Oh, Say Can You See

In all of my deep thoughts lately I have lost focus on my purpose in beginning this whole blogging adventure.  I had not been very successful at spending time in my studio.  So, Sunday I for went the usual veg out evening and decided to put some time in working on the next guitar. I know it was Mother’s Day. I can hear you thinking the vegging out thing more fitting but not me.  Even the most physically demanding tasks in a creative adventure are relaxing to me.
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I glued in most of the inlays on the new bass guitar project.  I just need to touch them up when I sand them later.  They are pearl stars and now replace the boring dots that used to fill the neck.  Still undecided on a name for it but it will come to me.  This one will be patriotic.  It represents “Courageous Freedom” to me because of the country I proudly abide in and served while in the military.  I know this country has it’s flaws because decisions are made by flawed people.  Sure some have agendas that are not so positive but most think they are making the right choices.  I am reminded of Francis Scott Key and the writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” when I thing of this project so I an going for worn flag look.   I was going to paraphrase this article I just read from http://www.smithsonianmag.com but found it too interesting to leave parts out so I did the old copy and paste.  It goes like this:

One rainy September 13, 1814, British warships sent a downpour of shells and rockets onto Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, relentlessly pounding the American fort for 25 hours. The bombardment, known as the Battle of Baltimore, came only weeks after the British had attacked Washington, D.C., burning the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s house. It was another chapter in the ongoing War of 1812.

A week earlier, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer, had boarded the flagship of the British fleet on the Chesapeake Bay in hopes of persuading the British to release a friend who had recently been arrested. Key’s tactics were successful, but because he and his companions had gained knowledge of the impending attack on Baltimore, the British did not let them go. They allowed the Americans to return to their own vessel but continued guarding them. Under their scrutiny, Key watched on September 13 as the barrage of Fort McHenry began eight miles away.

“It seemed as though mother earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone,” Key wrote later. But when darkness arrived, Key saw only red erupting in the night sky. Given the scale of the attack, he was certain the British would win. The hours passed slowly, but in the clearing smoke of “the dawn’s early light” on September 14, he saw the American flag—not the British Union Jack—flying over the fort, announcing an American victory.

Next time you see the flag flying try not to think of all of the turmoil surrounding the USA; the riots, the political games, the negative media propaganda.  Instead remind yourself of the freedoms we have been granted.  I once saw a Facebook post that was riddled with obscenities trashing the government and it’s military. It was extremely abusive to veterans.   I chose not to reply but I wanted to say, as a veteran, “You are welcome”.  Our government and military just gave you the right to say those things publicly.  It takes Courage and Freedom to say what needs to be or not to be said. A courageous freedom.

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Cue the choir it’s the big reveal!

Ahh! Can you hear the choir holding out that long note and see a yellow light slowly getting brighter as if the sun were dawning in super fast speed?  It is the big reveal day!

It all started about five years ago when I bought a guitar that was greatly abused. The finish was dotted from BB shots and the wiring had come unsoldered.  To those of you who know something about guitars it was a Lyons by Washburn and had tribal art on it.

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I decided I would reclaim it, so to speak.  After removing the neck, all the hardware and electronics it was time to find out what was under the paint.  I read and Googled and read some more.  I then choose a process of removing the finish I had never heard of before, blow torching.  It was so much fun!  Just like popcorn flying everywhere and in no time at all the finish had popped off down to bare wood.

I really do not want to bore you with all the details but I do want to hit the highlights.  Yes, they are brutal but if you look closely they have a beautiful quality about them.  Not only do most plants that have thorns produce brightly colored flowers but the vines themselves have wonderful details.  I drew the design and outlined it with a hobby knife. I have always had an appreciation for thorns.  After lots of tedious hours of sanding and carving this is what I ended up with before finishing.

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I finally made my decision on finishing it off by torching it and using a satin poly. A friend of mine recommended a Seymore Duncan pickup and set it up for me. This is the final result.

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I hope to have a video of it being played next post.  As well as the beginning of my next project.

Not that I want to over think this process but when I began with this project this guitar had all the signs of a rough life.  If had skulls and beat up marks and didn’t even play.  It was a long process but with lots of loving care it has become a beautiful work of art.  It progressed quickly at first and then sat wrapped gently in a soft towel, protected, unfinished and unknown.  With it finally out and finished I want to proudly show it off.

Let God give you that re-purposing.  It may take a long time but do not be content with being protected and set aside.  Step out of your comfort zone and BE so He can proudly show you off.