A Newer Girl in Town

So, shortly after Pippin left these shores for the Undying Lands, my neighbor took back his Gibson SG. He left the massive Fender Band Master amp because it’s such a back-breaker to move. I started playing the acoustic but it was really frustrating. Finally I took it to Eckroth Music in Minot ND. Their guitar tech/wizard/luthier did a complete set up and restrung it with some “warmer” strings. The action was lowered and man, it played and sounded so much better. I was content.

A few weeks ago I was slumming on the Sweetwater site. Sweetwater is sort of the Amazon for musical instruments, especially guitar-related stuff (except Sweetwater is not the crushing heartless monster Amazon has become). Guitars are in short supply these days due to the pandemic. It’s like so many other things: sourdough mix, buildings supplies, used cars. The wait for a new Fender or Gibson is several weeks right now. Then I discovered that Sweetwater sold demos from their store in Indiana. I also discovered that these demos are sold as soon as they appear on time. Hmm.

I began stalking for a Player-level Stratocaster with a Humbucker/Single Coil/Single Coil configuration. The singles would give me that traditional Strat bite but the humbucker pickup would give me some of that ROAR I found in the Gibson SG. Stalking became serious. I had some money saved up. I tried for a single coil Strat with a butterscotch finish and it was gone before I could finish the sale.

Then she appeared, like a dark vision. A black Player HSS Strat with some demo “scratches” that put a dent in the price tag. Carjo surprised me and said “GO FOR IT”. And like a fool I did. Then I endured the long wait. I tracked that damn package number from Indiana to Ohio (WTF FedEx) to Chicago to Minnesota to Billings Montana (???) and finally back to North Dakota. Then came the real torture.

The finish and wood on guitars are finicky things. They don’t do well with sudden temperature changes. This guitar had been bouncing around in FedEx trucks in a temperature right around freezing. Most say it takes 24 hours for a guitar to get warm enough to unpack, particularly in the dead of winter. Well, this was a little warmer than that. After six hours I took it out of the big box which left me with a smaller box. I let that warm overnight and opened it in the AM. That was about 16 hours and it seemed to be the right call.

So now I have a Stratocaster, in the color scheme preferred by the guitar gods David Gilmour and Ritchie Blackmore. It is taking me awhile to get my minimal electric chops back in line (my Whole Lotta Love riff now SUCKS) but it’s a work in progress. But she sings so sweetly and when I stomp on the pedals and slap it into the bridge pickup, she roars into battle, swinging a sword and crying “Death”. And Eowyn shall be her name.

About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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