Guitar Backstory: Choosing That 'Just Right' Guitar
Choosing the right guitar is about more than specs, it's about finding your voice.
I’m not from the school of thought where you buy something cheap and work up to a better instrument. A great instrument will make you want to play, if it truly sounds beautiful and unique to you.
I didn’t buy a guitar right away. In fact I borrowed my brother’s nylon Argentinian guitar. The neck was really fat and made learning a stretch. I knew I wanted a nylon string guitar to start with that I could plug in. And it had to sound amazing and meaningful.
I went to all the major guitar stores in NYC, the usual Guitar Center, Sam Ash, the 48th street strip, as well as the mom and pop shops. The one guitar that stood out to me was over $3000. It was the Taylor NS72ce. I kept playing my brother’s guitar until I met a tech from a famous touring band. We discussed guitars and he got me a better rate through an endorsement deal the band had. The Taylor was still was expensive, but that was how I got my first guitar.
Without going into specs, it was the wood that made the difference. Rosewood. The sound, the feel. The guitar has to sing to me and fit my body. I’m a chick and I have curves! I wanted a small-bodied guitar with a big sound. I also have to like the way it looks to some degree.
I would normally say do NOT order a guitar… buy the one you can touch and feel. But in this situation it was the only way I could afford it. The sound was soooo deep and almost sad, as if it knew what would someday happen to it. Long story short, my guitar got trashed, and I did in fact have it rebuilt. I saved it as it saved me. In the end I spent the $3000 anyway for the repairs.
My second guitar was my steel string. My NYC guitar hero at the time had a Tacoma Road King. It was a very unusual looking guitar to me, and sounded stellar. I tried a few steel stringed guitars and knew I didn’t want the typical big name guitars every singer-songwriter has. The Tacoma Chief was a better fit for me.
Every guitar story has a bit of drama with me, and this one is no different. First, I got swindled on eBay and lost $700 on a fake auction. Then I went to my favorite NYC store, Carmine Guitars, and asked to order the Chief. Unfortunately when it came in I didn’t like it. It just didn’t talk to me and it just felt wrong.
The owner was cool, because he knew it would sell, so he ordered me another one. And that was the keeper. The sound hole is near the top of the guitar. The neck almost feels like an electric neck. I wanted something that could help me to easily progress into playing electric if I wanted.
Finally I decorate my guitars. So even if I dye my hair and change my looks, my guitars have their own personality that is recognized. It’s fun for me, and I’m remembered for them, too.
Most people would tell you to look at all the specs, pick-ups, blah blah blah. Me? I tell you….listen, feel. Is it your voice? Do you want that sound to represent you? If you’re sure, then you’ve found your partner.
Photo by Tjamal Noni.
Dorit is a rock singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Middle Eastern Dancer. She has performed internationally on concert stages, TV, film, and theatre, and has inspired many students to find to their own expression through music and dance. Dorit’s current goal is to self produce her album and complete an acoustic guitar she hand built as a teenager at the Bronx High School of Science. Her influences include Led Zeppelin, Middle Eastern music, Latin music and old school hip hop -- anything with great rhythm. Find out more about Dorit here>>
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