A year or two ago, I made some rude comments about “people who buy $1,000 guitars” to a friend.
I now apologize.
Back in October, I found one day that I just couldn’t work. My brain wasn’t in it, and neither was my heart. I had spent too much time too isolated. So I shut down my office and beat a trail to Sam Ash Music to look at guitars.
I had no real intent of buying a guitar, but I love the acoustic room there. It’s not The Podium, a guitar-and-tobacco shop I used to visit when I lived in Minneapolis, but it’s got a lot of nice instruments.
There was another guy in there playing, so I looked for a quiet instrument (I have a weakness for long-necked nylon-string guitars) and picked this one up. A Takamine P3FCN. I played it very quietly, and found the tone pleasing.
The other guy liked it, too, and soon we were trading licks. He played a Taylor nylon-string for a while, and then we traded instruments and you could tell the difference. This one had tone.
Then I looked at the price tag, which put it just south of $1,500.
To be clear, most of the time I buy used guitars, and I’ve never paid more than $550 for a guitar.
So, full of regret, I put this one back on the wall and left.
Over the next few weeks, I tried a bunch of similar, if less expensive, guitars. None of them sounded as good, or felt as good, and one day T told me that I ought to go and buy the guitar.
So I drove down to Sam Ash again, fear of credit card debt burning a whole in my brain. I went to the acoustic room and looked where the Takamine had been, and it was gone. In a sense, that was a huge relief, so I went to find my child, who was looking at keyboards in another part of the store, and prepared to leave.
But at the last minute, I went to the guitar counter and asked about the Takamine. The counter guy looked to see if they had another in stock (I hated doing that, because I view guitars as individuals, not as fungible units). Lo and behold, yes, they had, but the one I had played was still around, just in an awkward location. We went back to the acoustic room and found it!
That was when the lights went out. Literally. There was a storm and it knocked out the lights and, not incidentally, the cash registers and credit card machines right in the middle of our transaction. I left my phone number so I could be notified when things came back up, and I went home.
A few hours later, the transaction was complete, and I owned the guitar. I took it home and played. I played and played. I plugged it into my amp and played, And played.
I like it a lot. The body is smaller than that of a classical guitar, and not quite as deep, but a little deeper than my Martin 00-18. The result is a little more bass, and it sounds lovely.
When T asked if we were going to do anything for the church’s Christmas program, “Silent Night” came to mind. So on December 26, this guitar (which still needs a name), assisted by my amp (set on acoustic with a little phaser action) made its public debut.
To be clear, I paid almost as much for this guitar as I would have for an Alembic electric guitar in the ’70s, so I have no call to criticize folks who pop for Taylors or gussied up guitars of any sort. Was it worth it?