By Doug Kroening
This week’s topic is a personal favorite of mine, guitars. Familiar with the fact that not everyone shares or for that matter understands my love for this incredible instrument, I thought I might take the week to plead the case for guitar addiction.
I saw my first electric guitar, live and in person, somewhere around 1977, hanging in a music store not far from where I lived as a child. I can see it hanging there to this day, a sunburst Fender Stratocaster. I fell instantly in love.
At the age of 8, I could not play guitar, but I wanted that guitar something fierce. This tells me there is more to the instrument than simply the ability to create sound. There is something about the way they look.
Guitars have shapes, some more appealing than others, but it is evident in the curve of the instrument. Then you notice the grain in the wood, the materials used to make the neck of the instrument, and the shine of the paint. You will find yourself hooked right there. You could hang that guitar on the wall and be content simply looking at it.
As a musician, you can feel if the fit is right when you pick up the instrument. Sometimes it is the way the neck feels in your hand or the balance of the guitar when you let it hang from the strap.
If you find the one that looks and feels right and it sounds right to you when you plug it in, you have just entered the world of guitar addiction.
I know plenty of players who are content with that one guitar. It is usually the one they got at a young age or the first “real” guitar they could afford, but it is just that one. That is not guitar addiction. That is being reasonable.
A very common joke among guitar players is, “How many more guitars do you need?”
The answer is invariably, “Just one more.”
Most of us are always looking for that one more. We have every intention of it being the last one—the guitar to solve all of our tone issues—but I think most of us will tell you that it is a never-ending quest.
It is not because we need them or because we cannot live without them.
It is because they are guitars, and guitars are quite possibly the coolest looking instrument on the planet.
If you find you have a little time on your hands, stop down at your local music store, and just take a look around. Examine the craftsmanship in the instruments, the colors, the woods.
It might not be long before you find one of those beauties hanging on your wall, and you too might need just one more.