From the Mountain to the Desert

I’ve shared several posts about our recent vacation in San Diego, California, and I’m sure I could write a number more. You’d probably tire of them long before I would.

But let me share one more–for now.

One day, our friends Tom and Genean took us for a ride east from San Diego (actually Carlsbad) for a day in the mountains. I’m quite used to mountains in the eastern part of the United States–the Smokies and the Blue Ridge Mountains–but what we saw was quite different. Much rockier, as you can see. The mountains are bare of trees, unless they’ve been planted. And even a rocky mountainside may have graffiti. And when I say rocky, I mean BIG rocks.

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Along the way, we passed a number of orchards. Quite a contrast to the rest of the terrain. We never did find out what the worker on the tall ladder was doing.

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We off-roaded down the mountainside. Quite a bumpy experience, but there was only one place–maybe two–where we were actually VERY near a steep drop. Not good for my acrophobia, but we survived.

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The vegetation was pretty desert-like even in the mountains. Check out the cactus my wife is standing by and the tumbleweed.

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Our goal for the day was a town called Julian, famous for apple pies made from local apples. But wouldn’t you know everything there (practically) closed at 5:00 and we were too late for the place we really wanted to go to for a slice each. So we went to the grocery and bought a whole local pie to take home and gorge twice as much on. Sorry my pictures don’t include the pie.

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On the drive home, we stopped to enjoy the sunset.

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No way I could do our visit to the mountains and desert justice with these pictures, but it should give you a flavor of the day. More of these pictures are available HERE.

Any comments? I’d love to hear ’em. Please share.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger

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The Taylor Guitar Factory

If you read this past Sunday’s post, you already know that my wife and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in San Diego. And that two of our many interesting activities involved music. I told you about the Museum of Making Music on Sunday, and today I’ll share about the visit to the Taylor Guitar Factory.

Dsc_8877I have a Taylor. A GS Mini, which is a 3/4 size guitar with amazing sound quality for something so miniaturized.

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Taylor has only been making guitars for forty years, compared to Martin, which has been in business since 1833. But their guitars have become widely popular and widely used among both professional and amateur musicians. They’ve been quite innovative in such things as creating a bolt-on neck and in their use of machinery, including lasers.

Upon passing the reception desk, we came to a room full of guitars I was free to take off the walls or out of the stands and play to my heart’s desire. Doing that make clear that the the $2500-2700 guitars sounded appreciably better than the $1900-2000 ones.

Dsc_8887Not that I would object to one of the lesser ones, but–drat it!–they weren’t giving any away, and about all we could afford was $20 for a T-shirt. But it’s a really nice one…commemorating Taylor’s fortieth anniversary. I would’ve loved to have one of their beautifully tooled, thick leather straps, but–alas–$80 for that will have to wait for another time.

In a room on the other side of the reception desk were more guitars. Acoustic and acoustic/electric guitars without price tags. I’m assuming they were more than the others. Also in that room were samples of their hollow body electric guitars–and a bit further in–guitars with their backs out, showing the various exotic woods one can have his choice of guitars made from. If I recall correctly, Taylors run as high as $5,000.

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The tour, starting at 2:00 p.m., was led by a young lady who used a wireless headphone system to guide us through the factory.

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Don’t let Taylor’s use of machines fool you. There’s still a lot of hand work done on each guitar. Nonetheless, machines like the ones that bend the sides of the guitar into shape–interestedly, the machine operator sprays the wood with a little bit of water before running it through the machine–and the robotic machine that buffs the guitars after they receive their finish are of special interest. Not to mention the one that dries the glue in minutes, not days.

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The wood glue they use contains an element that glows. So if any glue gets on the outside of a guitar, it can be detected easily and sanded off.

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Taylor is big on reusing as many materials as possible. A large box contains wood scraps which are either used for other parts of a guitar or donated to a local toy maker.

Dsc_8932And what can I say about the huge room full of exotic woods? Incidentally, Taylor is very environmentally friendly when it comes to protecting the forests their woods come from.

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I could say a lot more, but I’m about all talked out. Except to say they let us take some of the wooden holes cut out to make the sound holes. Great souvenirs!

These pictures are just a sample of all the ones I took. If you want to see more, I’ll be posting an album on my Facebook page soon.

Are you a guitarist? Do you have a Taylor? What do you play? All comments gladly welcome.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25. It’s available for pre-order HERE.

Best regards,
Roger

The Museum of Making Music

My wife and I just returned from a wonderful week of vacation in San Diego, and I plan to share a couple of my favorite activities with you over the next week or so.  If you’ve been following me any length of time, you know I LOVE music. So it’s only natural that I’d want to post about two of our music-related activities.

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) has a fascinating museum in San Diego. The name, the Museum of Making Music, sounds offbeat, but what’s inside is well worth spending time looking at–and in some cases drooling over.

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The reception desk is fashioned like a grand piano. In fact, the visitor might not realize what he’s looking at until he notices the Dell computer located in plain sight.

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Any Michael Hedges fans here? I think he’s the fellow who plays a harp guitar like this one:

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Ever seen a five-string banjo built like an electric guitar?

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Or an upright bass with frets and position markers like a guitar? Or is it a cello?

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Interesting information about my favorite web music store:

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How about a horn with two bells? Each one produces a different kind of sound–or so I understand.

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This museum has many places where the visitors can try out different kinds of instruments, like my friend Tom here on the digital drums.

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I can’t begin to do this museum justice, even with these few pictures. If you ever go to San Diego, you should check it out for yourself and see all of the things I haven’t told you about. And rest assured that it’s a LOT cheaper than the Zoo.

Please leave a comment if this post has been interesting.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25. It’s available for pre-ordering HERE.

Best regards,
Roger