Kinematic Ugly

Some people have brand new, sparkling guitars. It used to bother me when I had a guitar like that, I only really had one or two in my life. The rest have been old clunkers that were owned by other people several years before I even got to see them. But, I would rather have an older, slightly dirty, dented guitar now.

New guitars are a problem. Everyone is afraid to play one for fear he may drop a bar on it, or worse, some drunk will come up while he is playing it and either barf on it, or stumble through it. New guitars attract music stands and microphones stands. They have an invisible force around them that pulls these stands from a perfectly still, vertical position to one that is horizontal, wildly gyrating, and looking for something to home in on. This force cannot diminish until it has contacted something new, clean, or overly protected by love. This force has a name, it is a real thing, and it abides in every new guitar made for at least two years. It is called “Emotional Torque”. It dies or moves on to another body after two years. Nobody knows how it does this, or why, but it does.

After two years, or several dents, you can throw hammers, screw drivers, and drunks at a guitar and these things will be repelled by it. You can see these objects actually curve through the air in an arc that defies gravity, and all other laws of nature, to miss their mark completely. The force also has a name: “Kinematic Ugliness”. This force is even stronger than “Emotional Torque”. A guitar that is truly Kinematic ugly is fun to play. It is so ugly that you can hold a bar two feet above this guitar, and use a bombsight or periscope to adjust for distance and windage to the target, the exact center of the neck, and this object will hurl itself not inches, but feet to the left or right to land on some person’s toes who has no idea what you were trying to do. A well endowed Kinematically Ugly guitar has the power to send a well aimed drunk who has stumbled onto, or through the bandstand, careening off at exceptionally high rates of speed. Whereas a guitar possessing “Emotional Torque” would attract this type of body even from as far away as a bathroom or the parking lot.

Kinematic Ugly Repulsion can of course, take over every instrument on a bandstand. This can be good and bad. If every instrument on the bandstand is Kenimatically Ugly the drunk will bounce off of the pedal steel only to bumble towards the drum set, which will in turn send him bounding off into the bass player’s area. At no point in this journey will he actually be able to contact anything, he will simply be rebounding around among the instruments and the players much like a pinball in a bad game of Hulks & Hussies. All of this is a distraction to the players, and embarrassment to the local establishment, and a hard act to follow when the subject in question finally does exit the stage out into the crowd of well entertained spectators.

Kenimatically Ugly guitars repel bars, picks, new players, anybody who wants to sit in, and potential buyers. That is the one drawback. A guitar that possesses a lot of Kenimatic Ugly is something you can’t sell. Nobody will even look at it. It offends the eyes. You can’t give it away.

There is an advanced stage of this force that a guitar should never be allowed to achieve however. A guitar that has been around so long, Kenimatically Ugly, that it finally, despite its own ability to repel everything, does get beat up, dented, paint flaked, and wobbly, does ultimately achieve “Reflex Reactivity”. This force effects people, not things. When a guitar possesses Reflex Reactivity it causes otherwise sane musicians and rational listeners to go berserk. They get an uncontrollable urge to jump squarely in the middle of this guitar and stomp it into little splinters. I wouldn’t be caught dead within fifty feet of any guitar that I even suspected might be starting to achieve Reflex Reactivity. One could inadvertently become a victim of fallout, or could sustain, “Peripheral Rage Disorder”.

I know, you think you will know when this is coming and you will have plenty of time to clear the immediate area. I have seen guitars go from “kenimatic Ugly” to “Reflex Reactivity” in a period of a day. The owners of these guitars have the worst case of denial possible. If you try to warn a player of the impending misfortune he is about to experience, he will reply with “It ain’t ugly, that’s soul you are looking at.” It is ugly, and you can tell when it is. You owe it to this person to grab that guitar and run with it to the nearest church.

Jeff Newman