Saturday, August 24, 2013

Instrumental epiphany at the Irish Cultural Center

For quite a few years now I had been playing a big red guitar called Henry, pictured left. He was a flame top Kort guitar. I thought the finish was pretty and the tone was nice, Fishman pickups etc. But lately I had been feeling like playing and singing at the same time had become a struggle. I discovered why recently.

I went down to the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center on July 31 to play in a new Wednesday night music open mic there, hosted by Bob & Felicia of the Blue Yodels. It was right here in town, perfect location for me and I couldn't think of a good excuse not to try it out. When I got there though - I kinda had second thoughts. I hadn't played anywhere in ages, and had never been in the place before, had no idea what it was like. So decided I'd leave Henry in the trunk - just watch the show and check out the lay of the land. Maybe play next time.

That was my plan anyway. Plans often go awry. Bob chatted along in his best professional host / MC way and pretty soon he'd talked me into doing a couple songs. So I used his Blueridge acoustic. Wow. It was a different experience - so comfortable and easy after Henry.

When I went home, I took a look at the shape of my guitar with the image of that Blueridge in my head. Henry was kinda thick-bodied, and thick-wasted . And I am a short and short-armed finger picking player. Getting my fat arm over Henry's bulk pressed him into my brisket right where I needed to expand to get air to sing. It was a no win situation and I was wrestling with something just a bit too big. As I practiced afterwards, It just didn't feel right anymore.

 On Friday I went down to the guitar center and traded Henry in on a Luna Oracle Dragonfly, a cutaway like Henry. (Now I know some folks like to have a collection of instruments. I like to travel light and I can only play one at a time. A trade-in deal made economic sense as well.)  My Dragonfly, she's just a little thinner, has a more pinched in waist to allow my arm a clear path to the strings, and also a thinner neck and finger-board built for my small hands. As an added bonus she has an on-board tuner. Woohoo!