Saturday, November 26, 2005
Well, all the Canadians will see this in their Saturday Globe and Mail, and I'm not really sure if any of my American friends ever really look at this blog, but it's worth posting anyway -- Six String Nation - a guitar made of Canadiana. This is awesome.
As the fate of the nation hung in the balance, an inner voice spoke to Mr. Taylor, commanding him to build a guitar that contained Canada's national mojo.The guitar will be made by Nova Scotian master luthier George Rizsanyi. He and Taylor decided on making it an acoustic guitar, rather than an electric, as it's then suitable for any occasion -- campfire or rockin' out. But check this out:
“It was weird,” says Mr. Taylor, a CBC radio host and lifelong music enthusiast. “But it made sense, too.”
Mr. Taylor understood that the guitar must contain materials from each province, and that every element had to be infused with authentic Canadian spirit. He soon had a long list, including a canoe paddle used by Pierre Trudeau, a plank from the deck of the Bluenose, mastodon teeth excavated in Alberta, copper from the roof of Parliament, and a hockey stick used by Paul Henderson to defeat the Soviets in 1972.
“A guitar is the universal instrument,” says Mr. Taylor, who is nearing the realization of his oddball dream, which he has dubbed the Six String Nation project. “It's Canada's talking stick. We need one that sings with all our voices.”
Making the guitar a hollow-body acoustic, however, vastly complicates the task of building it. As musical construction goes, Mr. Rizsanyi's task could be compared to that of Dr. Frankenstein's efforts to create a human being from a collection of scavenged body parts. Among the items now in Mr. Rizsanyi's workshop are Pierre Trudeau's spruce canoe paddle, oak from Sir John A. MacDonald's board room table, a hemlock board from the world's longest covered bridge in Hartland, N.B., a length of mahogany decking from the Bluenose, a creosote-soaked beam from Halifax's Pier 21, and two sections of hockey stick — one was used by Wayne Gretzky at the peak of his NHL career, and the other wielded by Paul Henderson when he led Canada to victory in the final game of the 1972 Soviet series.All I can say, is that my new Mission in Life, is to someday touch this guitar, should it ever be completed.
These wooden parts will be joined by a long list of metals and artifacts, including a walrus tusk, pieces of copper from the roof of the original library of Parliament and — providing that an underwater recovery operation can be mounted — a scrap of metal from the sunken wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Great Lakes freighter immortalized by singer Gordon Lightfoot.
Although he has some preliminary plans — such as using the parliamentary copper roofing as inlays on the frets — Mr. Rizsanyi says he won't make a final decision about where each object will be used in the guitar until he's collected them all.
“I need to look at them all, stir the pot, and consult the mystics,” he says.
Mr. Taylor realizes that the project has become something of an obsession, but refuses to scale back his plans.
“People at various times — usually with my best interests at heart — suggest that I trim the project to a more modest, manageable size,” he says. “To which I usually answer: ‘No, I want to make something huge and sweeping and diverse and beautiful and full of contradictions — like our country.' ”
jane 9:42 AM [+]