If my apartment were burning, the first thing I’d save is a guitar – specifically, a seafoam green Telecaster with a Bigsby bridge built by Bill Nash, a guitar builder in Olympia, Washington. It wasn’t my first guitar, but it is my favorite, and I play it nearly every day. Nash has a way of making the subjective and inexact parts of guitars feel like inarguable truths: he always coaxes supreme playability, feel, and tone out of them. Mine plays easy, punchy, and loud. It’s hokey to say, but it’s the closest a guitar has come to feeling a part of me.
I recently took it for a tune-up at 30th Street Guitars, a fantastic shop two blocks from my apartment in Manhattan. Though now actually on 27th Street, oddly tucked into the ground floor of FIT, its proximity to the (gradually disappearing) rehearsal studios back on 30th, the theater district, and Madison Square Garden means owner Matt Brewster handles guitars owned by everyone from lifetime hobbyists (like me) to Broadway pit musicians to legends like Elvis Costello. If Matt’s hands are good enough for their guitars, they’re good enough for my prized guitar, too.
30th Street Guitars
David Kenji Chang is a writer and comedian who currently lives and works in New York and Southern California.