Steps Towards The Goalposts

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As I begin typing this it is blue zone and, having awakened and offered my gratitudes, I will begin the day with Richie Havens and a good list of nexts.

We all walk our goals to us through steps. Everyone’s situation is a little different, and so their steps may seem different. I see it from behind these workbenches like this – commitment to the goal is devotion to the steps. Whether it’s one big huge life event or, as in my case, a series of assemblies that constantly become whole completions and leave. We all eat life by the bite; a Birdsong bass averages about 50 steps between getting the lumber and handing off the packed box to FedEx. Each step is its own series of actions, motions, and tools – its own smaller steps. 

I firmly believe if you’re up and at it, all in and balls out and staying at it, that mountain will move. Something’s gonna happen. Do something that moves “what is” closer to “what will be” every day and time is the wind in your sail. Here’s a mountain that was made this week. Everything in this pile had at least one or two “nexts” done to it – now they all need something from the routing bench, so here they are. 

This is the last time this group will all be together – from this bench different hands will sand in a readjusted order of priority and each will have its own final chapters and schedules here, a few inventory, most shipped in all directions at different times, some prototypes to be revealed and maybe offered when it’s time for that. 

Top down you’re looking at:
A Texas Lap Steel Co. “Uncle Johnny” model...
A couple of wood templates for one step on something you’ll be seeing shortly...
A one-off prototype body in mahogany...
A “Wimberley” model lap steel in cypress...
Birdsong “Especial” bass in zebrawood, ash & bloodwood...
D’AQUILA Imperial guitar out of cypress & rosewood...
Stripey walnut & maple Birdsong Sadhana bass with a little wenge...
A cypress & rosewood Especial bass with a scroll horn...
Mahogany & ebony custom Birdsong guitar...
Custom Birdsong bass of mahogany, ebony & cypress...
...and another prototype body – waiting on those templates up top for its “next” to happen!

Next to the pile a clear routing template on yet another prototype body also waiting on those other templates.

As stacked it was by one order of happenings, as it's gone through it becomes another when I pair and triple up whose nexts happen to be the same rout or use the same bit in the tool, or logic it – those prototypes aren't happening until the templates I’ll use to guide the rout into them, so we know what comes first there… and next just kind of appears.   

This is one stack here in the green shop. Not much in assembly (Johnny’s old workshop  now right next to it – that was ITS next about 2007) at the moment, but it’s just a pinky toe into February. By March I won’t even be able to walk in there.   (Here are some necks getting finished in another corner of the green shop)...

My goal is to build you a life-changing instrument. I figure aim that high and if I fall short into “The best thing I’ve ever played” or even just one more inspiring presence in your music room you enjoy, hey – all for it! So every day, every dawn, professionally, personally, I have decisions in the moment to make that will either align me with my goal at least, and ideally walk it a few steps closer… or will veer us from each other. Half of accomplishment is just not veering. Don’t be distracted. All in. Balls out. Get after it and get on with it. Better yet, GET IT ON with it. Do the dance of life with it whatever it is. Let it build you as you build it; bring your highest to it and let it walk you to yours as you walk it to its. The Born To Runs, the long-career quarterbacks, the sculptor and the sculpted of this world know all about this dance because it’s how such things happen. Step by step. Day by day. Onward.

If a Birdsong or any other instrument I’ve had the honor of helping to become and the privilege of presenting you can even touch the shadow of being something great in your life, that’s why the sun – not every morning but more often than not – has to get up to catch the Scottrise in the morning. There were very few times in my earlier life when I  truly felt “I can do this – I’ve got this!” like I do now in these little temples of wood and wire, with more seasons behind me than in front of me, savoring each and every one. 

Play at peace,


Listening to: Best of Richie Havens; JJ Cale & Leon Russell at Paradise Studios Los Angeles ’79 (they’re high as hell and this is a great set of rock and roll – find it on YouTube); Joe Puma It’s a Blue World; some Gordon Lightfoot and of course still deep in Doug Raney discovery mode with Guitar Guitar Guitar and Back In New York. Amazing.