My friend, he plays a Guild arch-top. He is from the same part of the world where I grew up, Central New York State. The jazz trio he plays in has long played jazz nights at The Dying Gaul.
He'd not been able to take a week vacation with family up in the Thousand Islands. At the end of a night we chatted. I ask him for guitar advice. Life advice. Maybe I should get a hard-shell case for my new Epiphone Casino, rather than a gig bag.
He'd worked a pit crew in Watkins Glen, before coming to Washington, D.C., for school. Race cars like Formula One, but smaller, a quarter (or half) of the size and power of the real monsters. Still very fast. And the experience, the observation, when you work in a pit crew, you find people who find an immediate answer, solving a problem.
That ability, solving a problem, hands on, the clock ticking. Hands on in an office, the early computer system neglected, he pokes around, gets it moving. Parlays that. Gets a job, because of that experience, and the real ability to solve problems, think on one's feet, not be stuck in the formulae of languages already written, code accepted.
Musicians, he says. Problem solvers. He motions with his hands, what we do, guitar players. Left hand, on the neck, right hand, in unison.
That's how I've always viewed music. Solving a problem.