In the autumn, my wife and I attended an “experimental” jazz performance held at the Kitchener Art Gallery. It was a lead guitarist (and composer), electric bass, sax, synth, and drums. The music was scored but I think the “experimental” bit was that they were all playing their own thing with no reference whatsoever to the others. The drummer was off in her own world totally drowning out everyone else. But no one seemed to mind. They all seemed to be having fun. At the end of it I turned to my wife and said, “You know, I think I should take up an instrument.” (Because it is unportable, I never really think of the piano as an’ ‘instrument’; it’s more like furniture.) “You should,” she said. “Maybe I should get a guitar,” I said. We often have scintillating conversations like that.
I set about doing my research. I did a fair bit of comparison online in terms of quality at various price points. I settled on either a Seagull S6 Original or a Simon & Patrick Woodland Cedar. I arranged for the local music shop in uptown Waterloo to order both in for me to try out. As it happens both of these guitars are made by Godin in Canada. They are sold at exactly the same price point. And they both have exceptional features for the price. So the decision would largely come down to how they feel.
Having tried them both, I decided to go with the Simon & Patrick Woodland Cedar. There was a noticeable difference in the width at the nut and with my smallish hands I liked the smaller dimensions. Although the bodies vary marginally, I couldn’t really find a preference. Both are full size guitars so for me they are rather large, but still manageable.
Along with the guitar I also purchased a hard case so that I can transport it easily and safely in my car. I got a capo and I got a guitar stand because, well, this guitar looks beautiful just standing there in our living room.
Of course once I’d selected my instrument, I needed to relearn how to play the guitar. I had originally learned how to play in school in a guitar group organized by our grade 5 teacher. But I’ve never played very well, and mostly just cowboy chords. These days, however, you can get any amount of teaching you desire on YouTube. And there are dozens of really good intro books in the library. So in what seemed like no time at all I was up and playing better than I ever had before.
Since then I’ve even learned some new songs, including some Billy Bragg tunes and a Hey Rosetta song that we love. And I’m looking forward to many a pleasant hour in the year ahead.