I’ve had a few jobs in my life that run the gamut of labor required. You start a new job that requires a new skill and mistakes will be made, no biggie, it’s to be expected, right? The summer after High School graduation I framed houses, starting out as a “gopher” (get it?) and ending up as…….well, a gopher. I wasn’t there long. I eventually was entrusted with the sacred task of cutting wall studs. You can predict what is going to go wrong here, damn unreliable tape measures.
Before that, sophomore year of High School, I worked at Wendy’s. I went from fry cook, to grill master, to drive-thru cash register (at my Wendy’s they put the pretty people on the lobby cash register, and no one ever accused me of being pretty). You can’t mess up fries be
cause they put a buzzer on there, I could hear from the parking lot during my continuous smoke break. As you move up in responsibility, the mistakes carry more weight, hamburgers got burnt (those go in the chili), change got miscounted, and once or twice a customer got threatened, I was an angry kid.
After a failed attempt at college and some general misspent youth I found myself working in a body shop. Let me tell ya, there’s all kinds of things to screw up there, especially as young shop helper. But hey, you learn, and you progress. I eventually found myself as a head painter of sorts in a very small shop and I promise you, many a mistakes were made, Color [mis]matching, repairing the wrong side, running a customer’s car into a wall in the shop (remember kids, pump the breaks when you replace them), and many, many more. I am thirty-six years old and I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes. But mistakes are the young man’s bailiwick, I’m a full grown-up, a skilled professional, a master craftsman, of sorts all of that stuff is behind me, let the apprentices and journeyman worry over such……. enter guitar manufacturing.
I jest, mistakes are made all the time, little mistakes. I put the sealer or the clear on too heavy, I didn’t turn the air compressor off, forgot to pick up masking tape. Inconveniences that certainly don’t need their own blog post. Chris and I do pretty good, COVID has slowed us down a bit but for the most part we’re cooking out there. Working two separate schedules has presented some minor difficulties but, were professionals, we get it done. But oh my, When Mr. Miyagi is away does Daniel-san have occasion to screw the hell up.
Chris builds these beautiful guitars through the day and I come out in the evening and get to work. We speak pretty much every day about what is going where, what needs done when, and what guitar gets what color, the medium I am to finish it with, and the pattern, ornament, or composition in which I am to use on each particular body/neck. You’d be shocked, as I am, at some of the things requested of us (a potential customer recently asked if I could incorporate his father’s ashes into the paint). That wasn’t that shocking actually, but definitely memorable, and yes, by the way, yes I can consolidate human remains with your guitar body, for the right price, we’ll figure it out. I digress, nine times out of ten I’m working on a guitar that has a customer attached to it. You customers have contacted Chris and are generally specific about what you want. No Problem! Keep ‘em coming. But then there are those super special one-time out of 10 where Chris grabs some special wood, or an interesting piece of a fabric, a new (to me) cut or angle or pick-up cavity, or any number of his creative ideas. These guitars speak for themselves, and though I have many tasks and functions to carry-out on these electronic pieces of art, on the special ones, I really only have one job, DON’T SCREW IT UP! Well, about that see…………..
So the bottom line is mistakes happen, right? Nothing is unforgivable, right? I mean, guys don’t lose their jobs for little tiny woopsy cakes mistakes, right? Basically, I need your guys’ help. Just tell Chris it’s not that bad, it could be worse, give the kid a chance, I’m just a kid, I’ve never claimed to be otherwise………
Feel free to let me have it. Also, let’s see in the comments who can guess how this happened!