Rediscovering life in my guitar

It’s not the gift, but what you do with it …

— Joelle Chilcott 

Great words from a beautiful woman. It’s one of the main reasons she lets me have music time. She’s been one of my biggest fans ever since we were teenagers. Every note that I play is dedicated to her. Even the songs I write to Jesus, I think that God lets me share them with Joelle because He knows just how much I love her. Its also one of the reasons why she lets me get musical instruments and equipment. She seems to like to see what kind of music I will make from it. 

This year, Joelle gave me a really special birthday present. I could be shallow and say that it is a multi-effects guitar processor, but the real gift that she gave me was far beyond the processor itself. What she really gave me was the gift of hearing my guitars for the first time in a long time in a way that I have been longing to hear them. It reminds of my first combo tube amp. It was a black Traynor 50 watt combo amp that was so full of life. I felt like I lost that feeling when I foolishly got rid of it. And now, it’s like I am feeling that life once again. Feeling those vital signs of life between the guitar and my fingers that is beyond what the ears pick up. It’s what the inner senses pick up the moments you play. It’s the kind of life that keeps me up all night playing with excitement. And at my age, and with our current situation, it takes a lot to get me to be able to play all night long. This is the real gift. 

This gift has given me a renewed desire to reinvent myself when it comes to playing guitar. For years, I feel like I have just been relying more on my computer and plug-ins to make certain guitar sounds, and I definitely don’t get it from a solid-state amp. Sure, the main source of the guitar sounds came from my POD. However, there was a point where I was wondering if I was playing through the POD, or if the POD was playing through me. You may be wondering where I am going with this. Not knocking down the PODHD500 as it was an amazing device, and the sound coming from it is phenomenal. However, many will agree with me that this is where it ends: the sound. Again, you probably think I am just rambling, and I probably am since this is my blog. However, what mean is that it has the sound, but it stops short of the feel. To me, playing guitar is more than just how it sounds. It’s about how it feels, just like I tried to describe it above. And with that new life comes a new desire to react and interact with my playing. It sings when I play it soft and it screams when I hit it hard. I think that is the thing that keeps me playing all night. I was doing everything from fingerpicking notes to whole chukka-chukka-wukka-wukka thang. 

This need to feel is affecting the music I am writing as well. I find myself using a little less distortion in order to let that feel of the guitar come through. Am I becoming a guitar romantic? Perhaps. Now that I feel like I have discovered life in my guitar all over again, I want to grab it with both hands and squeeze as much out of it.