How to buy musical instruments: week 2 – deciding what your priorities are.

Hey all,

I hope you found last weeks blog enlightening. Just for a quick review – buying a better quality instrument is important for two reasons; you’ll be more inspired to play and take it seriously, and if you need to sell your instrument for whatever reason, better quality will equal a higher resale price.

The next concept we need to tackle is a bit hard to decipher sometimes, but is absolutely essential in making a purchase that is going to be a good fit for you (or the person you are buying for).

The hardest part about this is being honest. We humans are terrific at convincing ourselves that we want/need something based on other peoples opinions, and/or can’t resist the urge to impose our opinions/values/aesthetic on the ones we love.

A couple of quick examples:

1. Girl likes Sara Bareilles. Decides she’d like to play around with an acoustic guitar and try writing some songs. Boyfriend hears “guitar”. Buys girlfriend one of these from the pawn-shop: 

And you wonder why she thinks you’re insensitive…

2. Teen-age boy likes metal. Decides he wants to learn how to shred. Mom likes Mumford and Sons, and decides son needs to learn how to play “the right” way first. Buys son this:


Thanks… mom.

Let me suggest that it’s very important to understand what is motivating the person (you?) to want an instrument in the first place. Are you a guy who is nearing retirement who just wants to learn some Simon and Garfunkel tunes? Are you a high-school age girl who thinks that Regina Spektor sits at the right hand of Jesus? Are a you an adolescent boy who just wants to pummel some drums and look very, very macho doing it?

All of these things matter – and if you let yourself get “in-tune” with these motivations, you may just find that outlet you were looking for, and stay on the path of learning for a much longer, more beneficial time. And to that worried mom, I just saw one of my post-adolescent metal-head friends just declare that Old Crow Medicine Show may be his new favorite band…

Posted in Gear, thoughts about music

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