February 7, 2006
I have 3 guitars, a banjo, a mandolin, a mountain dulcimer, a keyboard, and a glockenspiel. To be quite honest, I have no clue how to play them properly. Sure, I know guitar chords—all of the standards and some I’ve invented/discovered—and yes, I can sort of/barley read a little bit of music. The other instruments I just mess around with—I really don’t know what I’m doing when I play the dulcimer, but man, it sounds cool and you can tune it a million ways to get a different sound. I only use the banjo to add little things to a song, and on the mandolin I can only play the easy chords—I need smaller fingers!!!
What’s the point of all these instruments? Why do I have them? I barley know how to play them. I took a month’s worth of guitar lessons. I play the occasional Open Mic Night (when I say occasional, I mean maybe 5 times a year) and I have never been in a band. So what’s the point? Is it better to focus on one instrument and practice practice practice, or have minimal skills on a bunch of sound toys? With the exception of the Martin, my instruments are cheap low end models—the 12-string cost me $99 brand new. Some musicians would frown on these inexpensive versions. In fact, I used to live near a folk music store—but I never had them work on my cheap gear since I knew they were super serious about high-end quality instruments. If they saw my mandolin, I might have been kicked out for good—that’s OK though, they’re expensive anyway.
Some might argue that having low end instruments diminish the quality of your learning and playing. But I disagree—get something cheap, learn, and get better before making a leap towards a Taylor.
The music though is for me. I write, record, and play for myself. Only a handful of people have heard my songs and it’s taken a good ten years before I wanted to share them with more open ears. To come home after a long day of Jim Blum’s antics and sit down with the 6-string for a while is pure bliss. Sometimes I lose myself in those strings for hours. The quality of playing and model of guitar then means nothing. At that moment in time, the music’s for me………not you.
Posted by Chris Boros at February 7, 2006 5:20 PM