a frog’s leap slight return

There are few changes noticeable, some may turn out to be temporary due to the Transits, others perhaps a shift of me, of me being in this world, who knows, but here is another Blog of Moon 😉

After careful consideration, and many moons, many guitars, many try-outs, many samples, I decided to have a guitar built for me. To not have to compromise again, or experience not just disappointment, but even disaster. Or at least the interpretation of the perception of that 😉

living room wall in 1994

So I made a well researched list of the more technical descriptions a guitar should be made of, and how, the kinds of woods, the way to construct it, the pick-ups and other electronics. There are a few companies that make half-finished guitars, one here in the Netherlands that I know of, and having sponged and absorbed their website I had made the following wishes/demands for such a Sjef guitar, this file was first made Friday June 29th 2007 its last edit was Thursday October 30th 2014

The best of a couple of guitars combined, but starting with a Gibson SG body shape made 45mm thick not the usual 35mm for an SG and is already curved/carved on the sides, with a 3 or 5 parts made neck-thru (meaning neck and body are one long carved/machined piece, and the rest of the body is glued to it) with a leaner angle on the head-stock, added a waist cut and fore-arm cut like on a Fender Stratocaster. 24 frets of course, although unsure of the Scale length. The Neck was to be made of Hard Maple with an Ebony fingerboard, CarbonTech Trussrod and a Compound Radius of 10-16 inches. It needs to be carved out as a Thinline (ie Semi-Hollow) of Mahogany with a quilted Maple top which is flat apart from the curves and cuts and then string-thru (no tremolo) At the time I wrote to put in EMG 85 and 89R pick-ups with a phase change switch, and these need to be bolted to the neck, not spring mounted to the body.

Gibson SG Standard Fireburst
Gibson SG Standard Fireburst

Just the woods and their shape would cost at least 1000 euros, then paint and lacquer, all the hardware, another easy 1000 euro at least, but… no more compromise, no more disaster (heh, this is where my recent insight about Gate 47 (making endless drafts ending as paper rubble) comes in handy)

This idea percolated for years and sometimes was shaved, tuned, added, changed until at one point I thought, ‘fuck it, I’m going to buy a cheap Thinline guitar and just jam with it. Not having an electric guitar or the funds to have one built has lastet long enough now’, and so I started looking for some neat guitars.

I knew Fender’s cheaper brother Squier makes some decent guitars for decent prices so started looking there

The first guitar that caught my eye was a Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster® Thinline in Shoreline Gold, for a mere 300 euro brand spanking new, and available in local stores.

Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster® Thinline in Shoreline Gold
Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster® Thinline in Shoreline Gold

Then looking onwards I also found a Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster® Thinline, Maple Fingerboard, Natural for about 400 euros, I do like this natural see-through look

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster® Thinline, Maple Fingerboard, Natural
Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster® Thinline, Maple Fingerboard, Natural

But then I thought to look at the cheapest Fenders too and found this gorgeous Fender Modern Player Telecaster® Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard, Black Transparent for only 429 euros.

Fender Modern Player Telecaster® Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard, Black Transparent
Fender Modern Player Telecaster® Thinline Deluxe, Maple Fingerboard, Black Transparent

I found this Pawn Shop™ Fender® ’72, but by then only available second hand and for some reason I felt the drive to buy a brand new guitar, for the first time ever

Pawn Shop™ Fender® ’72

I noticed I was going up, up, up in price, but also presumably in quality, and I noticed they seemed nice, but nothing really stood out, or jumped at me, grabbed me, intrigued me. Too thick, too bulky, not refined enough.

Until, one afternoon, I saw this beauty, the Fender Pawn Shop Offset Special, Maple Fingerboard, 2-Color Sunburst and an Alder body, Thinline/Semi-Hollow with Stratocaster curves and Jazzmaster stacked Humbuckers looking like P90s.

