Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A few days ago before a lesson I was standing at the uke wall in Guitar Syndicate plucking away and tuning up the ukes like I tend to do.  Eventually, and older fella walked over and commented that he had about that many ukes at home himself.

"Oh," I said, "Have you even considered joining our ukulele club?"

"No, I don't really play them that much," he retorted.

Since I was a lot younger I've noticed that there are tons of instruments wasting away in collections all over the world.  Now, museum pieces and items beyond repair aside, I have always felt a little guilty about this.  Instruments have a purpose, and that is to make music.  So many of these instruments haven't seen the light of day or felt the touch of a musicians capable hands because they are in such collections.

I'm not exempt from this crime.  I have at a small collection of wind instruments that get brought out on rare occasions that I just don't seem to be able to part with.  Sentimental as my feelings are (one is my trombone that was my best friend in high school, and the other is my dad's coronet he played in high school), it would be nice if they got played once in a while.

So it is that I find myself talking more frequently to collectors as I spend more time at the local shop.  They always have a story on the guitar they let go, and can play a few Eagles or Hendrix licks better than even the most astute starving artist.  And they keep the guitar shops and manufacturers in business.

That's right, we the penniless musicians owe them a lot.  For every rare archtop or Les Paul they keep out of our hands they encourage a hundred more inexpensive models to be produced, bought, sold, and re-sold used to slip into the market.  If not for them, we would not have such wonderful guitar lines such as the Ibanez Artcores or countless Strat and Tele copies.

So, I keep talking to them.  I pick their brain as they tend to also be the heralds of much guitar (and ukulele) history.  And, occasionally, I work on that invite back to their museum/garage where their little studio is full of 30 guitars and 12 ukuleles.


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