My guitar playing friends sometimes play a game. They work out just how many guitars they own, laugh and shake their heads sadly, and admit that yes, that is quite enough, isn’t it. Then they go out and buy another one.
I consider myself more of a singer than a guitarist, so for a long time considered myself immune to the game. Then one day I actually counted the 6-strings, 12-strings, strumsticks and ukuleles, not to mention the tenor guitar and guitar banjo, and nearly had a fit.
So that’s quite enough, I don’t need another one, do I?
Here’s the thing; my only decent 6-string acoustic is actually the old 12-string EKO my parents gave me for my 21st birthday a-hem years ago. Some 20 years ago, the neck got broken, so in the repair it got restrung as a 6-string. It looks battle-scared, with visible cracks, screw-holes and years of wear and tear. I love it to bits, both for sentimental reasons, and because of the sound it makes. I will always love it.
An EKO dreadnought is not a subtle guitar, but boy does it have a voice; and a voice that suits the aggressive rhythm style I have used for years. But for things like finger-picking, it isn’t so nice, and even with the action improved by the wonderful Jon Haire of Peterborough, barring it is a bitch.
The other thing is that it has a really cheap home-fitted bug in it. This hasn’t bothered me much, as I tend to just stick a microphone in front of it. But I am planning 2017 to be my year of new music, and for some things I need a decent pickup – for (some) recording, for looping and for interfacing with my harmonizer.
So over the last few months I have been searching for the one. I haven’t mentioned this to a soul, because it is a natural thing for friends to suggest shopping trips, and then – I know from experience – you end up buying what your friends think is good (this is my failing, not theirs).
This meant playing a lot of guitars, and some rather pricey ones too. Eventually, someone put a Fender PM-1 in my hand – Fender’s new(ish) dreadnought with solid spruce top, and solid rosewood back and sides. I loved it, and found it easy to play. It had some real oomph when played rhythm, but rang nicely when finger-picked. It was a real contender, but I went away to think about it. Sensible me.
A couple of weeks later I went back to the shop. I had decided I was being silly. My EKO is a dreadnought, as are two 12-strings I own (a new EKO and a Yamaha). Surely it made sense to go for something different. As I had liked the Fender, the obvious choice was to go for the PM-3. In the same range, this had a cutaway Triple-0 body, it was less deep than my dreadnought (both in dimensions and sound), but still sounded gorgeous.
As I played the guitar, I realised I had noticed it before. One of the YouTubers I follow had played the Sunburst version of this guitar, which looked wonderfully retro.
“Do you have the Sunburst?” I asked, but they didn’t.
So I thanked them again, and came home to think about it, including watching this and a couple of other videos a few dozen times.
In the end, I decided to go for it, throw caution to the wind, and order online. After all, I had held and played the guitar, knew what it was like, and so should expect an online purchase to equally come up to scratch. It was also considerably cheaper; although I think if the shop had had the one I wanted, I would have bought it from them.
So here it is. Isn’t it pretty?