Red Dog Music | Oct 9, 2018 | 0
Dr Fretlove’s Little Helpers
Sitting here on the first day of April, with fresh stirrings of Spring in the air, I can’t help but reflect how lucky I am to be doing the job I love. My next thought is for all those who help keep the wheels turning; the shop staff, my suppliers, and, of course, you – the customers. Above all else though, a special place in my heart is reserved for my own little helpers, unseen and unheralded as they go about their daily business.
For centuries the domesticated European Polecat – otherwise known as the ferret – has been prized for its intelligence and willingness to work alongside man. Forget all this stuff about people putting ferrets down their trousers – all those silly innuendos. It’s true – a few, more unorthodox members of society, who would frequent the seedier pubs in times of yore, apparently entertained their clientele to the spectacle of a ferret chasing a live rat, round and round the inside their very baggy trousers which were tied at the waist and ankles. The outcome was usually fairly predictable, with the ferret invariably the victor.
But back to the present day … did you know that B.T. has their own stable of ferrets which are used to take runs of cable through narrow, subterranean openings? Well, in much the same way, I – quite literally – harness this small creature’s underground abilities to reach those difficult, inaccessible places, within the confines of some of the shallower bodied electro-acoustic guitars I have to work on. It’s the ferret’s natural hunting instinct to explore every nook and cranny that makes them so ideally suited for the task in hand. Careful planning of wiring layouts and a bit of butter on a judiciously placed fingertip brings an almost remote-controlled quality to their performance. Add their aforementioned intelligence and willingness to please into the equation and you have the ideal working companion.
It’s true that some people find the ferret’s musky scent a bit overpowering but I prefer to think of it as being similar to an aged Heather Blossom honey and, to be fair, it does fade with time. I’ve had no complaints so far but if you do catch a faint whiff of subcutaneous sweetness inside your guitar, just remember that they gave their all willingly. They’re nobody’s fool.