August 22, 2007

Guitar: An American Life

Few things are as culturally iconic as the guitar.

It is this rich history that is explored in the wonderful book Guitar: An American Life by Tim Brookes.

Brookes, a commentator for NPR, explores the history of the guitar while embarking on his own journey to replace his beloved Fylde, a companion of over twenty years. The unspeakable fear of every guitar lover became a reality - his guitar was destroyed beyond repair.

From the dust jacket:

"Shortly before his 50th birthday, baggage handlers destroyed Tim Brookes's guitar, his traveling companion of 22 years. His wife promised on the spot to replace it with the guitar of his dreams, but Tim discovered that a dream guitar is built, not bought.

He set out to find someone to make him the perfect guitar -- a quest that ended up a dirt road on the Green Mountains of Vermont, where an amiable curmudgeon master-guitar-maker, Rick Davis, took a rare piece of cherry wood and went to work with saws, rasps, and files."

The book is an interesting one...part history, part ethnography, and part memoir. His passion for the guitar is more than evident, and his desire to find a connection with an instrument that moves him is something that I think we can all relate to.

To read an excerpt, hear Tim read from his book, and listen to Tim play visit NPR...

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