Fender Pawn Shop Offset Special, Maple Fingerboard, 2-Color Sunburst
Fender Pawn Shop Offset Special, Maple Fingerboard, 2-Color Sunburst

I was sold, for little over 700 euros… , borrowed half the money from my then-girlfriend and ordered it brand new in a box from a shop nearby, online. Within a few days I got an email saying I could come pick it up 🙂

After a while the bridge really bugged me, it was a very cheap shitty thing that made noise when it shouldn’t, it buzzed and rattled on the bridge saddles, and the added Loctite did not work. So the search was on for a good/better/best bridge, in the jungle that is called accessories & upgrades… but relatively easy I found the -perfect- match, the Mastery Bridge, used by famed musicians (Sonic Youth, Elvis Costello and so on), praised by music instrument forum users all over and it looked awesome too and technical. And looking at the screaming white top-nut with black pickup covers and knobs that had to go too. So I ordered the bridge and GraphTech BLACK TUSQ XL top-nut in the US, get a neat customs check for import duties and then had a friend of mine change and install the parts and had it setup properly for some low string action and all around play-ability.

Mastery Offset Bridge

But still, now 20 months or so later since ordering the guitar, I only played it about 4 hours, in total, at all. I did not grab it, jam with it, play it, freak out with it, grind and grunge with it, rock or simply play acoustic. I simply did not.

I felt it had to go, it had to leave and never come back, it was in the wrong house with the wrong player, this guitar had another home to go to, somewhere.

So I place an ad online, making sure the text is not too long, still loaded with specs and nice pics, and wait… (well…)

In the mean time I started looking for another guitar too, knowing this time I wanted an easier accessible guitar and not at all as odd, goofy and sophisticated as this one. Looking for a players guitar, a jammer, a strum and sing-along guitar, and after some online ogling on guitar-store websites and online ad websites I found a second hand one. I called this one shop, offering to trade mine in for one of theirs and get some extra cash to cover the difference in value, they’d still make money on both guitars. He would only go as far as exchanging for the other guitar and no cash-back, I said I should have picked a more expensive one, he laughed and left it at that. And then, one fine Tuesday

I grabbed my Visa-card, body jumps on the bike and drives with only half a tank to that place, about half a tank away if driving on inner roads and so I drive not too fast and take the high-way for saving on gas, and ask if I can try out this guitar. The mind is trying to butt in, screaming ‘noooo can’t afford’ and stuff like that, but then helps me negotiate price and remembers to ask if it came with a proper gig-bag whereas the passenger is noticing the traffic jam on the way back, the lacquer on the wood and the new blisters on my fingers from playing again, oh and the Low Fuel warning light coming on at about 20kms from home on the North-side on the Ring around Rotterdam… Soon I take the bike off from the high-way so I can at least walk home with the guitar if it stalls on me, nothing in me steers to a gas station and use the Visa-card again, and driving even slower on smaller inner roads I do make it home. Oh and it’s a Paul Reed Smith (PRS) SE Custom Semi-Hollow Soapbar Natural, with stunning Waning Crescent Moon inlays.

Now I need to get rid of this other guitar ‘for sure’ as the Visa repay date waits for no-one and mind seeks ways to resolve, to overcome the monetary financial issue, while noticing there is not the usual panic or overdrive, not in my mind, not in my body, or anywhere else.

I contact another guitar store known for its oddball and exclusive guitars, whether they’d want to purchase it, since I need cash. They half and half like the guitar, can see the excellent condition it is in from pics I send and tell me they’d only trade it in for a certain amount, no cash. I figure I may overcome the Visa issue perhaps by doing a monthly juggling act and ask if this one particular guitar of about 2/3rds current value would be a good exchange, with either/both wallets closed, I figure better to have an-other good guitar than keep this one here for long. Did I ever mention that I -have- no patience? He agrees and I drive to the other side of the city to go to their local store with the guitar to do the swap. On the way over there, lots of one-way streets have changed direction so I need to make wide circles to come back out that area before I can go back into that part again to get to that store. And there is no such guitar. It is still on their website, but nowhere in their system or in the shop, or in the other stores of theirs. In the mean time as they go through their system, I play 2 guitars of theirs just to feel them and feel relaxed about the movie that plays out in front of me.

