Bless my wife’s heart. One evening this week I turned and said to her that I’ve decided to search for my dream guitar. I told her right up front that this was going to take a lot of time and effort, and that it will very likely end up costing us a bundle. Her only response was, “OK.”
I don’t really even know what the phrase “dream guitar” means to me, truth be told, but I guess defining it will be part of the process.
Musically speaking, I’m not much of a gear guy. I currently own four guitars: an Alvarez, which was the first “real” guitar I ever owned and which is covered in the signatures of various musicians I have met and or played with in my life; a Yamaha classical guitar given to me buy an aunt who had used it for lessons she took years ago; a Martin Alternative X that I often use for recording because it has onboard electronics that facilitate the process; and a Martin D-28.
I suppose the reason I haven’t yearned for guitars the way many players do is because my main instrument for the past 27 years has been the D-28. I bought it new in 1981, knowing even then that, barring anything unexpected or catastrophic, I would never need another acoustic guitar. Indeed, there are some people who think of a D-28 as the Holy Grail of acoustic guitars. These instruments are almost ubiquitous in bluegrass, which is the music I know best and have played the most over the years. By far, the most highly-coveted Martins are those built in the “pre-war” years, but even though mine falls well outside that category it is a fine guitar and I have loved it since the day I brought it home.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided to hit the streets in search of something more. I want to explore the higher-end, small-shop builders, and maybe even some individual luthiers. Along the way, I’m going to need to learn about all sorts of things like tonewoods and other materials, different building techniques and how they compare, and ultimately, exactly what it is I’m looking for.
Here we go….