Strumming the 6 String

Last Halloween I tied a rope around my six-string as a make shift guitar strap and threw together a last minute Kurt Cobain costume. I used what was at my disposal – an orange flannel, ripped jeans and dirty high tops. But without his white bug eyed glasses, a blonde wig, or a pack of smokes, I made a terrible Cobain.

It was Halloween and everyone was drunk, so no one cared much. And after several hours of sipping PBR’s and 1800 at a friends house, we headed off to a bar. Rather than haul my dusty old Ibanez from bar to bar (kidplay us a song!), I left my guitar in the corner of the living room, planning to retrieve it later. And there it sat for six months. Alone. A decorative piece in someone’s living room. Upright and still. Unplayed and underutilized.

The Ibanez and I have some history. She was a birthday present from my parents when I turned thirteen. Right away I took to her, learning the basics from My mom used to find stacks of printed sheets next to the printer – future songs to learn.

As a kid I secretly wished I had a Gibson Les Paul or a genuine Fender Stratocaster. The Ibanez was part of any “learn to play guitar” starter kit. But as we’ve grown older, making trips to Upstate New York for College, California for lord knows what, she’s become weathered. There are a few chips on the topboard from scraping up against doors and chairs and the strings are rusty and worn and easily slip out of tune. The body feels familiar on my knee.

Last weekend, my girlfriend retrieved my dusty old 6 string while helping a roommate move out her stuff from the Halloween apartment. Me and the Ibanez were reunited and it felt like rediscovering a long lost color, your favorite in fact – one that you hadn’t painted with for months. Old songs and pentatonic scales began flowing out of my fingertips and I smiled as my brain stretched relearning the old pathways of G, D, C, Em, A, Am.

Once again I was in front of the computer screen, looking up guitar tabs. This time it was the Bahamas, a self taught guitarist from Canada who has reinvigorated my love for acoustic music.


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