Andy Dear | Thursday, 22 October 2020

Scars are like tattoos, but with better stories

  Somewhere around 1987, I was taking guitar lessons from a local music school here in San Antonio called Del View Music. Del View was owned by a lovely couple by the name of Don and Gayle Pack. Don was one of the finest steel guitar players in the state of Texas and was also a talented stringed instrument repairman. At the time I was engrossed in replacing the pickups in one of my instruments, and I found myself in need of some expertise wiring up the electronics. Don offered to help show me the ropes, so on my next visit, I took the guitar in for him to solder everything together.

  Once he was finished, Don, being the southern gentleman that he was, must have noticed how dinged up my instrument was and decided to give the guitar a good buffing to polish out some of the scratches. When I went to pick it up, to my dismay, I noticed how sparkling clean it was, and evidently, Don could see the look of surprise (read disappointment) on my face. I proceeded to inform him that I liked my guitars to show as much wear and tear as possible…in fact, the more scratched up the better. I was, and still am convinced that all the blood and sweat put into the instrument that manifests as wear and tear alter not just the tone and playability, but the overall spiritual and cosmic mojo of the instrument in a highly positive way. I vividly remember him shaking his head in disbelief and scoffing at the idea as if I was some dope smokin' hippie on some kind of a bad trip.

  One needs to look no further than Stevie Ray Vaughn’s beat up old 1963 Stratocaster, affectionately known as “number one” to see a prime example of what I am talking about. With the majority of the original sunburst finish gone and worn down to bare wood, we can only imagine the stories that guitar would tell if it could talk. Who am I kidding… when it was in the hands of a blues virtuoso like brother Vaughn, it told its stories VERY LOUD and VERY CLEAR.

  I am still a true believer in this idea, and not just with guitars. Not long ago I noticed in one of Paul’s videos that the HT fly rod he was wielding looked like the grip had been worn down in certain spots, and had not been cleaned in months…..LOVE IT. Not only does it give the rod character and personality, but it also shows that it’s being USED for the tool that it was meant to be. Guitars, fishing rods, hunting rifles, boats…at their core, these are tools designed not only for a specific purpose but also as an implement to create memories during the process of their use.

  Not long ago Jackson and I were doing some yearly maintenance on our small 2 man fishing boat when he noticed all of the scratches and scars on the bottom of the hull. When he expressed concern about them, I reminded him that every one of those scratches and scars represents a fishing trip that he and I have taken, and will forever be etched in the hull as a permanent reminder of all the good times we had in that boat. And when that boat wears out, we’ll buy another one, and set out to carve a thousand more memories into the bottom of that one as well.

Hope your all staying safe and healthy,