When I bought my new guitar before Christmas, I also took my old guitar to the music shop to see if he knew anyone who could fix it. It had sounded ‘off’ for quite a while. It rattled when I played certain notes and one string just wouldn’t tune properly. It always seemed to be a semi-tone out and it annoyed me. Besides that the bridge was coming unstuck. Not bad for a thirty-year-old guitar, but it had been much better and I hoped it still could. The man in the music shop said that yes, he knew someone in the city, but that it might take some time. He’d let me know when he knew how much it would cost.
He finally got back to me today. The cost of repairing it is going to be more than the guitar cost me when I bought it! Despite the promise to let me know before the work started, the man in the city has already done most of the repairs, (which involved a total rebuild by the sound of it) so I’m already up for a fair bit, but it also needs a new nut and strings, so that's extra.
So why bother? It’s old and I already have a new one. It’s just a bit of wood with strings on, isn’t it? It’s not like I’m a guitar maestro. I can’t help thinking back though, to the day I got it. I had been desperately trying to learn to play on the three-quarter plywood guitar that Mum had scrimped to buy for my 12th birthday, but I was at University now and had a friend with a beautiful Takeharu Classical/Accoustic guitar. He knew I loved it and I’ve never been sure if he was honest in telling me that he had to sell it to pay his Residential College fees, or whether he was just giving me the chance to buy a guitar, but he sold it to me for a pretty low price for the guitar it was.
That guitar got me through some stressful pre-exam nights, soothed away the pains of unrequited love and made me new friends. It was a friend. When I went teaching, it sat in the corner of the classroom, the promise of a song - a treat for work done well. The children knew they weren’t to touch it and woe betide anyone who knocked it over. But the pride on the face of a child asked to carry it to me was priceless. It has played hymns in church and accompanied school choirs. So what price do you put on sentimental value?
I think the man in the music shop thought all his Christmases had come at once when I walked in.