How many guitars do you actually need?
Some people (usually non-guitarists) would say the answer to that question is “one.”
But those people are wrong. I’d counter that the answer is always “one more than you currently have.” Which is all well and good, until you try to explain this logic to your significant other.
Non-guitar playing spouses, as a rule, are not very receptive to the “one more than you currently have” principle.
Rather than focusing on important things like one-piece mahogany bodies, mother-of-pearl inlays or TV Jones pick-ups, they’re pre-occupied with the inconsequential, boring details; “we don’t have the room,” “it’s $2000,” “you already own six Les Pauls,” etc.
As a result, bringing a new instrument home without causing matrimonial disharmony can sometimes be a challenge.
But fear not, because I’ve compiled a list of foolproof* strategies for bringing a new guitar into your family without incurring the wrath of your better half!
*Full disclosure: I say that these strategies are foolproof… they almost certainly will not work. Still, worth a go, right?
She will be annoyed at you for buying a new instrument – you can’t really get around that. But, she thinks you bought that instrument at a steal, she’ll at least admire your bargain hunting tenacity, right?
As a rule, when you tell your wife how much the guitar cost, give them a figure that’s around half what you paid for it. So, to your partner, a $1000 instrument was $500, a $500 instrument was $250, etc. If you spend over a four-figure sum on the guitar (God help you) then shave off a zero to limit some of the damage.
A word of warning - avoid this strategy if your wife either:
They can’t be mad at you if it didn’t cost you anything, right?
There are three approaches to take here:
“My friend/boss bought if for me as a surprise birthday present/reward for a job well done”
“I won it in a competition/raffle” (My personal favorite)
“I couldn’t believe it. It was just sitting there in the dumpster outside of Guitar Center/the guitar factory/Peter Frampton’s tour bus. Other than a couple of cosmetic defects, there’s nothing wrong with it!”
This one will only ever work once, so make sure to use it wisely. Oh, and destroy all evidence that YOU paid for it, otherwise this can backfire pretty spectacularly.
If you’ve already got a sizeable guitar collection, you can always hide your latest purchase in the pack and hope that it gets lost in the milieu.
“That double neck EDS-1275? Nah, that’s not new! I’ve had that since college. Look how beat up it is.”
“The price tag? Oh, I just keep that on there as a memento. You wouldn’t believe how cheap it was! In fact, I didn’t even pay for it; my boss won it for me in a raffle outside Peter Frampton’s tour bus.”
If you’re happy for your new guitar to forever live in the loft/the trunk of your car/at your friend Steve’s house then you don’t even need to worry about the “new guitar” conversation in the first place!The only problem with this solution is that you don’t actually get to play your guitar. But, you do get the satisfaction of knowing that you own it, and that’s all that really matters.
Do you live by the “one more than you currently have” rule? And have you ever hid a guitar purchase from your significant other? Share your stories in the comments.
“I'm sick to death of people saying we've made 11 albums that sound exactly the same, In fact, we've made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”
“I honestly believe that you have to be able to play the guitar hard if you want to be able to get the whole spectrum of tones out of it. Since I normally play so hard, when I start picking a bit softer my tone changes completely, and that's really useful sometimes for creating a more laid-back feel.”
As a young guitarist, I completely rejected any notion that music theory would help me in my journey. At the time, I justified this as a “punk rock/music is freedom” attitude to playing. If I learned my theory, I told myself, I’m just putting myself in a box. “[Insert guitar hero of the week] didn’t need theory, and they were a genius. Why do I?”