“Everybody knows it can’t be good/ To spend all your money on what you should”: Guitar weeping, Part III

Michael Munnik's reflection in the glossy finish on a cedar-topped Tanglewood acoustic guitarOk. Having committed to the idea that I need a new guitar, the job is now to find one. A friend from my Nanaimo days, herself a guitar player, used the phrase “condolences and congratulations”, and that’s very much what it feels like. There’s excitement in trying out new guitars and figuring out which one might be the right one, even as it’s tinged with sadness that this is replacing my reliable companion.

My criteria were simple enough to define. I had a budget range – I’ll be discreet here, talking about money, you know, but it had to be in that sweet spot where it’s an improvement on the guitar I’ve already got but doesn’t blow the bank. This is not a purchase we were planning, and I can’t really say I’m using the guitar in such a way that commands the Martin that I’d love to have. For my price tag, I definitely wanted a solid top; some guitar promised all-solid woods, which could be great. And it needed a pickup inbuilt. A mate of mine suggested buying the guitar I wanted and then having one installed, but I didn’t feel confident that such a move wouldn’t inflate the costs. It also felt like the kind of thing I’d want to have a relationship with the shop or the guitar tech to do.

This mate had recently (like, a year and a half ago) done that, and moreover, he’d gotten the guitar second-hand. When you’ve got time and at least one guitar in your arsenal already that you trust, this is a fine option. Plus, he makes his living through music, so both his needs and his awareness are different. I wanted to be able to play the guitar I was going to buy, strum it, finger-pick it, and see how it sounded and felt on the kinds of songs I play. Continue reading