New Guitar Day
Sometimes I get the hankerin’ for one specific guitar.
When I was in my early 20s, I happened to come into a bit of extra cash — about $500 in fact. (I’m pretty sure it was my first-ever tax return.) Now, in 2003, that was a lot of money, and because I was young and dumb, my first and last thought was, “I should buy a guitar.”
(To be fair, now I’m old and dumb, and my first thought when I have extra money is still, “I should buy a guitar.”)
I went into the local GuitarCenter and looked around. Fresh-out-of-college Jon, unfortunately, did not have the amount of guitar knowledge that present-day, grizzled guitar veteran Jon has. I basically walked into the store and found a Mexican Strat and said, “Okay, I’ll buy that one.”
I admit it was a good-looking guitar. It had a natural finish, a white pickguard, and a maple fretboard. (It also had the oversized ’70s Fender headstock, which I personally love.)
I kept that guitar around for quite a few years, but I didn’t really know much about it or what I had. I didn’t play it a ton, and it mainly stayed in its gig bag.
I lost that guitar and my beloved Seagull S6, along with a lot of other things, when our house was burgled in 2008, just a week before our first child was born. (It was quite the Thanksgiving that year!)
Godin Guitars: the world’s most underrated brand
When I was in college, I worked a summer job and saved up enough money to buy a nice, new guitar. I was in Joplin, MO…
I’ve been thinking about that guitar lately, though. I’ve been poking through Reverb listings, stopping by local guitar stores, and whatnot, just kinda sorta hoping to find a guitar like that one, but this time to play and appreciate it more than I did my old Fender.
A few months ago, I was in a music shop and saw almost the guitar. It was a Squier Affinity Stratocaster with a natural finish and the large headstock. It had a rosewood fretboard (so close!), but I picked it up anyway. The guitar played pretty well, and I thought, “I should buy this.” But I second-guessed myself and left it in the store.
I kept thinking about that guitar, but not enough to go back and get it. Instead, I kept hunting. I ended up visiting just about every guitar shop in town but I just didn’t find that natural-finish Strat with the white pickguard and the maple fretboard. I figured it was such a specific hunt that it would take a long time to find the guitar, if I ever found it. After that, I pretty much put it out of my mind and went about my life.
So I was running errands this afternoon and happened to be driving past a music store. I stopped in just to see what they had, and as I perused the selections on the wall, I saw a guitar.
I couldn’t believe it.
It was a used SX brand Strat copy.
It had a natural finish.
It had a white pickguard.
It had a maple fretboard.
It cost under $200.
I thought, “Well, let’s see how it plays.” I pulled it off the hangar. The strings were old and the action was a touch high, but it played great. You know how sometimes you get a guitar that just has the “mojo”? Yeah, it had the mojo in spades.
I plucked a new, $900 Player Series Strat off the wall just to compare the two, and it felt identical in my hands. I mean, if I were blindfolded, I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between two guitars that had a price gap of seven Benjamins.
I may be old and dumb, but when I see the hand of Providence at work, I sit up and take notice.
That SX Strat copy is now sitting in my living room. Once I got it home, I plugged it into my amp, lowered the action, and yep — the mojo came home with the guitar! It’s 100 percent going in the rotation. I might be buried with it.
Sometimes I get the hankerin’ for one specific guitar. And every great once in a while, I actually find it.