2020.04.21Leveled Up

Goes all the way to 11


Executive Summary: I LOVE this guitar. It inspires me to play.

My playing has changed. I play far more confidently now. I just don't recall playing this way before. It's like I've awoken from a state where I was just sorta maybe going through the motions.

Perhaps I'm playing more confidently because I'm hearing a responsiveness and power that wasn't there before. Perhaps it's ignited a passion I lacked.

I'm playing almost nightly now. And -- and I could never say this before -- my wife looks forward to hearing me play. I made a new practice list and have been working on it pretty steadily. Music I never attempted to play before.

I'm sure its a function of the practice, but new songs I try I seem to get the hang of fairly quickly. Other more complex ones I'll study and work on. Some I've worked on for a while I'll try some improvisation on -- sometimes it sounds great; sometimes it doesn't, and those are learning opportunities.

I wonder about my Les Paul. Would I have behaved this way if the Les Paul had more aggressive pickups? Perhaps. I find I don't use the whammy bar very often -- I hit it only very slightly on a few songs to create sort of a wave-like rhythm with the beat. I've used the D-Tuna once, and am thoroughly impressed with how well it works. Perhaps I'll work more with these tools later on -- but for now, the big difference is the pickups.

Would I go back to the Les Paul? Not the Les Paul I sold. The pickups are the big difference -- I understand what an entry-level guitar that is. And that's not a knock on Gibson -- it's just that's the best I could afford when I bought it in 2005. And if I'd had to spend $1300 or more on this instrument, I'd still have my Les Paul. But, in 2020, this guitar is an unmistakable upgrade.

No post about how much I love this guitar would be complete without adding a giant THANK YOU to my wife. She encouraged me to buy it, she allowed me to buy it, and now she tells me how much she loves listening to me play it. I really, really hope she means it when she says it -- she tells me she does -- but this kind of support is, admittedly, foreign to me: my relationship with the guitar started in the late 1980s, when I joined the service and was stuck in the barracks, looking for somewhere to invest my energy. It's outlasted two long relationships, during which my loves endured my zeal, but never encouraged it. But I'll keep practicing, and work harder to earn belief.

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