Here is my 'comfort food' guitar-but it has an uncomfortable ethical issue attached.
Some years ago, a resident in my building had heard me playing guitar. She said that a friends of hers
had broken up with a partner. He left a guitar at her place. She didn't want his stuff sitting around so the resident
at our building offered to take it. But she didn't play. She asked me if I would like to have it. I said, well I already have
several guitars but I would take a look at it. When she brought it, the strings were like something you would see
lining a prison wall. It was in dire need of cleaning and the neck relief needed adjusting. But it seemed to stay in tune.
It was from a Japanese maker I never heard of.
I said, okay I'll take it. A backup acoustic is not a bad thing. I already had one but, it was developing its own issues,
like a broken internal pickup and a major crack in the body. I did some major cleaning, got a new set of strings and adjusted neck
relief. At the time I noticed something different about it, but didn't give it much thought. Between that time and my friend
asking me to play 'Change the World' so he could sing it to his just-married wife, my suspicions had grown and a quick test by
our mutual good buddy seemed to confirm. At this point, the strings are still a little high near the soundhole but it is definitely playable and has
a chimey, bell-like tone.
Now the issue. The pickguard and truss rod cover were the parts that made me curious. Then I thought, uh oh. Old Japanese guitar company.
Both parts are genuine tortoise shell. Now, I'm pretty sure the CITIES agreement has a clause for instruments made before it was implemented. But
U.S. customs infamously destroyed an antique piano, due to the ivory keys.
I have always been an environmental advocate. I'm also a guitar player. I don't want to give it away, destroying it would not accomplish anything.
For now I'm just enjoying the sound.