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Never Underestimate The Power of Your Guitar
Written by theapprentice

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I got my first electric guitar, an extremely cheap made-in-China model, on my fourteenth birthday. It came with an equally crappy 15 watt transistor amplifier with a reasonably high gain built-in overdrive. Was I thrilled when I played on it for the first time! I instantly felt the potential of an electric to astound people with simple power chords played through a distorted amp, and I was quite satisfied with it for a while, until I thought about how I wanted 'real' guitars better such as Fender and Gibson models. Every day I dreamt of finally owning a Strat or a Paul in the near future. I remember my mother being mad at me for not being happy with my current gear.

For a while, I hated playing on the damn thing. It got to the point where I stopped playing for a while. I resumed my practicing after four or five months of thinking about how I wasted money by buying a guitar and not using it. I felt contented with the guitar again and I took it to small gigs at times, and that made me realize that being happy with your instrument doesn't mean it has to have that big "I am VERY expensive" logo on the headstock. Sometimes, it's not the instrument that has a problem, it's the PLAYER. I soon found out about that a couple of months after I resumed playing.

It was my baby cousin's birthday, and my uncle happened to be a session musician for a number of local show bands. He celebrated by inviting a few of his musician friends over so they could play some songs for the guests. I brought my guitar with me because I was told beforehand that there would be a jam on that day. I patiently waited for the people to set up, hoping that I would be able to play with them. Being an amateur at the time, I thought I was the best guitar player in the place and so it was natural for me to display my "amazing skills". One guy was not able to bring his guitar along so I lent him mine, but I was hoping he'd finish early so I could have my turn with the band.

He looked unusually simple, wearing only a cap and a plain shirt, which didn't foreshadow what would happen later that fateful night. The moment he started playing, I just sat on my chair with my jaw wide open. He played the guitar like a god, and to say that he is good was like saying that Jessica Alba is cute! What amazed me even more was the fact that he was using MY guitar, but it doesn't sound the same when I use it! He was only using a very digital Zoom pedal and a solid state Hot Cabs amplifier, but the damn guitar sounded HUGE. He ripped, tapped, swept, and slid across the fretboard like hell, and I was having difficulty thinking about how he was able to make my cheap guitar produce so much tone! From that day on I practiced guitar seriously for three more years, and I still firmly believe that tone is in the fingers the way I did back then.

I got an RG350 by December 2007 and an RG2550 a few weeks ago, and I have learned the lesson that you must not underestimate a guitar for its brand (or lack of) and/or price. Someone who has a branded instrument but lacks technique will still sound bad, but any Squier, Epiphone or even Silvertone guitar in the hands of a great player will surely sound decent.

At the end of the day, it's not about how expensive a guitar is, or what company made it, it's about how you are able to bring out a guitar's true potential through your playing. The RGs sound really great but with skill and a little bit of amp tweaking, the China guitar can actually catch up with them. So don't be ashamed about owning low-priced gear, be much more humiliated if you can't even tell the difference between a major and a minor chord.

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