As with any such OCD-like manic collection compulsion, Guitar Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), can be devastating to family finances, storage, and the tiny attention span of the sufferer always frantically searching for the next hit, “…come on man, just one more, it’s a Gibson!”
Early detection is always crucial but, sadly, no effective treatment, much less a cure, is on the horizon. I know I started small, with a cute little miniature Washburn Rover travel guitar in natural satin finish. I polished it and had Strum Shop change the nylon strings.
Someone told me when held and manipulated somehow these guitars made pretty sounds. By Jove! But those nylon strings were hard to play, I “reasoned”. It was clear to my fervid brain I needed a better, easier to play ax, man. The first one wasn’t free, but it was cheap at $125.
Wow, I love flea markets, $65USD for this 1999 Silvertone Indonesian Strat clone! Lacking strings, true, but sounding good with new strings and now I’m in for a digital tuner as well. I sense I’m hooked but damn I’m in the hunt!
Craigslist, friend of the wheeler dealer, brought me this hand made Telecaster clone in multi-wood butcher block style, the 8th build of a local guitar artist who sold it to me for $150-probably not covering his cost, because he wasn’t pleased with his through-body string hole placement.
I was so gobsmacked I gave him my Silvertone Strat clone to add new ‘vintage’ style GuitarFetish pickups and heavy brass tremolo block for bell-like sustain until next Tuesday.
I was not only needing ‘just one more’, I was now ‘hotrodding’ my axes, while after two months practice being able to make only the E minor and A minor chord with any consistency (bike crashes, arthritis, carpal tunnel, ‘trigger finger‘, Raynoud’s Syndrome. Like Django Reinhardt but with tinnitus in two freqs from Viet Nam and without musical experience or ability).
Then I had an epiphany in Strum Shop when I played (E minor, A minor and sometimes A) a stunning 1974 Ovation acoustic with natural spruce top and characteristic resonating ‘Lyrachord’ lute-style back. So sweet; if it’s good enough for the late, great Glen Campbell then it’s good enough for me, gimme that old time guitar…
So not my fault I blew $350 on another guitar I didn’t need, I thought. Then it hit me, I had more guitars than I had chords to strum. I gave myself a stern talking-to, listened to myself and quickly sold the Washburn. I was a little sweaty but thought I had it beat. Ha.
A bit shaky, I went on vacation, not to look at guitars in pawnshops nor nothing like that, I was only thinking to trade in a gift war souvenir rifle.I was looking for something more tinnitus-friendly than my 1942 Russian battle rifle, and all they had of value, practically, was this Korea-made Ovation Ultra Deluxe with stunning ‘tobacco burst’ or ‘brownburst’ or whatever it’s called finish.
Check out the gold hardware! I had no choice if I wanted something of value, did I now? So it hardly counts, since I only had to pay half cash. I’m tapering off.
It plays so sweet…in the hands of a guitar player. My E minor, A minor and sometimes A sounded good too.
Then I came home to find no space for ANOTHER guitar! I panicked. I instantly sold the Tele clone to my neighbor at cost and vowed to get my money back for these other beautiful wenches clogging my closets and mocking my two and a half mismatched chords.
I felt listless. I was getting nowhere, just collecting guitars. Then a well-meaning friend gave me this beast.
Fixing this old bar-scarred beauty was fun, with 90 year old Daddy lending me his shop. And since strings and machine-head cost $25 it was almost free, I’ll find storage damnit.
After my musician neighbor set string height and intonation this beast thumps! And so much love for the baby bassman/woman. I played with my tiny, tinny 6.5″ Silvertone practice amp at first. It was fun. The bass fits me, except for the weight, and I can play it with my hands. We sounded pretty good after one month and one lesson.
Then I bought a practice amp from a working player and he GAVE me a 500 watt Peavey with 15″ Black Widow speaker. I bought AudioTechnica closed-back headphones and now I can hear how awful we sound. It’s all good, how we get better.
I’m hooked now, I want it all; another digital tuner, this one chromatic for bass and guit**; folding guitar seat, collapsing music stand, three guitar stands, four straps-and a capo and eighteen picks I’ve never used. And every guitar and bass book at Dimple Records.
I’m in deep. I know it. I took delivery of this new used Ibanez Mikro short-scale last week from Reverb, $150. Now I’ll sound lots better. I’m not sick. This is the last one. Really. My TalkBass handle is WillieThump. Now I have bass opinions. From others.
The basses fit my fingers and I’m up to Hal Leonard lesson four, the A minor scale: all majors, A, B, C, D, E, F, G and back to A. I can play the Bass Boogie, A-B-C Rock and Rockin’ Riff. Very slowly.
And look how tiny it is. I’ve still got the GAS, but I am tapering off. OTOH if I don’t play for a few days I get the craving. Two more weeks practice, one more lesson, and I’m joining the Sex Pistols.
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How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
How in hell would I know? It’s in New York but I don’t know the address. Do I have to all the work for you?
Heh. Your bookshelf looks a little like mine. i have 100 bass methods that I’ll never work through, and theory books and other music-related writings. Le sigh…
Yeah it’s easier to buy a new bass book than to work my way through the book I already have. Also I figure if I shelve the books next to my bed I’ll learn while I sleep through osmosis. Sigh is right. I’m so delusional.