This'll be a short post about my recent purchase, which I have deemed the greatest purchase for myself EVER, and which could remain the greatest purchase I've ever made for the rest of my life. And that is the purchase of a Gibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar (this is about the time the clouds part, revealing blue skies and a bask of golden rays that seem to beam from Heaven above... and the angels sing "aahhhhh" in a very pleasing tone).
Those who are not well-versed or particularly keen on rock music (such as my roommate, Ruben) cannot fathom spending $1,200 on a guitar, but let me tell you something: this thing was freaking MAGICAL, just as I knew it would be. Since I've been back from the winter break, I've been passed for classing up to IFS twice, and thus, have had my free time. I've been filling that free time with two things: reading books (4 books finished in 3 weeks), and playing guitar. I brought my bass guitar and acoustic guitar to Pensacola, but the acoustic just wasnt cutting it. For one thing, it's an entry-level dreadnought that was actually my very, very first guitar (Ol' Faithful). On another hand, while it does allow me to remain musical, it didnt provide in the direction that I wanted to explore, mainly blues guitar and riff-ing/solo-ing. What was the obvious solution? Buy a new electric guitar.
Now, as I stated, I wanted to explore playing blues guitar, so I had been listening and watching videos of, and reading about blues guitarists. This is a wide range of people, but I mainly concentrated on B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jonny Lang, John Mayer (recently, though he's always been a great guitarist, particularly a session guitarist), and the great Stevie Ray Vaughn*. Of course these are the benchmarks to reach, so I'd want my gear to resemble their gear as closely as possible. From my "research" (maybe "observations" is a more appropriate word), the main guitar the majority of these musicians use is the Fender Stratocaster. I had always wanted one, but since I played mostly bass guitar through high school, I never needed a highly-regarded electric guitar. After some reading and what not, I decided I wanted the Fender American Special Mahogany HSS Strat. This decision is broken down into two reasons: 1) I wanted a higher end Strat because I had read the $300-400 Strats, which were made in Mexico, did not produce as good a sound, and 2) I wanted a humbucker pickup in case I ever wanted to rock out and crunch it (this comes from watching Rivers Cuomo and Weezer).
Trying to get a feel for what people around me were thinking, I informed my brother I was in the market to get a new electric guitar and that I was thinking about getting that particular Strat model. My brother has been playing guitar for maybe the last 4 or 5 years, and I would say could offer somewhat of a valid opinion, and he does. He tells me to get the Gibson Les Paul. I ask him what's his reasoning for thinking this was a better guitar, and he provided me with none, except for saying he simply preferred it. And thus I came to the age-old debate between guitarists: Fender or Gibson?
After doing more research online regarding the debate, I decided that the only way I was going to solve this was by getting my hands on each. And so I did. I went to the Guitar Center here in Pensacola, informed the guitar guy on hand about my dilemma**, and he sat me down and let me test out my two choices. I sat there for no less than 2 hours, getting a feel for each guitar. I played chords, folk-y songs, what little blues riffs and progressions I knew, basically every song I knew, and then just general rocking-out shredding. I tested each guitar every way I knew how. And.... well, you know what I picked. Despite wanting that nice and distinct, twangy sound that the Fenders produce when you riff-it-up, the overall warm, deep tone of the Les Paul sold me. The sound just filled my soul with warmth and well-being. And I was sold. He ended up receiving a shipment of the color I wanted (wine red with gold trimmings) that day, so it was fresh, never opened, never touched. I was the first person after placing it in the case to ever touch the guitar. AMAZING. I also coupled it with a Vox 50watt amp, since I didnt really need that much power, what with not being in a band and all. Needless to say, the entire purchase, sound, experience, all of it blows my mind. It's delicious.
Oh yeah, I also bought a Quarter Pounder with cheese value meal from the McDonald's that was in the same shopping center. So that was good too.
*I've also begun listening to and watching a lot of The Beatles. I think is probably due to Gian telling me he wanted to be a mix of The Beatles with Ne-yo, so it kind of sparked the craze.
**His first reaction was to try to sell me the new American Standard Stratocaster by Fender. I was not duped or swayed.