The Story of a Guitar

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My Guitar Journey

When the Lumineers band became popular, I was fascinated with the guitar that the lead singer Wesley Schulz was playing.  He plays either a Guild X-50, or T-50, archtop guitar. They are beat up looking guitars, but sound incredible.

About a year ago I began following a duo called Shovels and Rope. They use a Gibson ES-150 archtop that has a very raw sound.

I wanted one of those guitars but unfortunately both of them were way outside my budget.  

My Obsession

I searched online thinking that maybe I would be lucky enough to find a used one that I could afford.  That’s when I found an alternative.  It was the Godin 5th Avenue, an archtop guitar that was within my price range.

I found a Godin in the online classifieds for a really good price and I was determined to buy that guitar even though I would have to drive 5 hours to see it.  I contacted the seller and made arrangements to meet with him.  I left home at 5 a.m. one morning with my mind made up to buy that guitar as long as the neck wasn’t hanging off.

The meeting with the seller took place, I tried the guitar and I bought it.  As I drove away I thought to myself that maybe I had been too hasty, but I had done what I had planned to do.

When I got home I immediately took the guitar out of its case and started to play.  The guitar felt very strange and tight to me.  As I looked more closely at my guitar I found that lots of things weren’t quite right; small things like loose screws, a pick guard that was not installed properly, etc.  I kicked myself for making a seemingly rash decision.

I decided not to give up on this guitar and I spent some time making corrections and then I put on a new set of strings.  This time when I played it,  everything was different. The more I played, the more the Godin felt good in my hands.  I gave her a name too……Betsy Godin and that’s her in the upper left corner of this post.

I took Betsy to band practice and played her in quite a few songs, and for one song I even added a distortion pedal and that sounded great. Since I got Betsy I play her almost all the time when I’m at home.  For now my old guitars will have to be patient.

So What Happened Here?

Ordinarily I would have told a friend that he was out of his mind to do such a thing.  I had a feeling about this guitar that I can’t explain.   Sometimes you discard conventional wisdom and go for something that you believe in.  I’ve read many stories about musicians who ignored the sages, did what felt right to them, and succeeded.

So how would this apply to a person who wants to learn how to play guitar?  If you really want to play, start with whichever guitar is available to you.  If you’re going to buy a guitar, do some research, read reviews, and then decide what feels right for you.  A guitar that you’re trying out might have a buzz here and there, or the action might be too high, but in spite of this, there’s just something about that guitar that you like.   Most issues that you may find can be corrected, some by yourself or by a qualified guitar tech.

Sometimes You Just Have to Follow Your Heart

Please feel free to leave a comment below.  If you have a question please ask and I will try to provide an answer.

4 thoughts on “The Story of a Guitar

  1. Very interesting. Being able to make decisions with your gut is not a bad thing. But if you find it was the wrong get out as fast as you got in and move on. I feel it is better to regret a move as regret never making the move.
    From my limited knowledge of guitars / musical instruments no 2 are the exact same. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder. Like the line from the song “Garden Party” “You can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself”.

    Keep up the good work Luthor.

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