This week, Alex is attending a rock music camp (and yes, it is apparently as awesome as it sounds), and so this past weekend, Alex re-strung her electric guitar in preparation. What's really weird is that even though she's been playing for coming up on two years and her guitar needs to be restrung every 2 months or so, I'd never actually seen her do it: the first few times, she took it to a guitar store to have it done, and then the remaining times she did it during her guitar lesson with her instructor, and I tended to be in another room.
"Of course I can string my own guitar, Mom," she said, suppressing an eye-roll. "Every guitar player can. Or they should."
So this time, I watched. I watched her unwind the old string and gently pull it out, then equally carefully feed the new string into her guitar, and wind it back on the tuners. A couple of times she wound the string too tightly and it snapped -- but Alex is nothing if not patient, and she would simply work the broken string back out of the guitar, and replace it with a spare. Then she tuned each string, used wire cutters to trim the ends, and voilà -- good as new. The process took surprising longer than I would've thought, but she was meticulous about it. She tells me that she can totally tell the difference in the sound of the instrument when it has new strings, and also, it feels better to play -- strings build up oil and grime when you're using them, so the new strings feel fresher. It was a really interesting process to witness.
Right now, I'm going through a bit of a re-stringing myself. Part of it is getting settled into this new job, part of it has to do with the fact that it's summer, and so our normal routine outside of Alex's school year is a bit off. But life feels like life's turning into something new. And like Alex and her guitar, the process can be a bit laborious. Plans suddenly "snap," and they have to be re-worked and re-fixed. Things have to be tuned. And the trick is not to get wound too tightly while you're going through it all.
But I'm trusting that just like Alex's guitar, I'm going to come out at the other end of this good as new.
Here's to making good music.
Soundtrack: Come as you are by Nirvana. Alex and her band will be performing this on the last day of camp. I can't wait.