It's been a while since I posted anything here. I've been involved in a few music jams over the past year. It sort of goes without saying that one of the great things about the internet is that you can connect with other like minded people. There are a lot of amateur acoustic guitar players in the Philadelphia PA area , which is where I'm from. The question is how do you actually find those people. If you've not heard there is a website called Meeup.com. You can search your area to find people who share your interest and actually get together with them. There are all kinds of hobbies and interests represented and it's a great way to to meet people. If you'd like to start a meet up group in your area it's pretty easy. There is a charge associated with the service but you may find it's worth it.
$12/month for 6 months (a single $72 charge)
$15/month for 3 months (a single $45 charge)
$19/month for the month-to-month billing option
Once you become a member you get a unique space to post pictures, upload files and share information.
There may be some folks in you area already doing this. You can charge dues to cover the cost of it but if you have a little spare cash it's a nice thing to offer to the community.
First you need a spot to meet. We found that bars or restaurants are a good start. Bars and restaurants are typically not as busy on Monday or Tuesday nights. They are always looking for way to bring in a little business. If there is a back room available you might try contacting the management and see if you they're open to you using it. Tell the manager you can come up with 10 or so people what would like play a little music. Emphasize the fact that they will be spending money on food and drink. I think you'll get a few takers.
It's a good idea to define your the group. Set up a few rules. Plugged or unplugged. Drums? Keyboards? You set the rules. I like what I call the acoustic round robin. Go around the the room taking turns sharing a song. Invite others to play, pass what ever. Bring copies of songs you'd like to share with the group or tell folks in the group to download copies of files you uploaded to the groups page.
You might even want to start an open mic night to promote local musicians and bring in a few customers favorite bar or restaurant.
Meetup is a great way to get to know other guitar players in your area.
I waited to write about my experience with my Guitar Center used guitar purchase. I wanted to make sure I wasn't over reacting to so here goes.
I love eBay. There are lots of great sellers and having Paypal as a backup is comforting but there is something to be said for purchasing locally, well sort of locally.
I have been secretly searching for my guitar for some time. I'm sure you have a dream guitar or I should say a guitar you would like to add to your collection. I'm not talking about that vintage Les Paul or one of those prewar Martins. I'm talking about something you want but maybe can't afford at the moment or an usual guitar that rarely comes up for sale.
In my case it's the Ibanez R-400 aka Ragtime. They stopped making them in the 80's. Back then I had no idea they existed. A few years ago I saw one and knew I had to add it to my collection. The most striking thing for me was the cutaway and the fact thast you had access a two octave register. The other thing I liked was the D-sound hold, kind of reminiscent of those Maccaferri guitars the Django thing. The headstock looked great and the binding just added to it's beauty. These features are totally subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. Playability is another thing and that too is subjective. I play mostly finger style but I can pick a little. In my opinion this guitar works for me on both levels. Now the reason I'm telling you this is because I finally found one and bought it.
Here's what happened. Like I said this guitar is sort of an odd ball. You don't see many of them around. When they come up at auction the people who want them are willing to pay top dollar. Supply and demand. Guitars as with other commodities are worth as much as what ever the seller has the nerve to ask.
I went to the Guitar Center's used gear site. I found the guitar for a mere $349!!! To me that was a bargain. The guitar was at one of their stores in North Dallas Texas. I live in suburban Philadelphia so I talked to the guitar guys at the closest store which is in Wilmington Delaware. They told me if I purchase the guitar with a very small shipping fee I could check it out and if I didn't like it for any reason they would refund my money including shipping. Now maybe I shouldn't be saying this and maybe it isn’t company policy but how could I go wrong. If I didn't want the guitar they would simply put it up on their used guitar rack. I called the Texas store and asked about the condition of the guitar. The guy in Texas put me on hold went in the back got the guitar. He answered all of my detailed questions right down to the location of the scratches. It arrived in Delaware in about a week and it was exactly as described.
The point is that I found a great guitar, at a good price. They have stores in over 40 states so chances are there's one near you. The use gear department is somewhat overlooked by many because they don't think about having it sent to their local store and don't want to deal with sending it back if they don't like it. People are always trading in gear. Face it most of us want to upgrade, get bored with our equipment or just have, I cant believe I'm saying this, too many guitars.
I had a great experience and I wanted to pass along this tip. Search online, call the store and talk to a sales rep about the condition, go to your local Guitar Center, make your purchase there and have it shipped there. If you don't like it get your money back. If you're happy with the purchase congratulate yourself on a great deal.
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