I bought a guitar today. No, I can't really afford it.
Guitar Center was offering 12-month no interest on their store card, which I have. I thought about getting some bass traps, but I don't want to install anything in the studio if I may have to uninstall it, should I relocate. I could have gotten a Shure SM58 dynamic microphone or some Sony MDR-7502 headphones, but I don't really use the dynamic mic I already have. The Sennheiser HD280 headphones I already have are good enough for monitoring.
So I got a guitar. It's not even a priority purchase. (I would like to get a Nord 2 synthesizer, for the time I may want to start playing live.)
But it's one that's reasonable when spread over a year.
Also, the acoustic guitar I bought back in 1998 is … OK. But I could never really play it. I always chalked it up to my deficiencies as a guitar player — piano is my primary instrument — and I put up with the too-narrow bridge for my thick fingers. I never really got as much pleasure playing that guitar as I did playing my piano.
Then a few weeks back, I started browsing Ask Metafilter for pointers on how to buy a guitar, and the advice I saw was to audition as many guitars as possible. A cheap guitar that feels comfortable will trump an expensive guitar that doesn't, the consensus seemed to say.
So yesterday, I decided to cure my cabin fever by going to the Guitar Center down south. I played on a few guitars but didn't fall in love with anything in particular. I aimed for instruments in the $250-$400 range, and I could tell they felt different than the one I have. I got there late enough that the store closed half an hour later.
Today, I went to the store up north and played another few guitars. The salesguy pointed out a few models, and I checked them out. I was leaning toward a Seagull guitar, but then I was shown a Breedlove. I'm no good with barre chords, but on this guitar, I managed to make them without much effort. The action felt comfortable, the sound was great, and the neck was wide enough to accommodate my fingers.
Yes, I connected with the guitar, and I wanted to bring it home with me.
So I put it on the Guitar Center card, and for the next 12 months, I'll be chipping in approximately $32 to pay it off.
With trips to Seattle and Japan coming up, plus trying to square away my credit card balance, I haven't let myself get anything fun. I spend all my money on bills and food. I haven't bought any CDs, and last week, I agonized whether to get both a haircut and an oil change for my car. I was about to buy Please Understand Me II from the bookstore, but I put it back on the shelf.
All this self-control, and I lose it for a guitar? It's not inconceivable, but in reality, I'm tired of waiting.
I'm tried of forecasting my finances and discovering that, no, I cannot renew my Flickr account, and no, I cannot get a replacement for the wireless access point just yet. No, I cannot go CD shopping this weekend, and no, I cannot go to Oilcan Harry's and ignore guys who may want me.
I'm tried of waiting to make myself happy. I'm tired of waiting for the trips to see how much is leftover. I'm tried of breaking even. I'm tired of getting paid half of what I should be making. I'm just fucking tired.
I can't afford this guitar — and I am seriously considering selling the old guitar to help pay for the new one — but I don't want to just maintain my vital signs. I want to live a little, even though I know full well a little is a lot to ask right now.