CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES: How Me And My Bud Made The Fugliest Guitar On Earth Even Fuglier

u2_boythumbnailthumbnail.jpgBY JAMIE DAVIS My best friend Jack owns The Ugliest Guitar of All Time. Admittedly it’s not all the guitar’s fault, seeing has how we only made it butt-uglier with our misguided attempts to pretty it up.  Before we got our hands on it, it was a shit-brown sunburst Stratocaster with a too plastic-y finish that made it look like a kitchen countertop. The pickups were the same color as the pick-guard, black, which made it look about as cool as one of those fucking stupid stealth planes they built in the 80’s. You know, the fucking stupid as shit ones that didn’t even work. And then it had a Van-Halen style Floyd Rose whammy bar that made the bridge look like a mechanical spider from the future. It also had a craptastic neck. The finger board was made of this bullshit wood that looked like brown cork, the neck was the color of plywood, with pretty much the same feel, but more lacquer. Then, finally, at the very flag waving top of this ugly piece of shit was a headstock that I am convinced actually was made of plastic, which we were able to confirm by setting it on fire. More on that in a bit.

Now, Jack [pictured, above and below, realizing he owns The Ugliest Guitar On Earth] loved this fucking thing, because he says Kurt Cobain and Hendrix played one (which is bullshit, Cobain played a Jaguar) and because his bro picked it out, whom he idolizes (which is not bullshit). Admittedly, when I came over and played it, it sounded pretty good, I’m not going to lie to you. But, as someone who plays guitar with the strap all the way down, I care much more about how a guitar looks rather than how it sounds, which only guitar nerds give a shit about, let’s be honest. So yeah, he was really into it, and I pretended to be to make him happy, but also because it was pretty sweet to play when just the two of us were jamming. Now one fine day I got the bright idea of painting it with a mirror finish. Matt Bellamy, the dude from Muse, did it and it looked awesome. Granted, he did use a real mirror rather than paint, but still. Anyway, I told Jack about my idea, and because he is extremely naive he went along with it, hoping that mirror paint did really exist in real life. So we drove to Sears, and asked a guy who worked there if they had mirror paint. He kind of looked at us weird and said, “Uhm… Well no, but but we do sell… like, silver, I guess.”

“Alright, sweet!” we replied in unison, thinking that was the next best thing, and so, at his parents expense, we bought two cans of spray paint, silver and ugly-guitar-2.jpgblack, which we used to paint his guitar. That would look sweet, right? Wrong. I’m not going to lie to you, it looked bad. It looked really fucking bad. In fact, it looked worse than really fucking bad, it looked like shit. Just to get a second opinion, I asked my mom what she thought. The next day when my Mom was giving me a lift over to Jack’s, I asked her to wait in the driveway while I went and got it out of the garage, slung its black and white checkered Cheap Trick strap (some girl had told Jack that Cheap Trick was a good band, influencing his purchase no doubt to a huge extent) around my neck, and asked her if it looked cool.

Understand that my mother is an extremely positive and supportive parent. Same with my dad: I recently had a party with all my friends at my dad’s house (my parents are divorced) while he and my sister went to visit my uncle in Minnesota, it obviously involved drinking and seeing as we suck at cleaning up and left a shot glass in the medicine cabinet, and I got caught. All that happened was I got my car, which he pays for, taken away for three days, although I was still allowed to go out whenever I wanted. Like I said, positive and supportive, always finding the silver lining in the cloud of the situation. When I showed the guitar to her, she kind of made a small grimace, and said “Uhhhm well I guess, yeah…I guess in a certain way it is… cool.” So yeah, it’s that ugly. My mom couldn’t even fake enthusiasm about it.

After that, the guitar sat in his garage for months, rusting, until I took it out recently for a campfire. I convinced Jack we could “baptize it with fire” aka “Duude, let’s scorch it like the surface of Mars!” Because, again, Jack is extremely naive, and I am extremely impulsive and excitable, we agreed to go for it. So I got it out of his room, telling his step dad “Yeah, the acoustic broke a string”, and brought it to the fire. First we burnt the base of the guitar, hoping to scar it like Hendrix used to. We kept it in the fire for a while, because I bullied him, eventually took it out, stared at it for a bit, and decided it looked “Pretty good, I guess.” Then I decided we needed to burn the plastic off the headstock so we shoved it deep in the coals for around a minute, then took it out. We couldn’t see too well in the dark, but decided it was “pretty sweet” to quote my buddy Jack. At this point I asked if I could take it home, as I wanted to try it for a song I was recording. I had forgotten that while we were painting it we had ripped out some wires, and it very probably no longer worked.

When I got it in the house I saw the full extent of our folly. The headstock had burned in places to a white-gray crisp and some parts had merely melted and bubbled. The burning of the base only succeeded in taking off some of the silver paint. It looked, if possible, even shittier. The guitar now sits in my room, where it has lain untouched for the last week, as I just stare at it and wonder what the hell to do about it. At the time of writing I still have not broke the news to Jack that he does in fact own the ugliest guitar of all time — he probably is laboring under the delusion that I’m just hoarding his now-super-sweet axe. But who knows, maybe this summer we’ll do what my other friend said, and bust out some files and grind that shit down. That’ll look good. Right?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Davis is a senior at Kimberton Waldorf High School.  He enjoys Blink-182 more than any Thom Yorke fan should.

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