News
April 2017

THE SEARCH FOR A NEW GUITAR

Having recently decided to start playing music again, the first obstacle I needed to overcome was the lack of a guitar. I sold off all my guitars during my extended hiatus (see below), and would obviously need a new one if I wanted to resume playing.

I find myself in a very different place at this stage of my life. No longer an active musican, I couldn't rely on income from performing, record sales, or giving lessons—which meant I was going to be much more "budget-conscious" when choosing a new guitar. I may eventually invest in the higher-end acoustics I was accustomed to playing, but for the time being—while I'm mostly playing for fun and not really sure how committed I'll be—I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money. So that meant looking for the most bang-for-the-buck I could find.

Not surprisingly, I turned to Seagull Guitars, a brand I've long recommended for students and anyone looking for an incredible value in acoustic guitars. Back when I was an active musician, I had a Seagull Folk model that served as my "couch" guitar—the one I'd take out and play around the house instead of the much more expensive guitars. Because I wasn't overly worried about the Seagull getting an occasional bump or bruise, it became my primary practice/songwriting guitar&mdashnearly half of my recorded songs were written on that Seagull.

Besides being a great value, the Seagulls offer a couple other features that I always prefer on guitars, but which are difficult to find in that price range. First, I love the cedar tops—I've long been a fan of cedar-topped guitars because of thet tend to sound a bit darker/warmer than spruce-topped guitars. Second, the Seagulls tend to have wider nut widths (1.8 inches), which I find much more comfortable for fingerstyle playing.

While looking for a new Folk model, I discovered that Seagull had started making a new body style since the last time I played: the Concert Hall, which closely resembles the tradition Martin "OM" body style. As much as I like the Folk model, I like the Concert Hall body style even more.

So the model I've got my eye on is the Seagull Concert Hall from their brand new "Coastline Momentum" series, which adds a high gloss finish to their regular Coastline series features. Hoping to pick one of these up very soon!

SO... IT'S BEEN A WHILE, HUH?

In the summer of 2009, I was working on arranging tunes for another CD of Celtic guitar music, after releasing Guitar Pieces and doing a short but successful tour the previous summer. I was also trying to finish another graduate degree in anticipation taking on a slightly different career path.

Of course, I was also juggling the day-to-day responsibilities as a husband, father of four children, and teaching high school English. I was starting to feel burned out, and decided to take a short break.

What was originally supposed to be a 3-month hiatus stretched to 6 months... then a year, then two... and eventually 8 years went by. During this time, I barely touched my guitars—and in fact, I ended up selling them all off since I wasn't playing them. For the past few years, I haven't owned a guitar, much less played one.

There were occasional false-starts during this time, when I'd be briefly inspired to pick up a guitar and start playing again. But for the most part, I found that I was enjoying the free time to pursue other interests, and I wasn't ready to resume playing on a regular basis.

Recently, however, the passion for music has returned. I think I've been away long enough that I feel refreshed and energized, and I'm simply having a blast getting reacquainted with the songs I've written and arranged in the past, and beginning to work on some new ones as well.

I'm not sure when—or if— I will start recording or performing again. Right now, I'm just rediscovering the joy of making music. Rather than setting any goals or thinking about future projects, I just plan to have fun, and we'll see where things go from there!