DG’s B&B, part 3


December 30, 2009 by David Gillaspie

Sound Off, Sound On

by David Gillaspie

DG’s B&B believes in kindness.  Every baby gets a hug; every kid gets his hair messed up.  The adults get the most, they get to feel normal.  Kindness is a virtue. You may not know the question, but kindness is always the answer.  Kindness leading to more kindness. 

 There is always enough room at DG’s B&B, enough air in the room to breath.  King Arthur would approve of the friendly round-table discussion.  Differences aren’t so extreme that they turn into wedges that separate.  Kindness is the word.  Don’t think you need to know all the verses of Kumbaya on the first visit, but it wouldn’t hurt:

“Someone’s singing my lord, kumbaya.” 

And it’ll be you.  If you can play a guitar and sing then you must audition for the band.  One man had a thumb so big he played two bass strings over the top.  One woman did a classic Janis melt-down on Me and Bobby McGee so well that it ended up looking like a seizure.

There are rules.  Like the girl you take to the dance, you audition with the guitar you bring.  If you make the band, you play the audition guitar.  An unwritten rule of the BB Band is ”Don’t buy a dream guitar, but if you do, keep it secret.” 

There are good reasons why.

“Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya.” 

Every normal person who strums a G and an E minor across the strings of a fine guitar has the same reaction:  they get a jolt and put the guitar in a safe place, leave the room, go directly home to bed without passing a music store.  If they strum that G and E minor on the right guitar it gets that bad.

A band member brought a new guitar to practice, the most beautiful instrument off any wall.  Its classic shape and size marked it an instant classic.  Holding it meant playing it; playing it meant adding it to the list of haunting guitars.  All guitar players have a haunt list just the same as they have an explainable reaction to a G to Em progression on the right guitar.

“Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya.” 

Remorse is when you have extra money but can’t find the right guitar.  The haunt list is reserved for the right guitar and not enough money.  Getting it right means the right balance.  It means finding the right sound then finding a guitar you can afford that comes close to the sound. 

The hard part for others to understand is how long a sound, a feeling, can last.

Some players test guitars while they lean against a wall.  Some test while they squat near an amp.  Music stores are littered with them.  They all know the feel they want.  They walk around a room and grip the necks and know all they need to know.  The ones they play pass a few tests before pick hits strings.

If you’ve played the one guitar that sent electricity though you without plugging in, you remember.  You’re frightened.  You should be when a man says, “The American Gibsons with the good wood start around five thousand dollars.”  He might as well be speaking Korean.

If a great guitar starts at five grand, where does it go?  If it’s more than $5001, it’s too much.  But where do you find the sound of an expensive Gibson?  It’s important to note that using a Gibson for a reference point kinks the economic curve.  No one goes to the store looking for a $4999 guitar. 

But that sound won’t go away.

There’s never a good time to jump on the sound that won’t go away, and it certainly isn’t gig night.  One guitar shines in shimmering lines that go all the way to Nashville and back.  A note is more than a note, a chord more than a chord.  You can’t concentrate when you hear it. 

On the right guitar a simple progression leaves the haunting memory of the first sound called music.  It makes you realize what Pink Floyd felt rolling from G to E minor the first time.  It makes you dizzy.

Every song recorded fits between G and Em, and when that universal sound comes out of a dream guitar on the other side of the room, it leaves a mark.  Like an acoustic whip it drives you to search for your own haunting sound again. 

“Someone’s sleeping, Lord, kumbaya.” 

It won’t be you until you find that guitar.  You don’t want to look.  You don’t want to find it.  You know you won’t find it, but you’ll come close enough to feel the balance shifting.  And you’ll add another guitar to add to the list. 

DG’s B&B is a kind place, and thanks is an expression of kindness as well as good manners.  Make giving thanks an important part of every day.  Be thankful that music has the power to move you and you have the power to make music.  Be thankful for the brotherhood of musicians. 

Be especially thankful when you burn that guitar haunt list; when you finally find your sound.


3 thoughts on “DG’s B&B, part 3

  1. […] Iowa Boy said in DG’s B&B part 3 […]

  2. David Gillaspie says:

    A guiding voice for all to listen for comes from Clint Eastwood singing Mariah from Paint Your Wagon, filmed in OREGON, the greatest state ever conceived by mid-western waunderers, trail blazing trappers, and lost adventurers.

    One guitar speaks of fire and rain, of love lost and found, of dreams and ambition. The sounds from wood and steel calm a new baby, soothes the ill, and opens doors of perception when its right. I’ll let Clint take it from there: a-one, and a-two, and a-three,

    “Away out here they got a name
    For rain and wind and fire
    The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,
    And they call the wind Maria

    Maria blows the stars around
    And sends the clouds a’flyin’
    Maria makes the mountains sound
    Like folks were up there dying

    Before I knew Maria’s name
    And heard her wail and whinin’
    I had a girl and she had me
    And the sun was always shinin’

    But then one day I left my girl
    I left her far behind me
    And now I’m lost, so gone and lost
    Not even God can find me

    Out here they got a name for rain
    For wind and fire only
    But when you’re lost and all alone
    There ain’t no word but lonely

    And I’m a lost and lonely man
    Without a star to guide me
    Maria blow my love to me
    I need my girl beside me

    They call the wind Maria”

    On those nights when the voices speak through the air, whose do you hear? What name comes up? It might be Becky or Barbara, Anne or Cathy, Joan or Elaine. When the wind blows with its lonely force, listen carefully, and watch for a guiding star.

    If that doesn’t work out, cue Lee Marvin for his solo:

    “Mud can make you prisoner
    And the plains can bake you dry
    Snow can burn your eyes
    But only people make you cry
    Home is made for comin’ from
    For dreams of goin’ to
    Which with any luck will never come true

    Do I know where hell is?
    Hell is in Hello
    Heaven is good-bye forever
    It’s time for me to go

    I was born under a wanderin’ star
    A wanderin’ wanderin’ star.”

  3. Iowa Boy says:

    Finding your voice is not something you can do in a guitar shop, pawn shop, or strip mall. The voice you are hearing is not a guitar, a pink floyd riff or even your mother….it is the sum of the years you have spent trying to figure out who you and what you want to be. Music has a strange way of bringing that voice out in people.

    The real questions is what will you do when you hear it?

    Will you listen? Will you make sure other can hear it? Will you shove it back inside somewhere deep where it will rip your heart out someday trying to burst from your chest?

    If you feel dizzy, go with it. You may never hear that voice again.

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