Friday, July 11, 2003

When I was 12 years old I got the sudden urge to play guitar. I couldn't get enough of the sound of distortion. I became obsessed with the texture. I asked my parents for a guitar. For Christmas, my parents bought me a low end Samick "stratocaster" style electric guitar and a low end Samick 10-watt amplifier. I became overwhelmed at how hard it was to actually play the guitar, finding I couldn't automatically play all my favourite Metallica riffs. Soon after I got the guitar, I went to the local music store in search of the tabulature book for Metallica's "black" album, which was my favourite album at the time. They were sold out, so I bought the "...And Justice For All" tab book. It was fate. History was made. I spent endless hours in my room trying to figure out how the solos written in the book could possibly sound like they did on the CD. I came up with my own ways around techniques like "tapping" and "artificial harmonics". I came up with my own version of music theory to help me understand the songs (this theory included the term "rhyming"). I became comfortable with the guitar. The world was a blank palette. Why would I ever need anything else?

A couple years later, while I was part of a heavy-metal guitar duo (we used synthesized drums, no bass) called Discharge (we didn't realise there was already a semi-famous band with the same name at the time), I spotted another Samick electric guitar at the music shop. It was green (I always wanted a green guitar), had a humbucking pickup (makes distortion sound "heavier" and eliminates pickup "hum"), and was cheaper than my current guitar. I bought it immediately. I soon became dependant on the humbucking pickup. Single coil pickups just wouldn't do it for me anymore. It was a good deal. It seemed to stay in tune better and play better than my old guitar. I could now play hard hitting riffs with more confidence. I no longer had to worry about feedback and pickup noises. It was the perfect guitar. Why would I ever need anything else?

When I was 18 years old, long after Discharge had faded from existence (my bandmate seemed to go through the whole cycle of "fame" without actually having to become famous), I was picking up the pieces of my life. I had registered at BMLSS again (the highschool I got kicked out of oh so many years ago). I was matured. I was a better person. I was turning over a new leaf. One of the courses I signed up for was guitar class, thinking (accurately) that it would be an easy credit. But golly, I would need an acoustic guitar for that course! For Christmas, my parents bought me a semi-low end Fender acoustic guitar. It should be known that I was also in "performance class", which happened to be the period directly after guitar class. So anyway, on the first day of school, after a rather boring guitar class, I found myself playing some Metallica riffs in performance class. Curtis (who also happened to be in my guitar class) heard me. The next day in guitar class, he introduced me to Jackson, hoping I would join them in doing an acoustic version of a Metallica song for a class project. Mozeba was born. We played an acoustic version of "The Unforgiven". Got good marks. Played another metal song called "Acoustic Medley" by some obscure band. Got good marks. Decided to make our own composition, our own acoustic medley. But alas, there was a problem. Curtis became annoyingly bored of playing the parts me and Jackson wrote for him. Bye, Curtis. Jackson and I finished the song and named it "Neighbourhood Plastic". It was fate. I soon discarded all thoughts of picking up the electric guitar as I delved deeper and deeper into the world of acoustic guitar. I found the Fender acoustic held endless possibilities as I surprised myself day in and day out with the material that came out of it. Mozeba was going full throttle. Why would I ever need anything else?

In the late fall of 2001, I inexplicably became interested in playing fingerstyle guitar. I had delved a bit into it years before while learning certain "Justice" riffs, but never really thought much about it since. I decided to buy a very cheap, low end, Tradition classical guitar. I never considered taking up the instrument seriously. I just wanted to experiment a little bit with it. Sure, it was a crappy guitar, but who cares? It's not like I was going to use it much, anyway. Why would I ever need anything else?

Days after purchasing the classical, it became an integral part in the world of Mozeba. I very quickly abandoned the acoustic guitar. I became uninterested in playing it. There were so many more possibilities with the classical guitar. But now I was stuck with an incredibly crappy "main" instrument, and no money to buy a better one (having been fired from Inn at the Falls).

Two years later, I regained my position at Inn at the Falls. In the past two years, I had grown as a person. I no longer felt the need to spend my money recklessly. Indeed, I couldn't have spent my money if I wanted to. What would I buy? There's nothing I wanted. Nothing, except a new guitar. Two paycheques later, I had enough. But there was another problem. I didn't get off work until 5:00 on Friday (which was pay day). Thankfully, the banks were open late that day, but the local music shop was only open until 5:30! My only chance was to run home from work, grab the money I had stored in my house, run all the way across town to the bank, cash my cheque, run all the way back across town in time to find the right guitar, try it out thoroughly, and purchase it, all before 5:30, and I was wearing a nicotine patch that warns not to do "strenuous activity". Certainly this was an impossible task. But I did it, arriving at Precision music at 5:15, ready to drop dead right then and there. Imagine my dismay when I noticed the "business hours" sign on the door inform me that, on Friday, the store was open until 6:00!

Anyway, the point is, I bought the guitar today. A Takamine electric-classical. It even has a cut-away (so I can easily reach the higher frets). It is, by all accounts, a high-end guitar (not including guitars only celebrities and Bill Gates could afford). It stays in tune better than I ever imagined, has impossibly good intonation, sound incredible. I am now the proud owner of a "good" guitar. And it only took me eight years to acquire. Now, tell me: why would I ever need anything else?