23
Aug
07

A trust for Kallisti

Kallisti, leaning on a redwood
One of my favorite possessions is a guitar named Kallisti.  Kallisti was made for me for my 40th birthday by Running Dog Guitars, and is an extraordinary work of art. Part of my goal for Kallisti was to create not just a guitar, but an heirloom, a unique work of art to be cherished long after I am gone.

Life, however, is not always kind to heirloom-quality instruments. Two unpleasant fates often await them. The first is to become a “family heirloom”, valued for who had it before, rather than its intrinsic value as an instrument.  This leads to “Grandpa’s guitar” mouldering away in a closet somewhere, slowly dying from disuse, possibly for decades. The second fate is to wind up in the hands of a collector, who won’t play it for fear of reducing its financial/collectable value – no better than the closet, except that it may get dusted more often.

Kallisti is a fine, beautiful instrument, and deserves to be played. And a high quality, well maintained guitar should be playable for at least a century, perhaps two centuries or more – not only after I’m dead, but after my heirs are dead as well. It could change hands many times over the years. But how can I insure that Kallisti will be played even when I’m dead?

Here’s my solution to this dilemma… we’ll see if it works.  After Kallisti passes from my hands, future owners will be subject to two rules.  First, it cannot be sold – only given away. Second, if the current owner does not play it, then it must be given away, to someone who will.  For as long as those two rules are respected, Kallisti will be safe from the closet, and the collection.  It will always be in the hands of someone who plays it, values it as an instrument, rather than an investment or an heirloom.

I actually spoke to a lawyer about this yesterday, and he said he’d get a researcher looking at how it can be done.  In the meantime, though, I should get a high-quality acid-free notebook to keep in the case, with the rules of the Trust, where future owners can keep records as well.

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1 Response to “A trust for Kallisti”


  1. 27 August 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Looks like an album cover. Nice capture. Ron.


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