Since I’m clothed, outside and on my motorbike, I decide to drive to a pawn-shop and see if they’d offer some quick cash and prepare for the worst (ie low amount) and drive to the city center to the first one that comes to mind. As I arrive, I see their buy-counter is jam packed with people waiting in line so decide to drive on to another one south of town, one I’ve never been before.

Driving over there I meet several detours because of road works, new roundabouts and more constructions and closed off roads and a whole section for that area too. Undeterred, I make my way over to the shop and meet with the owner. He says I’m too late, all the money is gone cause he bought so much already (it is a Monday) so I’d have to come back tomorrow. I start to laugh out loud, which raises his eyebrow up high, and explain that I never ever had someone tell me this. But ask him if he could look at the guitar now, to see whether coming back the next day would make sense or not, if he is at all interested or not.

He tells me that even tomorrow he’d only pay 1/3rd the value, but then also suggest I could sell it in consignment in his store, I would get half the current value. But also that he’s going on holiday soon, so I need to decide before next week Tuesday, since his employees would not know how to set this deal up.

Coming back home I see an email from someone offering his guitar for my guitar. His is a wee bit more expensive and far-far more popular. We exchange some emails and he sends me pics and it seems alright. I have had this model before, many, many moons ago, and am not too fond of it, but after all this time, if this is what presents itself, and possibly sell it for more, then sure, why not. I do tell him that until we get together, gig them both a bit and decide to continue with the exchange, that my guitar will remain for sale online since I prefer cash, and the exchange will happen with wallets closed. He agrees and asks if he could come around that same evening around 21:00 since he needs 2 hours driving to get here (apparently lives in Belgium). I get another email asking for my address again, and while thinking it is smart of him to make this exchange quickly, I wait.

Fender American Special Stratocaster®, Maple Fingerboard, 2-Color Sunburst
Fender American Special Stratocaster®, Maple Fingerboard, 2-Color Sunburst

At around 23:30 I silence my phone and front door bell and go watch some tv and snooze.

Another guy emails to ask if I’d like to trade his guitar for mine. Same model as the other guy, but far older and had much more work done on it (which could be neat upgrades, they sound expensive) and the color is Lake Placid Blue. I say no, he says he’ll think about coming up with a cash offer or not.

The new PRS grows on me every day, it is far more beautiful than photographs can ever capture it, beautiful wood grains, and it plays nice, it plays nice, for me. I only want to grab a rough wood-file and take a piece of from the top/side, to do a make-shift fore-arm cut… 😀

For quite a few years I have Gibson’s course ‘Learn & Master Guitar’, but never once looked at it, and now I do. I figured I could run through it easily and pick up a few things I may have missed from mostly learning by myself, and indeed lesson 1 goes by like a breeze, I can do all the exercises very easy, and assume it is going to be a walk in the park, until lesson 2… where the focus shifts from tablature to note reading, and realize I’m a beginner all over again…

Addendum: to finish the story… I got an almost perfect offer by email on one of the ads. I suggest to add a wee bit more and then I’m open for him trying the guitar. He agrees with he amount, but can only come over in 10 days, if that is ok. I suggest to reserve it for him for a small fee. If he buys the guitar it gets deduced from the now fixed selling price, if he does not buy it, he lost the small fee. In the mean time no-one else can buy it. Again he agrees and pays upfront. The communication is good and we exchange some more info on the guitar by email. Then 2 days before the appointment he calls and asks if I’m home and could I come down with the guitar. I tell him “no, you can come up, I won’t take the guitar out into the street” he comes up, plays the guitar for not even 5 minutes, pays and leaves. The end…?


MoonBlog 4.6

Gate 4 of formulization, youthful folly.
The energy to beguile and succeed despite ignorance. Freedom from retribution.

Gate 4 Line 6 Excess.
Repeated and conscious abuse of norms will not escape discipline.

Exalted: The development through experience of techniques to apply self-restraint. The potential in a logical process to recognize when the understanding is not complete and have the patience to wait out the process.
Detriment: The gall to accept punishment as the price of excess. Despite recognizing the incompleteness a lack of patience with the process.

MoonBlog4.5b2