Handiwork

August 25, 2011
Guitar playing is a common hobby in our society. The instrument still remains a combined symbol of artistry, rebellion, livelihood, and skill. Yet for all of its perpetuated fame, few appreciate or even notice the design and craftsmanship that goes into the guitar's creation. This is where my dad and I have been fortunate, as we, two guitar playing enthusiasts, have had the pleasure of building an electric guitar.
Since we began playing the guitar, there was always a curiosity and fascination tied to the instrument's unnatural ability to produce sound. The simplicity of the instrument-- or what simplicity the guitar boasts on the surface--was the most intriguing aspect of it. How could a few copper pickups, a couple tone and volume nobs, and an output jack be responsible for not only the notes that we played, but all of the music that has been tied to the instrument in the past 60 years?
Our means of investigation was to build one of our own.
The process itself was much to complicated to describe in 800 words or less, but throughout all of the woodwork; all of the finishing and sanding; all of the circuitry and soldering, and all of the general mishaps and errors, a goal became clear. With a distinct destination in mind, my dad and I had the willpower to charge through the project with drills blazing. Making something for myself gave me a certain satisfaction that playing never could. Building this instrument was about starting something and ending it with a stratocaster in hand.
The art and practice of handiwork is a dying breed. It is an interesting trend to see that as we as a collective move further into complete technologically induced comfort, we as individuals create less technology for ourselves. Why design and construct a house when one can be designed and constructed by others? Why build what can't be bought? In this day and age, there is no reason. In the "good ol' days", there was no choice.
So it may seem foolish to move backwards on a road that progresses in conjunction with technological pursuit, but a great deal of craftsmanship, inventive enthusiasm, and general acknowledgement for one's appliances and products could be gained as a result. I took a passion of mine: the guitar, and applied it to the old practice of handiwork. I emerged from my project with not only a deeper appreciation for my passion, but a deeper appreciation for construction and creation as a whole. "The good ol' days" had it right.





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