My guitars

“A guitar is one of the few things a person can own that is theirs exclusively.
You don’t share ownership with anyone.
It’s not the family guitar.
You don’t share it with your sister.
You don’t co-own it with your brother.
It is yours and yours alone.”

C.A. Turner, liutaio

dimarzio_powered_b&wMy first great love has been the guitar…
I have been singing since I started to talk. I’ve always had a good ear for music, as a kid I also imitated the sounds of the instruments while singing. Then I discovered I could be my own musical backtrack by learning how to play guitar, and it was love at first sight.

The real singer of the family is my sister, she has a great voice. I’m just good enough. When she was about 9 and I was 11 (around 1975), she discovered the guitar first. It was an old Framez acoustic from 1957 or maybe 54 (no vintage here, my father bought it while he was serving in the Army, it was just old). The guitar was still at our grands’ place where his younger brother still lived. He was just a better strummer than my father. My sister was fascinated by the sound of the vibrating strings, she embraced the guitar like she knew what she was doing. She pressed her fingertips on the frets showing me how the sounds changed according to where you put your fingers.

Aware of our interest in the thing, my father and his younger brother taught us the first, simple chords. My sister and I used then to sing songs by an Italian-American duo that was famous in Italy at the time. It makes me smile if I think about it now. We were our parents’ car stereo! Riding on the rear seat of the old French Simca, we cheered them up during trips singing our repertoire. With the guitar we were finally able to sing and play the music at the same time! The old guitar’s metal strings rapidly shattered our young fingertrips and we developed callouses rather early. What a pain! But it was fun! One day my father made a surprise for my sister: while she was away for a school trip, he bought a new guitar for her, a very cheap Italian-made Eko acoustic. We were crazy about it! We practically wore it out…

I am no guitar collector. I’v only got one electric and one acoustic guitar. Not being a professional, I never thought I needed to spend much on various guitars for various musical genres. I chose something which I liked and could afford.

As a teenager, my myth was the Fender Stratocaster, created by Leo Fender in the 50s. It seems the world is divided into Stratocaster fans and Gibson Les Paul fans. I don’t know what to say about it. My own myth is the Strat and I am quite fond of it. I was never been able to afford such a guitar. I used to dream about it a lot. I drooled at the shop’s windows, reading the unreachable price tag: a million Italian Lire in the 70s – if I could have bought it then, today it would be worth thousands of Euros…

In August 1980, my father thought it was time to invest in Music for his children, so he decided to buy my first electric guitar as a gift for my 16th birthday. I ended up with a Stratocaster replica of an unknown brand but with very good Di Marzio pick ups, sometimes used also in real Fenders. I’ll never forget that emotion…

PRS_EG4In the 90s, as a grown-up, I had the chance to buy a Stratocaster: someone made me try a “small” Paul Reed Smith, the EG4 “Bolt-on”, which was inspired to the Strat. No comparison. The PRS won hands down over the Floyd Rose / Lace Sensors Stratocaster, especially on neck and fingerboard quality. It was so sad but I had to buy the PRS in 1993. I sold it in 2016 just to buy a Stratocaster and to make the dream of my youth come true.

6530719f1c50aba7fba0b09e9913de45The Made in Mexico Stratocaster I have now cost me much less than what I earned by selling the PRS. It is a 2006 Surf Green model, a vintage specs replica of the 56 Stratocaster made for the 60th anniversary. This time she wouldn’t lose in a comparison with my former PRS. I wonder why I didn’t test more Strats at the time. I was so unimpressed by the feeling of the first I tested that I stopped there and bought the PRS. Who knows, maybe other Stratocasters could have impressed me more. Today am really happy about the performance of my new Stratocaster Classic 50s, my bandmates really love my tone and I finally made my dream come true.

I only use my acoustic guitar when I play alone, just for my own pleasure. After having bought the PRS, I decided I needed an used acoustic too. I just stumbled upon a Seagull, a brand of the Canadian Godin group. I fell in love with that tone. I couldn’t find anything like that in any other acoustic of the same price. Many say that even more expensive guitar don’t reach that quality level. When I went back to buy it, it was gone, sold. I took a few days to find my Seagull M6 electroacoustic guitar in a used guitar shop. The quality/price ratio was really high, the company was also saving costs by making no commercial ads and focussing on quality.

Today I play again in a band and I sort of study guitar by myself when I have the time. The beautiful Paul Reed Smith had finally become active again at least for a while, before I sold it, thanks to my new friends that invited me to join them in the band. They awakened a deep passion that had been resting inside me for a couple of decades…

I have realized the dream of my youth, now I have a Fender Stratocaster, and I am deeply satisfied of both my guitars: I chose what I could afford but I would also say that I deserved a Stratocaster at this point of my life. It seems just right…