haven’t added anything to the White Elephant section of this blog in a while and today I got a new guitar which, in accordance to tradition, got a name bestowed upon it. So I figured I would narrate to you, dear reader, how exactly my guitars got their names, as each are equally interesting stories – then again, I make it my duty to make any story I tell interesting.
When I started high school it was mandatory to learn an instrument for the first few years. Year 7 was the piano, which I had incidentally spent the last six years of my life learning at the insistence of my parents, and so I spent those lessons carelessly mucking about with their simple melodies. Year 8, however, ushered in the introduction of the guitar and I was fascinated. I think there is still the idea floating around that cool people play the guitar and as my year 8 teacher had been “warned” about me by my year 7 teacher (who was blonde, religiously wore pink and called me Book Club) I was anxious to prove myself. The sound of the strings as I brushed against them sent shivers down my spine and I had a feeling akin to Van Gogh picking up a paintbrush for the first time- this, I knew, was home. So, after I had learned four chords (that’s all we were offered and that’s all one really needs in the beginning), I went to the local music store with Dad and we bought a guitar. My dad is a drummer but I’m as good at drumming as I am at dancing (not very), so when I showed interest in guitar, he was all for it. (Since then we have played shows together and recorded a cd.) Despite his “strong suggestions” I walked out of there with a cheap, 3/4, blue guitar.
Owning a guitar for the first time is like bringing home a new baby. It doesn’t come with a manual, everyone wants to give you advice and you don’t know what it needs to stop it from making that horrible noise. So when I was sitting with the chart I’d bought from a bookstore and figuring out how to play more than one string chords, it was tough but I loved it. The name came about when I was watching ‘the Amazing Race’ one night. The loveable Australian larrikins end up with an old bomb of a car that they need to fix and push but in the end gets them across the finish line, and that’s how I felt about my guitar. They named their car Bindi.
I would have to say my spirit animal is the acoustic. However, my dad likes to pick up odds and ends as he drives around and one day he came home with an electric, so I figured I’d do what has gotten me this far in life and give it a go. It originally had an eyeball on it- it took a lot of scrubbing to get it off the guitar but it’s forever stuck in my mind. The strings left my fingers white and I got to change my first ever string when one snapped and cut me in the middle of a church service. I wanted to bring it to church because Bindi doesn’t have a pick up, buts it’s dusty and a bit chipped and super heavy to lug around. It was a lot of work to get it presentable and to serve me.
Well, at this time it just so happens I had recently read Dracula (there is a story everywhere and in everything) and my new guitar reminded me of his servant. Smelly, found on the street and rough around the edges, Renfeild was eager but used to eat cockroaches. Plus, I was attending school in Randwick and so, my new guitar was christened Renwick.
Spellcheck refuses to even accept this as a name. So we’re a few years down the track and Bindi is starting to fall apart. Her soul is purely Australian- hardworking, deep and unique- but her body is very much Chinese and the glue and plastic are letting go. Her strings began to wear thin, and I tried to restring her with some beautiful rainbow strings I had found at a second hand shop but alas, as her bridge fell off and her pegs began to wobble, I felt the end was nigh. The strings refused to calibrate (or maybe she just missed the comfort of the strings she had known for years) and in the end I restrung her, fishing her slightly sticky strings out of my bin. (Not kidding. Wish I were.) Then I had rainbow strings and nothing but the internet so I googled second hand guitars. I called up a man who had over 900 ads online, selling everything from 95 acoustic guitars to the gates on his house (seriously), and scrolled past a strawberry mandolin- novel but not easy to fit in a case. Eventually I stopped across a man selling a good quality guitar with two strings missing who would throw in a free DVD player (“shred and watch movies at the same time- winning combo” said the ad). I polished him up- the guitar, not the man- and put in my new rainbow strings. He tuned to a t and I sang to my hearts content. And so I named Enfys, a welsh name meaning “rainbow”.