If you ever break your neck in Brisbane

Friday, 13 March 2009

It was the unthinkable, nightmare scenario you never, ever want to experience as a musician: watching your primary instrument self-destruct before your eyes…and just two hours before the first, sold-out date of your first Australian tour.

It happened to my blue longneck Ovation last week…the guitar I have been touring, performing and recording with continually for the past 12 years. The guitar was mounted on a Hercules stand during the soundcheck for my Brisbane Powerhouse/Visy Theatre show. I grabbed the stand the wrong way and it “released” the Ovation in an arcing nose dive straight onto the hard-surfaced stage.

The nut took the full force of the fall and the headstock was simply severed off, as if it had been guillotined.

Alex the road manager and I looked on in stupefied horror. My hard-working, custom-built guitar had taken many hits through the years. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

But everyone acted quickly to deal with the situation. The lighting guy knew about a guitar repair shop on the other side of Brisbane called the Guitar Repairers (www.guitarrepairers.com) that specializes in repairing and restoring instruments. Alex called them and they agreed to stay open to look at the guitar.

We made our way across town in rush hour traffic. It felt like an episode of ER.

When we arrived a guy named Luke assessed the damage.

I told him it was a priceless, one-of-a-kind instrument. He nodded.

I asked him if he could fix it. Yes was the answer.

I asked if he could fix it quickly. Yes again.

And finally, I said it had to be superb work. He nodded that it would be.

We left him to it. That night and the next night I performed the music I would normally have played on the Ovation on my Cole-Clark Fat Lady. It did a great stand-in.

The accident happened on Wednesday night. We got the guitar back Friday morning and I was performing with it Saturday noon at the Port Fairy Festival. I have since played six shows with it.

Their the work is, in a word, impeccable. They glued the two sections together and reinforced the break with rosewood splints. It is now difficult to see where the break happened…and the rosewood splints actually look really nice.

The repair bill was very reasonable considering the turnaround time and the quality of the work.

Thank you Guitar Repairers.

I advise you to make sure your guitar accidents happen in Brisbane, Australia whenever possible.

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