Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guitar Resolution

After all this neurotic hand-wringing, I'm happy to say that I may have finally come to a resolution on this whole guitar issue, and I’ve done a complete about-face on this one. Now for the most part, the musicians I’ve talked to have been vague and non-committal in their assessment of the situation, which made it all that much harder for me. I.e., I had to decide for myself.

One commonality was that they said to have A go and play the different guitars and decide which one she thought felt and sounded the best, and which one she preferred. While this makes perfect sense, it ignores the fact that she doesn’t really have enough experience or a frame of reference to really distinguish between all the different instruments. They all look, feel, and sound good to her. It is not as if she said, “Oh, this one has much better action than this one,” or “That one has a much brighter tone.” This, of course, if perfectly understandable.

Truth be told, she did like the Samick, which is made in Korea is actually a regular guitar with a slightly narrower “waist” to make it rest lower so that it’s easier to play. The guy at Blue Mountain pegged it just right, and when A played it, she said it played nicely and sounded good. Then again, she said the same thing about the Seagull, as well as other guitars she’s played. The Samick is less than half the price of the Seagull, but it also has a laminated top, while the Seagull has a solid top. Solid is more desirable, I know this much.

It boiled down to some practical issues. First, is she ready for an artisan guitar? Will she care for it and protect it from damage, or just leave it lying on the floor where it will get dinged and scratched? The Seagull is more vulnerable in this sense, the finish is more aesthetic and less practical. The Samick is probably more durable and stronger, which is not necessarily something you look for in a musical instrument, except when you’re talking about children, however.

I spoke with DC of Yellow House Media, resident musical guru, and he was the only one who gave me concrete advice. He said he liked the Samicks and got one for his niece and it has worked out beautifully. He said for the money it’s a great instrument, and that contrary to popular sentiment, there are really good guitars being made overseas.

Finally, for all intents and purposes, this will be a transitional guitar. Let’s face it, even though I marvel at her musical prowess (I’m a shameless dad), she’s still a young kid, and maybe now really isn’t the time to get an expensive guitar. At some point as she gets older if she is still into it, I’d like to get her an instrument that she can play for the rest of her life, but I would need her input on that one. At this point in her life, she’s too young and inexperienced to make that decision. All full sized guitars probably feel about the same for her.

So, after all this debate (a bird’s-eye view of how my neurotic mind works), I’m pretty sure we’re going with the Samick, which being more economical, increases the odds that mom will give it a thumbs up. Also, while the guys at Hanover Strings are great, I really like the guys at Blue Mountain, and have more history with them, so it’s a win-win situation. I love when that happens.

Now I just have to see if I can stand on my own two feet to get over there.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Julia Freeman-Woolpert for the pic.

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