but also, guitar anxiety

It’s a kind of early in the morning and I’m listening to my coffee brew (Stumptown coffee makes me so happy) and hugging my robe a little tighter around me. This a robe that used to belong to Nonna that I ended up with after her passing. It’s a really good robe. Warm and spacious.

I woke up this morning having overslept a bit because I was supposed to drive my dad to the bus stop (he has a conference in New York where he’s supposed to be speaking on a panel with some technology bigwigs) because I wanted to use the car today. But I kept snoozing my alarm and when I looked at my phone it was nearly 6:30 and he was headed out the door. I wish he would have woken me up. But it’s fine. He got his bus and where he parked isn’t that far away from where we live. My mom can likely drive me to the car to pick it up since we have another set of keys for it. Because I wanted to go to Guitar Center to sell some stuff today and I’m definitely going to need a car to transport it all (and also to get there – it’ s not exactly down the road). But my mom may or may not be going out today, so I may just use her car if she’s staying home.

To add, I woke up with a feeling like I have a sty in my left eyelid, which is kind of uncomfortable. It doesn’t really hurt unless you press on it, but it’s annoying just the same. My eye doctor said I’m predisposed for them. I guess I’ll have take extra care today. I have these special eyelid cleansing cloths I should be using more often I guess, though I do regularly use eye drops and have been taking Omega-3s – all good for eye health.

Coffee tastes good.

I have a lot of anxiety right now, which funnily enough I think has to do with my guitar-purchasing indecision? I don’t know which guitar is right for me! I want it to be a Harry Potter wand-selection moment and its not because Guitar Center for me is a strange purgatory. I’ve been feeling a Les Paul, but I’ve been using this Gibson hollowbody in the studio and now I’m wondering if I should look into Gretsch hollowbodies because I’ve always loved Gretsch guitars. They have a really nice look and feel and tone. And I’ve been reading articles and watching videos and it’s like that line from “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” by Say Anything where the lyrics go, “I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what I want”, but over and over and over in my head. (Luv u Max Bemis.)

There’s just something about committing to it. Like, beyond the price point itself, there’s something about committing to a guitar and taking it home with you. And to be honest, I could probably never tell if the guitar is going to be right for me unless I take it home and play it privately; spend time with it. Because there’s such a weird performative aspect to trying out guitars at Guitar Center. Someone is always wailing away and showing off, I feel embarrassed to try a few chords or it’s so loud, I can’t even hear my own amp. That happened to me yesterday. I was in the special Gibson / Fender room and some guy just comes in plugs in and is literally playing every classic rock lick he knows. I wish they would have private rooms for that shit. Maybe they’d pay by the hour and they can go into a soundproof room. It’s just so difficult for me to concentrate and actually focus on what the hell I want to buy.

And then I was playing my acoustics last night because I’m really looking to sell my Tanglewood (which I never should have bought and am kind of bitter about, but live and learn, right?) and I took out my Takamine G-Series (its a black G320 Dreadnought), which I haven’t played in a while and couldn’t believe I still felt a little soft on this guitar. I wrote a lot of songs on that thing and it still plays nice. I think my mom spent less that $300 on it. And yeah, there’s definitely better guitars out there, but I don’t know if it’s worth giving up. I probably couldn’t get anything for it anyway. It’s one of those budget-friendly acoustics. I actually don’t think they sell it anymore. It has a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard. And it has this laminated finish on it. I was actually ready to throw it away at one point. Back when I didn’t know how to take care of my guitars, I had the thing right next to a radiator and a window in my dorm room in this common area where the two suites met. But between the heat from the radiator and the cold from the window we’d sometimes open, the wood started to warp a bit and I noticed the intonation, especially on the higher frets, was really off and would often buzz. Thankfully, through a friend (and one of my suitemates), her father introduced me to a guitar technician who fixed that thing UP. Like he turned this guitar around and actually made it playable again. He was such a great guy who taught me how to care for guitar, that the guitar is a living, breathing instrument, the wood its made of is a living breathing thing. He taught me how to change strings too. But he’s since moved away a couple years ago, so I haven’t seen him in a bit but I’ve never forgotten what a strong impact he had on my musical life. But before this guy fixed it, I considered it dead and went to buy the Tanglewood at some Seton Hall musical instrument sale, which is an acoustic-electric, but now I wonder if those guitars are just hype – Like they’re more expensive because of the electronics and at one point getting an acoustic-electric was really important to me – because any time I played an show or open mic, it was always a pain to either put the pickup in the sound hole, or arrange the microphone just so to pick up the guitar. And I play hard and wild sometimes and would occasionally knock into the guitar mic, which is never a good look. Plugging in just looked so easy. But in my mind now I’m like, if I ever play solo from this point forward, using a hollowbody (or fuck it – even an solid body electric) would be GREAT. Who needs an acoustic-electric as long as you have a clean tone?

