This is a tale of stupidity… guitar players read on and learn from my mistake.
My first very (very) good guitar was a Taylor 314CE Limited Edition (limited because it has Koa back and sides, a tropical wood that is becoming rare). I am also the owner of a Baby Taylor and a Taylor GS8. I am a big fan.* I even own a Taylor guitar stand, which doesn’t make this story any easier to relate.
In late December 2010, I was doing an online gig in Second Life. As the set wrapped up, I just wanted to get off of the headphones and away from the computer. Struggling to untangle myself from my plethora of cables, for a split second I did something very stupid.
My guitar stands were out of reach, so I set my Taylor 314 CE Limited in my swivel computer chair.
Yes, I even saw something bad happening in my mind’s eye, but did it anyway. Thinking the guitar would stay put for 10 seconds, I turned to do something. When I turned back, the guitar was already in motion, heading straight for the floor, neck first. It was headed – ironically – toward the open case in the middle of my rather crammed studio.
I was most concerned about what would happen to the neck, so I attempted to brace the fall as best I could. But it was already too late. The devilish guitar-falling-on-floor sound rang out, along with multiple strains of profanity in combinations my readers will have to imagine (insert Italian temper here).
I examined the instrument. The lighting was poor at the time, but I was surprised to see that the neck was actually OK. The guitar played fine, and other than an additional minor nick, I did not see anything worrisome. Thinking I had dodged a bullet, I put the guitar away. I then spent the next week rearranging the studio and installed an additional wall-mount guitar stand. I also vowed to never do something that stupid again.
It was about a week later, with very good sunlight coming in, that I found the true extent of the damage. A 7.5 mm crack in the finish in the lower bout, along with a “D” shaped ding nearby that is likely from the guitar case fastener. More profanity rang out. The crack goes with the grain, but does not appear to be in the wood. There was also another slight divot off to the side, barely perceivable unless you were looking for it.
Now, I am a guitar player, not a collector. I believe guitars are meant to be played, not just hung on a wall for observation (which is actually bad for the guitar anyway). But guitars also aren’t meant to be destroyed. They deserve some respect, and I let it down this time. Too distracted by all the technology crap around me, forgetting fundamental etiquette and presence of mind.
I did not want the damage to get worse over time through temperature and humidity changes**. So after much consideration I decided to send it to the factory for repair. I had a box from an earlier pickup repair that was under warranty. Unfortunately, since this was due to my own stupidity, I have to cover all of the costs. The shipping is killer, but Taylor says they can probably restore it. So there is hope.
I know better. I take care of all my instruments and gear. How did this happen? After telling a fellow musician this story, he chalked it up to the way we sometimes have two brains, one which goes against all logic and just does crazy stuff. It must be kept in check. So I’m going to go find ways to punish myself now. Perhaps self-flagellation with a (Taylor) guitar strap is in order.
* I’m not a Taylor fan out of snobbery. Living in PA, everyone expects you to play a Martin. I like Taylor necks more than Martins, and have just never found a Martin that spoke to me much. I’ve been to their factory though, and would love to find that one Martin that fits my style. My other choice would be Froggy Bottom, but then we’re talking second mortgage. Not going to happen.
**Note to humidity Nazis – the damage we’re talking about here is not the result of humidity/dryness issues. I am very familiar with humidity requirements and use Dampits religiously. This was pure stupidity, and the guitar had no other environmental cracking.
PS: On a more humorous note, happenings like this are why guitarists need at least two good guitars. Readers may wish to share this story with their spouses. Hey, it is worth a try anyway, right?