Jake Old: Resisting the urge to add to my collection

Jake Old • Updated Jul 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM

I’ve often had people in my life tell me I should consolidate the number of instruments I own — how could any person give adequate attention to each instrument in the way it deserves, particularly for what they cost? 

Right now, I’m trying to resist the urge to add to the collection. 

For reference, I have two acoustic guitars, three electric guitars, a bass guitar, a banjo and a keyboard. And, of course, I have amplifiers and effects pedals for the electric guitars. I’m not able to spend significant time with every instrument every day, but I usually come closer than one might think. 

I know several guitar players who would scoff at the idea of five total guitars being too much, and God bless them. They’re the true heroes in my life. 

Guitar is my primary instrument, and so I spend much more time with the guitars than with the other instruments. Still, I would be lost without my occasional bass line writing sessions or spending a couple of hours just fiddling around with the settings on my keyboard and trying to make the weirdest songs possible. 

I’ve had the itch to get another guitar lately, even though I know I can’t afford it and really do not need it. 

Of my electric guitars, I have a 2009 Les Paul Studio with a slightly custom setup, but with stock hardware installed. I also have an Ibanez GIO that needs significant repairs, but that I’ve neglected (sometimes it sounds cool to plug it into an amplifier and hear the weird sounds it makes). 

I also have a Frankenstein’s monster version of a re-issue 1957 Fender Stratocaster. I bought the neck secondhand — and it plays like a dream, by the way — and traded an old beat up electric guitar to another person for the body. I installed some custom hardware into the body and went from there. 

I have a pretty nice Alvarez acoustic guitar, and a cheaper acoustic that I mostly use to play songs in alternate tunings, so I don’t have to constantly change between tunings. 

I’ve long wanted to take on building a guitar completely from scratch — a task I’m definitely not up to just yet, but making the many mistakes along the way would be part of the fun — but I also have been getting a wandering eye for other acoustic guitars. 

As nice as my Alvarez is, and as good as the tone is, it can’t touch the higher-end Martin Co. or Taylor brands of guitars. The price tag with those nicer guitars has scared me off for quite some time. 

Like many guitar players who want something a little better than they already have, I’ve been known to go to guitar stores and spend quality time “testing” several different instruments, then pretend I can’t make up my mind just yet and tell the clerks I’ll be back to make a purchase soon. 

The problem now is I’m afraid that might be the truth. 

A couple of nights ago I went through and played each guitar I own and played it for a good while, to remind myself that the ones I have now are still pretty good. Think of the guitar-starved children around the world who would give up anything to have my Les Paul, I tell myself. 

I’ve resisted the urge so far, but I’m afraid it isn’t going away. 

Jake Old is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.

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