So I think I’ve made my peace with not selling the Takamine, but I am the self-ascribed “Queen of Indecision”. And I am a Libra after all, which is likely the root cause for all this anxiety because it’s how my brain operates. I would love a new acoustic though. But I’m trying to convince myself that my priority is studio recording right now, so I should prioritize that purchase because I buy anything else.

We’ll see what happens today –  Hopefully there’ll be no one wailing away and after I sell my stuff I can try to play a few more things.


5 Days of Gratitude Challenge – Day 5

Last day! Hooray!

  1. My orthotics and the ability to walk. This morning I had an interview in the DUMBO part of Brooklyn (lots of walking and train taking) and honestly, every time I’m out and about I’m so thankful for having orthotics and legs to carry myself with. About a year ago, I had tremendous pain in my ankles. I could barely stand, nevermind walk. I was very worried about it. I went to physical therapy for months and though my condition improved, the problem didn’t go away. My chiropractor recommended I see a podiatrist and it was he who discovered (after an x-ray) that I have something called an Osteochondral Lesion in both my ankles. This basically means that I have two small fractures (about 8 mm long, each) in the cartilage of both my ankles. I immediately thought I would need surgery, but luckily we were able to fix the problem by my podiatrist making me custom orthotics that now properly support my foot and ankle. I’m not supposed to walk barefoot often and must always wear shoes with proper support (even sandals. No flip-flops!). But it’s a small price to pay to be pain free and walk with ease 🙂
  2. I’m also very grateful for all the friends I have these days. Though the numbers may have dwindled over the years, I now find myself more confident and at ease with the people I now stay in touch with because I know they truly care about me, and I care about them too – very much. There are 5 I can immediately call to mind who are wonderful people to have conversation with, have a coffee or a drink with, and laugh and be silly with but still trust enough to confide in each other. I treasure them immensely.
  3. Lastly, I am grateful and appreciative of my ability to write music and play guitar. There are many days where words are not enough, and music has to come in and do the talking. I’ve always been indebted to my rich musical upbringing since I was a kid because it has taught me so much over time. Not only is it cathartic, but it can be so much fun sometimes. Some days I feel as though I’d be nothing without it.

eBay and O-Ports

So as previously stated, I eBay on a rather consistent basis. Gives me some nice pocket change since I’m living at home “funemployed” and whatnot. Sometimes I pay off my student loans with it, other times it’s nice to buy a cheapie record or gear for my guitar (like this awesome O-Port I just got). So if you’d like to see what I have for sale, click here. Sometimes it’s jewelry, others games or just other odds and ends I find at my house or Nonna’s house that no one’s really using anymore. Check it out for sure! I like to think my positive reviews speak for themselves 🙂

About the O-Port: It’s a type of feedback suppressor I heard really good things about (after hours of intense research and checking with my guitar tech) that also allows me to humidify my guitar because it doesn’t completely close up the soundhole. For those who many not be in on the musician vernacular (or do not have advanced knowledge about acoustic guitars), sometimes electric-acoustic guitars (acoustic guitars you can plug into an amp) create feedback when in front of a monitor or amp. It’s not pleasant. It’s actually quite annoying. I was recommended by my guitar tech to buy a feedback suppressor so I could play live with my guitar but not experience the womp of feedback noise when I played. I bought the cheapest one, not really knowing there were different types out there. (To those who are familiar with feedback suppressors, I purchased the Planet Waves Screeching Halt) It was basically a rubber plug you stick in the soundhole – and it worked. The thing was, I had to detune and retune every time I put it in or took it out because I wasn’t able to humidify my guitar otherwise. (I have a little humidifier I place in the soundhole when I’m not using the guitar to keep the wood in good shape. This also helps the guitar stay in tune. We often forget how delicate wooden guitars really are. Don’t forget wood expands with heat and contracts with cold, just like anything else) I love my guitar, (Baby Britain is her name) but she does not like being constantly tuned and retuned like that. It would create too much stress on the neck and strings would end up popping off to add to my annoyance. Aside from that, I also think the suppressor was too big for the soundhole. It should have been smaller. (It was a real pain to put in a take out)

urlSo behold the O-Port. It’s designed so you only have to detune and retune your guitar once. You detune to install it and retune and use forever! Not only does it suppress feedback, but it creates way better tone due to the mechanics and shape of the plastic. The bigger end goes inside the guitar with the smaller “O” going on the side of the soundhole. Plus it’s open so I can comfortably fit my humidifier in there. Pretty neat, huh? I think so too.

I hope to start playing live again soon. It kind of sucks because I no longer have my own car (Winter 2k13 took my catalytic converter) and have to rely on the availability of my mom’s car. She recently started to take classes again, so I can really only use it where there are gaps in her schedule. Maybe I’ll do a StageIt show soon. Wonder if anyone would be into that…I’m gonna def look into it.

Thanks for reading, y’all. At the very least, I hope you learned something new about guitars 😉

Don’t forget to check out my eBay stuff!