"You get what you pay for." That was one of my Dad's favorite sayings. It is so true. I don't think that the shoplifters that steal from the grocery store that I work at, have ever heard that line. I remember the first acoustic guitar that I ever bought. I bought a Harmony guitar at Capital City Pawn shop on east sixth street. It was 1977. It was brand new. It was an acoustic guitar. It was a dreadnought. A dreadnought is basically the most traditional shaped guitar and has been around forever. It was your basic guitar.
It looked better than it played. I started taking guitar lessons. I was serious about learning to play guitar. My fingers hurt so bad from those steel strings. It did not help that the strings were half and inch from the neck of the guitar. Okay, it wasn't that bad but it was not easy to play. That is the problem with starting out. I didn't know if I would stick with it. I would hate to buy a more expensive guitar and not play it. I am cheap. I don't like to waste money if I don't have to. I remember at the time I couldn't have bought a more expensive guitar even if I wanted to. I was nineteen years old and married with a one year old son working full time at a grocery store. The money was not rolling in 1977.
My next guitar was a Fender guitar. It was a nice step up. It was a traditional natural wood guitar. It was easier to play. The strings were closer to the frets and I didn't have to press as hard. The great thing was that my fingers were calloused from the Kay guitar. I had finger tips of steel. It is great when your fingers get calloused. This allows you to practice more and not be in pain. I believe that old saying we have all heard is about guitar playing, "No pain. No gain." The fender would be considered a bottom of the line Fender but Fender was a better brand of guitar. I got this guitar for Christmas the year that my daughter, Heather was born. 1981.
It was a good guitar. I took lessons off and on. If had extra time and money I would take lessons. I started taking lessons at Manning Music in the Brookwood shopping center. Cliff Manning was my guitar teacher. Cliff was the high school band and music teacher at Washburn Rural High School. He was a great teacher. I learned so much from him. It was a great time.
Manning music sold guitars. They had a top of the line Fender Star burst acoustic guitar. Okay, it might not of been top of the line but it was closer to the top than any guitar that I had ever played. It was eight hundred and fifty dollars. Wow! I was in love. It sounded so great. It had a deep bass sound to it. I wanted that guitar so bad. I traded in my Fender and made payments of thirty-seven dollars a month until it was paid for. I bought this guitar in the early 90's.
I remember when I lived at the Hick's block. This guitar was the most valuable possession in my apartment. I hid it under the bed. I don't know if a robber would look under the bed but I was hoping that they wouldn't. I would also turn on the security system when I went to work to protect my guitar. I didn't have a traditional security system. I had a TV and I would turn up the volume so you could hear it playing in the hallway. My hopes were that robbers would think there was somebody home watching TV.
I thought that the Fender would be my final guitar. It was great. I loved the sound and played it a lot. I practiced and started playing it at church. I became a guitar player for the praise team at Eastside Baptist church. This guitar had a pickup in it so it amplified the sound. All I had to do was plug it into the church sound system and turn up the volume. I felt like a rock star with that guitar. An acoustic rock star.
Kansas weather and humidity is hard on acoustic guitars. Humidity is not good for guitars. Over the years it caused the action to get high on this guitar. It still played and looked great but the strings were further from the neck of the guitar as you went further down the neck. This was a problem but usually I played most of my songs closer to the top of the neck. I owned this guitar for thirteen years.
In 2003, I bought the guitar that I now own. It is a Martin D-28. It is made out of Rosewood and has a spruce top. It is a great sounding guitar. I have written many songs on this guitar. My wife, Mary Ann bought this guitar for me. I love it. I remember when I was looking for guitars how much I shopped around. I was listening for the perfect sound. I found it in this guitar. It sounded very similar to the sound that I loved in my Fender.
I never told my Dad how much I paid for my Martin guitar. Martin guitars are expensive. It retailed for twenty-six hundred dollars when I bought it. That is not what I paid for it though. I was wheeling and dealing like my friend Randy does at a new car dealership. You got to remember, "Nobody makes money unless something gets sold." Business's need sales. They need cash paying customers.
Yes, it did cost more than most of my cars that I drove. Here is a list of some of my used car prices- Dodge Dart 70's model- $125, 81 Honda Accord- $900, Olds Cutlass $1700, and a 87 Cadillac Seville without AC $900. I have gotten my money's worth out of my guitar. I play it almost everyday and was worth every penny that it costs. I could make a long list of things that I have owned that were not worth the money and were a waste of money. Thankfully this guitar was not one of my bad decisions.
After I brought my new guitar home, I got out the old guitar to compare sounds. The new guitar sounded better but it was so much alike. The reason for this is because they are both the same size and shape. They were both good quality guitars made out of real wood. My Fender had aged giving it a more seasoned sound. I have owned my Martin for fourteen years. It sounds better every year. It helps me to write songs. It is my songwriting co-writing partner. Mr. Martin.