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Blood, Sweat & Sap

Blood, Sweat & Sap

by Nicholas Von Robison

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly Volume 10, #2, 1982

Sometime last spring I dreamed I was back in the Northwest for a short vacation. I had gone there to enjoy the trees - and was stunned to learn there weren’t any! All the forests had been paved over for condos, trailer parks, ski lodges, and fast food joints.

I don’t know just what triggered such a nightmare. I have learned in recent years that beer and pizza don’t go down as easily after midnight as they used to. More likely it was something I had read. I often read things (and more often write things) that are equally indigestible. But never after midnight.

No, it was probably the conversation with a luthier friend of mine, a splinter group agnostic who confessed to me that he really doesn’t believe that trees have a life of their own, that they speak to you in voices loud and soft, or that they should be approached as shrines. He tossed off Torres, Stradivari, Orville, C.F.; had only started his preachings on epoxy, graphite, fiberglass and polymers before I straight-armed him with a braced soundboard and tapped out a few tones. He recoiled of course, but on his way out the door parleyed that he could never accept the divinity of the old masters although they were great teachers. I’ll never attend woodshop vespers with that fellow again!

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