I’m unhappy with all my guitar strings, so I go to a reclusive Berkeley luthier who’s rumored to make the best strings in the world. I find him sitting at a table in the back of his run-down Craftsman, surrounded by guitar parts. He listens to my complaint, nods and speaks in a wispy guru voice best transcribed with italics.
My strings cost sixty dollars each. That’s three hundred sixty a set.
It’s worth it, handing me a guitar. Play an open D.
I play. It sounds all right.
Now an open A.
I start to strum a chord and he pulls the guitar back.
That’s enough for now. Have you ever listened to… Radiohead?
They are touring in Afghanistan, and they sent me all their guitars to repair. A shake of the head. Those guitars were hopeless. I threw them all in the trash. Literally. I’m going to have to make them new guitars from scratch.
“Oh, really?” I commiserate, and glance around for the dumpster.