There are plenty of reasons why someone might pick up the guitar. They could hope to one day be in the bright lights of the stage at one of Vancouver’s top venues, performing before crowds of thousands of fans screaming their name. But most who dabble with the instrument have much more humble aspirations. For you and countless of other guitarists, playing guitar is your creative outlet and opportunity to challenge yourself. You don’t need to leave Vancouver to travel the world, nor do you need to have a #1 hit on the Billboards. Simply hanging out in your room, playing meaningful songs by yourself is enough.
That’s not to say that the guitar is your guilty pleasure or a secret that needs to be hidden away. The guitar can be your social ticket as you’ll naturally gravitate towards fellow guitarists and other musicians as you strengthen your practice. It can make you captain of the campfire sing-along and a hit with the ladies – a fact backed by science. Researchers at the University of South Brittany found that women are 31% more likely to date a man carrying a guitar. That’s with a man just carrying it! Now imagine your chances when she hears you play.
Why will the guitar have such a profound impact on your sex life? It’s for the very same reasons you picked it up in the first place. Being seen with a guitar implies that you’re intelligent and willing to learn new skills, and it’s true. In fact, playing the guitar can make you even smarter. Studies completed by the University of Zurich have shown that regularly practising an instrument improves your cognitive abilities and increases your IQ by as many as 7 whole points. Your time spent playing the guitar actually changes the structure of your brain in the parts that control memory, motor control, and hearing. When you dedicate a significant amount of time to your guitar, these changes can increase a sense of well-being, relaxation, and self-confidence.
Confidence, as you know, doesn’t come right away. Though your heroes make playing a soulful solo effortless, it takes a lot of practice, practice, and some more practice until you can feel good about what you play. You need to build-up the necessary hand-eye co-ordination in order to play your guitar smoothly. You have to memorize the basic notes and chords, and you need to understand harmony. But more importantly, you need to know your guitar. You won’t be able to get your instrument to sing like Eric Clapton unless you’re deeply attuned to its tone and quirks.
That guitar you bought second hand did the trick when you were first learning, but now that you’ve improved as a musician it’s time to start looking for a new one – a guitar that you’ve picked because of its clarity of sound and not because it was the only one on Craigslist in your price range. That’s why it’s probably a good idea to skip your search through online classified ads and start visiting your local music shop. There you can spend an afternoon (or a whole day, if need be) looking through the selection and giving those that catch your eye a try.
Whether you’re looking for a Gibson Les Paul to call your own or a sharp Stratocaster, you should look for a guitar that has a clear, rich tone free from interference, cracks, or pops. To find the guitar that suits you and your playing style the best, it’s important that you visit a store that encourages playing. After all, you won’t know the feel of them in your hands or the sound that they can make until you try. The Long & McQuade guitars in Vancouver are made to be touched, sampled, and admired. All you need to do is ask, and their representatives will help you on your quest for the perfect guitar. They’ll set you up with an amp so you can play a few licks, and they’ll answer any of your questions about the particular model in your hands.
When you bring a brand new guitar back home with you, your incentive to continue playing will go up ten-fold. With an instrument you personally hand-picked from a variety of the greatest brands, you’ll finally have a guitar that has the rich tone that you’ve always wanted. The clear and smooth sounds you can illicit will remind you why you started playing in the first place. It’s your creative outlet to make beautiful music.