Thankful #12: My Guitars

Today I am thankful for my guitars.

I hope this doesn’t come across as superficial, but I am truly thankful for my guitars. Not just for the ability and opportunity to play them, but for the the specific instruments that I currently own. I’ve gone through a lot of guitars over the years, buying and selling, including guitars from Rickenbacker, Parkwood, Harmony, Alvarez, and at my lowest point, Montana and RokAxe.

But my current lineup is pretty sweet, I gotta say.

First up is my pride and joy: my Martin DCPA4. This is my most recent purchase and will likely be my last for a while. But this thing is nice. I had been playing an Alvarez White Fusion for well over a decade as my primary acoustic/electric, but it was wearing out, and I wasn’t sure it was worth investing in getting it fixed up (full disclosure: I still have the Alvarez, and it’s great for around campfires). So I was in the market for a nice upgrade. I would have absolutely considered a high end Alvarez, something from their hand made line, if anyone around here carried them. But no such luck. So my choices were Gibson, Taylor, and Martin. Gibson was straight out: as much as I’d love a Hummingbird, there’s no way I could justify spending more than $2000 on a guitar. I’d be afraid to play it. Besides, I doubt that I play any better than, say, $700 worth. So Jen and I went to Guitar Center, determined to decide between Taylor and Martin.

In the end, there was no contest at all. At all. Taylors are great, and I know that lots of people prefer them, but they just sound too bright for me, almost tinny. But the Martin… oh my word. Gorgeous dark tone that perfectly matched the way I play the acoustic. I knew right away, and Jen smiled knowingly. The Martin was a clear winner. I’ve played this guitar at church nearly every week since I got it, as well as at several gigs and open mics. Never lets me down. And there’s something very cool about playing a guitar hand made in your own state by a company that’s been around since the 1840s.

Next up is my workhouse of an electric: my hollow body walnut Gretsch Electromatic 5120. I had been jonesing for a Gretsch for a long time. Especially after selling my semi-hollow Rickenbacker 330/6, I knew I wanted an electric with some resonance to it. I had my eye on the orange model for a couple reasons. First, orange is my favorite color. Second, Brian Setzer. I mean, come on.

I had been saving up cash from writing reviews for a programming magazine and squirreling away the money in a safe place. Once I had a good chunk of change saved up, I headed to Guitar Center again, with my son and one of the kids from church, figuring I’d only have enough to buy an Epiphone Dot or something like that. But it was a holiday, and that means a sale, and I walked out with the Gretsch and a hard case for way less than I ever could have guessed. The only downside was that they didn’t have orange or even black in stock. So if I wanted one that day, it was walnut or nothing. I chose walnut. Jen was thoroughly confused when I came home with a brand new guitar; she hadn’t known about the money I’d been saving up. But once she saw it, and once she heard it through my Peavey Classic 30, she approved.

Finally, there’s my little Danelectro ’59 (it’s actually a 2010 re-issue of their 1959 model). I got this on clearance at Guitar Center for $200, and I have to say: it is way more guitar than one could reasonably expect for that money. The sound it kicks out is incredibly hot, and the tone is wonderfully bitey. It even has really good action, especially for the money. Plus, its visual appeal is undeniable with its kitschy 50s vibe.

I am thankful for my guitars.

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