As boys growing up in the ’70s, my brother and I loved to watch Evil Knievel on TV, then go outside and tear the heck out of our bikes! On my 10th birthday, my Dad gave me a new bicycle with this advice: “You’d better take care of this, it’s the last one you’re going to get….” As time went on, I watched him work on his motorcycle and he taught me how to maintain my bike. We’d take it apart and grease bearings, adjust brakes, keep the chain tension optimum, replace tires and tighten spokes. That bike served me well until I got a driver’s license.
In high school, we took some Air Force aptitude tests. I scored better than 99.9% of all other high school students in the USA taking that test, in the area of mechanical aptitude. I thought about accepting the Air Force’s generous offer to go to college on their dime….but I went to Vo-Tech instead, and became an auto mechanic. After a couple years in dealerships, I was hired by my current employer where I’ve been for over 25 years. I’m an ASE certified Master Technician in the medium/heavy truck field.
(Edit: I’ve since resigned from working for the man, and am working for myself!)
I’m somewhat of a workaholic, and for ten years owned a business restoring musclecars, custom painting Harleys, and routine collision repair. I haven’t painted a vehicle in over 5 years, but to this day someone will occasionally try to get me to do it for them. That eye for detail, knowing when a body line is straight, making sure everything looks just right when the customer picks it up, all transferred to my custom harmonicas.
A good technician understands many different systems and how they all work together. You learn how to closely observe everything when you take it apart, and make mental notes. You learn to apply what you see to a thought process of figuring things out, whether it’s why something failed…. or why something works really well. I’ve figured out much of what matters, and what doesn’t, when it comes to harmonicas. In the future, I plan to write some articles here to educate others about the stuff that matters. It’s easier said than done though, so please be patient as I figure out the best way to do it.