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Short Description: Does music and inspiration truly come from the Master craftsman?
  
(Music)
 
SEAN:

All music is a God-given thing. I've been inspired by, really for as long as I can remember, and it never seems to end; I always keep drawing from another source. It's like if one source ends up getting dried out, all of a sudden I discover someone else and it's just a process of discovery.

M2:

And I was at a table and I had my guitars on display and here comes this man and his young son. John introduces himself to me and says, I've got my son here and we're looking for a guitar, and would it be okay with you if he played one of your guitars?

M3:

And Kelly was quite hesitant to let Sean play the guitar. It's quite an expensive guitar. Later, found out from his wife that he was very hesitant, but once he heard Sean play, he knew that Sean knew what he was doing.

SEAN:

I think really, when you say it's a gift, that puts a sense of responsibility upon us to do the best we can with that. And for me, that's guitar. So.

(Guitar music)
DWIGHT NELSON:

Inspiration, music. Combined the two can create a Beethoven symphony or a Beatles' love song. Certainly a lot of hard work and training is involved in creating music that emotionally touches a human being. But before the work, before the years of practice, there is inspiration, that spark of creativity, something that moves artists to dedicate long hours and sleepless nights to their craft. Where exactly does inspiration come from? I'm Dwight Nelson. Let's look at The Evidence.

(Music)
SEAN:

I do think inspiration, in my case, the direct application is music, but I think inspiration is a God-given thing. And I think you can see it all over, you know. I see it as much in one town, as a guitarist, as another completely on the other side of the spectrum.

M6:

I'm a dentist. All my training was science oriented, left brain. The Sputnik went up and literally when Sputnik went up, they eliminated music from the schools and they wanted to produce as many Westinghouse scientists as possible. So that whole artistic musical side of life sort of faded away from me and Sean really reintroduced me to art and music, to the whole, basically reintroduced my right brain to something beyond, you know, nuts-and-bolts science.

(Music)
 
SEAN:

I don't remember ever not wanting to play the guitar. But I didn't get to right away. And I pestered and pestered and pestered my parents until finally they went out and they got me this really cheap pitiful excuse for a guitar. But it was, you know, it was something that had six strings on it. And I started when I was nine.

DWIGHT NELSON:

Eventually Sean's father could see his son needed a better guitar. Several years and several instruments later, Sean met guitar maker Kevin Ryan. Every guitar Sean had ever own faded in memory when he laid his hands on Kevin's work.

SEAN:

I met Kevin when I was fifteen and I was in the Palo Alto area, in California. I was visiting the family up in Hillsborough,about an hour away, hour, hour to two hours away. There was the acoustic guitar shows going on.

M:

He'd previously been told his talent level and he needed to find a guitar that constantly challenge him, and I knew there were quite a few good Luthers out there. We went to the first hall and Sean wasn't particularly in to it. He wasn't interested. He wanted to spend time with his cousin. Then, when the second call, and for some reason made a beeline for Kevin, this guitar.

SEAN:

I just went over and picked on up and, you know, there was a little bit of hesitancy there to do this, I don't know, I can't even remember exactly what the woods were, but probably, you know, somewhere in the ballpark of the least five, six grand on up to who knows, maybe a 15, 20 grand instrument at the time. He let this 15 year old have it. But I got it in my hands and I just started playing.

KEVIN:

Sean sat there right in front of the table where my guitars were and started to play. Well, of course, I'm astounded because clearly the young boy, he's a prodigy. He's extremely gifted. I certainly wanted to build him a guitar because any fabulous player you want to do that for them.

M:

I remember very well that Kevin was impressed and I remember that Sean loved the guitar. Sean has a much better ear than I do.

SEAN:

The thing that struck me was the beauty, not just cosmetically with the instrument, but what matters most to me within a guitar was the sound was there. And it was more balanced and fuller than anything I had really ever played at the time. Certain instruments resonate within the player in a way that really can't be substituted by any other instrument. And there are a lot of great guitars. But when you find that one that has does for you, it's almost a process of discovery when you sit down. For me personally, Kevin's guitars are one of the guitars that I've played that do something to you that pulls things out of you that you normally you wouldn't have thought of or wouldn't have played. And it seemed as though it had everything there that I was looking for.

KEVIN:

Well, they played for a little bit and then they said, well, we're going to go. They, actually, I'm not even sure they said goodbye, but they left and out they go. Well, I'm thinking, well, dog gone it anyhow. That was pretty much it. And they even left the festival, I guess.

