Guitarists of a Certain Age, Dont' Be That Guy...


This morning I am a little sore, a little scraped up, cut and bruised, but I'm okay.

Last night I was working in the guitar studio. I've had several gear transitions recently and things have become a bit, um, haphazard. I've got a few patch cords running hither and thither across the studio to allow various pieces of gear to reach others. Because of my recent busyness, not all of the cables are well-dressed yet. In fact some are hanging across accessways. Last night I was optimizing the levels between the Helix, the Leslie G37, and the Marshall combo that I use to monitor for rehearsal. The Leslie has its controls on the back panel. To reach it I have to step over a pair of cables draping a foot or so above the floor and then twist to the right awkwardly. I did so and made my tweak and then tried to extricate myself. Somewhere in that process I lost sight of the cables and caught both of them with a foot, tripping and falling backwards in mid-twist. I went arse-over-tip and ended up beneath the SoundSeat and on top of the Baby Taylor, a rugged K&M guitar stand, and the Line6 HD500X footboard.

My view... recreated...

Lying there, gritting my teeth, trembling in pain, and wondering if I was leaking (I'm on a blood thinner), I heard the high, sweet, concerned voice of my lovely wife filter up from the downstairs kitchen: "Are you okay? I'm coming!" Apparently the crash and thump were fulsome enough to let her know I hadn't simply dropped something. She popped through the door, helped me up, evaluated my injuries (she is medically trained), and ascertained that I was not, in fact leaking too badly but was already producing some really lovely bruises (blood thinners are good for that). She cleaned my cuts, fussed over me, didn't laugh, and made me realize once again why I love this gentle lady so much.

This morning my right shoulder is persistently reminding of my stupidity in not dressing the cables. Inside I may feel as though I were twenty-five but outside I'm a youthful sixty-two. Importantly, no gear was destroyed in this episode, but I've got a lovely pattern of scrapes and bruises in my back that faithfully reproduces the pattern of the controls on the front panel of the HD500X. One thing that didn't occurred to me until later was that the Marshall combo amp weighs forty-five pounds and the Leslie G37 weighs over a hundred pounds and both sit on pedestals to uncouple them from the floor. The Helix perches on a small table as well. It's all arranged a little like a cockpit, with the various components surrounding me. The angles that the cords trace to the jacks are not direct, so they weren't going to simply be pulled out of the jacks. Instead, the amps and the Helix were yanked forward to the edges of their pedestals. I then crashed into the pedestal containing the Marshall, causing it to teeter ominously above me as well. I was very fortunate. Can you imagine if the amps and Helix had be pulled off their pedestals onto me? I would have finished up under a pile of backline very much like Wyle E. Coyote with the pianos and anvils piled atop him, and my injuries would likely have been far worse.

So folks, take care of yourselves. We aren't exactly getting any younger, not that it bothers me that much. I've never enjoyed life more than I do now but there are a few precautions we should unashamedly take. We dress cables onstage to prevent embarrassment. We should dress cables at home to prevent injury. So, don't be that guy who doesn't take care and nearly ends up like Wyle E. Coyote before he gets wise, um... like I did.