Ironically, my most important tangible possession is used for the creation of something that no one can even see – music. It isn’t something that I purchased for myself, but rather was purchased for me: my very first acoustic guitar, a Fender Spanish Classical Acoustic
. My Fender was a gift from my mother, purchased before I even knew how to play. In addition to writing, I am also a local singer, who at the time, had no band to sing with.
I knew that if I wanted fresh new material to perform, I’d probably have to create it myself. A few months after revealing this epiphany to my mother, she surprised me with a beautiful, cinnamon colored classical acoustic guitar. It would later be revealed that my mother had no idea the treasure she was purchasing. All she knew, was that her little baby wanted to make music. So off to a local music shop she went. The buy was actually very smart. She bought the guitar at a reasonable price (they cost in the neighborhood of $250). Included in the purchase was a carrying case and electronic tuner.
Upon receiving this beautiful instrument, I had literally no idea as to how to tune it, or what to do with it. With no formal training, I was left to my own ears and fingers, and the advice of a few musician friends who attempted to show me a couple of chords. Those instructions helped. But my fingers did not get used to creating chords until about 6 months later. My eyes traveled up and down the rosewood fretboard, wondering where my fingers were supposed to go.
Once I got the hang of playing two consecutive chords, I tried for three, and eventually began creating some of my own. It wasn’t until I’d completed my first “song” that I began to do a little research about the instrument itself. I discovered that the Classical (or Spanish) acoustic guitar is known for its incredibly warm tones. The body is generally smaller than a typical acoustic guitar.
This suited me fine, as I hate to see people swallowed up on stage by their instruments. Furthermore, it was revealed to me, that the neck of Spanish classical guitars is considerably wider than their six-stringed cousin, the “regular” acoustic. This I realized first hand as I attempted to play a friend’s guitar, and noticed that my poor little fingers felt cramped around the notes. Several others went on to tell me how great it was that I was learning to play on a classical guitar, as typically this is slightly more difficult on traditional guitars.
Over the course of the next two years, I developed somewhat of a relationship with my guitar. I’ve played other acoustics, and am always drawn right back to the deep buttery tone of my Classical Fender. While other acoustic guitars create rather whiny, icy-sounding notes, mine truly is harp-like in sound. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Unfortunately I don’t yet have a pick-up (device used to mic acoustic guitars for stage performances), but am required to use a microphone on stage when I perform with it. Another thing that I long for, is a shoulder strap.
But because this acoustic is a vintage model, it was not equipped with the necessary screws for an adjustable strap. While it’s certainly relaxing to plop on a stool for more intimate shows, it would be nice to stand and stretch a little on occasion. For the time being, I’m certainly not complaining. I’ve cuddled up with my Fender on many a stool in metro Atlanta, and will cuddle up with many more.
In addition, the recorded sound of the Spanish Classical is mind blowing. Because of its rich tone, it often sounds like another instrument, if strummed properly. However, the main reason this guitar is so important to me, is that it (along with a bit of effort) has provided me sublime musical independence. It’s truly empowering to know that you are your own one-woman band.
There is no waiting around for other musicians, no creative differences, nothing hindering progress except oneself. In addition to that, my Fender has allowed me to explore some sounds which previously, only existed in my head. One might say that my guitar has given voice to a part of myself which had been suppressed in the melee of broken rehearsals, tedious recording sessions, and creative restrictions.
Working with a full band has about a trillion advantages. But having a personal outlet for your own musical thoughts is more than I could have ever hoped for-and that has become something that I simply cannot live without.