The Perfect Camping Guitar
Thrift store guitars are often irreparable junk, especially when the guitars are originally from venerable guitar retailers like, well, Sears and Walmart. But last week, I got lucky. The Silvertone pictured, sold by Sears in the sixties, cost $30 + strings + a new nut carved from a domino. It has, as someone else described their Silvertone, a "funky twangy sound". But the smaller guitar, a "First Act" kid's guitar, was the real surprise.
Common sense would tell you that this guitar should sound like junk. Restrung with strings found on deep clearance at Target and showing signs of rust, common sense proved right: It sounded absolutely awful. I recalled what my son said when I bought it: "If you don't like it, you can always use it as an oar."
Then I snapped the first string. Not wishing to waste another pack of strings on a bad guitar, I moved the remaining strings up one position and put the old sixth string back on. This made all the difference. It tightened everything up, and made the guitar bright and loud with a surprising amount of sustain.
I love my main guitar, but because I don't want to thrash it, I've always wanted a decent sounding beater guitar. I cannot bring myself to drop hundreds of dollars on the small guitars that some of the respected brands offer. I find their tone lacking and their price high enough to have second thoughts about taking one camping.
This First Act, however, sounds surprisingly good. Last weekend I visited a friend who plays far better than me. We messed around for several hours on the Silvertone and the First Act, and our good guitars stayed in their cases. We were having too much fun!
The best part is that the First Act cost a whopping $7.50. I have found my perfect camping guitar, and no, I will not be using it as an oar any time soon.