Just Can’t Say Good-bye

I have 6 guitars. Probably, five too many. I also have five amplifiers of various wattage, size, and electronics. I need to get rid of most of them. Mostly, because they take up a lot of space and I’m long “retired” from the live music scene. I decided I would try to play one each week for several weeks and find out which ones I could part with. It is an impossible task.

Of the collection I currently own, the oldest is an Ibenez 6 string semi-acoustic. For the unguitarist group, a semi-acoustic is most identical to a classic 6 string that can be played by itself but it has an electronics plug that allows you to amplify the sound through a sound system or amplifier. Frankly, it sounds just a little “tinny” (very metalic bright) acoustic but has electronics that make it sound very mello through an amplifier. I’ve had that guitar for about 25 years, maybe longer. It is in remarkable shape. It is not the top of line model but it isn’t a Christmas present toy either. When playing live, I ran it through a Crate 85 watt amp my father purchased for me from a music store on Main Street in Smithtown, NY. It has several channels that allowed me to connect a microphone as well. It has made me a lot of pocket change over the years and got me through a lot of weddings.

The second is a Taylor 6 string semi-acoustic. Again, not the top of line model but not a beginner’s model either. I’ve owned that since the Fall of 2012. I used to play this through a 20 watt solid state Behringer piano amp that can include build in effects. It was quite the work horse. Through this amp the Taylor works and sounds great. The third is a Yamaha Pacifica 6 string electric modeled to look like a Stratocaster. I purchased that with a Peavy solid state 35 watt amplifier that can similate a whole bunch of stacks, cabinets, and amplifier modes. Frankly, I used that sparingly during my life performance days.

The prettiest of the group is a Tacamini 12 string jumbo that is almost identical to the one played by Glen Fry of the Eagles. I used that a lot live and when I played in the “church chorus band”. Since you have to tune it down one whole note (E being the common tuning / D being the 12 string tuning) I learned a great deal about transposing music from one key to another and really learned the value of a capo. That is also a semiacoustic and sounds phenominal acoustic or amplified. I played this live and through a 150 watt Behringer Sound System. It has many of the same effects as the Behringer piano amp, above, but has many inputs, level pans, monitor outputs and room simulators.

My favorite guitar is a 2015 Fender Telecaster American Standard Delux blond 6 string made in the California plant (that appears to have since moved to Mexico). It is, by far, the most expensive and is one I consider to be a “real” guitar, probably because I only consider price as being the gauge in determining what is real and what is just a hobby guitar. I play that through a 35 watt Fender Tube Tweed reissue. It has a “bright” channel and over drive capability. I have only used that twice in live performance. But, I love it. As a side note, there are four guitars I have always wanted. The Fender mentioned above because Bruce Springsteen plays a similar model; a Gibson Les Paul similar to the one Peter Frampton plays; a Gibson Byrdland semi acoustic hollow body similar to the one Ted Nugent plays; and a Gretsch Streamline 6120 like Brian Seltzer from the Stray Cats plays. I can’t see really ever having the justification for making those rather large purchases.

Finally, I have a Fender Bass (market entry) model that my son gave me a few years ago.

The end of my little week long playing experiment made it clear none of these would be leaving. Each time I began to play one it brought back memories of certain events and I began to feel like they were old friends who had stopped by to chat about the past. All of them still sounded great and although my voice has weakened and long gone out of tune, it was so much fun to pick them up and start singing.

I guess we have all something tucked away in a dresser drawer, hidden away in a closet, or collecting dust in an attic that should have been disposed of long ago but tug at us to remain in our possession. Everytime we see them, they bring up memories, both happy and sad, and leave a strong feeling of nostalgia. I decided to mount these all on their guitar stands and spread them out throughout the house almost like art or furniture accessories. Everytime I move from room to room I inwardly smile and feel a small sense of peace.

I have a small group of close friends. And, I won’t be getting rid of them any time soon.

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