This afternoon and evening, I was playing one of my guitars, and something sounded slightly...off. I couldn't seem to get the same subtlety out of the notes I'd been getting. I fiddled with everything on the guitar and amp, and still...a little strange.
Strings were only a few days old. Still nice and crisp sounding. So I looked at my pick. I'm well aware that pick wear makes a difference. Hmmm...It looked ok...
I'd switched from standard teardrop celluloid mediums to Tortex Jazz IIIs a couple of months back. I switched because I really liked how the sound changed and the picking was a little faster. With celluloids, it's easy to see and feel when they're worn.
But this Tortex one still looked good. Still, I got a fresh one out of the pick bag,
There it was!
My usual tone and picking attack were back. I wondered how much wear was on the old pick I'd been using. So I looked at them both under a magnifying glass (I don't own a microscope). I could see a tiny difference, wasn't much. Probably not enough to notice without magnification. I wasn't sure I could feel it with my fingertip, though I thought maybe I did. But it was evidently enough to make all the difference in the playing!
I suppose a dull knife would look similar to a sharp knife under a simple magnifying glass.
It made me realize how little, tiny things can really affect how we play, what we hear, and how no matter how small, everything affects everything!
I knew it was a small world. But it now feels smaller still.
Edit: Before dinner I happened to drop a toothpick on the counter. And it made a ringing sound. It reminded me of Paul Smith dropping guitar nut materials in his video, and how they had a sound depending on the material. So I got a few more toothpicks and dropped them on the counter to hear how they sounded. Then my wife came in and looked at me with a quizzical expression.
"I'm listening to the tone of these toothpicks," I explained.
"Oh I see. You're listening to toothpicks. Of course." she said, matter of factly. Like she'd seen men listening to toothpicks all her life. Didn't miss a beat.
She's used to me now. I blame Paul.