Thursday, June 30, 2011

I don't give a diddley bow what you think of my guitar!

Picture, if you will, a 23-year-old American girl using a large wooden phallus (in lieu of a hammer) to fix a nail into place on a piece of wood she tore off her bed frame (that belongs to the apartment). If you pictured that, then you pictured the latter part of my Thursday night.

So I saw the above video on Monday. I proceeded to do two things. One, download all of the Jack White I could get my hands on. And two, build a diddly bow.

Well, as easy as he makes it look in the video, for someone who doesn't have scrap wood, strings, electric guitar pickups, etc. lying around, it becomes a bit more complicated. Well, doing anything in Bangkok is complicated.

So I Googled how to make one. I knew I wanted it to be suuuuuper cheap and I wanted it to be electric. In all the videos they say, "I just used this electric pickup off one of my old guitars and soldered the wires together! How Easy!" My thought was, "Uhhhh, what's a pickup and how the heck do you wire one?" Clearly, I'm at square one here.

So I Googled guitar repair shops in Bangkok. I saw one listing for a place called "Rockabilly," described as a hole-in-the-wall, middle-of-nowhere homage to Elvis. This was my place. Of course, there was no address, just a phone number of some guy who would meet me in front of a hotel on his motorcycle and take me to his shop.

Sure. Why not? At least I'll get a story out of it, if I don't get murdered.

So that's what he did. And I get to his shop and realized that "hole in the wall" was an overstatement seeing as how there aren't really walls. It's more of a stand, an old work table and guitar parts strewn about. But I knew I was where I belonged when I saw three photos of Elvis with the King of Thailand hung up. I have the same photo blown up to 5x6 ft on my apartment wall.

So I tried, in my most basic English, to explain what I was buiding. "One string?" "Yeah, and a pickup fastened to an output cable." "That's not a guitar. Why do you want that?"

Good question. Because I'm bored. And lonely. And I want to make noise.

So he and his assistant (who he calls "boy," even though he's a grown man) proceed to dig through drawers looking for rusted old pickups that might still have some life left in them. The found one that works and said they couldn't give it to me because it wasn't very good. "I don't want it to be good. I like that one." They looked at me and kept working.

I sat at Rockabilly with them for the better part of an hour while they hooked me up and then promised to bring my finished product back to show them.

Now all I have to do it build it... and learn how to play it. But I'm sure that's the easy part in comparison, right?

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