The Naming of Things

guitarThis is my new baby – bought on Sunday from an astonishing shop called Guitar Village in Farnham, with literally hundreds of guitars, entire room full of Les Pauls, another full of Strats, guitarist heaven – and I’m still trying to think of a name for her. I don’t name all my guitars – that would be both sad and peculiar – but the special ones deserve to be treated right. Trouble is, my current TV character crush (my gorgeous Gibson ES335 is called Buffy, predictably enough) is a non-starter as she has the same name as Mrs Abahachi, which means that I’m having to cast the net more broadly, and so far haven’t hit on the perfect name: Lauren might have been a possibility, given today’s news, but that’s also the name of a second cousin; my sporting heroine is a Lena, but she’s very blond and most of this guitar is brunette…

So, a random extra EOTWQ, for the half hour before the new theme turns up, or if you get bored over the weekend: what name(s) have you ever given to inanimate objects, male or female, and why?

18 thoughts on “The Naming of Things

  1. Nice guitar Aba! The ladyllama kindly bought me a Fender Pawn Shop 51 last Xmas – a kind of Frankenstein Tele/Strat combo with a hard tail and belting pickups. It is played but remains unnamed. The ES335 is a fine guitar indeed – always lusted after Alex Lieson’s white one.

  2. That’s a lovely looking guitar.

    I don’t generally name things, except cars, my current one is Siouxsie Scenic, but I used to have a blender which I called Glenda.

    • I haven’t named anything besides cars (Lenin, Robespierre and Josephine – last couple of cars have been deep disappointments so didn’t get names), bicycles (Sieglinde) and guitars. Why Glenda?

  3. I had a fiat called Phoebe Metallura, which is a metal-tailed humming bird – although at the time I didn’t realise it’s a black metal-tail (Phoebe was red). I used to work in wildlife licensing, hence the name. And we used to call mum’s vacuum cleaner Egbert the Electrolux.

  4. I’m another one that used to name cars. My first car (bought from my dad) was a Metro called the Captain after the ill-fated Oates in Scott’s Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition. A combination of its number plate – A927 OAT – and its unreliability – “I’m just going out, and I may be some time”.
    When my best friend bought himself a brand new Metro a year or so later, he rang me when he picked it up to tell me that, as mine was the Captain, his car had named itself. When I saw it, we just looked at each other, nodded, and simultaneously said “The Chairman“. Number plate? G318 MAO
    Unfortunately, Dave was later killed in that car, and amongst many other more major consequences, the circumstances stopped me ever having the enthusiasm to name any more of mine.

    I am absolutely NO musician: cannot play a note. I’ve just bought (the keyboard-learning) Darcey a ukulele, though, as she was getting a little jealous of her sister’s expanding instrument collection, and was due a ‘prize’ on an unrelated matter. Jess has just had her (early) birthday present: the saxophone she’d been really keen on (to add to the flute, piccolo and oboe she already plays). Bless my kids: I have no idea where their musical talent comes from.

    • Jess also plays xylophone, marimba and timpani at school, but I flat refuse to give house room to any of those monsters!

  5. My current car is called ‘Deviate Little MotherFucker’, to help me remember the number. It doesn’t quite work – it’s DV07 – but it’s close enough.

    I’m not a namer of objects by nature. But there may be some scattered around. Plenty of Thingys and Whatsits.

    Your guitar looks nice, Aba. Does it play likewise? It’s a relatively small body, isn’t it? Why did you pick it? (I’m considering buying a newer one; my Fender’s getting tired and ornery.)

    • It plays beautifully, thank you. Yes, size is on the smaller side of medium – I don’t know all the technical terminology for sizes of acoustic guitars, apart from the fact that a dreadnought is way larger than I wanted – but fairly deep compared with some of the other guitars of this size that I tried. Basically I had a very clear idea of the sound I wanted (much more important than with an electric, where of course you can do a lot with tone controls on the amp), and just kept playing different guitars until I found the one that fit – of course, the fact that many acoustic guitars develop their sound as they’re played more means this may all come to nothing, but it’s unlikely to deteriorate dramatically…

  6. By the way, I only have one named guitar – Madame La Gretsch is a plum-coloured 5122 double-cut semi, like the Gibson 335. She is gorgeous and makes sweet noises, but dictates to me a lot about where I stand (feedback) and where I put my hands (Bigsby and floating bridge).
    Only things I did anthropomorphize were, strangely, tools. Started with Stan the Knife (made by Stanley), through John Le Measurer (tape measure) and rather embarrassingly Sir Screwy the Driver. I also picked up the habit from a midlands college mate of calling a hammer a ‘yammer’, owing to its frequent adjunct to ‘blood’, as in ‘Where’s that blood yammer?’.

  7. I’m not into naming things at all except we have 2 cats and 2 dogs, one cat is called ‘the brown cat’, the other is ‘Chips’. The German Shepherd is called ‘Marley’ and the Boxer is ‘Jasmine’.
    Santa Rosa, the small N.Cal town where we live, hosts a 2 day international luthier conference on alternate years, it’s a big deal, they come from all over the world bringing their works of art with them. Commercial manufacturers are excluded. I don’t play, I just admire, I’m a life-long woodworker so there’s always so much to admire. Plus they have two auditoriums running all day where the luthiers
    demonstrate their wares, usually they hire top line professionals to play their instruments. Always a fabulous weekend, I might have a collection of photos somewhere.

  8. Ali: You’re a fund of info, metal tails indeed. Did I recently mention that in Jamaica there’s 2 varieties, the red tailed in the east of the island and the black tailed in the west, the locals call ’em ‘doctorbirds’.

    • Well, I’ve forgotten all the taxonomic groups and names now, but I used to go to sleep dreaming about them. Humming birds are very beautiful (which is more than can be said for Phoebe the Fiat).

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