I put racing stripes back on my guitars. I took them off temporarily because I messed up the first time and didn’t bother to replace them.
I’m not sure. I’m definitely not the first to put stripes on a guitar. I haven’t seen many others do it though. Still, I think they look nice. Suddenly a couple of strips of black electrical tape make these guitars mine. I can look at them for a millisecond and tell that they’re my guitars. It’s nice.
A friend of mine named his guitar. I thought that was interesting, but I didn’t think it was weird. Steve Vai names his guitars, but I think he has to since he has so many of them. My guitar was given a name, for some reason. I didn’t think much of it, and eventually agreed to a couple of names given by another friend. The names haven’t changed since. The S is called Capella and the RG is Vega.
At first I thought it was silly to have guitar named after stars. Mentally the names just stuck. Then something interesting started to happen: I looked at my guitars and saw Capella and Vega–not an S and an RG. At the same time, I started to notice the subtle differences between the two. It’s hard to explain. They have their own… personalities, as Steve Vai would put it.
Capella’s awesome. By far one of the best instruments I’ve played. It’s incredibly comfortable to play. I really like how thin it is. It’s not light, thanks to the mahogany. The ZR tremolo is perfect. This guitar lets me do whatever I want. It looks great too!
Vega’s a challenge. It’s getting older. The pickguard is turning yellowish due to exposure to the sun. There are a few more nicks in the paint from just normal “wear and tear.” It’s bigger, but weighs as much as Capella. Its Edge 3 pisses me off all the time. It’s a challenge, but it’s still fun to play.
When you first start off playing an instrument, you’re stuck with something cheap. It’s not a bad thing, since you’re not left with an empty wallet if you realize that it’s not for you. Once you get better, though, it becomes a limit.
Something interesting happened to me about four years ago. I wanted to buy a guitar. I had an electric from many years ago that I stopped playing, and I had a classical guitar that had been using for the past two years for school. I knew that I was serious about playing guitar. So I walked into Guitar Center, picked up a Gibson SG, and started to play. Boom. I was playing… better. I couldn’t believe it. How could picking up a better guitar make me play better?
A guitar is just a tool. It just helps you do what you need to do. Cameras are like that too. So are pens. There comes a point where a better tool isn’t going to help you get better at something. At that point, the tool isn’t the limit anymore. It’s you.
I went back to Guitar Center the other day for the first time in months, if not years. Every guitar I picked up was just… another guitar. I’m not playing any better. If anything, I’m playing worse since they feel different from what I play at home. The only thing that’s going to make me play better is more practice and more effort.
It’s a great feeling to know that you’re not limited by anything except for yourself.