Sounds of the Guitar…

When I was about to leave for a trip I used to always go back and forth on which guitar to bring. I was torn between ‘if that one breaks it would be a pity’ and ‘maybe this one’s sound isn’t good enough.’ Now I have a travel guitar to take with me on vacation that can be disassembled and taken on a plane as carry-on luggage but is a little smaller than my other guitars. Before even leaving for my trip I start feeling that I won’t be able to be creative on such a small guitar – which is very important to me since I compose most of my pieces while travelling. I downright say goodbye to my full size guitars before leaving and a little bit later I arrive at my destination, assemble my travel guitar and start playing. The sound is a little thin, it doesn’t sound good, it doesn’t feel right playing it and the creativity just doesn’t set in. But I keep on playing and with time I start really liking the instrument, almost loving it and I start hearing its unique sound. Usually, I write one to two pieces during a trip and I often think ‘Wow, I can’t wait to play them on my ‘good, full size’ guitar.’ Back home, I play the new songs on one of my ‘good, full size’ guitars and it turns out they don’t sound even a little bit like I remember them sounding on my travel guitar. Sometimes they even sound strange and bad. So I take out my travel guitar at home and play the piece again – now it sounds better, but still not the way it sounded when I played it on my trip. But once I record both guitars using a mic the travel guitar sounds inferior again.
What’s behind this dynamic between me, my travel guitar, my ‘good, full size’ guitars, my mood at home, and my mood on the road? I am still trying to figure that out – once I know more I will let you know (even though I am not so sure that there is a solution).

One thought on “Sounds of the Guitar…

  1. Hi Kurt! This is the same dilemma I face each time I leave the house. Not being a guitarist, my issues have to do with pen and paper (lined/not lined, a fresh book or one that’s already been written in, which pens?). Okay, so space doesn’t (always) really play role in the decision, but the creative process far from my natural habitat, where all options remain open, does. Some inspired pieces only work with the sounds of where they were written, some I can transfer. For example, a poem written by the ocean won’t work in its original form here, looking over the fields. It will have to be re-worked and adapted to the now in which I find myself. I feel my receptors shift from place to place, and this is clearly reflected in my works. And being receptive, for me, means taking all senses – including the sixth, seventh and eighth – into account, which shift on several levels, depending on my mood, and receptivity.

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