lat­est piece. It was not really much to look at, it was sort of anti-design. But I liked it, and I had made it for one of my favorite peo­ple, Jon Bon Jovi. He was com­ing by today to look at the new gui­tar, and take it home.

As I handed it to him, I could see it was not what he expected. Most of my gui­tars were wildly unique. Most had mul­ti­ple cut­aways, flut­ing, bind­ings; they were there to be seen, and they made a statement.

This gui­tar, on the other hand, was the other hand. There was noth­ing extra to it at all. No frills, no wild color schemes. Just wood and strings. There was no body to speak of; the neck just con­tin­ued down past the bridge a bit, and ended. In fact, the neck and the body were the same piece of wood. The neck had a good swath of lac­quer on the back, but after it tran­si­tioned to the body, I used only a light coat. The grain was read­ily appar­ent through the varnish.

And this is what I handed to my friend Jon. He took it, turned it over in his hands a few times, and seemed at a loss for words. I rarely see Jon search­ing for what to say. He may have been shocked, he have wanted to make sure he did not offend me; he was numbstruck.

Play it,” I told him. “You won’t know it until you play.”

Jon shrugged, and played. Even unplugged, he could tell this was a spe­cial gui­tar; it res­onated his inner self. Jon smiled, the biggest smile I had ever seen him display.

I call it ‘The Plank’,” for obvi­ous reasons.

Jon no longer needed the words, now he searched for the song.


We had spent the night up at Jim’s house in Farm­ing­ton, we had an early start today. I was excited, it was Jim’s first 5K. Oh, Jim had run them before– we all had. This was the first race Jim was host­ing. I was here to sup­port him and his new race, and to have fun.

We got up and went out to the start­ing area. There were a lot of peo­ple around. Good. I had not seen Jim yet. I sat down and put on my shoes.

The announcer called the rac­ers to the start­ing line. There would be a stag­gered start, with dif­fer­ent groups start­ing at dif­fer­ent times. The men were called up first, but I was not in that group. I was in Men’s B, and we started later.

The gun sounded and they were off. Women lined up next, and they were started. Finally, the kids were sent. Jim came up to me. I was sur­prised to see he was not run­ning. Then I real­ized that it being his race, he had to supervise.

So, would you like to out and check out the course?” he asked me.

I had some time until my start. “Sure.” I did not want to mess up my run­ning shoes, so I took them off and put on an old pair.

We hopped in a golf cart, and headed along a path that fronted the course. The run­ners would start off through a gate and run in a park on the other side of the chain link fence. At the first cor­ner, they would head to the right; we sat at the cor­ner and watched them pass. The chil­dren were run­ning past now; I rec­og­nized Clara as she waved and passed us by.

While I had thought I had plenty of time– Jim had assured me I did!- I heard the call for my start. We raced back to the start­ing line in the golf cart. I went to where I had removed my race shoes, and they were gone.

That’s just great,” I fumed, look­ing around some more. The harder I looked, the more I knew they were gone. I resigned myself to race in my reg­u­lar shoes, but even that pre­sented a prob­lem. I had taken one of them off in antic­i­pa­tion or chang­ing my shoes… and now even that shoe was missing.

The only shoes I could see at all were a pair belong­ing to Jared; they were his ref­eree shoes. Big, think, heavy and black; not what I would choose to race in. But they fit, and I only had to wear one… and, as Jim reminded me, it was only a 5K.

So I ran in one of my shoes, and one of Jareds’. I had no inten­tion of win­ning; I would not even come close. I just needed to fin­ish. And I did.

I woke up.

Rat­ing 3.00 out of 5

About Dave Koch

Father, writer, entrepreneur, web coder, 2008 Presidential candidate, husband and friend. Sometimes I play guitar.
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One Response to Wood and Strings

  1. Walentina K says:

    Came to your web site through Stum­ble­upon. You already know I am sign­ing up to your feed.

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