The Tenor Guitar:Part 3 – Unboxing
Still panting after the five minute sprint, I lugged the big box up the two flights of stairs and into my apartment. I knew that the tenor guitar was quiet small so I know Andy packed the guitar professional and carefully…Double- boxed for extra safety! 🙂 As excited as I am to rip the box open, I needed a breather! I was soaked from the heavy rain and wheezing from my ‘Matrix-esque’ gravity defying, frantic ‘legger’ back to meet DHL. I put the box in front of me and sat down and looked at it.
After about a minute I stood up. That’s it I couldn’t wait anymore. Breathless or not I was going to get this instrument into its new owners hands! Andy had packed it well and I was happy to be pulling out plastic wrap and air padding and then the second box. And then, there it was…..The hard case with my guitar tucked inside. I pushed the cardboard boxes to the side and put the hard case in front of me on the coffee table. It was cool, tidy little case. When I opened it, I was almost back to being breathless, but a different kind of breathless. There it was. Even more beautiful than the pictures! It had that ‘new instrument smell’ It was polished and perfect, smooth and solid, a real wooden work of art. I had a few minor adjustments to make to the guitarbefore I played it. It’s necessary to loosen strings and neck when shipping an instrument like this.Andy left me precise set up instructions to get the guitar ready to play. I followed them and in just a few minutes I had this beautiful guitar tuned up and ready to play. It’s quite a rare sensation to be the new owner of a handmade instrument. I’m the first person to play this guitar (after its maker of course). It doesn’t happen that often to musicians really.
So I almost savoured the moment. I sat the guitar on my lap, sat my self up into playing position, and formed the first chord with my fingers…..and played. It was amazing. I moved my hands up and down the fret playing chord sequences, my eyes glued to the changes my hands were making and my ear strained on the sound hole. The guitar sung and vibrated against my chest. It was clean and clear and sweet. It was bigger sounding than I thought too..and for such a small guitar. I have a Pono baritone ukulele and a Maton Mini, and the tenor fits in somewhere between those. Really comfortable to hold. The neck was exactly as I hoped it would be. It felt solid and strong but still it played fluidly. It really was just a ‘never put it down’
instrument. When I was playing it I recognised a sound, or artefact I can hear when Chris Thile plays his quarter of a million dollar mandolin. Its a type of wooden natural compression when the string is plucked. It’s hard to explain but I loved it and Andy had built it into the tenor guitar! As the tenor guitar is a new instrument it will change over time with playing in and its sound will change and mature and ‘open up’ even more than it is now! Its going to be a joy playing with this tenor for years and years to come as such an instrument will last for decades and decades and hopefully it will be used to make great music and inspire others. I’m not a master like Mike Vass or Damien O’Kane but I’ll be aspiring to be as good as I can be and make this guitar a part of my musical journey.
Thank you Andy for something truly special.
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