by Bob Sparrow
(Yes, I’m obviously still sitting around the house searching for things to write about, but I’m back on the road next month; hang in there)
In June I discovered a crack in the face of my six-month old Taylor 12-string guitar. I called the Taylor manufacturer in El Cajon, just east of San Diego, to see what I should do. I was told I could either ship it to them or take it down there in person, which I decided to do, as I wanted to take a tour of their huge guitar-making facility.
It is an interesting tour of the largest guitar maker in the U.S.; between El Cajon and their facility in Tecate, Mexico, they turn out about 700 guitars A DAY – mostly acoustic. The tour allows one to see each step in the process of the making of their various guitars. I found it most interesting to find out that the wood for these guitars comes from all over the world; East Indian Rosewood, Hawaiian Koa, African Ebony, Tasmanian Blackwood, Mexican Cocobolo are just a few of the many types of wood used by Taylor. The wood not only gives guitars different colors, it also gives the sounds they make different colors. I’m not sure where the wood for my guitar came from; I’m guessing Pacoima.
I handed in my guitar at the El Cajon repair facility and asked them to please fix it and handle it with care. But I wondered, with 700 guitars pouring out every day, would mine just get lost in the guitar shuffle? Would it be neglected and weeping in some warehouse corner in El Cajon? Who knows what really happens in these places? I’ve called Taylor a couple of times to inquire about my guitar’s status, but all I get are voicemails.
I take consolation in the fact that while my 12-string is in either intensive or insensitive care, I have not been guitarless, as I have my six-string, a Martin D-35 that Linda gave me in 1980. It’s done its share of weeping as well, but has gotten better with age . . . and practice. But if I’m thinking of a weeping guitar, it’s my very first one that comes to mind and it wasn’t weeping it was literally crying out loud!
It was a mail order SilverTone f-hole guitar, purchased in 1959 from Sears & Roebuck. That guitar did lots of weeping, as did my family members, who were within earshot of me trying to learn to play the darn thing. Nary a silver tone came out of it until my friend, Don showed me how to tune and play it. I kept it all the way through college, but as I think back now, I don’t remember what ever happened to it, as after graduation I joined the service and was sent to Japan. Perhaps my parents used it for firewood on a cold winter night – sweet revenge for all those sleepless nights they endured.
I finally did hear from the folks at Taylor, telling me that my guitar would be coming to me sometime this week. As of this writing, I’m still waiting and hoping my guitar is not weeping due to the fact that it’s coming back to me, but I have tissues ready.