A few days ago I wrote about the side projects, those things you make a point to do because you really, really enjoy them. While music is important to me, I also feed that “side” with a couple of other activities besides just playing an instrument. One of those activities is attending a couple of guitar shows a year, and a big show is coming up: The Dallas Guitar Festival (link here). This is a really cool show because it combines live music with the guitar show. I will be there with Backstage Guitar Gallery, which is my buddy Charlie’s shop. (Yes, this is a shameless plug to come see us!)
What do you do at a guitar show? If you are a picker the answer is pretty obvious: check out the guitars! I saw my first $100,000 plus guitar at this show a few years ago: a vintage Gibson Les Paul. I’ve seen a number of those there, plus some rare jazz guitars, some old Fenders, Martins, and mandolins and banjos. You also see a number of more recent instruments you can actually afford to play…! My personal pick is a Taylor 814ce; I’m hoping to find one here. I’ve learned through the years that buying guitars can be like buying cars: buying used is a great way to save money, and unless you plan to break it the warranty is not worth as much as you think. Also, most new acoustic guitars don’t sound as good new as they will once they been “broken in”: played enough to get the soundboard to loosen up a bit. I also take the time to check out the amps I see at the show. Since I’m from central Arkansas we don’t have a lot of great amps in shops around here, so coming to the show is a way to scout out the Matchless, Top Hats, Dr. Z’s and Riveras that I always read about.
What if you don’t play and you come to a guitar show? Then you people watch! Remember all those hippies from the 60’s and 70’s? Want to know what happened to them? They all run guitar shops! Or they got straight day jobs as brokers and attorneys, and come to the guitar show to buy back a piece of their youth. It’s fun to sit in a booth and watch folks come through: some are just stoned awful pickers, and some are incredible pickers that used to be stoned. Sometimes they are a bit humorous, but after sitting and visiting for a few minutes you realize they aren’t that different than you.
The fun for me is getting to work the show. Our booth is set up down one side of the hall that follow the traffic flow, so there is a steady stream of folks coming by. Some are looking for guitars, some are carrying gear to sell, and some are just looking. We make a point to ask to see the guitars people are bringing by: if they are selling they are proud to show you what they have, and it’s a good way for us to pick up inventory. Even if they aren’t selling we get to see some rare and beautiful instruments that stand as works of art in their own right. The sad part: I never seem to bring enough money…
So if you are in Dallas the weekend of April 15th, come by the right side of the main hall and look for the Backstage Guitar Gallery sign, and come say hi to John. If you need a strap, we will have a bunch for $5. And if you need a guitar I will make you a killer deal on a parts Strat that plays like buttah!