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Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeHumorThe Papa Files: Fuzzy picks

The Papa Files: Fuzzy picks

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My first grandson is overseas, my only granddaughter is moving out of state, my mother-in-law, who turns 91 this month, is living with us, and my wife decided to get an above-ground pool, for which I had to help my younger grandsons dig up a circular patch of grass sixteen feet in diameter. I torqued a lot of gristle while doing that, let me tell you.

So I bought a bass guitar. It’s a cutout, blue, with internal pickups for an amp and cheap. As far as I can determine, it’s called a Sky425. But that was printed on the box it came in; There is no name anywhere, inside or out, of an actual brand on the thing itself. To give you an idea of its cheapness, the strings are a quarter-inch above the fingerboard at the 15th fret, and the single-action truss rod will not fix that, according to my research. Oh, I’ll loosen it to see if that makes a difference, but I doubt it. The next guitar I get, probably a fully electric one, will have a double-action rod, I’ll make sure.

A long time ago when my wife made me go with her to visit a friend of hers who had three teenagers, I started whistling when the thirteen-to-seventeen-year-olds started trying to impress us newcomers with their raucous antics. I wasn’t fully aware I was doing that until my wife’s friend stopped at the couch I was sitting on and said, “So you whistle when you’re stressed.” Not wanting to interrupt my speeded-up lip version of Beethoven’s 7-2, I simply nodded and continued. I don’t think I ever did that again. But I’m sure I was compelled to buy a new musical instrument for the same reason. When I was a kid, I heard from cartoons and B-movies that music soothes the savage beast. As far as I can tell, my wife’s cats and dogs don’t hear music at all, unless it sounds like a howling dog, in which case the dog will join in, and the cats will hunch and fluff. Well maybe being house pets they’re not savage enough. But I’m sure that playing music certainly soothes the annoyed beast in me.

During our cutting and shoveling of little sods of grass to make a flat, level circle for the pool, I took many breaks. My musical grandson joined me in my office and practiced chords and notes on my new Casio keyboard and Jasmine guitar, both from the All About Music store just around the corner, while I sipped coffee and caught my breath. I had already ordered the bass guitar online, but it was going to be a few days before I got it, so I didn’t mention it to him. But I had also bought a package of twelve felt picks (felt more closely simulates the meaty skin of fingers when plucking strings) which came the next day, and so I showed one to him. He looked at it and said, “You got a fuzzy pick?” I explained to him that it was made of felt, which historically is compressed wool. He wasn’t impressed, until I told him that musicians don’t have fuzzy dice in their car, they hang fuzzy picks from their rearview mirror. His face lit up with a grin.

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I don’t know where I’ll put them, but I suspect I’ll buy more methods of making music over the next few months, especially drums, most likely electric. And I’ll buy what I bought back when I was only 229 months old, a mandolin and banjo. Not a violin or a twelve-string! I might even experiment with wind instruments, but probably not. If I do, it’ll be a piccolo, maybe. Something simple. Is there a professional version of the slide whistle?

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