guitar geekery

Just a thought.

I just spent, like, hours playing a ‘new’ guitar through my legitimately new amp. I have an undeniable cramp in my left hand, but otherwise I feel good. The amp is powerful, and I don’t have to turn it up really high in order to be able to really sing while I play, and I think a couple hours of shouting at the top of my lungs was really what I needed. I think I just got musically rejected by some dudebros last night, and it’s certainly not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in any respect, but it’s been harder on me than I thought it would be.

It’s made me wish that my stepfather were here to say “Fuck 'em, you’re probably better off” (though I probably wouldn’t have told him about it, I guess). It’s also made me think about my music teacher from high school, it’s more likely I would have told him, because he was really good at helping me figure out what was “really” bothering me, and had a knack being both completely honest and incredibly kind while doing so.

I’ve spent the last few days re-reading The Mists of Avalon, struggling to regulate my sleep schedule, and trying to deal with a lot of much more mundane things around my house. I spent today trying to be honest with myself, reading my tarot cards, and trying to think of what my teacher would say to me. I imagine that he would look at me with real confusion, and say “Jamie…why did you even try to play with these young men? You don’t seem like you even like them. Don’t you have friends, people who you already know, and like, and respect, who you want to play with?” Yes, yes I do. Maybe it makes more sense to collaborate with people you like, who you trust and know will respect what you’re trying to do technically and support that no matter what, instead of expecting people who understand and like what you’re trying to do technically to be able to respect you as a person. Uh, ACTUALLY, now that I’ve said that, it suddenly seems like the smartest thought I’ve ever had in my life. Cue Grace Adler-style …whoa.


So I went to the store to pick it up and also to get an EQ pedal for the purpose of “tone shaping” (i.e., controlling the horrible squealing noise my pick ups make when I dial up the drive). They didn’t have the one that I wanted, but I did test out the amp and it sounds kind of amazing without effects.

The door guy tried to convince me to get a really expensive equalizer that he apparently swears by, he even got out his cell phone and showed me a picture of his pedal board. I don’t think he was trying to condescend to me or show off, I think he was just feeling proud of his set up, and saw an opportunity to share it with someone with similar interests. In fact, it was the first time a guy did that to me where I felt like I was being treated like an equal, as someone who would know what he was talking about. He said that his set up is ‘all solid state’ and I said, “Really!? That’s so interesting, people are so down on solid state, but I’ve had some success with it!” (Filed under: will try anything if Greg Ginn has made it work.) I think he appreciated that.

The guy in the guitar department who retrieved my amp was nice enough to help get it out to my car, and I was very excited about the whole thing until I got home, and realized that between how heavy it is, how slippery/unwieldy the packaging box is, and how the back door of my jeep doesn’t stay open on its own anymore, I couldn’t get it out of my car. Living alone means that there wasn’t anyone here to come out and help me, and it was a little depressing. My stepfather would have been so on this. He would have had a handtruck ready. He also probably would have put wheels on it tomorrow morning while I was asleep, like he did with my big bass amp.

My stepdad was kind of obsessed with the locally owned and run hardware store around the corner from our house, and I figure I’ll go down there tomorrow morning to see if I can get some sort of wheels or something like that. I’ll also probably have to ask one of my neighbors or something to help me with the car door. Sometimes being an adult means knowing when to ask for help, and doing so even when you’d rather not.