"I want a new guitar."
Common words from a guitar player like Gerald, but when he said it this spring, I knew something was in the air.
Years ago, Gerald found a stunningly beautiful Martin Simpson Bourgeois guitar. This handmade instrument has a rich tone and moving sound. It's so special, it's actually featured in 1001 Guitars to Dream of Playing Before You Die.
|The Bourgeois guitar as featured on Be Thou My Vision (How The Light Gets In)|
But we're not playing the Bourgeois live. We just drove it 9767 KM throughout the East Coast, and it barely left its case.
"I want to sell the Bourgeois, and buy a new cornerstone acoustic guitar for us."
So, the hunt began.
We've bought a number of instruments and lots of gear since we first met, and nothing, nothing has been as intensive as this guitar search.
It started in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where we met this charming limited edition Taylor. Only 75 were made, exclusively for Long & McQuade. Mahogany body with a burgundy finish and maple leaf inlays in the fretboard. Lovely.
|Limited edition Taylor in Dartmouth|
We visited stores in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. At each one we played Taylors, Martins, Breedloves, Collings, and all kinds of locally made treasures. (We actually played 3 of the 75 limited edition Taylors as we visited Long & McQuades across the country. The Dartmouth one is best.)
A few weeks in, we visited Musicfest at Cosmo Music. There, we attended the Taylor road show, getting an education on the various effects of body shape and tone woods on the sound of each guitar. We spent the better part of the day with the Taylor reps, playing instruments and hearing stories about how their guitars are made.
|Taylor Guitars road show|
Later in the day, we were introduced to Cole Clark guitars. These gorgeous instruments are made in Australia, primarily with indigenous woods. Interesting look and great sound.
|Trying Cole Clark Guitars at Cosmo|
Our search began to occupy all our waking thoughts. At home, Gerald was pouring over hours and hours of Youtube videos. He watched finger-style superstars like Don Ross and Calum Graham to see what they're playing. He studied guitar manufacturing, and the fascinating work of Andy Powers, who's using techniques used on violins and cellos to bring a new sound to Taylor guitars.
We began visiting guitar stores all around Southern Ontario. Every day we found a new one. No store was too big or too small to be excluded from our search. Along the way, we found fantastic stores, each one owned and staffed by people with a passion for guitars. As we played close to 100 guitars, we began to narrow down our requirements of size, shape, tone ...
At one point in the search, we realized that we weren't just looking for a guitar - it was like we were searching for a 3rd member for our band. Since our live concert is basically guitar and two voices, we needed an instrument that wasn't just beautiful sounding. It also needed to fit into our blend. It will shape and influence our sound, our vibe, and our creativity.
The hunt continued....
We discovered The Guitar Shop in Mississauga. The search was narrowing to the new line of maple Taylors. We sampled and played, and started to weigh our options.
|Waves of guitars at The Guitar Shop|
The Acoustic Room in Hamilton had only opened a few days earlier. We played Taylors and more Cole Clarks in this gorgeous, intimate store.
|The Acoustic Room - worth the drive to Hamilton|
We finally found ourselves in Brickhouse Guitars in Kitchener. Probably the smallest store we visited but one that held the biggest surprise...
|Guitar dreaming at Brickhouse Guitars...|
What did we find at Brickhouse Guitars?
Will we ever find our dream guitar?
Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting conclusion,
and our big news!!!
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