Unwinding the string from the tuning peg, and popping out the peg by the bridge, the old string flayed around a bit, before I coil it up and set it aside. It had lived a good life, part of the first strings on my buddy’s first guitar.
He’d worn it out, as he tried out his first few tentative chords and strumming patterns, toughening his finger tips and the side of his thumb. He’s a finger picker, first and foremost, quickly finding his groove as he brings the songs in his mind to life on the guitar. He’ll do a lot with this guitar; he’s one of those natural musicians, playing the chords and the beat not too long after he first hears a song.
He’s watched everything I’ve done with my guitar, when we get together and play. And when someone else comes by and picks out a tune, he’s all eyes and ears. What he soaks up is soon flowing out of his fingers, bringing out another song on his new musical pal.
We clean off the fretboard with a rag and something called guitar honey. The frets and the wood of the fretboard soon sparkle, along with the brand new strings. He’s realizing all of his hours of picking, and learning new skills, has actually worn out the tough metal strings. There’s been some progress here, with his new hobby, his passion that’s burst into flame in the last six weeks.
With each one, we push the ends through the tuning peg, wrapping it around, and then slowly tightening it, bringing it up to the proper pitch, playing an odd melody of increasing frequency; boing, boingg, BOING!
He’s mystified, at first, at the process of changing strings. It is another lesson in guitarmanship, this craft of creating music from this oddly shaped wooden box, a board, and six wires strung over a hole in the box. Some call it a Tennessee flat top box, but we who spend our time with it would think a more spiritual name would be a better fit.
Soon, the guitar is back in his hands, and he’s fine tuning each string. The smile on his face telling me he’s hearing a sharper, clearer voice from his friend.
The new strings, like his life now with the guitar, sharper, more defined, and more in tune.