Guitar

Early Years

First Guitar
The Studio

The first guitar I ever really got to play was an old electric guitar that my friend, Grant, let me borrow for a while during the summer/fall of 2004. It was a black and white Fender Squire (Stratocaster-esque) guitar. It was a lot of fun to play... and later on, I learned how not to change strings on an electric guitar.

I eventually bought a small amp for that guitar because, after all, electric guitars don't really make good acoustic guitars. So I started recording a few things here and there but nothing that real or that interesting. And one of the first songs was a cover of "Superglue" by a little band that doesn't exist anymore named Driver Eight.

Guitar History

Lucy

Lucy

"I got a new guitar! It was the cheapest one that I wanted to buy, and it is just like the one I have been borrowing (which I can return now) but is newer. It's also candy apple red, and there aren't random dead spots in some of the strings, which is awesome. :) I still need to name it sometime. It reminds me of a cherry dilly bar, but that would be the lamest name ever." (Written on December 28th, 2004)

Ended up passing this cherry dilly bar on to family in later years. It's still around somewhere, ha ha.

Erwin

Erwin

"So, a week or so ago, I saw an ad for some things that were being sold on a bulletin board at school. I looked at the ad, saw a guitar was being sold, and realized that I knew who who the seller is. I emailed him but he was out of the country so he referred me to a friend of his, who is actually a Japanese friend of mine, too. So I got to talk to my friend who I haven't talked to in forever, and got to buy that guitar ($60 with case). So, here it is, a Yamaha C40 Full Size Nylon-String Classical Guitar. I really like it, and it's highly portable, so I think I can use it in Japan. I like the nylon strings, too." (Written on April 1st, 2005)

Ended up passing this classical guitar on to a local family who can use it better than I can at the moment. Hope you like it! :) -- June 2012

Yumi

Yumi

"Here is Yumi, the new addition to the guitar family :)" (Written on October 25th, 2005)

This has been one of my favorite guitars. It was also one of the least thought-out guitar purchases I've ever made. I still remember walking into the basement of a small music and instrument store in an outdoor mall in Japan... looking around at the guitars for a little while... and then just choosing to buy this one because I liked the color and the price.

I enjoyed playing it for the whole year in Japan... and I still like to play it from time to time. It's been through a bunch of street lives and a couple of "shows"... if they could be called shows. I still wish it had more sustain to it, though (and a lot of Yamaha steel-string guitars I have tried out curiously sound like Yamaha classical guitars... haha). I ended up using this guitar for more of a jazz sound over time... could never really use it for an even-sounding strumming sound. In the end, though, it was probably a result of the heavy gauge of strings I used on it.

Breedlove D25/SR

Breedlove D25/SR

This Breedlove D25 is a solidly-built Korean-made acoustic guitar. I picked up this guitar after a lot of searching, review-reading, and testing... for the price, I couldn't seem to find a Martin or Taylor that had the same quality of materials being used and implemented. So far, it has mostly been used for acoustic recording because of it's build quality, intonation and included electronics. The electronics are still a bit colder sounding than the pickup system I installed for the Yairi... but the intonation and tuners are still a lot better than on the Yairi. I still kinda wish this guitar came with a stronger nut/saddle material, though, because the plastic seems to wear down a bit over time (though this is a budget guitar... and this all could be replaced some day).

1995 American Standard Telecaster

1995 American Standard Telecaster

This Telecaster has been fantastic from the beginning. I bought it from a guy who had to downsize his recording studio equipment (or something) and have used it extensively for the Dream World recording project. Overall, it's a nice, warm, clean-sounding guitar. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a quiet, warm-sounding guitar.

Sonex 180 Custom

Sonex 180 Custom
Sonex 180 Custom

This vintage guitar seemed like a great deal when I first saw it. I bought it and took it home excited that I had found a USA-made Les Paul for a quarter of the price. But when I eventually opened up the guitar for inspection... I realized that I had purchased an Iron Man. The insides of this guitar seemed to be made of some sort of metal (although this may be the case with real Les Pauls... though I have yet to find out...) and the guitar's body turned out to be made out of a useless chipboard and sawdust mixture. Bummer.

In the end, however, it turned out to be mostly a waste of time and money. Since the vintage factor was already ruined by previous modifications, it ended up being a good guitar for learning the basics of guitar maintenance, at least. I kept it around for a year or two for eventual use for the Dream World project... but the way it balanced on my knee, the way it bruised my ribs (for lack of a properly contoured body) and the guitar's unworldly weight (with iron heart) kept me from keeping it around. I finally got rid of it (at an embarrassingly priced loss) in May of 2012.

Yairi Alvarez

Yairi Alvarez

The Breedlove D25 is a great guitar for recording. But for those times of playing out somewhere, I was looking for an acoustic guitar that had already seen some wear and tear. So, I was reading up on Alvarez guitars (after hearing the tonal qualities of a friend's Alvarez guitar) when I read about these Japanese-made (and many actually handmade) acoustic guitars by this guy named Mr. Yairi in Japan. That got me to searching around for a Yairi Alvarez acoustic guitar. Some time passed... and by the time summer rolled around... a budget-priced Yairi eventually showed up in an ad online from a guy selling his old Yairi.

Over the summer I ended up looking around for good, mountable pickup systems for acoustic guitar... and found a cool Oregon company (K&K Sound) that makes some great pickup systems. Got a passive K&K Pure Western (mini) pickup, installed it, and picked up a K&K Pure XLR Preamp to go along with the passive pickup. Unfortunately, I don't play out very often anymore... (for various reasons) but this guitar is still my first choice for live songs. Many thanks to my dad, as well, for the handcrafted guitar soundhole cover.

Washburn

Washburn

In exchange for the weight and dissatisfaction with the Sonex 180, I ended up trading down to this Washburn guitar sometime in 2012. I like the included sustain, coil tapping ability, weight, and body contour (no more bruised rib!) I do wish the related guitar company would have used a different name for this particular line of guitars, though, since this is just an instrument and nothing more to me.

Guitar vs Piano

For what it's worth, I grew up on the piano... and I still like the piano. But the piano does have its limits (e.g. string bending). To me, at least, the piano feels a little more impersonal. Perhaps it has to do with the size of pianos in general. It's easier to tote a guitar... and often, fairly inexpensive to buy a guitar. I still like the piano. But picking up the guitar (however slowly) has given me a new palette with which to work; new colors with which to color.

Generally speaking, I like piano when the music is heading in more of an experimental or jazz type of direction. When I need to focus on rhythm, I like the guitar. The piano can still be used for rhythm-based music, and the guitar can still be used for classical or jazz-based music... but I have my own preferences, I suppose.

This page was last modified on 21 January 2017, at 11:45.