Why do people want to know what brand my guitar is?
I use two guitars in my videos
The subject of this page is guitar no 1 - The unknown brand
|1. Unknown brand||2. S Yari 1971|
I get so many comments on my You Tube video pages about guitar 1 that I am beginning to wonder if the people who make these comments are really listening to my music.
There are two distinct perceptions I am picking up here.
Firstly, the listener IS actually listening, not only to the music but to the tone coming out of the guitar. A recent comment highlighted how good the tone was and how it complimented the music. Cool.
Secondly, the listener is not definitely NOT listening to the music, but is obsessed with the fact that this guitar is not all polished and shiny. These people are there to make stupid, negative comments because they have nothing better to do on a rainy day. They are judging me and my music by the guitar I play. In other words they are listening with their eyes. The majority of people leaving negative comments about my guitar are NOT musicians themselves and have nothing to show for themselves except their ignorance.
About this guitar
This guitar has no label inside and I have no idea who made it or anything about it's history. I picked it up at a trash and treasure market for the princely sum of three dollars and bought it home in 3 pieces. Now that it's been repaired and tidied up a bit, it sounds and feels better than some fancy brand name guitars I've tried. That's only my opinion. Originally I was just going to cut it up and hang it up on the wall. But I decided instead to use it for basic technique practice instead of wearing out the strings on my other guitar.
I used some cheap wood glue to patch it up and screwed a few thick screws into the head to hold the it together. The wood was so dry that the tiny little screws that are normally hold the tuning heads together were useless. A luthier friend of mine pointed out that the body was solid wood and was worth fixing. So I got him to do a fret job on it and replace the bridge which was lifting off the body. He also installed a pickup so I could play it through a PA system in stage shows. I admit the basic tone when played unplugged is not the best I have tried, but it certainly isn't the worst. I mainly like the feel of it and it does sound great when plugged into a decent amplifier.
To the negative people I say this.
How do you judge what something or someone is worth? My experience has taught me that the eye of the beholder is a magical prism that distorts 'reality' and colors it personal preferences, attitudes and beliefs. And there are a lot of those around. All different. I am different things to different people. So is my guitar.
You can't imagine how many times during restaurant or busking gigs people have asked me what brand my guitar is, as they try to peek inside the sound hole to get a glimpse of the label. That used to really annoy me. My thinking is, "What's the big deal about the brand anyway." To this day I still have trouble understanding why the brand of an instrument is so important to some people.
It still looks like a piece of junk to some people, hence comments like "get the man a decent guitar", but if you offered me $1,000 today I would not sell it. Like fancy letters after a persons name, labels inside a guitar are meaningless to me. Does it have to have a label? Does it really need to be identified and compared to known quantities? I couldn't give two hoots who made the thing.
When I was living in Canberra a few years ago I was teaching in a music school in a nearby country town. At the job interview I was told by the owner of the school that the music was brilliant but I needed a shiny new guitar to teach with in the school. To them the issue was one of appearances and had nothing to do with the music I played or my abilities as a teacher.
I did have another guitar so I used that one for the short time I was at this school. Hey. it was a job so I amused them, even though I felt uncomfortable with their comments about my guitar. Unlike those who prefer to judge a book by its cover, I judge something by the quality of it's output. Obviously my thoughts are not shared by others.
So does knowing what other people feel about my guitar affect my thinking? Absolutely not. Despite what anybody thinks I will continue to use it. If nothing else, it's a conversation piece. I have learned to live with the fact that people perceive, and react to MUSIC in different ways.
Now thanks to You Tube, I am forced to accept that there is another aspect of music I had previously not given much thought to. I am now also learning to live with the fact that (some) people perceive, and react to a MUSICIAN based on the INSTRUMENT he chooses to play.