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.
Cal Jam doesn’t get the same love as festivals like Monterey Pop or Woodstock. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t have the late ‘60s countercultural cred, happening a full five years after the summer of love reached its peak. Maybe it’s because it was staged to be filmed for television (as part of ABC’s legendary “In Concert” series). Why do I love California Jam so much? It is because it established the record for the largest concert sound system ever assembled? Was it because it featured the first ever appearance of the Good Year blimp at a music festival?
Guitar lessons eventually followed. But, classical guitar didn’t grab me in the same way that my own freeform compositions had. Firstly, I didn’t know any of the songs I was supposed to be learning. Secondly, it required the kind of co-ordination and finger dexterity that I was – at that time at least – far too impatient to master. “I read somewhere that there are these things you can use to hit the strings so you don’t have to use your fingers. I think they began with a P,” I once told my guitar teacher. “The thing that begins with a P is called practice,” he replied. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean I wanted to hear it.
This week, to satisfy my yearning for live music, I’ve taken a deep dive into my record collection and rediscovered some live favourites. Given how much joy I’ve got out of these records, I thought I’d share them with you today. Putting together this list, I’ve tried to take the road less travelled. I didn’t want to put together a list of classic live albums that everyone already knows like the back of their hand. Instead, my three picks serve as alternatives to some of those classic albums, offering a new look at some legendary bands.