Big Dreams in Little Workshops

Catching up, having some very productive days in the workshop. It’s glorious to still love doing it after 20 years. Like most dreams, it came in a different package than when I was looking at Doug Irwin’s masterpieces and old ‘40s Bigsby guitars thinking “I could find my way right through the middle of that.” Along the way short scale basses found me and I found my path, and a few good ideas and – most importantly – the action on them, that all turned into the ball I happened to catch. And even though I was not a jock by any stretch of the imagination, there did come a point in life I realized that if you caught the ball you high tail it toward the goal before you get smashed. I saw the Cortobass on the notebook page and buddy, I was OFF.

I dreamed about carving a piece of ebony all day into a fancy pickup surround, of seeing curves out of my pen come to life someday. Maybe I’d even see one being played, sell a few. I was always in the mentality that it’s better to live in a tent and be able to do what you want, than have to do a bunch of stuff you really don’t like doing just to have things you can’t enjoy because you’re too spent & spun out to savor it all. The finer things are great – but the good work and meaningful TIME come first. Ultimately we all find our balance and I’ve found mine.

Which is why you don’t see “Birdsong 4.0 – the BIG company.” I’m just not that guy. Birdsong could go there, everything I do could be produced in far greater numbers and still be great basses. At lower price points and with much less wait too. It’s the design – the stuff you see and the stuff you can’t. They work. And heck, if you’re the person out there watching with the means and the foothold in the industry, and you want a good proven ball to take and run with in the BIG game, give me a call. I’ll talk to you. But I won’t be going that way. I don’t run like that.

It’s sunny and the doors are all open out here in the workshop, I’m out in the woods with some great tunes playing, I’m covered in sawdust and the shop is trashed, there’s a stack of basses-to-be I can’t even stand up vertically anymore, I’m a little slower and a bit sore, and there’s a list of nexts I wrote out for the next work day – fun tasks, great steps in a magical process somehow manifesting tools of creation through my hands as a grain on an infinite shore by endless oceans on a spinning blue suspended marble among billions in galaxies unknowable, there’s a little spider on the bench I’m going to relocate somewhere safer and they always climb on my finger because they trust me somehow, and I’m going to carve a bit on an upper fret access curve in some walnut as my “Johnny layer” extra task a mentor graced me with the concept of, with a chisel from an uncle and a favorite hammer, surrounded by birdsong and melodies and memories and dreams of what’s next. That’s where I’ll be, that’s where I belong, and that’s where I’ll stay.

I hope you have some bliss in your day. I know everybody’s movie is different, but see about working a little in every day – it’s about quality, not quantity.

Listening to: Various podcasts, Andres Segovia, and Red Dragon Cartel.