KNOWING YOUR INSTRUMENT: Many a music teacher who sits down with a first-time pupil will do a bit of talking about the history of the instrument that the pupil has selected to learn. Maybe when it was first developed -- perhaps hundreds of years ago -- and where and famous players and some tidbits not known widely among its fans. And many a teacher will pause to describe how the instrument is hammered or welded or soldered or molded, before encouraging the pupil to see for herself how the magic all ignites in one single piece made from wood, metal, or both. There are a number of shops and factories that allow enthusiasts to take a informative peek inside, with Taylor Guitars of El Cajon being one of California's oft-cited examples. Why? Because the factory welcomes visitors every weekday at 1 p.m. -- save holidays, that is -- for a tour around the guitar-constructing space. (Let's also add that the company has been around for four decades and is, indeed, "one of the world's leading manufacturers of premium acoustic and electric guitars," with some 700 people in its employ.) If you have been keen to get the "how it comes together" background on one of your favorite instruments, whether you play or simply enjoy hearing others rock out, and you want to do a little bit of good this season, hop on a free Taylor tour before Dec. 17.
OH, AND REMEMBER THAT TOY... or food item to donate. Taylor Guitars is asking all tour attendees to show with either a toy -- unwrapped, natch -- or a nonperishable edible, items which will be collected leading up to the week before Christmas. The factory's hope is to "make a difference for nearly 10,000 East County San Diego families this holiday season." And tour guests will be entered in a raffle, one ticket for each item them show with, and the prizes? TaylorWare goods or, the grand prize, drum roll please, or, rather, guitar riff: a GS Mini guitar.
NICE STUFF... all around, the giving, the learning, and the understanding how an instrument comes together at its origin point. If music is indeed the food of love -- thank you, Shakespeare -- then a music-related donation drive is the kind of big-hearted community builder that lends some magic at the holidays.