Day: March 21, 2010

Down the road we went together.

You thought the random Toronto video I made was random? You were right. But this is even more random.

I missed some of the more exciting moments and didn’t end up getting any footage at all at Folkway, mostly because of the bag of douche who kept wailing on an electric guitar in a very loud and masturbatory way until just before we left to grab a bite to eat. He must have gone on for something like forty-five minutes, pretty much nonstop. No one else in the store could hear anything they tried to play. At all. Talk about having no respect for other customers who are actually there to buy something (this guy didn’t leave with a guitar, or an amp, or even a set of strings as far as I could see).

There were a few times Travis and I looked at each other while holding guitars we couldn’t hope to get any impression of no matter how fervently we plucked or strummed, and we both wore facial expressions that said, “Are you frakkin’ kidding me?” We don’t need to speak, you see, because we employ that mind-speakin’ thing. Luckily we had just enough in the way of small peaceful moments to get a bit of playing in and make a few informed decisions.

Mark told the bag of douche to quiet it down for the bearded dudes who drove all the way from Windsor. He was back at it again a few minutes later, but the talking-to eventually paid off. It’s always good to see him and Rich and the rest of the Folkway gang.

All in all, though the video is as random as it gets and most of the cheesy fade effects I implemented don’t seem to have taken, and the bit showing everyone’s food looks all distorted like it’s on drugs, it was a fun day. It’s just me and Johnny Smith on most of these jaunts, but this time Travis came along and we met up with my partner in smoo once we hit Guelph. It was kind of an adventure.

Travis and I both ended up leaving with new guitars. It was inevitable. We were both on the fence…until we fell off. Believe me, I know the last thing I need any more of at this point is guitars. But sometimes an instrument just speaks to you. And it says, “Whoa. I’m wooden. Buy me.”

We’ll ignore for the moment how Keanu Reeves often says the very same thing.

I was able to justify grabbing this guitar because (a) I wanted a guitar I could dedicate to open C and/or standard tuning (every guitar that once lived in standard tuning over here has drifted elsewhere, and I’m not sure which guitars of mine would work well in open C), (b) it’s a 1932 Washburn 5200, cheaper than the last one of its kind I saw at Folkway, which i liked a lot and probably would have bought if it had been a few hundred dollars less, (c) it looks quite a bit like the guitar Nick Drake is sometimes seen holding in pictures, and (d) DIRTY MARSHMALLOW.

You wouldn’t believe it based on their modern output, but once upon a time Washburn made some really nice guitars, particularly during the Lyon & Healy and Tonk Bros. eras. A nice side effect of Washburn’s current output being complete crap (relatively speaking) is most people don’t know they ever made any acoustic guitars that could be considered anything other than “beginner instruments”, and you can grab a vintage Washburn that’s comparable to Gibson or Martin guitars from the same period in terms of tone and feel, but for much less money…at least until people catch on and realize the vintage Washburns are a world away from the laminated shitboxes made in factories these days and the prices rise accordingly.

This guitar sounds ridiculously good in open C tuning. What’s kind of funny is Travis might have considered buying it for himself if it wasn’t a twelve-fretter, making some of the higher frets difficult to access. And I might have considered buying the 1956 National 1150 he ended up getting if it didn’t look so much like the old Kay acoustic I already have (the tone and feel are very different in spite of the similar-looking-but-slightly-smaller Kay-built body) and if I didn’t already have my eye on the Washburn. Maybe it was fate.

They’re both really nice axes, and I think we both would have been pretty happy with either one of them, but we went there with certain feelings in our guts, soulful stomach growling ensued, and we both emerged victorious. I’ll post some video of that Washburn as soon as I get around to filming something that looks decent enough to put up here. And I’m going to tell myself I’m officially done buying acoustic guitars for now. I think I’ve got all my bases and tunings pretty much covered. We’ll see how that goes, though.

This is the guitar Travis got.

And this is the guitar i got.

Thanks to Travis and Meryl for being part of the adventure, to Johnny Smith for driving and coughing with the conviction of a young Denzel Washington, to Rich and Mark at Folkway, to the makers of food at With the Grain, to the random guy who tried to prove to us how large his penis was through his guitar-playing, and to Elliott for tagging along as always.