For me, nothing brings me closer to my childhood home in Houston, Texas like the sounds of a late summer afternoon. The faint murmur of lawnmowers humming in the distance, an occasional bird chirp, and silence…But not silence as in nothingness, the silence of the warm sun and prickly Saint Augustine grass stretching across the yard. The silence of ants scavenging for food and the tree in the front yard digging deep for water; all the subtle nuances that subconsciously combine to create the environment which zaps me back in time.
I often wonder why we guitarists get so obsessed with our tones. Perhaps it’s the same latent nostalgia of late summer afternoons that drives me to perpetually search for the tonal environment which will make me 11 again, when the guitar was a complete mystery and the roar of Ace from my Kiss cassette tapes made my heart skip a beat. In my heart, I know those moments are rose colored augmentations of a simpler time and that the tonal search is probably just as much about recapturing the beautiful wonder of youth as it is about a singing lead tone.
I’m a junkie, and my fix bears six steal strings. And like any junkie, a little bit more is never enough. I keep fooling myself into thinking that next euphoric fix will take me to somewhere new. Even as I write these words, my mind drifts wondering about how a pickup replacement might sound in my SX SST57, or perhaps hot rodded wiring to give me some special combination which result in a tonal revelation.
We’re all victims of our own obsession, the search continues…