Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birth of a guitar

We may have been poking along with the bathroom (and no, we're still not done...) but that's not to say we've been wasting our time. At least Kim hasn't. She has been working hard on her first guitar-making project and Ta Da! Here it is!

She bought the parts from a guitar maker which in itself was a challenge, since there are about a zillion parts, all of which must be carefully chosen to be compatible with each other and produce the sound she was looking for. Want a discussion about the difference in tone between a maple neck and a mahogany neck? Just ask Kim! Once the parts arrived, it was up to Kim to assemble them. This is an electric guitar, which means pickups, which means wiring and soldering. Did Kim let the fact she had never soldered before and knew nothing about wiring stand in her way? Of course not! My honey is fearless about learning new things. So she read some books, checked out some videos on YouTube, consulted with the folks at Circuit City and went to it.

There were a few pitfalls along the way. Naturally she had chosen the most complicated type of pick-up available - namely, something called a P-rail, which, according to Kim, means a humbucking, P-90 and single coil all in one pick-up. Consequently, the wiring diagrams looked like spaghetti gone crazy. During her first soldering attempt she "cooked the capacitors" and had to buy new ones and try again. (Do I understand what that means? No, only that I heard some colourful language I'd never heard before.) At one point she was very regretful she had only been born with two hands, and that she hadn't thought to give this guitar making a try when she was younger and didn't need 3X reading glasses to put the minuscule connections in focus. But did she let those frustrations get her down? No! Not Kim! She persevered, and this weekend she finished it.

But questions remained. Would she electrocute herself when she plugged it in? Would she blow her amp, or all the circuits in the fuse box? Would the thing even make a sound? Alone in her room she wrestled with these questions. All I knew, upstairs in the kitchen, was that I heard a few strummed chords coming through an amp and then the joyous, jubilant voice of my darling: "It works! It works! I can't believe it works!"

Yes, it works. All three pickups work, beautifully. It not only works, it sounds great. Its music has filled the house this weekend, punctuated by exclamations of "It really works! I didn't think it would work!"

And last night in bed, after good-nights had been said and we were drifting off, the last words I heard were a sleepy "I still can't believe it works..."


jeanives said...

Fantastic! You two are growing all kinds of neat things.

Shim Farm said...

That is a cute story. Good for Kim, for persevering and seeing her project through to the end. (Me? I probably would have abandoned it out of intimidation!)

Eric was the same way when he built his first amplifier. Both of us were jumping around the house, saying the same thing - it works, it works!

We have a friend who is a luthier so I understand the amount of work that goes into a project like Kim's guitar.

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