The moment the teacher became the student…

Joelle’s brother and his 9-year old twin sons spent the weekend at our house and it was not only a fantastic weekend with them, it was also inspirational as I learned something from them.

While they were over, they had brought their guitars and amps and we were playing in my studio. I was also giving them guitar lessons and a bit of homework exercises to not only improve their picking co-ordination, but to also improve their songwriting abilities. Not that I’m this great songwriter or anything. They simply wanted to know how I started writing songs, so I gave them the same challenge that I was presented with when I wrote my first song.

However, the real lesson came for me when Joelle was doing a photo shoot with them and their guitars. Their dad always has them clean and polish their guitars as well as wipe their strings. The results of this showed in the photo shoot as their guitars were beautiful in colour. If anything, it made me ashamed as here I have my favourite 30-year old guitar that I cannot recall polishing even once. Even worse was that I showed it to them, corroded strings, salt deposits and all. I was embarrassed.

I took a lesson from them and yesterday, I removed all of the old strings from my favourite guitar and started by rubbing lemon oil on the fretboard. I then rubbed on some guitar polish on the finish and cleaned the entire guitar. I even went under the bridge and in almost every hard to reach area. I then put a brand new set of strings on it and reset the intonation on the bridge. When I was done, it looked practically like the guitar I bought 30 years ago.

The real reward came in the playing. I don’t think I could ever remember that guitar feeling as good as it did to play. Not to mention that I can’t recall it ever sounding better. That guitar definitely reclaimed itself as my favourite electric guitar. I owe it all to my nephews for having been able to rediscover this.

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