Makin' 'em pretty

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by duceditor, May 4, 2021.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I expect many of us go thru this from time to time. -A sudden bug to pretty up our guitars.

    Now I tend to keep mine in pretty good shape always. But still, be they ones that are often played -- and thus with the lovely "patina" of light grime -- or those less played, and thus covered with The Dust of the Unattended -- all from time to time need some love.

    I've been giving such to mine. One by one. New strings. A careful setup to my present preferred requirements. And a bit of polish. fondly rubbed in until they gleam.

    The latest to get such attention -- starting with a good playing session and only then to the bench, is my ES-Artist.

    She's over 40 year old now and such shows in her finish and her plating. But lovely and care-worthy she certainly is.

    A few pics post polish...


    ES Artist 1.jpg

    ES Artist Detail.jpg

    ES Artist Headstock.jpg


    We here at S-T tend to minimize the value of old-school craftsmanship in our guitars. But frankly this is something I miss even among my more expensive and "better" instruments. -The sort of craftsmanship that shows a human touch -- not just the very real and current Perfection of the Machine. It is something one senses as much as sees. And frankly it is today something very, very rare. And for me at least missed in its absence.

    -don
     
  2. Bluzy

    Bluzy Squier-holic

    Age:
    55
    Nov 20, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Thats a beautiful guitar. I dont think we minimize craftsmanship as much as we are impressed what one can get on the cheap. I will agree with that while CNC’s and the like can get you 85 to 9o% “there, there is a difference in the quality and feel in the hand crafted. And while I love my cheap guitars, I can tell a difference between higher end guitars and the cheaper items and definitely have an appreciation for the difference
     
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  3. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    And as often 120% there. I.e., more "perfect."

    And that is an odd part of the difference.

    Can something be "too good"? Too perfect?

    I learned as a teenager that such could be so with women. And with things like motorcycles.

    One of the very earliest pieces I wrote for Ducati dot com was entitled "Why I love my Ducati." It included the following...


    Some men (actually, usually, boys) like women to be "cute". I don't. Cats are cute. I don't like cats. I have known and liked some "cute" women, but I've liked them despite their cuteness, not because of it. To me (and this is a personal thing, not a general 'truth') cuteness means blandness. I don't like bland; I like flavor. When I was growing up on Long Island many of my friends, both male and female, were Jews and Italians. For some reason the Jewish girls were inclined towards having "nose jobs"; plastic surgical operations that removed all the personality from their faces and gave them little upturned noses. This was supposed to make them "cute". To me it just stole away their character. The Italian girls never did this. The "Roman" character in their noses kept you just far enough away to prevent you from getting burned by the fire in their eyes. I liked that. I knew that some day I'd marry an Italian. (Actually Jan is Sicilian.)

    Ducati motorcycles are like that, and they always have been. Look, for example, at the tank on an early single. No up-turned little tear drop of a tank, that. No! It has shape. It has character. Now look at the finish of the engine. Polished, yes, but not chromed. Why cover up what it really is? Little Hondas may have been cute. Little Ducatis were just little. And fierce. Perhaps a little temperamental, but full of personality. No Ducatis ever went to charm school. Maybe that was their charm.

    I still feel that way. About bikes. About women. About -- yes! -- about guitars.

    Perfection may have its place, but somehow it is less endearing than small "flaws." Little things that make a person or a thing unique. "One of."

    Indeed my ES-Artist is marked to be a "SECOND"

    i.e.,

    Screen Shot 2021-05-04 at 3.39.47 PM.png

    The man I bought her from said that he'd spent hours trying to determine why, and could come up with no solid answer. Neither, after years of trying, could I.

    Was one of her tuners put on slightly askew? Was there something imperfect in her finish?

    In fact, I only recently learned, it was none of those things. Gibson, it turned out, had made more ES-Artists that the market would absorb and thus they had a bunch left in their warehouse when the model was removed from the catalog. So they marked them as "seconds" so that they could sell them to dealers at a discount without hurting dealers that had full-priced 'firsts' still waiting to be sold

    But the "imperfections" are there. The little distinctions in how a piece was fashioned and melded. How an inlay was cut and put in place. Indeed, how, even, her neck was shaped.

    No two were identical.

    That is true with beloved Squiers too of course. But there the differences are actual flaws. Places where something was rushed. Parts slightly askew on delivery. Something left unfinished. A screw put in crooked. -All easily corrected to make 'em "the same."

    And no, to me there is no romance in that. Just some really amazing deals 0f some really sweet playing instruments. A trade off worth making -- but a trade off nonetheless.

    :)

    -don


    Screen Shot 2021-05-04 at 3.43.58 PM.png
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  4. Leo Jazzmaster

    Leo Jazzmaster Squier-Nut

    Age:
    45
    503
    May 14, 2020
    West Tennessee
    Exquisite workmanship! I agree, there is something about the human touch when done right that adds to a guitar's appeal.

    And speaking of noses, my wife just told me the other day that she loved that I said I liked her nose when we met (she has a Romanesque nose). In fact, besides all the great things about her that I love like her personality, intelligence, and beauty, her nose gives her another dimension of beauty.

    IIRC, in Japanese the term "wabi-sabi" describes exactly what you are talking about, the appreciation of imperfectness as an augmentation rather than a diminishing quality of beauty.
     
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  5. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Dr. Squier

    Age:
    55
    Nov 29, 2017
    Newnan ,Ga.
    Patina of light grime .

    :eek::eek::D

    You sir have a way with words ;)
     
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  6. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer John Silver Supporting Member

    Age:
    59
    Nov 24, 2018
    RC addiction....
    Man that's a great looking guitar Don.
     
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  7. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    74
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Thanks.

    Yeah, she is a genuine sweetheart. How many hours of joy she has given me!!! :)

    -don
     
  8. strat_strummer

    strat_strummer John Silver Supporting Member

    Age:
    59
    Nov 24, 2018
    RC addiction....
    Oh I don't doubt that. I can't wait to start playing again. I haven't played for quite some time now because I have tendonitis in my left thumb.:(
    The joys of getting old...
     
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