Topic: Are we spoiled?????
I came across this article in a local ( South African ) website.
Thought it makes for interesting reading.
Makes me appreciate the guitars I am fortunate enough to own.
Are we spoiled?
We are truly blessed to live in an age where guitars are plentiful, generally good quality and relatively inexpensive, but has that turned us all into guitar gadflies?
In the '50's and '60s guitars were relatively expensive luxury rather than a plentiful commodity as they are today. Players had few choices between brands and even less between models. Featuresâ€¦ well, if you wanted a Gibson, Martin or a Fender you were stuck with whatever features were standard at the time.
At one end of the spectrum were the â€œentry levelâ€ mail order or chain store instruments (still a fairly big chunk of money by the standards of the time), which were notoriously badly made and difficult to play. At the other end there were the brands like Fender, Gibson and Martin - good instruments but horribly expensive (particularly in countries still reeling from the after-effects of WWII). There was little to nothing in the middle ground between these two extremes. Owning more than one quality instrument was a luxury few could afford.
This meant that choosing your first professional instrument was a serious affair; it was something you had worked towards, scrimped and saved towards for months if not years. Thanks to the price, the chances were good it would be your only pro-level instrument and one you would stick with for years â€“ if not the rest of your life.
The upside to this is that players learned everything there was to know about their guitar (and amp), all the ins and outs, and to a large degree, we bonded with them. We knew every annoying idiosyncrasy, every ding had a story and, most importantly, players learned how to make the most of what they had. You had to learn how to get your guitar sounding its best in any situation. If your bridge pickup too bright, you turned down the tone when you switched pickups. If you needed both clean and drive sounds in a song, you would use your guitarâ€™s volume control, alter your playing dynamics or right hand position. Above all, you had to listen and adjust accordingly. Iâ€™m firmly convinced that this generally made for better players.
In these halcyon days of conspicuous consumption, when great guitars are available for a relatively slender slice of your paycheck, itâ€™s commonplace for us to have a range of different instruments. We refer to them with collective phrases like â€œthe herdâ€ , â€œthe collectionâ€ or â€œthe stableâ€ . If there is something we donâ€™t quite like in a guitar, we sell it and move on to one of another thousand similar (but different) guitars and try that instead. But do we spend the time getting to know any of our instruments in a way that would make us much better players? Do we bond the same with them?
More importantly, do we learn that we have to listen to our playing and tonality? The staggering number of YouTube gear â€œdemonstratorsâ€ who seem to blissfully unaware that the room they are playing in sounds like a tin can, their mic is distorting or the simple fact that they are not even in tune begs to differ.