Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fixing a Guitar

My friend Cory and I meet each Friday for coffee. I’m not sure what happened to Cory, but he does have some development issues. He lives on his own, and is incredibly organized. But, his speech is almost impossible to understand. I seem to have a gift at understanding speech of people who are hard to understand. Whether it be someone like Cory who slurs their words together and cannot make the proper noises required to speak a given word properly, or heavy accents of various languages. I think I’m the only person that he ever gets to have a conversation with, let alone coffee.

I met him one day when he came into our shop asking for someone to weld his bike trailer. The axle had fallen off. I was in the middle of a ping pong match, and reluctantly hauled his bike into the shop, borrowed a welding bay and fixed his bike. Of course he had no money to pay me, and that was fine. I knew that before even talked to him. He makes daily trips to the recycling yard, which just happens to be located down the road from where I work. Every day I see him riding his bicycle past, hauling all manner of goods. Desks, bikes, lamps, CD rack, dishes. You name it, Cory has hauled it on his bike. He actually finds some pretty great stuff there.

One thing that he found a was a Yamaha Pacifica electric guitar. He hauled it home, but he doesn't play guitar. I was having coffee with him a few Fridays ago and he asked me if I played. I used to play guitar 6-8 hours a day religiously. But that was 10 years ago. I still have my guitars and once a month or so I’ll pick them up and pluck a few tunes in the evening, but I really don’t play much anymore. I told Cory that I did play the guitar and he went and grabbed the Yamaha and gave it to me. Wow, I thought. “Cory, are you sure you don’t want this?” He was sure and told me I had to take it. I think it was important for him to give me something for what I’ve done for him. I’ve been buying his coffee and doughnuts for the past 2 years. I buy him Christmas presents and fix his bikes for him. Hanging out with Cory is one of the few things I do in my life that is 100% for someone else. It’s good for me, and it’s good for Cory. He is my friend.

Back to the guitar. I brought it home, dug out my amp (I typically play my acoustic at home) and figured I should at least make sure the guitar works before I re-string it. It did work, but some of the pick-ups weren’t making good connections. Ha, I thought. I’ve always wanted to take apart a guitar, and if I wreck this one, it won’t be a huge loss. The only tool needed to get to the problem was a small Phillips heads screwdriver.

Opening up the front cover exposed the wires, and the problem jumped out at me. There was a wire that broke. It was the wire at the selector switch that came from the top pick up.

I soldered it back, sprayed a little electrical contact cleaner into the selector switch and put everything back together. Installed some Dean Markley Blue Steel stings and tested it out. It plays nicely. The shaped fits well and the neck feels pretty good too. I polished it all up, and jammed for a half hour before heading to bed.

Thanks for the gift Cory. It is truly appreciated.

1 comment:

Biking Duluth said...

And life is good