I bought a guitar. I haven’t bought a guitar in nearly 20 years. This past summer I borrowed the Fender Strat that I built just out of high school from my cousin. I gave that back to him last week. So now I bought a cheap Chinese knock off of the Ernie Ball Music Man guitar, the one that used to be an Eddie Van Halen model guitar. In 1991 Eddie Van Halen made his first signature guitar with a fairly small company of Ernie Ball, more known for making guitar strings than guitars. It was the perfect mix of a Fender Strat and Gibson Les Paul, the two longest running and most well known electric guitars in history. In essence, Edward created a new classic.
Later on, Eddie moved on to another company to make his signature guitar, assuming he wanted more money because he’s not, you know, rich enough. He went with Peavey, an American made company for his guitars and amps, only Ernie Ball in their contract owned the rights to Eddie’s guitar design and would not release it… without being paid. So back to the drawing board and thus came the new Eddie Van Halen signature guitar, the Wolfgang, named after his son. This one was still a mix between the Les Paul and Strat, but more Strat than Paul.
This time Edward Van Halen kept the rights to the design and a few years ago had Fender making the Wolfgang model guitars. I’ve played the Peavey Wolfgangs and the new Fender ones. Neither have the warmth or comfort that the old Ernie Ball model had, no longer being called Van Halen signature but now called the “Axis” series.
Back in 1992-1994 I owned one of the original $2,400 Ernie Ball Eddie Van Halen guitars. If it hadn’t had the Floyd Rose locking string mechanism, I never ever would have sold it. This was the perfect guitar. You could play any style, and sound and it felt great. My hands and arms fit it perfectly. I could never get over the whammy string thingy so eventually I sold it. I also soon sold the mullet I sported too.
Cut to now, and I have a small hankering to play guitar every now and then this past year. I have a decent multi effects pedal system to get almost any sound possible. Now I needed a guitar to satiate this occasional desire to tinker. Today I found a Chinese replica of the AXIS, identical to the old Van Halen guitar, this one sans the dreaded Floyd Rose. It was $149, and I got it for $99 after a little haggling, case and strap thrown in too.
All day I keep looking at this thing that is basically a time machine to 20 years ago for me. I strap this thing on and walk around like a gunslinger. I hold the guitar when talking with the Sonnyboo Interns. I tinkered with chords while we did lighting for some Framelines shoots. It felt good. There was something incredibly familiar in these acts. I was comforted by the feeling of the wood, hearing the notes, working my fingers innocuously.
I can justify the $99 just for using it as Wall Art in New Rossdonia.
I don’t want to write music again. I don’t feel that. I just like to tinker, keep my hands and mind a little busy with notes and sounds. I remember about 11 years ago someone close to me told me in no uncertain terms that I sucked as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. This wiped out any remnants of musical interest for me.
Now I realize my sense of self worth isn’t anyone else’s responsibility but mine. Talent is subjective. I enjoy playing. There doesn’t need to be anything other than that. I don’t have the slightest interest in joining a band, recording any songs, writing anything new, or doing anything other than every now and then picking up the ax and strumming a few notes to amuse myself.
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