Saturday, May 09, 2009

12-String Reunion

It's funny how things work sometimes. I forgot that I was supposed to bring a guitar to a family get-together in Keene, NH today (hey, I thought it was a yard work "party"). A few blocks from the destination, I noticed that "Retro Music" (I store I had driven by dozens of times) was not a used CD store, but a used musical instrument store. After we unloaded the car, I headed over there "just to check it out." What a cool store! They have a great selection of guitars and really good prices (Keene is a college town, among other things, so maybe this is why there's a store like this in such a small place).

I had been thinking of getting a cheap classical guitar. My younger daughter "borrowed" the one I bought a few years ago and now that guitar is away at college. This is actually a great thing, as she is turning into quite a good guitar player and singer too, and I love that. But I miss having a classical guitar - some things just sound better on the softer strings, and that sound has inspired a few songs that I wouldn't have written on my steel string guitars.

Retro Music had just a couple of classicals, including a Washburn C80S for $135 (no case). This is a low end guitar made in China, but it has a solid top and it plays and sounds remarkably good for that price. Sold! Then I glanced up at one of the other acoustic guitar racks and noticed a Fender 12-string for $125...

Flashback! Some 35 years ago I was a college student in Pittsburgh. I was spending a lot of time doing music when I should have been studying and stuff, and there were certain necessities. One of these was a Japanese 12-string guitar made by Aria. Not a super expensive guitar, and not my only guitar, but I really loved that thing and wrote some songs on it that I thought were really cool. Now they make me cringe, but that wasn't the guitar's fault! Then one day I foolishly lent this guitar to a brother who shall remain nameless. He somehow confused the verbs "lend" and "give" and when I asked for the guitar back, he told me he had sold it! Yeah, I was pissed. But we move on.

To make a long story short, I came back from Retro Music with two guitars and a couple of cheap gig bags to carry them in, and I'm really thrilled. The Fender is also a low end guitar (DG 10/12, from Korea) but the sound and action are really quite nice. I love it, and I finally have a 12-string to replace my beloved Aria (sure, I could have bought one before now - I just didn't know how much I missed it).

So now I am in guitar nirvana. I have two nice acoustic steel-strings, an OK electric guitar, an OK bass, and now also a classical and a 12-string. Nothing fancy, but guitars that will suit my moods and do their jobs. Oh, the songs I will play! Oh, the songs I will write. OK, I'm infatuated - but I'm going with it for now.

P.S. Tuning a 12 string can be a bear, but now I've got electronic tuners so I'm sure this will not be a problem unless the neck starts to warp.

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