Hello Rebel, and welcome back to my life.
So, I can tend to be a pretty expensive person to shop for on my birthday. I’m sure it stresses my wife out a little bit, although she’s very good about trying not to complain.
But this year there was only one thing I wanted, and I was very happy to tell my wife that I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be very expensive at all.
There’s a video game called Rocksmith, which is just like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, except instead of learning how to not-really play songs on a not-real guitar, you learn how to REALLY play songs on a REAL guitar.
I’ve had a bass guitar since before Meghan and I met, though I haven’t touched it for years, and I figured I’d get the game and start fiddling around with the bass again.
So Meg got me the game, which was $40, and the attachment to plug my guitar into my computer, which was $30, for a $70 birthday present. For me, that’s AMAZING.
And then I got the game, and the attachment, and plugged in my bass guitar—and it was dead. Completely dead. It makes no noise at all now.
So, I was pretty upset. A very simple baseline guitar can easily run you $200, and that’s just not something we can afford right now for something that is essentially a lark.
But I had a bright idea and went to a local pawn shop in our town, and there it was: an old, unstrung, beat-up electric guitar that the guy was willing to let go for $30.
So I got it and took it to a local guitar repair shop, also in town, and asked how much it would cost to get it strung and up and running again, only to be faced with more bad news.
The guy at the shop said that just stringing the guitar wouldn’t be enough. Two of the saddles were missing. The knobs were rusted and should be replaced, the pickup selector was shot, the back plate was missing entirely.
Between replacement parts and labor, he said it would be $160 to fix. At which point, I might as well just buy a new guitar.
So, a little bit upset, I went home. And I sat and looked at the guitar for a while. And then I said screw it.
I went back to the store and I bought new strings. And I went online and ordered a new set of saddles.
After the saddles arrived, I installed them and strung the new strings—and I may not have done a super professional job of it, since I just followed a YouTube tutorial—and it turned out that, when I was done, the guitar worked.
No, it’s not pretty. The neck’s a little bent. Some of the frets are out of position. The pickups are still rusted, and the back plate is still missing.
But you know what? It’s MY guitar. It’s mine even more because I took it apart to its base components and reassembled it, and because I kept at it until it worked.
Yes, one day I’ll get a new guitar. Maybe for Christmas. But right now, I need something I can practice on. I don’t want it to sound good. I want it to work.
I’m an author, and I love being an author, but I’m not ONLY that. I need other creative outlets. That’s why I have this YouTube channel, and that’s why I want to fiddle around with a guitar every once in a while.
I know the importance of maintaining PROFESSIONAL focus—I don’t intend to be a professional musician, just like I doubt I’ll ever make a real living as a YouTuber, and I’m never going to put as many hours into music or YouTube as I do into my writing.
But I really believe that flexing my mental and creative muscles in ways outside my writing makes my writing better, as long as I keep my focus and forward momentum and actually, you know, DO the writing.
In the end, my “super-cheap” birthday present cost a total of $115. But dollar for dollar, I’m probably going to enjoy it more than any new computer or vacation I’ve been given in the past.
Thank you so much for watching, Rebel. Subscribe if you haven’t already, and I will see you on Monday. Byyye!