"Lucky" No. 13

Padauk Classical Guitar - Fitting the BackWell, I have been told that I could skip it just like some high rise buildings that were designed by superstitious architects, but then I might always wonder what the guitar would have been like. When I receive an order there are sometimes some other little requests to go along with it, such as additional fret indicators, no fret indicators, an elevated fingerboard, etc, but on one particular order my customer made a special request that the guitar would not bare the number 13.

Padauk Classical Guitar RosetteApparently the composer Arnold Schoenberg had a mortal fear of the number 13 and feared that he would die during a year that was a multiple of 13. I can kind of understand how a composer of Western music might be a bit superstitious about the number 13 given that there are twelve notes in Western music and that maestro Schoenberg himself was the creator of a special style of composition called Twelve Tone, that used a mathematical algorithm to determine the order of pitches used in a composition (check out this tone row calculator). According to his Wiki, Schoenberg was petrified by turning 65 years old because it was a multiple of 13, but that day passed with no trouble. Fortunately or unfortunately he did live to 76, which isn’t a multiple of 13, but as a friend pointed out to him - 7+6=13. Afterwards, Schoenberg was mortified and although it might not have been what killed him, it couldn’t have helped.

Schoenberg was born on September 13, 1874 and died on Friday, July 13, 1951 at the age of 76. It seems that his fears manifested themselves to their entiretly given that he died 13 minutes from midnight on Friday the 13th.

Building that skips thirteenth floorSo in celebration of the number 13, and Triskaidekaphobia I made my 13th guitar a bit out of the ordinary. I chose Padauk for the back and side woods, and a rather untraditional experimentation for the body design.

Guitar No. 13 follows a very different plan that my other guitars - perhaps in honor of Schoenberg, and is currently owned by guitar collector and president of the Nashville Arts Magazine, Paul Polycarpou.

Apparently the number 13 is lucky in some regions of the world, so don’t be like Schoenberg and let your fear overcome you. The guitar is actually a joy to play, and perhaps I will even test drive it with some of Schoenberg's own music one day. (Piano Concerto)