Summer tour and NGD

Departed winter spot in Crystal River on Thursday. Currently in Pensacola, FL. Onwards to New Orleans tomorrow for 2 weeks. Summer Tour 2018 begins. The truck tows the 5th wheel beautifully. The goose neck is, as expected, taking a little adjusting to but is working well.

A few days ago, I posted on a guitar forum about looking for a new 6 string. A lot of really good information was graciously shared by a lot of folks. Below is what I posted this morning.

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I am keenly aware that the feedback provided on this thread is from years of hard earned experience and more than likely no small amount of expense. I deeply appreciate it. It is kind and gracious of everyone to share with me that which they gained so dearly. I am paying close attention and pondering carefully. As a result, I have shifted to a more patient, longer term search, months if needed, instead of days or weeks.

Since the hourglass of my life has way more sand on the bottom than top, I decided to get a ‘bridge’ or ‘in the meantime’ guitar to provide a better sound while I continue my search. Nothing too serious, just grab something I would enjoy playing more while I continue searching. It also occurred to me that it would provide a better, more defined and robust reference point to compare a future purchase against. I decided to keep it simple. Basically, nothing more than: Sounds good? Feels like it will play OK? Just go with ‘close enough’ for now. Just an upgrade to ease the ‘tired of listening to it’ of the LX1 and make the waiting during a more patient search more comfortable. The current 6 string, LX1, is a perfectly serviceable guitar but it has limitations.

So, after arriving in Pensacola, FL yesterday I stopped by a couple of local guitar shops. At the first stop I tried a few Taylors, including an 814ce DLX. Nice guitar but not the sound I was looking for. Mahogany just isn’t doing it for me. Rest of the Taylor selection was a bit thin. Down the road I go to the next place and they have Martins. No 00 or 000 in stock but tried 3 guitars anyway, just for the heck of it. I mean why not? I’d driven 15 minutes to get there and even put on a clean shirt with a collar (retired guys have low standards about what ‘dressed up’ means). Started with something mahogany and moved on to a new D-28. Really like the new style neck on the 28. Last up was a new D-21. Wrong size body, 14 fret neck, no cutaway, no electronics and slightly thicker strings than I wanted.

I bought it. Why did I buy it, besides the ‘I can resist anything but temptation’ concept? The sound. To my unrefined ear the clarity, sustain and tone was exceptional. Had the strings changed to a lighter gauge and they are wonderful. Played it for 2 hours last night and still like it. Just a joy to listen to. Plays easy. I am a crappy player, at best, but it is fun to play.

Make no mistake, the search continues but at a more controlled pace and the budget remains unchanged. But now each day builds a better, more defined reference point to compare and the journey is more enjoyable.

TLDR: GAS is real.

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GAS, for the uninitiated (some would say the unobsessed) stands for Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. It is real (to some) and just indulgence to others. I recently sold 19 collector knives I accumulated in my travels. They appreciated over time so my ‘fun’ money fund is in better than anticipated shape.

The whole guitar thing is a bit of a surprise to me. I came to it late in life with NO musical background. Went to my first lesson in my early 50s and the instructor said there are 7 notes in a scale. I said "I believe you, you look like an honest lad". Playing the guitar rewired my brain in a positive and productive manner far beyond what I imagined was possible. I played for a few years. Another shoulder/wrist surgery occurred and even after rehab playing was not an option. Even 5 minutes of playing caused days of burning pain and soreness. I tried for a year with no improvement. Got pissed and sold all the guitars and related equipment. Fast forward several years and about 3 moths ago and I’m in a pawn shop. On a whim I purchased a very cheap electric guitar. I fully expected to give it away or throw it away within a week after confirming that playing was just not an option for me. To my surprise I played. I played poorly and with skill or talent but I played. After about a week I realized that I could indeed go back to playing on a regular basis. It is hard to describe what a profound sense of relief and pleasure that gave me. I am a hack on the guitar, probably always will be but I rejoice in each little victory. Chord changes are still stiff and awkward, but improving. I don’t care how bad I play, just playing lifts my spirit. Can’t ask for much more.

So that’s the status of my music career. I am currently the best player in my bedroom and it will stay that way. There’s not enough room for two people and the cat can’t do barre chords. Some might say that’s a rigged game and they would be correct.

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