The conception and birth of a classical guitar

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I have been playing the guitar since the age of thirteen and have dreamed of building my own instrument for as long as I can remember. On the 9th February 2015 I flew down to George to fulfil this dream under the expert instruction and guidance of luthier Luigi Marucchi. What an experience!

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In the next few posts I want to share some of the multi-levelled life lessons that immerged from the two week construction process. But first I need to describe the background and the actual Guitar Venture experience itself.

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My ‘relationship’ with the guitar began in my early teens and six years later a guitar played a leading role in winning over the woman who was soon to become my wife. For our first date I took her to a beach braai and towards the end of the evening I borrowed a guitar and played her ‘The house of the rising sun’… and the rest is history, as they say.

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At the age of thirty my best friend, and ex drummer in our amateur rock band, introduced me into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and my life changed in so many ways. One of these changes was that I developed a desire to learn to read music and to play classical music. So I selected a teacher and set about becoming as competent as I could on the classical guitar.

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I have told quite a bit of the story already in my post When the Music Died so I won’t repeat myself here. If you read that article you will know that after a painful layoff of many years the guitar is back in my life.

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Last year I gave serious and prayerful thought to what I should be doing in my retirement years and I have touched on this in a series of three posts culminating in Retirement – Insights from Scripture. What I haven’t yet divulged, however, are the outcomes of the process. I ended up with three areas in which I wanted to devote my time – teaching/writing/preaching; discipling younger leaders; and guitar music. The first two ticked all the boxes but the third troubled me a little – was this not just an indulgence or could I honestly say that it was something the Lord Jesus wanted for me?

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In January this year the dream of building my own guitar surfaced again, powerfully. I found myself watching youtube clips of various luthiers constructing classical guitars, but the more I watched the more I was convinced that I was foolish to even consider such an ambitious project. I have no woodworking skills, am not even a handyman, and my hands are still not strong. On Sunday 1st February I had lunch with my family and told them about the dream I had long cherished and how I now realised it was beyond my grasp. On Monday morning my son sent me a link to Luigis’ course down in George. Luigi responded to my emailed enquiry with a phone call and assured me that he could teach me to build a guitar, and that he had a vacancy on the course starting in a weeks’ time. Within 24 hours I was booked and had arranged the air ticket, car rental, and BnB accommodation. My wife was enthusiastically supportive, and my extended church family gave their wholehearted approval. So, the following Monday I was off for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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In my next post I will tell you all about the 14 day, 10 hours a day, every day, Guitar Venture. In subsequent posts I will describe some of the significant life-lessons that the Holy Spirit led me into. Please keep reading.

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