Thursday, March 31, 2011

One of these days...

"One of these days I'm gonna _________." I've been filling in the blanks on this list for sometime. We all have a similar list that goes something like this milling around in the back of our minds. "One of these days I'm gonna": "wash the car, trim the hedges, get my wife some flowers, go to Italy, exercise, start a special project, lose 10 pounds, learn how to speak Greek, take a vacation"...... you get the idea. All the intentions that find themselves on this list share different fates though. The outrageous ones may linger for awhile but you finally concede, eventually, that you'll never 'learn to speak Greek' or get an opportunity 'go to Italy.' No matter. There are new things that appear on this list that keep us hopeful and encouraged; more in our realm of reality. And, that seems to be what the primary purpose for the 'List' is anyway, to have a starting point for a Hope and some Encouragement; something to look forward to.. When inspiration hits one of these items a dynamic takes place; once began and completed you are left with a sense of accomplishment, fulfilment, contribution and in some cases, Surprise! Having said that I'll share one thing that landed on my 'list' 30+ years ago. Here's a little of the story to begin with. Like most youngsters, I too, possessed my own ideas of what I saw, heard and how things were to be interpreted. Got in trouble for it, too occasionally. Not trying to be difficult or even different it was simply how my perception was geared. Well, I never grew out of it much. Many times in the late 70's sitting around with friends discussing and solving the problems of the world, sharing dreams and ideas; in one of these improv rap sessions the discussion arose, "what would be your ultimate hot rod if you could afford it?" You know the banter, just read the following like Garth from Wayne's World...."yeah dudes, I want a 69 Roadrunner 440+6, painted teal with flames on the front fenders..with..with traction bars and shackles a Hurst shifter and a tac on the a set of Mickey Thompson wide tires with Keystone rims and functional hood scoop with a huge super charger stickin outta the top of it, larrrge on duuuudes." Then, in natural progression on to the ultimate guitars. Typically, images of guitars in shapes of spiders, fighter jets, AK47's, some hot rod part, skulls, devils, you name it, if you could get 6 strings on it then it was tossed in the kitty. Out of one of those rounds of intense discussions it occurred to me that what I was hearing musically was more than I could manage on the guitar. Most of that problem is that I had no knowledge of reading or writing music. Never learned. If I could write it down like writing a letter to grandma then I could get someone else to play it. Near that time I started to own up to the apparent musical imbalance and came at it by sketching up something I could play in a format more familiar and get in touch with other music I was hearing. You know, those melodies you hear driving down the road while the radio is off, you hear after an extraordinary night out with your significant other, you hear in the shower when you think nobodys listening, you hear, when, you hear, nothing else. It became less of what it was supposed to look like externally and more of what it could do to inspire and explore the musical journey internally. The first sketch attempt was the multi-neck guitar. 4 necks to be exact. 1-12 string, 1-6 string, 1-fretted bass, 1-fretless bass; but on the top bout I drew in a 12 string harp, straight from the hands of Cupid. Cool! (I still have the sketch; will post it up later) But once while watching Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin play his 1275 double neck, I realized quickly that you can only play one neck at a time and with 4 necks and a harp it would probably weigh in at about the same as the 440 engine out of the Roadrunner; the sigh of discouragement over took me (you know, that reality thing again). A few years later I saw this guy, Michael Hedges, play a trippy looking guitar with 5 bass strings on the top. A guitar from the 1920's built by a man named Dyer. Hearing him play that instrument helped me define more of the design movements I needed to gravitate toward. The broadness of sound, the musical color, the melodies, the dynamics he conveyed were over the top. Suddenly inspired, I couldn't wait to draw up some new sketches. The excitement grew and I would spend time thinking about it, drawing on it, changing it up; then soon disappear behind the reasonable (let's be reasonable; this is over you head) and schedules ( face it; you don't have time). In short, the idea would come and go over the years. Side note: I believe that if an idea withstands the time endurance test in a persons heart they need to take a more serious look at that idea; it may reflect back to you a vision with enough detail to get your head around. Just saying! It wasn't until I began to listen deeper to the music I was hearing, and playing it in my head, the design character of the instrument started to take shape......time to do my own thing (whatever that proves to be). more later.


  1. Just a really great post Keith. I could relate to it on so many levels. Keep them coming. I was able to realize a lot of the sounds in my head by sticking the guitar in the closet years ago and working with keyboards instead. It's only recently that I went back to the guitar as my primary means of musical expression. Now that I finished my CD and got it 'out' I'm finding the desire to go back to some of my big production prog/pop/rock stuff and bring it to the next level....

  2. Beautiful. Helps me remember to dream.