Guitars With Mojo

Is that guitar magic?  Does it exude mojo?  How is it that some instruments have it and some don't?  Some guitars, you pick up and set right back down, walk away and don't look back.  Others, you hang around your neck and it is indeed as though you have an amulet that calls down the Powers, seduces the Muses, and cranks the amp.

It seems that some guitars possess mojo through their history.  The "battered Strat" syndrome is so well known that you can buy a new guitar from Fender that is beat up and made to look as though it was played in smoky roadhouses and dives for decades.  Do these modern "relics" have the same vibe as those that earned their dings one gig at a time?

If it is an age thing, does each gig leave a residue of vibe on a guitar?  Is that the source of their mojo?  If that's the case, well, then do the guitars of studio musicians have mojo?  

I read on a Fender calendar once that Leo's first Strat prototype toured until it became too valuable to risk.  What would it feel like to hold that guitar and count off a shuffle?  

Even though I've owned a few over the years, I used to think kit guitars couldn't have mojo.  In my view, they were made too much of standard stock to hold the magic, but now I am not so sure.  If conceived and built with care, could these "poor man's custom shop" instruments not charm?  I have read on-line descriptions of kit guitars that simply glowed with joy and thoughtfulness.  Surely, the players of these guitars will attest to their personality.  "This one will have a carved top with a hand-rubbed finish.  It will have only one pickup -- a Fralin Humbucker -- at the neck position, but it will have an RMC transducer system built into the bridge.  The neck will be…” See, you are drawing a picture of the axe in your mind.  Surely there is some magic in that.

Mojo can't be purely an age (or pseudo age) thing, though, because sometimes we run across a brand new guitar that makes our hands ache to play it.  And it's not purely a cost thing either.  A beautiful PRS Custom 22 can sing to you, but I've been fascinated staring at a $199 Squire too.  Is mojo an illusion born of wishful thinking or brain chemistry?  What did you eat for lunch?  About whom were you thinking as your feet directed you into the guitar department?  How long has it been since you picked up an unfamiliar instrument?

Wait.  Does that brush against the notion?  How long has it been since you even wanted to pick up another instrument?  Does the instrument you have today, whatever its vintage, color scheme, design, or original cost, pull you to it?  Is it hard to walk through the room without picking it up and playing it?  Does your spouse have to call you multiple times to get you to put it down and go have dinner with the neighbors?  

Perhaps it is you who invest the guitar with magic.  Each time you pour yourself into your playing, each time you forget yourself in the music, and yes, each time you lay back and groove on what the rhythm section is laying down, the mojo of your axe grows.  Such is our craft.  I am pretty sure about this one.

© Michael C. Glaviano 2009 - 2016