When I was 9 I played Hey Jude in a school band at an assembly on a classmate's guitar. I got a blister on my thumb from strumming.
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When I was 12 I paid £10 for a Zenta guitar. It was awful. 2 years later I replaced it with a lovely Jedson Les Paul copy. Playing at the youth club each week led to playing in church where no one played electric so I bought an Eko Ranger 6 - what a reliable workhorse this was!
Somewhere in my teens I bought a £40 deep red 12 string with a bowed neck. The action was too high to play above about the 5th fret. I could tune it but every chord was out of tune. I only had it for a month or two. I also bought a copy of a Fender Jazz bass which before long my brother took to.
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Someone I knew sold me this Admira classical guitar. When I was 30 I was given the Japanese HSS Fender Contemporary Strat. The thinner neck was noticeably more comfortable for me that the deep Jedson neck and I preferred the sounds, so inspired by the gift I sold the Jedson.
I got into teaching guitar. Eventually one student asked to buy my Eko, so after 20 years I sold it and then found my much loved 1997 Takamine Ltd. It was a happy and productive time with enough happening that music because a self-financing hobby, gigging solo and with bands, a bit of TV work and teaching. I was writing songs and got into home recording with MIDI on my computer and recording onto a Tascam Portastudio 4-track cassette.
I guess I was semi-pro but with a mortgage I needed a regular job to provide what the guitar didn't. A gap of 13 years during which I no longer had a regular job but was contracting all over the place and then working all hours getting a new business up and running meant I had to give up teaching, playing in bands and in church.
After my dad died in 2007 I spent my inheritance on a flat in Slovakia. I wanted a guitar there as it was impractical and expensive to lug one on the coach and 'plane each time I went. Curious about Teles, I bought the Fender Squire Classic Vibe 50s. It took a while to bond to. The neck is thick like the old Jedson and it is my first (and, so far, only) maple fretboard.
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I then wanted to try something shocking. I play a fair bit sat in my armchair by the TV in Slovakia, watching TV to help learn the language but bored because I had never had a TV in the UK and it is such a non-interactive device. I could cuddle an electric scrunched up in the armchair but not an acoustic, so with the expert help of a woodworking friend, I halved the depth of the body of my £25 (second) Admira classical. It lives in the lounge and has become a favourite to play. I use it when transcribing. It was a risky experiment that turned out far better than expected.
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Okay, the thin classical has been explained. In 2010 I sold my business which meant my hours reduced overnight from every waking hour to part time - the new owners didn't want to lose my vast experience so I am still onboard, working from home. Where's home? I rented my UK house and am now living in Slovakia.
One problem, though, you cannot play at home as all the neighbours complain so I now rent a room in a commercial building which means during evenings, at night and weekends I can make a noise. With so many songs bursting to get out I have put together a new home studio in here. That's when I bought the £120 secondhand Squire Affinity Jazz Bass.
Having played a PRS 20 years ago and fallen in love with it but with no money, when I came across a 1991 PRS for sale that fitted my dream, I didn't waste a minute!
Memories of my friend's Eko Ranger 12 from the 70s and 80s put me on the path to find a 12 string but I wanted to avoid my earlier problem of buying an unplayable one. That's when I came across Richard's Guitars and Richard suggested the Faith Venus Trembesi 12 string. And what a surprise it has turned out to be, far better than I had hoped for ... as regular forummers probably know!
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While talking with Richard the Burny RFA-75 archtop came up in conversation. I said that I would love one one day but not at the price they were selling for. A day or two later Richard asked whether I would be interested in a cheaper one - because he had had an accident with it and had damaged the headstock. Deal done, for the first and probably only time I bought two guitars at the same time!
I had been researching jazz guitars and had come to the conclusion that an ES-339 was what I wanted; it could cover jazz and rockier duties. I ordered a top of the range Gibson Custom Shop ES-339 before Richard's nice offer but some problem delayed it being shipped to Slovkia so it arrived later ... and faulty. I ended up returning it only to find all 4 in the shop were faulty - at about the time I read about Gibson's quality going downhill. I chose the least worst of the 4 and Richard's tech very kindly (for a fee) helped make it a much better guitar than it was. Sound wise the ES-339 is awesome but the nitro finish is still sticky and my hand does not run up and down the neck, it sticks and squeaks. The Burny jazz guitar at less than a third of the price of the ES-339 is better finished and feels nicer to hold and play.
In January 2012 I joined a band as its bass player. I thought a fretless bass would give a more suitable sound but feared a fretless instrument as my musical ear is not all it could be so I opted for the only cheap fretless bass on the market, a £120 Stagg. It was an unfounded fear as it took all of 5 minutes to bond with the bass and find my way around.
After all this I was not looking for any new guitars but I am sure you are the same: we view the horizon and know what we would like to try. P90. When I saw the Burny gold top with P90s my delight with my Burny jazz archtop and memories of my of my old Jedson (which I missed) came back and so I bought it. At the moment it is the guitar that gets played every day. It is in every way as good as the other Burny and far surpasses the Gibson ES-339.
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More recently I spotted a 2006 Guild F-412 for sale. How can you not buy one of the best 12 string guitars in the world? I feel truly privileged to own it. Its sound is fuller (it is a jumbo body) than the OM bodied Faith but at 3 times the price (each, new) it is in a different league and I love them both.
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Ignoring value, it is the Strat, a gift and such a fantastic workhorse with the widest range of sounds of all my guitars, I would take to a mythical desert island or pull from a (hopefully ficticious) fire, along with my Mesa Boogie Studio .22+ and Boss ME-5 multi-effects unit as we have come a long way and done so much together.