Rockin' In The Free World

Yesterday marked a new page in my life: a day where my debt is less than my monthly income. After paying off a 12 year old credit card debt, I'm down to $2300 in total debt, and I feel great!

I wanted to reward myself, since this is something I've worked on even before I decided to pursue a vocation. However I didn't want to spend the money foolishly, like a trip to the casino or something stupid.

Instead, I reverted to one of my childhood dreams, a callback to some of those desires I gave up when I chose to follow more "worldly" careers. As I've delved back into that part of my life, I find myself writing again, as well as something I haven't done in years: play my guitar.

I admit I'm nowhere near as good as I was years ago, but I am relearning fast, and I have the patience to learn things I didn't have when I was young. Hard songs and chord progressions take practice and time....when I was a kid I just wanted to be Carlos Santana right then and there. Now I know that with work and effort you can be anything.

Since I lacked the self-discipline to keep up with my guitar skills, my gear never improved either. As new advances in guitars and amps became available, I chose to spend money on other hobbies or interests. Starting playing as a schoolkid did not give me the funds to buy that better equipment either. In the time I had the money, I'd given up on my guitar already. I feel sad for the lost time.

Fortunately, as I've come back into my love, I've rekindled the old dream of mine; the one thing I truly wanted:




This is a 1979 Gibson Les Paul. It is a maple body with maple headstock. Rosewood fretboard with abalone inlay, two humbucker pick-ups, grover locking tuning machines, shown here in cherry sunburst. This is not an instrument, rather a work of art. Guitarists from Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, Zakk Wylde, Slash, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page, Bob Marley, and John Lennon all used Les Pauls.

In the words of Chazz Michael Michaels, I could not love a human baby as much as I love this guitar.~

I know I will never own one, however since that time, Gibson bought a smaller company called Epiphone, allowing it to release guitars like the SG and the Les Paul at more affordable prices. So rather than spending the $3000 it would cost for a Gibson Les Paul, an Epiphone can be purchased starting at $400-$500. I'm negotiating as we speak.

Now I thought about this, actually gave it some serious discernment. Was I just getting this guitar to satisfy some childhood dream of owning an icon of great music, or was I making an investment into something I loved? Sure I'd started playing guitar again, and I had my acoustic to keep playing on. Isn't that all I really need? Do I need this beautiful piece of handiwork?

I go through this same thing each time I buy something; last time it was my winter coat. I thought of buying something cheap that would get me through the winter. However my eye caught on a real nice leather coat with a liner and hood for $200. On the one hand, buying cheap is how I should plan on living. I don't need to buy what I want, rather what I need. For the past year and a half, that has been bills. However buying quality is a better value in the long run, as long as you're not splurging. A mink coat would have been over the top, or a team coat for the same cost. My last leather coat lasted me 10 years; it lasted so long I grew out of it. The new coat should last me another 10 years, as long as I don't put on another 100 pounds.

Guitarists the world over love the Les Paul because it is a quality instrument. The crafting, the make, the electronics are all top notch. I don't need the super expensive Les Paul or a really awesome paint job, I'm looking for a guitar for an intermediate player that will last 15+ years. If I am serious about playing guitar, this is the one I should buy.

I've had recent experiences that have hastened my return to music, and now that I'm going back in that direction, I think it's time to make a childhood dream come true, even if it's only the cheap version of that dream.

That and I hear chicks dig guitar players.


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2 Response to Rockin' In The Free World

February 27, 2008 at 2:15 PM

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

JC
February 27, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Hey...I know exactly what you're talking about....

I used to own a beautiful black w gold hardware Gibson LP Custom - I bought it myself, back when I was about 17 - I made payments.

I loved that guitar. Played it religiously...then I started worshipping at a different alter. Sold all my guitars, sold my gear. Never picked it up again.

Now, I'm 38 - work is going well, I'm making a little money, and the thought has occurred to me to go buy a new guitar - in fact, I've been watching prices & looking for bargains since before Christmas.

The Les Paul is a piece of art. & Slash just flat-out rocks :)