SEAN:

I didn't right away make an order with Kevin. I actually left the show and when I came back down to L.A., about six months' later, we called up Kevin and went over to the shop and we ordered a guitar.

M:

I remember more vividly when we actually came to Kevin's shop just to think about ordering it. We didn't really intend to, but it was at his old shop, and at the time his Dad was heavily involved in helping him. And Sean picked up a guitar. It was late,everybody was tired, but he picked up a guitar and played Vincent, it was a really nice arrangement of Vincent. And it was really one of the memorable moments. And I turned around as he finished it and there were tears in both Kevin and his Dad's eyes. And Kevin said to his father and said, that's why we build them.

(Commercial)
M2:

Kevin's guitars have a unique style requiring several months' of hand craftsmanship to achieve. Sean's guitar would be no exception.

KEVIN:

We build guitars right from scratch. The necks are made out of mahogany. Well, we get mahogany boards that are 2o feet long, so we're starting with big hunks of timber. Basically we take raw wood, we shape it. In the case of the sides, we heat it, we bend it into the shape we need. It's a mixture of engineering. It's a mixture of intuition, where do you put a brace, where do you not put a brace. All those things matter. If you over brace an instrument, it's not going to sound good. If you under brace it, it might sound great but it's going to collapse in a year. When I'm carving that neck, my hands are running up and down the neck. I'm feeling. I'm touching. And knowing that if it fails there, if it fails at the neck, then it doesn't matter how good it sounds, how great it looks. If it doesn't feel like a Maserati in their hands, then they're not going to like it.

M2:

Anticipation was running high as the completion date neared. Sean's specifications for the guitar were a little different than what Kevin was used to. Now, working in an experimental realm, even the guitar maker was nervous.

SEAN:

I'd had him experiment with a little bit different top than he was used to using at the time. Following some advice that I got, I actually was fortunate enough, I spent about an hour with _______'s partner former guitarist, N_____ P______, and we talked a lot about the instrument and had recommended to me Adirondack spruce, which takes, you know, several years at best to really wear in, to really open up. And he specifically said you'll be a little bit disappointed at first. It won't sound like what you're expecting but it'll open up. I do think that was a little bit hard on Kevin because he wants to be really sure of his work before it leaves the shop every time, and it was kind of, it was testing for him in that way. You know, here I am, years later, the guitar has really opened up, much more than we ever would have thought it would. And it's like a whole new instrument. (Inaudible)

KEVIN:

We built a guitar for Lawrence and it was, actually, I believe it was my seventh or eighth instrument. Lawrence brought the guitar back and said, well, I think you can do better. He was asking from the guitar something that really he'd never been able to get out of an instrument. So, you could argue, well, he was asking for something unreasonable. Of course, you can't meet that expectation.Well, I mean that didn't matter to me. What matter to me was here is a great player asking for this and I'm not achieving it. So, I went to bed thinking I don't know what to do. I don't know what else I can possibly do. I mean, if you move a brace or you make the top thicker, thinner, I mean you can try things like that, but you're, you're flying blind. I mean, you're just, at that point, it's just maybe start guessing at stuff. All I can say is I went to bed not knowing what to do. I woke up knowing what to do. I made the changes that I thought I should make and it changed everything for us. The guitars never again sounded the same. And that, to me, was straight out of heaven. I don't think that was my, my cleverness, my background figured that out. That was a gift right out of heaven.

M2:

Five years after building Sean a guitar, Kevin watched the young prodigy grow into an accomplished guitarist. Along the way, Sean's source of musical inspiration became apparent to others.

KEVIN:

Sean has taught me more about inspiration than I ever could have learned alone or probably in any other way, because watching him develop and watching him pursue something that he is absolutely passionate about has reawakened me to not only the artistic side of life, but really convinced me that gifts like this, whether it's painting or music or civil engineering or whatever, people who are passionate and driven, they really do have gifts from God.

SEAN:

You know, sometimes I feel like I don't even know which end to hold, but it is a process of discovery and, you know, the reassuring thing is that you do get better all the time. And, you know, so, then even when I don't feel like I'm really going anyway,at least, you know, every time I pick it up, you known there's at least something that happens.

M2:

We were at a music show in Anaheim and we went to a producer's forum that was at that convention. There were seven producers and Quincy Jones was one of them. There were about 400 people there, and Quincy made a special point of telling the crowd that artists get in trouble when they forget that they are a conduit for God's gift. Their talent is a conduit for God's gift. And they initially, talented people initially often know that, but then as they gain fame and fortune, they forget that they're a conduit for God's gift and they begin to think that they are the gift. And when that happens, they lose touch with reality, become ungrounded, and they're career suffers or they suffer, personally.

