Clawing my way to Specimen
My trek to bring my guitar to Specimen Products last week was, let me say, an ordeal.
Despite the icy air, the roads looked clear, and I thought I’d try to ride over on my Genuine 170. Unfortunately, though I was up for the challenge, my bike’s battery was not.
After adding “buy battery tender” to my to-do list, I ran to catch the bus. It never showed. I walked a few blocks south to try another bus, and arrived just in time to watch it fly past.
Not going well.
Giving up, I pulled out the robophone and requested a car to pick me up. Only a 2-minute wait. Perfect.
12 minutes later, after some text messages, some more standing around in the sub-20 weather, and nearly 1.5 hours after my first attempt to leave, I was finally in a car heading to Specimen.
My driver apologized several times and tried every trick he could to cheer me up. He found the magic key: we started talking about Living Room Playmakers.
Specimen crafts Wonderland-esque speakers and amps, repairs stringed instruments, and even runs a school of guitar making
When I told him about our shows, which happen in unusual spaces, and usually involve free drinks and a dance party, he was excited — so much so that he started pitching ideas to me on where to do our next show. Honestly, he had some good thoughts.
I gave him my card as I stepped out of the car, finally smiling at the chance conversation that never would have happened if my bike had actually started up.
Getting in and out of Specimen took only a few minutes. They got my guitar into the repair queue in no time, giving me a brief pause to stare in wonder at their magical shop. If you’ve never heard of this place, you can thank me later. It’s like a hidden workshop from another time and place, and is fascinating, even if you’re not a musician (fun fact: they’re the ones who make the fantastical horn speakers utilized by Andrew Bird).
On my way out, I paused to take a snapshot of the shop, filled with old wood and new strings and the vapor of soldering irons. “Hmm,” I thought, “this would be such a fun place to put up a show.”