Zen and the Art of {cutting, sanding, spraying, setups, etc.}

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ChicknPickn, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Many years ago, I read Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." It said something to me about the quest for quality in the things we do. And it also suggested that there are so many things that can get in the way of doing a thing simply to do it well. Not fast, not cheaply. Just to search out the value of what we're doing, and to reach for that.

    I think about this a lot in building guitars and maintaining them. Not long ago, I was striving to achieve an all-around good setup on a Telecaster with the truss rod adjuster at the heel. I was wanting to get to a good result, but was feeling impatient. I didn't really want to take the time it takes. And I realized, what is the hurry? Did I set out to do a quick setup? Or did I set out to do a GOOD setup? I finally decided I wasn't in the right state of mind to do what needed to be done. And I put the task aside. Later, I was more in my Zen mind.

    This kind of thing pops up a lot for me. Certainly, when using powerful tools, it is essential to be in the Zen mindset - - focused, in the moment, trying to achieve the right result, NOT the right result fast.

    I am curious as to how others here, musicians and craftsmen, experience this internal struggle between doing it to do it right, or doing it to get it done quickly. For some, doing both is perhaps possible.
     
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  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I too was influenced by Pirsig’s book, but not in the traditional sense. I can be in that moment while crafting something for as long as I want to, but I also realize that there are so many things to learn and do in life … knowing that there is no guarantee of how much time we will live, that the question becomes, “do I want to trade off quality craftsmanship with experiencing more variety in life?” I have deliberately chosen the latter. A “renaissance man”. Enlightened in most subjects, master of none.

    I find “perfection” to be a bit of a bore in everything. A house, a car, a lawn, a piece of furniture or even a guitar. Music and guitar playing is part of that. A perfect classical flamenco guitar solo will put me to sleep, whereas an untamed cheap 60’s fiberglass guitar can set the hair of my neck on fire.
     
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  3. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Friend of Leo's

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    Great read. Made me think deeply philosophical thoughts.

    I think knowing where to draw the line on "good enough" is a skill onto itself. And in my experience, good enough for me has always been good enough for others.
    I do often have to say, "perfection was never an option" and accept "good enough"
    Also on occasion: "Some people dont deserve the very best" or "most people wouldnt know it if they saw it"

    But I do acknowledge often striving for seemingly impossible levels. Or at least making a personal sacrifice to meet standards others will likely never appreciate.
    I like to be creative. Inventive. I enjoy studying something and considering "how could this be done/made better"
    But just because you can, doesnt mean you should.
    And sometimes I am mentally tortured by these things...

    Did I mention it was an unexpectedly good book though? :cool:
     
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  4. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't always avail myself to mindfulness when completing tasks like these--I think there's something to be said for letting one's mind drift in thought and reflection independent of task.

    One thing that I do try to do, though, is apply leverage and body positioning to tasks like these--how can I orient my body relative to the thing I'm working on to apply the most pressure, the clearest view, or the most steady hand position?
     
  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Well said. I agree that “drawing the line” is an art in itself. I too strive and make some sacrifices at what I do and yet I am constantly tortured by asking myself, “when is enough enough?”

    Many call me, “a perfectionist”, but I know I am not. Is it because I am a perfectionist, that I know that I’m not?
     
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