Today I'm going to talk about my guitar.
I started playing guitar eight years ago. In one of those expressions of the moment teenagers are prone to, I bought a Peavey Raptor, and an amp. I've always been attracted to music, and love listening to Hard Rock, but I had no idea what I was doing with my guitar. I was so ignorant that when I changed the strings for the first time (remember, this was before Youtube), I ended up removing the screws from the bridge. Embarrassing, but it taught me a great deal about patience and doing things right the first time.
I got the guitar fixed, and excitedly took a lackadaisical path to success. I didn't put much time into playing, and certainly didn't learn very fast. I couldn't figure out how to work my amp and it was always too loud or too quiet to get the sound I wanted. I started with Sweet Child o' Mine instead of Smoke on the Water.
When I bought an acoustic Ibanez, it wasn't much different. A change in guitar was not a change in the musician. I hit the same walls, struggled to understand the same music, was wholly unsatisfied with myself and both guitars spent more time in my closet than in my hands.
Last year I sold my guitars to a friend, and went several months without playing until, last spring, I got that itch again. I needed a new guitar. I wanted to play.
My friend (same friend) and I returned to the exact guitar store where eight years earlier I had bought my Raptor. It was like returning to the scene of a crime. Yet this time I was in store for much more than I expected. I found the best acoustic guitar in the world. The perfect musical instrument.
Now, when I say “the perfect guitar”, what I mean is that this guitar sounds the best to my ears. Guitars are completely, 100%, subjective. They all sound different to me, and they all sound different to everyone else. You will not likely find two guitars made from the same company, from the same tree, that sound exactly alike, nor will two people listen to the same guitar and hear the exact same sound. And then you can change strings, the action, nuts, bridges, and pins and get a totally new sound out of one guitar.
This guitar happens to be a “Great Divide”. It only cost me 240 dollars.
I played 1,000 dollar guitars that day, and I listened to my friend play a 3,500 dollar Martin (was a little scared to touch that one...). None of them sounded as good as my guitar. None of them looked as good. It has a very dark, tobacco-tar color. And its cedar top makes it a very dark, melodic instrument. I imagine it's meant to play Pink Floyd tunes, in a room whose only light is a small fire. Edgar Allen Poe would have dug this guitar.
It wasn't until I returned home and began playing that I noticed something different. The guitar was different, to be sure, but for the first time the musician was different too.
Perhaps it was the time away from playing, or that I was practicing for an hour or two a day, every day, or just that I was older and wiser, but I was having a real epiphany about music. I was playing with a completely new perspective. Tablature made sense to me like never before. I could feel the music as well as see it, and it all just made perfect sense. It clicked together, finally, like two well-fitting gears. Or two perfectly well struck notes.
It was actually quite similar to how writing finally came together for me. It was all of a sudden. I could see a story in its entirety and understood how each character should fit into it
Life changing. Now it's fun. Now I no longer struggle with the basics, stumbling from the gate like some stupid horse with its legs caught together.
I can just play and enjoy myself. It was well worth all the mistakes.