I'm not sure if it was the news that Van Halen is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that motivated me or not, but, on the way home from work last night, I finally stopped off at a local guitar store that I've been eying for more than a year. It's just a little place tucked inside an old downtown building in the town next to where we live. We pass it all the time on the way to our friends' house, but I've never gone in.
For those not familiar, I used to play guitar. Heck, I used to own three or four of them. But, as is often the case, things are done in college to earn a little extra cash. Some steal, some starve, some sell plasma, some strip (that would be a friend of mine). In my case, I wound up selling off all my guitars and equipment. It's a decision that helped at the time, but I often regret.
I should have sold plasma.
So I stopped in this place to have a look around.
I knew a little bit about it because a guy who was in the M.B.A. program with me is a fan of the shop. In fact, one of his class projects was a business plan and a Web site for this store where he often helped with servicing of the instruments they take in. Yep, in addition to new guitars, they do sell used as well. And their prices are not bad at all. That was what intrigued me... a small shop, in-house service, used equipment. Three good things.
I set my eyes on a slate grey Squire Stratocaster, grabbed a pick, and sat down.
This isn't the first time I've done this, just sat in a guitar shop and played. But it's been a while. And the fingers get rusty, as does the memory. Heck it's been nearly a decade since I owned and played regularly. So all I could remember right there on the spot, and with the teenaged employee watching me from behind the counter with a mixture of curiosity and late-shift boredom, was two songs... Skid Row "18 and Life" and Cinderella "Gypsy Road." Two of my favorite songs and fun ones to play. I attempted to plunder the depths of my memory to force out the fingering for Van Halen's "Runnin' With the Devil," but it wasn't happening. Bummer.
The guitar had a few nicks and surface scratches, but they were love marks, you could tell. This axe was loved by someone. And, sadly, it likely wound up the victim of necessity much like my beloved Ibanez... the need to get some money in a tough time. I prefer to think it was sold back to the store in order to give some other new player the chance to learn using a relatively inexpensive instrument while they traded up for something more expensive. Call it the musical romantic in me. But it was fairly well restored by the shop and played quite nicely.
It felt good to play again. It really did. I miss it.
I wanted it. But I walked away. Heck, I hardly have time to play my video games or read books on a regular basis, how can I justify a guitar?
But I'm sure I'll go back and play in-store again. Dunno if the Strat will still be there, but I can find another to play. Of that I'm sure.