A tale of a downward sprial…
For years, I played fingerstyle. I could play a guitar and it would look almost the same after years of heavy regular use as when it was new. I have always tried to take great care of my guitars. I had a brief visit into classical and flamenco. I freaked out when I left minor dimples on one of my guitar’s top from playing flamenco. Years passed, I started flat picking. My guitars started to show the dings of playing with others and handing my guitars around. No big deal… they were “love” marks. I noticed I was starting to wear frets down much quicker with the repetitive practice with a firm attack. No big deal… it’s a fair trade to be pulling the tone out of it. I started playing at the church more regularly. My pinkie dragging on cowboy chords was starting to leave a mark. It irked me, but between playing and singing, I couldn’t concentrate on keeping my pinkie up. Last May, our music minister left. I offered to step in “until they found a replacement” (I don’t really think they are looking, but what do I know). Some of the songs involve fast strumming (think Mumford & Sons). I broke a pick on such a song. I hadn’t broken a pick in decades. About 4 months ago, I broke a G string (on my GPC guitar). I hadn’t broken a string since I can remember. I figured it was a bad string. A few weeks later, another G string broke. When I stripped off the strings to replace them, I noticed the saddle was notched. Problem solved! I sanded and buffed the saddle. I also noticed I was missing some finish around the soundhole… odd. Must have been a thin finish. I also noticed I needed to level and re-crown not too long after addressing the frets, so I did a “light” level and crown. This whole guitar seemed to be wearing at an alarming rate. I noticed the pick I used with it (I used a 1.0 Wegen for a little flex) had a scallop worn. I hit Dr. Google for reports of a worn pick causing accelerated wear on a guitar (nothing). I wrote Martin to ask if their fret material had changed (it hadn’t to the best of their knowledge). In the mean time, I was setting up my OM to be a stage guitar. I put a K&K pickup in it. I had a local luthier put some stainless frets on it. I got an Orchid muting DI box. Last Sunday, I popped another G string on the GPC, and the slots were already re-worn into the saddle! I figured this week I’d swap out and use the OM until I figured out what was going on with the GPC… why was it wearing so fast?!? I still suspected my worn Wegen might have something to do with it, so I shaped a new Ultex 1.14 to use. Tonight I went to practice with my new rig. It sounded and played great. I got done, and as I was putting the guitar on it’s case, I noticed a white powder on the pick guard. I looked at my pick and it had some nice chunky shavings taken out of the previously brand spanking new bevel.
Then it dawned on me, actually it hit me square between the eyes in a momentary flash of clarity. There was nothing wrong with the GPC, the pick, the strings, the saddle material or the frets. Apparently, as any idiot could tell you, I am beating the crap out of my stage guitar. I need an intervention or something.
Moral: firm attack + alot of strumming = surprisingly rapid depletion of all wearable parts of a guitar.
On the bright side… if anyone wants some “mojo” put into their guitars… I guess I am the guy to do it! (But don’t worry if you meet me. I am always very gentle with other people’s instruments)