I’m gunna string up this old Martin box
Play some slow, steel blues
Wind her up and pick it down
Maybe grab a friend or two
Many a man and mighty gal
Has called ole’ Marty their friend
Made of wood, nice and loud
I’m with her ‘till the end
A boomin’ voice, thick with mud
Though sharp as crystal too
I like to hear her once a night
Tell me, now how bout you?
A pretty shape, a slender neck
She was crafted here in PA
The bluest grass or thundrin’ folk
Is what Marty loves to play
Battered, bruised though plenty tough
She keeps singing through it all
Takes on a man twice her size
Boy that lady’s got some gall!
The sound of hope came tumblin’ down
The mountains to the plains
Ole’ Marty listened to every word
Whispered to the golden grain
Word traveled fast, soon the city heard
A new sweet country sound
They threw their caps, saluted her
Everyone jumpin’ up and down
She’s not much for praise, she’d rather sing
Those freedom songs she heard
Equal pay! And down with hate!
Marty loved every word
Behind every good man, a Martin guitar
Behind every woman too
I play my baby every night
Singin’ bout red, white and blue!
I have been doing nothing over the past few days other than filling my head with information about guitars. I’ve been researching what guitar is the best band for your buck. I have looked high and low. Virtually and in the store for my perfect guitar…my baby.
I’ve played $5,000 Gibson Hummingbirds. I’ve played $3,000 Martin D-28s with Indian Rosewood back and sides, sitka spruce tops, and mahogany necks. I’ve played 50 year old instruments with more character than an old, smokey-lady’s face.
I’ve talked to salesman from big chain stores, I’ve talked to techs from small mom and pop shops at great length and learned everything I could from their expertise. I really want to find a guitar that speaks to me and I’m doing my due diligence.
You might look at the guitar pictured above and think that I’ve found the one. But I haven’t. The Martin Streetmaster above is an all-mahogany guitar with a “distressed” finish, which makes it look bad ass in my opinion. I might still pick it up one day, but I haven’t yet and this is why.
I got the idea, as I headed to my 4th guitar shop during my quest, to bring my Yamaha FG-203 along with me to compare its sound with the other guitars in the store. To give you an idea, my Yamaha acoustic is currently selling different places online for about $150. Thats $150 for a basically brand new acoustic.
Well, I got to the shop and set up all these beautiful (and expensive) guitars all around me. I played my Yamaha first and played a simple chord progression rather loud. Then I tuned one of the instruments next to me and played the exact same chord progression and compared. I repeated this process with all the acoustics in the room and it was quite a big room.
You know what I found out? I liked my $150 Yamaha’s sound as much, or in some cases, more than I liked the supposed grander and definitely more expensive guitars. I had a thick wad of cash in my pocket when I entered the store – burning a hole like you might expect. I wanted so badly to throw my money on the table and buy a superior instrument.
But that didn’t happen.
I came downstairs at the shop feeling a little dejected. The guy at the front desk looked at me and said, “Your guitar won didn’t it?” He was right, my little Japanese acoustic beat all those flashy name brands.
I might still get a new guitar, but not right now it seems.
I have so much knowledge in my head about body sizes and wood tones it’s coming out my ears. But it doesn’t matter what experts tell you. It doesn’t matter how much better a guitar is supposed to sound. All that matters is what YOU like. What YOU think sounds the best and fits what you’re trying to play. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking because its got a name brand and flashy inlays that it’s a better sounding instrument.
I got so caught up in having the Martin name across the headstock of my guitar that I almost made a rash decision.
I’m a person who has never been up on the latest trends, but I remember in school wanting the new black Nikes or a Easton baseball bat with the big barrel or getting older and envying the kid down the street’s BMW M3. I want to pay attention to the bullshit of brand names and remember when my $150 Yamaha crushed a 60s Gibson.
Walking into a bar and
hearing a random person
cover a song I wrote
on their shitty, acoustic guitar
would be a moment
of complete clarity for me.