Nice one Betty. An A+ on your latest rant. I too am enjoying the new song in process. I may make moves towards further suggestions of subtle beats and pieces to accompany this tune. Clicks and counterpoint, like the dabbling we did in Blind Leading the Blind.
Yes, mathematics have been on our minds of late. More my inability to do even the most simple equation any more without the aid of a calculator. Betty’s daughter showed me how to subtract long hand the other day. Seems you carry the tens etc. Who’d have thought? And multiplication gets a bit flakey these days, even simple times tables, the sing song type recall seems to be broken. And here I am hoping that I’ll find time to learn some music theory! Crikey, slim chance. What with my ignorant throw away attitude that music theory is too much like math, combined with an intermittent ability to concentrate. I think I may need professional help.
But yes, the mathematics of the heart and the taking of chances.
I’ve taken a punt on a new guitar. One with a story, a background. I once worked (well, helped out) at a music store called The Music Machine, in Napier, years ago. One afternoon a young backpacker from Canada came in explaining she had run out of money and asking if she could she sell her guitar to the shop and so make a little cash to keep her going. The proprietor, Richie, said yes immediately and this small bodied guitar made by Norman guitars became Music Machine history. Now, I liked this guitar. A lot. It was plinky, but smooth, even. A totally different sound than I was used to, almost the opposite to the rich and full dreadnought style. I liked this guitar. I liked it a lot.
When ever I went into the store I’d play Norman. I moved away, I lived overseas. On most of my return visits to Napier there would be the inevitable check in on Norman. For fifteen years this small little wonder stood on his stand in the shop, overlooked time and time again.
Well, three weeks ago, driving back from Auckland with Al (RTT’s bass player and all round good-guy), I started to tell him about Norman. Now, this is not an uncommon topic of conversation for Al and me, he’s quite the enthusiast and I’m keen for a rant about acoustic guitars any time. Shape, wood, finish, construction, 12 string, 6 string, neck contour, string selection, preamps, pick ups, we like it all.
Suddenly I was suggesting I take him to the shop to show him Norman, we were due in the area the following weekend.Then I was promising to call Richie to make sure Norman was still there, and if there were any 12 string acoustics in stock (for Al). I finally blurted out that I would purchase Norman. Just like that. Al replied by simply drawing attention to the matter of an electric guitar amplifier I never used. Sell it. Buy Norman. Do it.
Norman. Norman. Could not get Norman out of my head.
Phoned Richie. Of course he still had it ,although, it was at his house, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t sell it. Got him to find out which model Norman was. I waited on the phone while he phoned his son at home on his mobile, heard the footsteps up the stairs, and back down, and the slightly laboured breathe that finally said the golden words ‘B-20 Folk’. Sweet. That’s the one. The one on the tired, old and vaguely unhelpful Norman guitar site. That’s the one I wanted it to be. It’ll be at the shop on Saturday, that’s what Richie said, in his cheeky scouse accent. Great. Here I come Norman.
Norman and I hung out that weekend. He met my buddies, and met their approval. Everyone liked Norman. He was a star. A little gem.
Monday, Richie, a deal, a very good deal, a shake of hands, a promise of prompt payment of outstanding amount. What a guy, what a guitar, what a happy chap.
The amp is sold. The transaction should be done by morning. And I’ve paid Richie the remainder on the guitar. Another special deal from the best guy in the New Zealand music retail sector.
That amp was my 21st birthday present. Now Mike in Palmerston North owns it and I wish him all the best, it’s a cracker amp.
Norman is in his case, just behind me.
His case is right next to the bigger brother sized one that houses my Art and Lutherie guitar. Dreadnought, Canadian, nice. Those two guitars are made in the same town. Before the big corporate came and bought up all the Canadian guitar makers and put them under one factory (or so rumour has it). Cedar solid tops the pair of them. One big and throaty. Country. The other small and sputty. Folky.
Funny how things like this come about. What were the chances aye?
I’m hoping Norman will help me with my maths problems.
He’s like an abacus for my brain.
He just needs some electrical insides and maybe a road case. I’ll see Richie about that.
I hope you’ll get to hear him soon.