Gut Rumbles

August 24, 2005

Got my banjo back

Catfish came to visit today and we rode over to Willy's House to visit for a while. I picked up my banjo (freshly repaired most nicely by Randy Wood) and I also bought a guitar stand that will hold three instruments at once.

That stand, combined with the ones I already own, will allow me to keep a lot of my stuff out of the case and just sitting there within arm's reach. I needed something like that.

Catfish ended up buying two guitars. One of 'em is a damn fine Washburn that I was tempted to buy myself. BEAUTIFUL guitar that plays easily and sounds GREAT. It's a new design that doesn't have a pick guard on it, but as I told Cat--- whatthefuck do you need a pick-guard for anyway? Wear a hole in the bastard the way Willie Nelson did his old Martin.

The other guitar was a $75 Oscar Schmidt that played and sounded good. I could tell by looking at the woodwork and the innards that it was a cheap guitar, but BEJUS!!! Why didn't somebody show me one of THOSE when I was first learning to play?

I started out on a $19 Silvertone that had a neck like a pine log. To learn guitar on that instrument took a lot of desire. It was NOT easy to play.

Over the years, I've seen a lot of "cheap" guitars and they all shared the same characteristics: they were difficult to play and they sounded like shit.

Now, however, you can spend $75 dollars and get an instrument that may not rival the high-list stuff, but it's about as good a starter guitar as I've ever seen. The wood is not solid pieces and the insides are not put together as well as a really good axe. But it still plays and sounds GOOD.

I'll give this piece of advice to anyone who has a child interested in music (or even if YOU are interested in learning how to play now) --- buy something decent to start with. Learning to play is difficult enough without having an instrument you have to fight to learn.

I did it that way... but you don't have to anymore.


My buddy just got his Washburn birdseye maple in yesterday. Damn beautiful guitar. No stupid pick guard and seeing that he doesn't use one who cares.

I agree with you about buying a decent learners guitar. My 7yr old son got a Hohner classical for his birthday and is starting to pick it up more and more.

Posted by: gravdigr on August 24, 2005 05:56 PM

"buy something decent to start with" is damned good advice for any activity. I don't know how many kids I've seen lose interest in something because their folks either didn't know or didn't care about the gear their kids were trying to learn on. This is true for music, sports, fishing, camping, you name it. Shitty gear will cause a kid to give up long before he can learn anything about what he's trying. It needn't be top end stuff, but it does need to be "decent."

Posted by: Gerry N. on August 24, 2005 05:59 PM

a guitar is not an "axe". If you came up here for the usual pickin' session and called it that, someone would probably use one on you.

Feel free to come any time...I'll board and feed you, your drinks are on you.

A session with these people is a delight, and the playlist always changes. Most will welcome you to play with them, but if you can't perform you won't get another invitation.

Want to come up and give it a try, badass???

Posted by: Wayne on August 24, 2005 08:02 PM

Get him an electric drum set and some good headphones.

Posted by: toddk on August 24, 2005 08:09 PM

Your post takes me back some 30-odd years to my first guitar (a plywood Decca with a tree trunk neck and inch-high action). But I was blessed with good parents who understood the importance of music, and once it became apparent that my weekly $2-an-hour guitar lessons with a preacher at the town's Nazarene church were going to take, they invested more than they could afford in a fine lower-end Gibson acoustic ($200 in 1972 was damn hard to come by in Eastern Kentucky).

All my guitars are special (I've accumulated a few more over the past few decades) but that Gibson still holds a place of honor all these years later, with fairly fresh strings and a stand of its own.

It aged better than me, too.

Posted by: uncle dave on August 24, 2005 08:36 PM

I'm rather fond of the skin flute. My step father taught me all he knew.

Posted by: Zappatista on August 24, 2005 09:09 PM

You're not kidding about good instruments being available for good prices. Twice recently I've tried out $200 guitars that both played better and sounded better than the $500 and $1100 instruments hanging next to them.

Posted by: Mark on August 24, 2005 10:07 PM

Total Agreement on getting a youngster a decent instument to start on. If there's any way a parent can afford it, just do it. Main Point being if the kid doesn't like playing, you can't sell a crappy instrument period, but a good guitars hold thier value. my $.02.

Posted by: Yeti on August 27, 2005 04:05 PM

Rob speaketh da troof.

My first box guitar was a $15 junker, and playing it was torture because the frets had sharp edges like razor blades.

My first bass guitar was a Hofner "Beatle" bass, and the neck was bowed like a dog's back when it's crapping peach pits.

Then I bought a Rickenbacker 4001S, and all of a sudden my bass playing took off like a rocket.

I left the Rick behind during the Great Wetback Episode of 1986, and I miss it still, even though I don't play in a band anymore.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on August 28, 2005 11:46 AM
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