Wayne and Johanna were guitar picks who lived in the guitar case of Bruce, who played scorching rhythm guitar. Because Bruce played rhythm guitar, he only used thin picks, often no thicker than half a millimeter. Because of this, Wayne and Johanna, of course, were each .5 millimeter picks, and though they enjoyed making music in Bruce’s hands, they nonetheless, during concerts, often looked to the side, spied the pick in the hands of James, the lead guitarist, and sighed.
“How nice it would be,” said Wayne, “to play a lead. To not be the sawing rhythm that provides the foundations, but to be front and center, playing the melody.”
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” said Johanna, who turned her attention away from the rhythm book that she studied each night when Bruce packed them away in his guitar case. “I do sometimes wish that we could inhabit the land of scales and modes.”
Johanna and Wayne often had deep, meaningful conversations about rhythm, which lasted far into the night, and their thoughts would travel up Bruce’s arm as he played, giving him inspiration for novel strums. Now, however, they expanded their talks to include such words as “whole tone,” “diminished,” and “Mixolydian.”
As they talked, they grew closer, and soon realized that they were much more than friends. And finally, there came the day that Wayne could not keep from Johanna the feelings that he had for her.
“You make me hear diminished runs,” he said shyly.
“And you, my dear Wayne, make me hear hammer ons and pull offs,” she said, her voice trembling.
The next day, Bruce opened his guitar case to practice, and was surprised to find Wayne and Johanna asleep in his case, spooned together so tightly that it was impossible to pull them apart. They awoke, and maintained their embrace, and set about, right then and there, to engaging in passionate conversation about melody. So powerful were their ideas that they rocketed up Bruce’s arm straight into his mind, and for the first time, Bruce held a plectrum the thickness of a lead guitar pick, for Wayne and Johanna’s love was such that their embrace, at that moment, made them one.
That is why, every so often, Bruce now plays blistering leads in concerts, leads that inspire and remind all who listen about all that is good in life. Yet just as often, he also plays fascinating rhythms, because Wayne and Johanna, as they must, often go to their separate sides of the guitar case for time alone, where they go on their own musical journeys. And sometimes, even when they meet in the center of the guitar case, they still remain apart, for their conversations fill each of them with rhythmic ideas that they are eager to try out.
Yet every so often, they maintain their tight embrace, their conversations of scales and modes creating ideas that travel up Bruce’s arm to his mind, so that he can fill rooms with notes that fill all those who hear with ideas for melodies and rhythms of their own.