Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Fender Bender

It was December 15, 2008 when I bought my first electric guitar...just over a year ago. It was made by Yamaha, who also made made my first motorbike which I acquired at the ripe young age of fourteen. Weird, huh? I mean, Honda doesn't make cellos. Kawasaki doesn't make dinner forks, so why does Yamaha make dirt bikes and guitars?

It quickly became evident, upon acquiring the guitar, that I would never be the rock star in my family. Had I been born into the Partridge Family, instead of the Vartys, I would have been the little one in the dress shaking the tambourine.

What was her name again?

It was Tracy. She was the baby of the family, like me, and also the one with the least amount of talent.

Was she really that untalented?

Honestly, I don't know. She was the youngest, so perhaps she simply didn't have time to develop her musical skills.

Are you suggesting, given enough time, that she may have excelled musically and moved from the lowly tambourine up to the more challenging triangle?

The triangle and tambourine are both stepchildren in the troubled family called the Percussions. With two separate parts, the triangle is a very complicated instrument, so don't make fun of it. I own one.

I've seen you play it and, trust me, it looks very difficult. So, getting back to the six string, how's it going with the guitar?

I struggle with the guitar. I am making progress on the acoustic, but it's slow. When Julian left for university, I gave him the electric Yamaha, so I've witnessed no personal progress as a Bon Jovian disciple. I'm mostly folked up by the acoustic.

Julian bought a brand new Rickenbacker 330/6 about a month ago. Wendy and I helped him with the purchase (Merry Christmas, junior). The beauty of helping him acquire the coveted Ric was that I inherited the electric Yamaha. I've been playing it a bit, but not doing it any justice.

Julian is now home for the holidays. He picked up the Yamaha last night and within twenty minutes cranked out some classic Rolling Stones tunes. The electric Yamaha behaves much like a Fender Stratocaster, the guitar of choice for role models like the palm tree plagued Keith Richards, and many others. It would be a shorter list to name who hasn't played a Fender. Fenders are legendary. If someone was stoned on stage, chances are that a Fender wasn't far away.

The Fender, or the Yamaha for that matter, is a very different instrument from the Rickenbacker. It gives a completely different sound colour. Guitars, like cars, I've discovered, are not all the same. For example, I've carried a washer and a dryer in the back of my Ford Focus wagon...try and do that in a Porsche Carrera! The Porsche, on the other hand, sounds like a tiger when it accelerates. My car sounds like Tracy on the tambourine.

I took a lot of pleasure from listening to Julian play the Yamaha last night. I'm thinking that he should take the Yamaha back to Dal when he leaves on the third. He'll get a lot of satisfaction from it, and this makes me very happy. I am worried, however, that the Yamaha will make him behave like Keith Richards. The Rickenbacker is too expensive to use as a fan club. Or he could be more gentle, like the other Keith Richards, who spoke reassuringly to his fans after falling out of a coconut tree in Fiji.

Isn't rock n' roll great? If you're not convinced that rock n'roll is the greatest, then watch this.

Wicked tambourine playing, eh? Who needs the guitar? Julian, take it. I've got bigger plans.


  1. Gibson makes some fridges.


  2. Jean,

    You are dangerously close to being funny!


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