Jim Mathis

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New Guitars

Last weekend several of us from the Homer’s Coffee House community went to Nashville for the Indieheaven CIA Summit Christian music conference. A running joke among our group became the number of guitars different people had and what the latest purchase was. The question is: does a new guitar help you play better?

I am reminded of my early years as a professional photographer. One time I bought a new camera and the quality of my work immediately improved. Surprisingly, when I picked up my old camera, the quality didn’t go back down. In fact each time I would buy a new piece of equipment, my work would improve, even when I used the old equipment.

It seems that the new challenge, or a new feel, would bring out a new spurt of creativity. I expect that the same is true with musical equipment. Obviously, it is not necessary to buy more stuff to play better, but there is an element to the “new guitar” idea that brings out a new sound or a new idea.

I am playing instruments that I have owned practically my whole life, but bringing out different guitars for a season or months at time seems like a good idea.

On another thought, a little bit of humility on stage is very appealing, but constantly tooting your own horn grows old very quickly. I believe this is from Proverbs. (Whoever humbles himself will be exalted and whoever exalts himself will be humbled.) I think it is nice when a lead singer says something like, “give the band a hand” or “give it up for the guitar player,” but only occasionally. Repeatedly doing this is quite annoying. For members of the band to constantly comment how great they are turns people off in a big way. Just don’t do it!

We saw Vince Gill on the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night. People at that level never brag about CD sales or the rewards they have won. They might occasionally thank the audience for supporting them and buying records, but they would never imply that it was all about them. Always thank the audience for coming and supporting you.