Monday, July 17, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me (Almost)

It's my birthday next week. I asked for a guitar. Mrs Stevie was in a gifting mood since I bought her tickets for "Spamalot" for her birthday (next month) and so was willing to entertain yet another instrument cluttering up the house. She immediately grasped that purchasing a guitar was fraught with descisions that had to be made in order to have a playable instrument of decent quality. "What colour do you want?" she asked.

I gently suugested that the colour didn't really matter to me alongside such requirements as "steel strung", "accoustic", "properly engineered" (with total admission that I had little to no knowledge of what constituted "good" vs "bad" guitar engineering) and "decent quality". I suggested that we forego buying on the internet in this instance and instead adopt a policy of actually visiting guitar shops and asking the keen young people in the guitar sections to make suggestions and demonstrate guitars in our price range. We did, after all, live within easy commute of Sam Ash and Manny's Music, two Manhattan stores of international repute in the music biz (which is what we musicians call business). I did a bit of elementary research on the 'net and found that the choices were few when it came to well-regarded brands of guitar in my price range, and reluctantly thought that I might have to consider a non-name brand.

Thus, on Saturday we decamped on a whim in the early afternoon to "The Guitar Center", a specialist store just off the Commack Road, it being the nearest, with a view to starting what might be a very lengthy process of rubbish rejection and bullshirt filtration. Not. The staff at TGC were very helpful, and they worked with us to select and demonstrate instruments that would be playable and sellable in the event that the Steviefingers proved unamenable to guitar-twiddling. The young lad who helped us was gently amused by Mrs Stevie's fixation on colour but not sneeringly so and was quite understanding when it came to "play that one. Now play that one. Now that one again." End result: We ended up purchasing there and then, a rather mellow-toned guitar bearing the name "Mitchell", the store's own brand. Mrs Stevie chased me out of the guitar humidor (really, that's where they keep them) while she closed the deal for the instrument, a soft case and a floor stand. The Stevieling dragged me into the keyboard showroom and proceded to pick out a theme from Lord of the Rings on a Roland professional grade keyboard (which had a nice piano action I might add) even though she doesn't play keyboard instruments at all, then into the drum showroom where she demoed a set of tom-toms for my pleasure. After that it was off to Friendly's for ice-cream, then back home so Mrs Stevie could wrap up everything so it would be a surprise next Saturday.

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