I’ll update the builds & inventory page pictures after today’s work, but I wanted to post this as early as possible.
One evening after a good work day & another crossed off list, I was sitting on the porch sipping a little brandy in the blue zone breeze with Coltrane playing in the background, reflecting on things. I was thinking back to a life 17 years ago, a time of big change and the uncertain tomorrows that come with it. I was also thinking back to the bands and the path pre-Birdsong; it would have been nice to have had a Birdsong to do all those gigs with! The frustration with the basses I played were the seeds for all of this – these instruments, and thus this place, everything in my life now and you and these words. On April 1st 2000 I was in-between all of this; but on that day I jumped in. It was truly the first day of the rest of my life.
The story of that, the joy of a fine sipping XO brandy as the blue of the passing day becomes the young night sky, of rural life, these are all yarns for another time; it’s their resulting thought that is the subject I want to talk about today. The blossom of this moment. Coltrane always helps feed the soul and tickle the mind. Impulse label era Coltrane – in fact virtually any album with that black & orange spine - is going to be great music, alive and intense, no matter who the artist; and good music turns moments Technicolor from pastel. So this day, April 1st - right up there in importance to me with July 4th (the official, for-real, online launch date of Birdsong Guitars itself), is coming in a matter of hours and I’ve got to do something special on it. This is how I navigate my life; every day is special but the big things you do on the landmark dates of your path. You plant your big flags into proven ground.
OK. It came. For years – since Birdsong started, really – I have always had in mind the question of how to get a really well designed tool drawn up by a professional player who knows what is needed into the hands of players who want something special, something different, something with some history and handcraft pedigree to it, but who can’t swing the numbers of a real deal bench worked piece from a sawdusty guy with some history and handcraft pedigree himself scraping and shaping the thing into being.
There are four ways of doing this. First is to do what most companies & brands do, import a bunch of copies of “the great idea” and slap “the familiar brand” on the headstock. But I didn’t get into this to be a QC and reshipping department, or to dilute that a Birdsong is a high-end, hand built, professional piece of small batch legacy work – and that’s that. There are no el cheapo Birdsongs. So that’s not going to happen. Would I lend a hand in design & knowledge to another company trying to do imports right? You bet I would. I’d design them a hell of a bass line. That’s option number two, and – well that’s all I can really say about that one right now. Number three is a no-frills version, and I already offer The Shortbass… built right here, distilled – not cheapened. Simplicity done to Birdsong standards. Same benches, same love, same organic vibe, and a great tone. They’ve been making friends – and eventual Birdsong clients – for years now.
That brings us to option 4. A real full-on Birdsong can’t come to be and fly the nest for a number much lower than what it is; I try to be flexible as anyone who has worked with us can tell you. Believe me, this company was started by a couple living in a school bus, OK? But it takes what it takes to get one. Here’s the deal - I know there are a bunch of you out there that want what we do but work better with smaller numbers like we have our whole lives. So this weekend, through Sunday night, I’m opening the books for a handful of you that could do weekly or monthly payments instead of halves. I can’t do a bunch because I couldn’t keep track of them – but I can do some, and now’s the time.
This is for Birdsong builds only – not the Shortbass or others and not on inventory. It’s not layaway. Call me – 512-395-5126 – we’ll talk about your dream bass or the answer to your bass-need prayers, and if it’s at all doable in a steady payment way we’ll get it going for you with no big lump sums. I can’t think of a better way to pass along the hand-ups I – we as a family – and this company as an against-all-odds success – have received along the way. Nobody made it easy, nobody dimmed down the dream so it was any more reachable, they just always seemed to be there to help the numbers work a little better so there was a chance. We are very grateful for anyone’s interest in what we do and especially for your hands in which to put every instrument we’ve been privileged to make over the past 13 years. Counting my efforts before Birdsong, it’s 20 years.
April 1st may be practical jokes and whoopee cushions to most folks, but to me I think about a little music shop in Melrose, MA that’s still there, of yesterday’s keys handed off and a ’72 Ford housetruck getting prepped to meander southbound, alone on a long uncertain highway stretching towards a raw piece of woods in central Texas. What would happen? What can be made of the tools & ideas I carry? The ONLY guarantee is if I don’t try, nothing. That was all I knew. And, that music would carry me through my connection to it and the connections I’d make through it, as it always had. Here we are 17 years later. If today is the day you reward yourself with a Birdsong, that’s great! And if today, in some much bigger way, is the first day of the rest of your life? Get on with it. Don’t be afraid.
Listening to: John Coltrane Coltrane; Judas Priest Point Of Entry (the one the real fans hate – it’s the only one I’ll ever own, way more good ‘70s road-trip hard rock than Neanderthal metal – no offense to those of you in studded leather); audiobook of Springsteen’s autobiography; Boston Don’t Look Back.