(Commercial)
(Music then man singing: If I don't see tomorrow, Who'd be left to save? Man has precious moments Lost long the way)

SEAN:

When my sister died, that was the problem, because she was a younger person and I felt that she was taken too soon, that we were all gipped of the wonderful being that Janis was. So it really hit me hard. She almost like, my two sisters almost raised me, so it was like a second pair of parents. And when she passed away I had just a lot of questions and I was very depressed and I happened to be producing a girl name, Jillian, who's a Christian artist. And right into the recording studio one day and I said, Jillian, I'm really lost. You know, my sister just passed away. I don't know what end's up. And she said, have you ever really accepted the Lord into your heart? I said, well, I think I did. But you know, there's always that little doubt of did this really happen? And so at that moment I really did accept the whole concept of my upbringing and my Christianity and accepted the Lord into my heart and things got better. I just really felt much guided from that point on. And I think it affected my choices, my business choices in music, and my song writing, and kind of became the road I traveled after that.

Music for me has always been joy. And even before my sister passed away, music was joy. I had a message that I want to get across. I think after my sister passed and I accepted God into my heart even deeper, I think that joy became greater. And I think I went back to the songs that I'd written prior to that and I realized they were speaking to me. I, sometimes I didn't know how I wrote those songs. What always impressed me about the way God works, a lot of times the lyrics of my songs were beyond my knowledge. And that later on, when I became, when I needed that song, either I was depressed or down, I'd look back at a song that I had written years ago and that song counseled me. So I became my own counselor, but really it was God counseling me.

One of the things about accepting God into your heart is that you're very vulnerable. And I think what kept me back from God is feeling that maybe I wasn't good enough to have God in my heart, to be that close to undergo the scrutiny of God in my heart. And so we've all done things, we've all experienced things that maybe weren't our greatest moments, and I didn't really understand about forgiveness and the forgiveness of God. And that's really what Jillian taught me right there in the car going to the recording session,and about the infinite forgiveness of God, and that we're human. And by nature of being human, we mess up, and you try not to. But I think that was the moment when I was no longer afraid of God. And I realized that God is love. It's not the fear of God that we were raised with; it's the grace of God. And that was the turning point.

(Music and man singing: Ain't it good to be alive? So good. Ain't' it good to be alive?)

(Commercial)

DWIGHT NELSON:

Jim achieved phenomenon success writing and playing in his first band, Ides of March, creating hit songs like "Vehicle" and "L.A. Goodbye" in the early 1970's. Later Jim co-founded another band, Survivor, whose Eye of the Tiger became the theme song for Rocky III, as well as winning The People's Choice Award, a Grammy, and an Academy Aware nomination. Jim also created success for other bands like 38 Special, Hold On Loosely. But, despite all the success, professionally and personally, one aspect of his life remained void, to hold his own flesh and blood in his arms.

JIM:

Karen and I have been married for 30 years now, but a few years back we went on a quest to try to have a child, and we were having no luck in going through the usual fertility clinics and all this. No fun at all. You know? It's eight thirty, okay, you have to make love. You know? Very tough to try to get pregnant. And Karen had some medical problems that the doctor said it's really going to be an extremely long shot for you to ever get pregnant. Finally, we just decided, if it's God's will, it will happen.

KEVIN:

After trying to have a child for five or six years, we decided to put it in God's hands, which is always the best thing to do, I think. And let nature take its course. And a year later it happened. We feel that the gift our son was a real miracle. And I know every birth is a miracle. It'll almost be 13 years ago and his name is Colin James Pederick. And he's, I think he's a great cross between the two of us, but he is certainly his own unique person. And we respect him for that person that he is, and certainly don't have any expectations and least of all of him going into his father's footsteps, you know, getting into the music business. To me the most important thing is is he loves music and he has a passion for life. The things he loves he throws himself into a hundred percent. And sometimes I worry about that and then I look over at Jim and I realize he didn't turn out so bad for throwing himself into something one hundred percent.

(Man singing part of a song)

JIM:

The magic of that moment where inspiration is happening is that it feels so, so right that what you're doing is, you feel like you're fully utilizing all your skills, all your capabilities. You feel like you're doing what you were made to do. All the parts of the puzzle are together. Things are clicking and there's an enormous sense of gratification for what you just did.

(Man singing part of a song)
 
(Guitar playing a song)
 






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