I am aflutter.
After kicking the can up the road (down the road?) for nearly a year, I am headed to The Big City tomorrow to get something that I have lusted over for some time.
Once upon a time I was asked what my dream guitar was. I had to give two answers, because electrics and acoustics really are different animals. Tomorrow I am going to see if I can “do the deal” to get the acoustic guitar of guitars, the holiest of the holy, that which I fell in love with the moment I saw my first one. To be sure, there are more expensive guitars available – much more expensive. To be sure, there are fans of other brands that will spit on my shadow and curse me for a brainless git. I’m okay with that. I too have been known to have what some would call “firm” opinions on certain matters. I understand. I know people who have stated they would rather have a bad Gibson than a perfect (insert name of any other brand here). I suspect that statement contains a certain amount of hyperbole, but brand loyalty is something I understand and respect.
One size does not fit all. It never has and it never will.
I think the single finest sounding acoustic I have ever listened to was a Gibson Hummingbird made in the early 1960s that was in the hands of a guy who lived in a dorm room a few doors down from me. He is now the department chairman of the school of music at that university. Of course, this was in the day of long hair and non-prescriptive pharmacopeia, so my memory is highly suspect (see what I did there?). Over one summer break he took another guy that lived in that same dorm off to “his” guitar shop, and the following fall semester Slick (I have no idea what his real name is/was, he was universally addressed as “Slick”) had a Martin D28 in his possession. It complimented the Hummingbird beautifully. It was somewhere during this time frame when I got an invite to go see Jesse Colin Young at WFU and there was this guy named Leo Kottke as the opening act, and if you have seen Leo in person, then you know what I mean. To see Leo play is to witness something that is probably not entirely of this earth. I am pretty sure Leo hails from some plant where the sole form of communication is guitar.
One thing I picked up on pretty quickly was that the hands holding the guitar* are by far and away the most important element in the sound of the guitar. Just a couple of weeks ago, I watched a man pick up a $200 Yamaha and make that fucker ring out like… words fail me. I wish you could have been there. The point of this is that while he normally plays instruments that cost 20 times or more than that Yamaha, he did not appear to be limited in any way, shape or form in producing the most wondrous music. In point of fact, if you are looking to buy a guitar for yourself or another to learn on, give some very serious consideration to Yamaha (that goes for the electrics also, the Pacifica series guitars are bargains). The beginner will not have to fight with a poorly constructed turd and if they decide that guitaring is not for them, they can recover some of their money out of it.
Anyway, I am headed south to see if I can bring a Taylor 514ce limited edition back home. It’s got a flame mahogany back and some fancy fret inlays and some outrageously smooth Gotoh tuners (21:1 ratio, baby)and that unspeakably sexy Florentine cutaway. In that dream guitar photo, it’s the one on the right. Pics shall be forthcoming if it is here tomorrow evening.
*Look at this video of Billy Gibbons and some friends playing “La Grange“. At 4:22 in the video, Mike Henderson, who is playing a fucking $150 Squier Telecaster (Fender’s in-house knock off brand of their own stuff) just absolutely puts on a jaw-dropping clinic on How. Its. Done. It ain’t the equipment, it’s who is holding the equipment.
EDIT: Mission accomplished. pics: http://mullarea.com/guitars/Taylor/