Esoterica Electrica

Whether you're a music-maker or an instrument builder, we're all magicians in our own way.

Most of us don't believe in magic as a spiritual force that defines and controls our world. Although that was the dominant social paradigm centuries ago, science has pretty much relegated the idea of "true" magic to the realm of crackpot thinking. However, the idea of magic as trickery, slight-of-hand, and illusion is still alive and well, and some of the world's biggest acts are illusionists. Audiences watch masterful "magicians" with a sense of awe as they seemingly levitate, walk on water, or even make the Statue of Liberty disappear. Few of us believe that these amazing feats are wizardry from beyond our conscious world, yet we marvel at the ingenuity used to create these illusions.

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The price of a vintage or boutique instrument is not tied to the playing pleasure it can bring.

In 1961, Italian artist Piero Manzoni sold a batch of serial-numbered cans of his excrement, which he titled Merda d'Artista (translated as Artist's Shit). All 90 of the 30-gram cans were quickly scooped up by patrons and collectors of avant-garde artwork. The selling price for these limited-edition articles was tied (by weight) to the price of gold, which, on some psychological level, may have increased their legitimacy or at least their worth.

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Our columnist shares the devices and materials needed to do some of his favorite guitar maintenance tricks.

The problem with giving advice is that there are many different approaches to everything, and usually more than one "right" answer. With my five decades of taking guitars apart, and sometimes putting them back together, I take a lot of stuff for granted, and I admit that I'm still learning. But ignoring all that, I'll just forge ahead and share the inexpensive tools and materials needed to do some of my favorite little tricks.

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