It’s the little things. In movies it might be a close-up on a key going into a lock, the syncing of a glancing pair of eyes to the downbeat of a piece of music. Things that bring you into the moment. It’s something that happens every day to open a door or look over at something, but in the context of a story being told these can be key moments, turning points. This is the instant one event becomes another; one scene finds its fixed point in the unfolding of something bigger. A part finds its place.
20 years into all of this every step is still magical to me. Every squeeze of an Irwin quick clamp securing a routing template is ritual. The pre-drilling of control plate screw holes and mounting of it is ceremony. From the beginning the glue is spread evenly but it goes on as words and symbols and swirls as if invocation. The first notes after stringing are deliberate, a dance with the hands that have crafted it. These all have their soundtracks, they have their preparations. A major league pitcher has his tics, things he touches; that breath before; I have mine.
The game changes with every pitch.
The path reveals with every step.
We become with every breath.
When there is a finished instrument coming off the bench for the last time I never feel “Look at what I have done”; I feel amazed at what happened, what I got to see and smell and witness as my hands guided the tools, felt over the fine work of friends who helped, and fit all the parts into something greater. It’s all still magic to me. I see little areas of grain pattern I watched since they were one spot on a long plank I was loading into the Ramblin’ Van after selecting it – I saw it in the blank, in routing, through sanding and oiling. I know the relationship I have with my personal instruments that are special to me, and I'll think of that and come out of the moment with all the building and becoming, wishing the new instrument a path of music that will take it far out of the hills... where it can find its place as one moment to waiting hands that becomes a turning point.
Listening to: Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers; Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Pack Up The Plantation; Miles Davis Kind of Blue; the sound of a fall campfire; audio of Anthony Bourdain’s Raw Craft series; my friend Jim Stricklan who I did some playing for in the early ‘90s.