December 12th, 2015

One Guitar Leads to Another

So I posted about the new baritone electric guitar that Gretchen is buying me for Christmas a few days ago. Well, when the guitar arrived in the mail, the first natural thing to do was to plug it in and make sure it was working properly, so Gretchen pulled my amplifier out of the library (which is currently full of debris from unpacking the house) into the family room so I could plug in there. And it turned out that the guitar was working fine.

Of course, I immediately put the amplifier back away in the library.

Ok, stop laughing. The amplifier was languishing in the family room this afternoon when Gretchen and Julie were off at a movie and Katie was over at the neighbors' house playing with their little girls. And it struck me that I had blown out my knee shortly after Katie was born, which was about a month before I acquired by Godin Multiac Jazz and that this might be a fine time to renew my acquaintance with it after all these years.

The Godin happily still sounded just fine, except there was an intonation problem on the bass strings so that A and C were not going to both be in tune at the same time on the fifth string. Grumble. Well, after this many years of neglect, the guitar needing a truss rod tweak wasn't a great surprise. This meant that I should probably take it over to The Guitar Works for a tune up. And maybe Terry could find a case or a gig bag for the new baritone electric guitar in the bargain if I were clever enough to take it along.

(I had been trying to locate an appropriate case on line. I could have bought the hard shell case from the manufacturer, but the shipping would have been an additional 40% on top of the price of the case. And the guitar is an odd enough size that it was hard to tell exactly what might fit it. Taking it somewhere that had cases seemed like a good idea.)

Katie was due home around 3 PM and was only about 20 minutes late when she finally showed up. So we piled into the car and headed east.

I called Gretchen to let her know what was happening. She said fine and that she was heading home, the movie now being over. Katie, who had not been entirely happy about having been drafted onto this mission, started to sulk, because she would really have preferred to have been home. I was not about to turn around and take her back.

So the sulk continued. "I'm hungry."

"Would you like some chicken nuggets from McDonald's?"

"No. I don't like their chicken nuggets."

This was a revelation to me, because she normally eats Chicken McNuggets like popcorn. "How about a McDouble, no cheese, ketchup only?"

"Ok." Except it was only "ok" until I got into the drive-thru line, at which point she wanted "Nothing." So I bought her a large unsweetened iced tea, which is functionally close to nothing except wet, and added a large diet for me.

And I continued east. Katie observed that it was a long way there. I agreed, but pointed out that we were nearly there. And eventually, this was true, I parked the car, and we carried the two guitars over to the store.

Terry was there and I asked if he could take a look at the Godin, which turned out only to need a minor tweak. While we were waiting at the repair shop window, this put Katie within easy access of the electric guitars. There was a cute little red Squier Mini Strat nearby, which she wanted to pick up and play with. I suggested that was a bad idea.

Terry gave me the guitar back to check on while he went to look for a case for the baritone. I carried it off to the acoustic room and determined that the intonation was now a happy thing, while Katie proceeded to try to look at more guitars. And as it happened, a little Fender MA-1 was sitting on a stand just inside the door. This is an inexpensive 3/4 size acoustic guitar, which is just about the perfect size for Katie and cheap enough that, well...

I checked it out and it seemed playable enough. I handed it to Katie sitting on a stool and it fit her correctly.

"So do you want this guitar as your big Christmas present?"


"You will have to take care of it. And you will have to take lessons and you will have to practice."

"I'll practice!"

Yeah, we'll see about that. :)

When Terry arrived with the only thing in the store that would hold the baritone guitar (a Fender bass gig-bag that was only a bit too long), I asked him to snag one of the Fender acoustics for Katie from stock. And I also bought Katie a tuner in self-defense.

When we got home, Katie played a scale on the guitar from C to C as I told her where to put her fingers.

We will call this progress. :) We are now hunting down group guitar lessons.

To recap: because I got the baritone electric for Christmas, we pulled out the amplifier, which meant that I could pull out the Godin, which needed an intonation fix, which required going to the guitar store, which mission I dragged Katie along on because she had no one else to watch her at the moment, which gave her a chance to remember that she wanted a guitar and lessons, which eventually resulted in my buying her a guitar.

There is a moral to this story somewhere...