Yesterday I took five more guitars to Guitar Center to sell. They were this beautiful Peavey T-60, a less photogenic and slightly older T-60 with an oil-finished ash body and rosewood fretboard, a Peavey Limited VT with a tiger's eye flame maple top, my Firenza with Duncan P-90 pickups, and my Ovation 1778T Elite with the purple, orange, yellow and green "Tribal Flame" finish.
I also sold my Boss DD-20 digital delay and my old Digitech Talker. I tried to unload a couple of Grunge distortion pedals but they didn't want to give me more than $5 or so each for them, so I kept them. I might have use for them eventually. Guitar Center didn't want my Radial JS-3 microphone splitter, although it's a nice piece of gear, because they just don't move items like that. I also sold my matched pair of Rode NT-5 microphones.
It's hard to get excited about selling off gear. The things gone are a load off my mind -- I don't have to store them, don't have to worry about keeping them in the proper temperature and humidity, or getting stolen, or getting broken. But some I will miss. The Limited VT is a very scarce guitar with incredible tone -- made in the Peavey custom shop in Leakesville, Mississippi, with 3 hand-wound single-coil pickups. And yet these guitars get very little respect. But the flame finish isn't my style -- it's too flashy for my taste. The T-60s are starting to become vintage and arousing interest from collectors, but although I wanted one very badly when I was about sixteen, and they are beautifully crafted guitars, built like tanks, with classic looks, I have to acknowledge that I no longer really like the way the skinny necks actually feel in my hands. The Firenza (C profile) and Ovation (soft V) and Limited (C-ish, asymmetrical, flat fingerboard) feel a lot better. The Ovation is actually kind of garish -- the finish doesn't really fit my personality all that well, especially as I get older. And while the Talker is cool, I just wasn't using it, because I haven't been performing live. All this stuff was made to be used, and it should be used more than it has been.
Oh, I've used it all some. The Synapse fretless bass provided the bass line for several of my songs: "Polly," "I.O.U.," and "Falling." The Firenza and one of the Venus guitars were on my parody of Jonathan Coulton's "Re: Your Brains," called "Re: Your Grains." The Firenza also provided the main guitar riff for "I.O.U." The Parker Fly was the lead guitar tone for a couple of songs, most notably "War Criminal" and my cover of "Today's the Day." The Limiteds have been on various tracks going back to my early collaborations with Joe "Covenant" Lamb. The Ovation acoustic is in several of my covers and instrumentals and it always gets comments because of its flashy finish.
Of course, it wasn't strictly necessary to have all those different instruments to chose from, to make those songs. Honestly, I had too many, and the guitar-collection-as-investment idea wasn't actually going to fly, at least not the way I put it into practice. It also fed into some of my less wholesome personality traits; it felt uncomfortably close to hoarding, and maybe a little compulsive. But it was a lot of fun, and I really liked being able to pick up a few guitars and try them out while recording a song, and let the particular feel and tone of a specific instrument tell me what to play.
While I was waiting for the staff at Guitar Center to process all this stuff, I toyed with a few modern instruments. It mostly served to remind me of what I liked about my older instruments. While modern USA-made Stratocasters have decent fit and finish, the wood hasn't aged to that point where they resonate beautifully -- they just don't have as much tone or as much mojo as the old T-60s from 1979, or even the Limited VT, which isn't yet truly "vintage."
What's sad about all this is that this load of gear, re-sold, won't even pay for one month's expenses. It'll cover a mortgage payment and part of a heating bill. I got out of this gear well under half of what I put into it. I might have been able to get a little more on eBay, but I just don't have that kind of time to put in. And it's just hard to get excited about being able to pay Consumer's Energy for another month.
There are a few pieces left. I'm not guitar-less yet. There are a few more in salable condition, and then some "fixer-uppers" that might be harder to unload, which I might have to list on eBay as "project" or "parts" guitars. There's even one ukulele.
If I have to sell almost everything -- if I only can keep one -- I'll (sadly) sell the Babicz acoustic (made in Indonesia), the USA-made Steinberger XP and the American/Canadian Godin nylon-string SA, the sparkle blue Super-Sonic, and the flame-top Peavey Limited, and keep the American flag Limited.
I don't want to let that one go, because all the American flag guitars you see these days are made overseas, and I could never bring myself to buy one. I'll keep it in memory of a time when people like me were paid to make things here in America.
And if I can't keep even one -- if I still don't have an income again, and we're selling off everything we possibly can just to get through the winter -- well, then God help us.
I leave you with this.