Bessie’s been with me through thick and thin, comforted me when I was down, and even helped me show my love for my wife and son.
I remember when I first laid eyes on her. She wasn’t the most dazzling one in the room, nor the flashiest. In fact, she was a bit plain compared to some of the other beauties all around her.
But I knew she was the one for me.
I glided across the crowded room and stood in front her for a few moments. Then I sat down on a bench and held her in my arms for a while. I don’t remember how long we spent together, but it wasn’t enough. I was in love, and I knew I had to take her home with me.
That was eighteen years ago, and she’s been with me ever since. Through thick and thin, she’s never left my side.
She’s been with me when I wrote love songs for my wife.
She’s been with me in times of joy when I was celebrating with friends.
She’s been next to me on stage when I’ve played at concerts and worship services.
She’s comforted me in dark times when the only melodies I could here were sadness and fear.
She’s been with me at countless funerals as I brought comfort to grieving families.
She’s been with me in recording studios, helping me create music that would bless other people.
She’s helped me write silly songs for my son, helped me teach students, and helped me connect with strangers.
She’s a little dinged and dented from all the time we’ve spent together. But she’s a great traveling companion and has spent countless hours in the car with me. She’s always been there and has never let me down, not even once.
Who is she? She’s my guitar.
To be more specific, she’s a 1997 Taylor 414ce. I bought her at a Guitar Center in Chicago. She was brand new, and I was in love from the moment I saw her.
Guys have a special relationship with their guitars. Some guys even have names for them (I named mine “Bessie”). It’s hard to explain, but I think it comes down to this: when you spend a lot of time with a guitar (or any instrument, for that matter) it becomes your friend.
Making music is an act of intimacy, and you can’t help but be drawn to your guitar if you make a lot of music together. You start to personify the instrument because you know that without the guitar, you have nothing. Sure, you can always get another guitar, but there’s something special about that “one” guitar you own.
I know my guitar doesn’t have a personality or a soul. She’s only wood, glue, and steel. But we’ve spent an awful lot of time together and have made some beautiful music. She’s been right there with me as I’ve marked important occasions like anniversaries, funerals, birthdays, and so many others.
I won’t lie, she wasn’t the only one who caught my eye. There was the Ibanez nylon string guitar that seduced me with her smooth tones. And I confess I always had a thing for my sunburst Telecaster. There was something about her pickups and curves that got my blood pumping.
But I always came back to my sweet Bessie.
I’m thankful for the people at Taylor guitars who made such a fine instrument. I’m thankful for Elixir strings that add so much warmth to the guitar’s tone. I’m thankful for the artists who write so many songs I’ve played. I’m especially thankful for my wife Melanie, who has put up with my “guitar habit” for a long time.
But my biggest creative thanks goes to my guitar—my muse, my inspiration, my musical partner in crime.
Bessie, I know you can’t hear me, but thank you. I’m so glad you came along for the ride, and I look forward to the next eighteen years.
Let’s go make some music together.
Photp: Flickr/Taylor Mahaffey
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