Thursday, November 20, 2008

I didn't get into this line of work to be in business. It was more of a mystical choice, a compulsion, based on love of the sounds, shapes, smells and feelings that swirl around these guitars, both playing and building guitars. Yet, somewhere in the course of family life and many children I understood that I would have to accept some kind of role in business to allow me to pay for my guitar habit, so I could keep on doing what I love, and keep my kids somewhere out of musician's poverty. I reluctantly embraced "business" as part of what's needed for guitar making and guitar playing. It hasn't been easy, and it's definitely a work in progress, but I consider myself among the lucky ones to be working at something I love, and surround by talented and insightful people.

Now along comes a meltdown. It's very annoying. It seems that while I and a host of colleagues have been spending our best efforts to do nice things and make the world a little better, other mammoth forces have been extra cynical and greedy - or epically careless - with the big world of economies, and it threatens to unravel much that we've done over the last five or thirty five years. Thankfully, life at Hill Guitar is still chugging along. People still need guitars, maybe now more than ever. Although I am quite aware of the power of world, national and local economics, it's not the only thing I think about, and we are still holding on to our plans and hopes in this special world of guitar. We're still making some truly great guitars, and we're even expanding our lines of student instruments, trying to provide our customers the very best instruments possible for their money and for their music.

As musicians we're a little lucky at this moment, because we're practiced at hard times. We didn't get into this for the money. We got into it for the beauty, for the human contact, for the inspiration, for the personal and spiritual challenges that go along with it every day, regardless of what level of player you are. There is always something valuable and ongoing in the growth and communion that comes with music, and this is always available to us - in good times and in bad.

We musicians are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We already know something about sacrifice. Through music we make the world better, through our passions and attention to detail we improve ourselves and our surroundings. This is why I actually feel a bit optimistic at this time, in spite of grinding catastrophic news. Sometimes it takes disappointment to remember what is really valuable in life. In a recessionary climate I see an opportunity to calm down a little, look around and rethink what's important, what offers lasting contentment and quality of life. This is our opportunity to re-assert real personal values.

So I'm not giving up, not even letting up. This is a very good time for music. Musicians always have to deal with tough economics, it's the norm. We're used to it, grudgingly at home with it, adaptable. So let's keep it going. Here at Hill Guitar we're we try to make make instruments that make our musicians lives a little better. As musicians we all make music to make our daily world a little better. Keep it going. It's more important now than ever.

Kenny Hill

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