Here’s the scene. You’re at your regular local session, and just as everyone is settling in and tuning, who walks through the door but … Frankie O’Garvin, the famous fiddler! Naturally, everone is thrilled to see him. It seems he’s in town to attend an accupuncture conference, and decided to stop in, but he hasn’t brought along an instrument. Still, everyone would be delighted if Mr. O’Garvin would stay a while and have a few tunes.
Now you’re the kind of person who always takes meticulous, loving care of your instrument. Accordingly, you make it a personal policy never to lend your instrument to others to avoid problems, and some of your session mates know that. But this particular situation has never occurred before. So now comes the inevitable question as Mr. O’Garvin leans toward you and asks, "Say, mind if I borrow your fiddle?"
At this point you can hand it over, take your chances, and give everyone a thrilling session experience they’ll remember all their lives. Or you can refuse the request and explain at length to everyone why you never lend your instument, leaving your session mates glaring daggers at you and mad for the next ten years. What would you do?
So against your instincts you turn over your fiddle, and Frankie proceeds to lead the session through the most exciting sets of tunes you’ve ever played. He also bows so hard that half the hairs on your bow snap off in the process, and he rosins after every set, leaving a blanket of dust all over the top. The acid in his fingers turns your strings and bow windings a deep jet black. And when he does hand your fiddle back, he accidentaly knocks it against the table, putting a dent in the top and dropping your soundpost. "Thanks so much", he says. And your session mates don’t even realize what’s happened. All they know is they’ve just had a wonderful session experience.
Now the next time that famous fiddler Liz O’Carrollan walks into your session and asks to borrow your instrument, what will you do?
Here the names have been changed to protect the blameless, and there was never a Frankie or Liz involved. And the instrument in question has usually been guitar, not fiddle. But this situation has happened to me several times over the years, and I’m never sure how to resolve the dilemma. What would you do?