WEB MASTER TUCKER HOTTES unleashes his inner musician
Let’s make some noise
I have a confession: I’m not a very good guitar player. Now, I’m not the subtly bragging type who says that and then turns around and jams away, fishing for compliments all the while. No, I’m lucky enough to have learned a few chords and a song or two, and can limp along with other, better players — but you won’t be seeing me on stage any time soon. Still, I love playing and have done so (poorly) for about 15 years.
During that time, I’ve gathered a fairly respectable collection of instruments and equipment, most of which are gifts, hand-me-downs, or savvy online auction/classifieds purchases. My arsenal of axes includes a Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster (both non-American — I’m not a high-roller by any means), a Danelectro 12-string, a ’60s-era Swedish-made Levin dreadnought acoustic, an Ibanez bass, and a random banjo I got on the cheap. I also have a 25w Fender practice amp and a monster (for sitting in my house, anyway) 120w, two 12-inch speaker Crate I recently got for a steal. With a couple pedals in the mix, looking at my gear would give the impression that I sort of know what I doing; I promise I’m on the lower end of that spectrum.
But I love gear! I love — no matter how much I might struggle to get through a set of tablature — sitting down with an instrument and making noise. When I’m using one of my electric guitars, I might spend a half an hour just playing with pedals and effects, shaping sound and playing nothing in particular. In another life, I’m a recording engineer behind a giant board messing with stuff in a studio all day.
I’ll never forget a series of interviews with members of Pink Floyd on the Live in Pompeii DVD director’s cut. Band members are asked if they’d become “slaves to the equipment,” which was a common criticism at the time of their decision to use more and more electronics in their music. Rick Wright gives a fairly conservative answer about being afraid of relying on the gear too much, but Roger Waters challenges musicians to step on stage with the same equipment and have at it. It’s a great point: fancy gear doesn’t make the musician, and I’m a fine illustration of that point. The fact that I’m not very good doesn’t diminish my love of playing with all the fun toys, though.
I spent the weekend putting most of my guitars through their paces, and realized they’re in woeful need of new strings and a good cleanup. I’ve got the next weekend already mapped out — I’ll be doing a marathon re-stringing session, and organizing all my various gear, cables, amps, and whatnot.
The itch to get strumming has been growing lately, so it’s about time I started showing my instruments and equipment some proper respect. After all, guitars are meant to be played (even if they’re played poorly).
So if you have a neglected instrument sitting around, make sure you grab it, tune that sucker up and give it a strum. I promise it’ll bring an instant smile to your face!