A trip to the guitar hospital


Pete Townshend of The Who was known for smashing his guitars. My only question is, how could he?

I only looked away for a second.

Then the crash … and the awful atonal groan.

I didn’t want to look, but I had no choice.

There she lay on the concrete floor, small bits of her peppered around the room. My little red Guild guitar, my favorite, because she’s the one I’m comfortable playing.

Yes, I have others, but they’re all too large and not made for a woman. (In case you’re wondering, I’ll just say it. Our breasts get in the way. And since I learned recently that more girls are starting to play guitar than boys, someone should do something about it. But I digress.)

She lay top side down. I knelt and gently turned her over. Cracks and scratches marred her cherry-red face. The top panel had split apart from the rest of the body. I wanted to weep.

Those of you who did not lug a musical instrument back and forth to school, perhaps do not understand my pain. From the first time I picked up a clarinet in fourth grade, I was taught to carefully tend and handle instruments, a message not unlike the one I received concerning the care and feeding of our family pets.

Later, I walked slowly into the store where I’d purchased my guitar, seeking a glimmer of hope. I winced as the man behind the counter unzipped and lifted the case lid. He stared for a moment, then quickly ushered me on my way to the guitar doctor.

When I arrived at Atomic Guitar Works, a bespectacled man surveyed the damage using a mirror attached to a long, bent handle. He reminded me of a dentist analyzing a mouth rife with cavities.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” I said, feeling the need to explain. “I was hanging her on a hook on the wall and just looked way for an instant. The hook was loose.”

He ran a finger over a jagged groove that snaked below the bridge. “Did you bring the broken pieces?”

“I did.” I produced a small plastic bag with two fractured shards of red wood.

“Good! I can fix it.”

I reached into my pocket and handed him a credit card.

He waved the plastic away. “No need.” He smiled. “I have a hostage.”

I cringed again. He knew I’d be back.

The good news is after three weeks in the guitar hospital and a big hit to my wallet, my little red Guild is mended. And if you weren’t aware of her accident you’d have no idea it happened.

Three guitars

But I’ll always know.

I hope someday she will forgive me.

A Light in the Desert-cov (6)


Amphorae Publishing Group

286 Pages

Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook


As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

2 thoughts on “A trip to the guitar hospital

  1. sharonledwith says:

    I saw Peter Townsend in action back in the early 80s. Still smashing guitars. What a crime. Great post, Anne. Take care of old red. Wink.


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