Long ago in another time and a different place a pretty young girl bought a boy a guitar, because he thought he wanted to put music to his song lyrics and possibly become a rock n’ roll star. That guitar was a prized possession, but not a thing that was ever put to its proper use. The boy did not try very hard to master the instrument, and in fact, did very little with it. In the end, it was handed down to the next generation of rockstars and disappeared from any knowing that the boy might have.
I was that boy. That guitar was a 1987 Charvel Model 1… I think… my online shopping seems to indicate that it was. It was 30+ years ago and I don’t remember. I’ve looked around for one, but they’re hard to find and not inexpensive… maybe, if things work out, I’ll look into it more thoroughly. Right now, it would be a premature purchase.
It’s 2020. I’m 51-years-old. It’s time to become a rockerboy (Cyberpunk reference). That’s right, I’ve decided to try my hand at the guitar once again. This time with a bit more of an organized and goal driven methodology. Weekly lessons. A one year, one song goal. And of course, to accomplish this I’m going to need some new equipment. Let’s see what I walked out of Guitar Center with…
I searched the internet for lists of the best guitars for beginners. I solicited some good advice from my boss who has been playing guitar for as long as I’ve been thinking about playing. Which was good, as what I was thinking about was not what would have been best. But having said that, this is not the guitar I had intended to get. It’s not even the style of guitar I was looking for. This is what happens when I go off the rails and shoot from the hip. This guitar bumped right up against the ceiling of my budget, but I like it. I went to Guitar Center wanting to look at a white Schecter C-6, which has a similar style to the Charvel above, and came out with something a bit different.
The Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Studio Deluxe Electric Guitar Is a dressed up studio edition that gives you all the great tone and sustain you expect from a meaty set-neck mahogany body with 12″ radius for strings bends that won’t fret out. The addition of Alnico Classic Plus humbuckers gives you even more low-end punch and midrange crunch. The LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece add more sustain and make string changing easier. This instrument is a super value offering the great tone, looks, and playability you expect from a Les Paul at an affordable price.
Mahogany body with carved top
Set mahogany neck
Rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlays
1-11/16″ nut width
Alnico Classic Plus humbucking pickups
2 volume, 2 tune controls with 3-position toggle
LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece
Vintage Kluson tuners with tombstone buttons
Gold hardware w/ Alpine White
Limited Lifetime Warranty
I know that the white and gold is not for everybody, but it just looks very retro to my eye. Very Chuck Berry esc. It’s not a hollow body, but it still has that look. And given what I want to start playing, it seems appropriate. It’s not my dream guitar, I had wanted something with a body colored headstock and I wish the weird plastidip tuners were gold, and they had those things, but I set myself a budget. And I stayed within that budget. Barely. The reviews on YouTube are good and I’m happy with my choice. It should be a fantastic starting guitar.
Of course, you can’t just buy a guitar. You need stuff to go with the guitar. Most importantly you need an amp to play the guitar through. I didn’t want to break the bank on that either, so I picked out this little Fender Mustang which seems to have a lot of features. I know less about amps than I do about guitars, so I can only trust that the sales clerk steered me in the right direction with this choice. Which to be honest, he pointed this one out as being a popular choice and the price was within reason, so that’s what I went with.
The Fender Mustang I V2 guitar combo amp adds new features to one of the best-selling amp series in the world. Get the flexibility you’ve come to expect from a Mustang. The V.2 series raises the standard for versatility and muscle. Featuring five new amp models, five new effects and intelligent pitch shifting. The series features USB connectivity, letting your musical creativity and imagination run wild.
One 1/4″ instrument input
One channel with 24 presets
Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, Modulation Select, Delay/Reverb Select, Save, Exit and Tap Tempo controls
Eighteen amp models
AmpliTube Fender LE edition
Black textured vinyl covering with silver grille cloth
One 8″ Fender Special Design speaker
Those were the two main purchases, but I also walked away with a cable to connect the two, some picks, a digital tuner, and a wall mounted guitar hanger. But I did not get a case or bag to put the guitar in, I was thinking that I could find something on Amazon for less than what I saw in the store. Not so much, really. But I did order a hard case online and should have it soon.
The big thing. The thing that will make all this come together. The feather in the cap of this whole big deal is the lessons. I signed up, paid for, and scheduled the first 3-months of guitar lessons. I intend to take a weekly lesson throughout 2020. I’m starting with 30-minutes, but hope to move up to doing 60-minutes when I sign up for the next quarter. We’ll see how things progress. Lessons start the first Tuesday of the year. I’m pretty excited to be doing this.
When I received that red Charvel, the pretty girl who would go on to become my wife, made an off-hand comment that she would consider me to be a guitar player if I could play Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode. So I’m approaching this with the following goal and mindset. Teach me to play this song. There will be skills I will develop and things I need to learn in order to be able to do that, things that will be applicable to playing other songs. If I can learn this song I will have the ability to expand out from there to playing other things that are more in-line with my current musical tastes. If I can do that, then I can start to make the music I have always imagined in my head. I want to be able to play that song next year at the lovely Lady Ronn’s birthday party. My boss, says that it is a realistic goal if I put in the work. It all starts with one song, 52 lessons, and some dedication to the process.