Paper Towel Trick

On Friday afternoon I thought the guitar sounded just a tiny bit dull and figured it was either because I hadn’t played a Negra for a long time — Negras have rosewood sides and back (dark) and produce more overtones and a slightly darker tone than Blancas, which have Cedar sides and back — or perhaps because the strings were new. So I played it Friday evening and Saturday morning and did the performance with Kaz yesterday evening.

This morning I was getting ready to practice when I noticed a piece of paper towel inside the guitar. I pulled it out, shook the guitar and saw another paper towel inside. I was able to reach it through the strings and pulled it out.

I played a chord and now the guitar sounded exactly as I remembered.

I figured the paper towels were placed inside the guitar to soak up glue drops that might fall during the repair. I messaged my friend and he replied that at least it wasn’t like leaving a scalpel inside a patient after surgery, that he thought the guitar sounded nice with the paper towels, too, and that I could keep the supplies… :-)

Where Land and Sky Meet


JaneParham commented “Reminds me of recent views in Santa Fe.”

Very perceptive. :-)
After two days of flying I arrived in Albuquerque on Friday, in the early afternoon. I drove to my luthier in Santa Fe and picked up my Negra guitar, which had been repaired and for which he obtained a new carbon-fiber case. I played the Negra almost exclusively for a decade, from 2002. It’s the guitar I recorded One Guitar with, for example. I drove to the adobe where I was staying and started familiarizing myself with the guitar I had not played in many years. (The plan had been to take the guitar with me to Lisbon for June and July, but unforeseen problems arose that made this impossible, so I actually hadn’t played guitar at all for eight weeks)

I was in town to celebrate my friend Roshi Joan‘s 80th birthday, and to perform with Kaz Tanahashi. He paints and I play guitar. Instead of accompanying a dancer or singer I react to a sage who wields giant brushes. When it works we don’t know who initiated the gesture: did I react to his movement or did he react to the sound I made. We did such a performance for Roshi’s 75th birthday and she loved it and requested an encore for the 80th.

I took the above photograph with my phone at the end of a four mile walk through the old neighborhood yesterday morning.

Glorious Bench


I discovered this bench on Sunday. The lane is called “Travessa do Cabral” – Cabral’s Lane “Travessa da Portuguesa”. Very little traffic noise. Just the occasional person walking up or down the stairs. Some of them might huff and puff by the time they arrive at the top. People who live on this lane must have stronger calves and thighs than most. Do they have stronger hearts from a lifetime of walking up and down the stairs? The cars at the bottom are not moving; they are parked. Wonder by what system they are parked. Do they know who can sleep in and should therefore park closest to the other stairs we can see in the distance, and who needs to leave early in the morning and should therefore park in front of the others? I sat down on the bench for a little while. It’ll be even nicer when the tree in front of the bench gets taller and gives shade in the middle of the day. A woman came up the stairs, out of breath from carrying a big bag. I got up and walked away, to offer her the bench to herself. I hope she sat down and enjoyed that bench. It was still in the shade.