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Future Spending, Two Big Items, Part 2: Acoustic Guitar

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martin-d-15.jpgYou may not know it from reading Consumerism Commentary, but I’m a musician. That is, I used to be a musician, as I rarely have the chance to practice. The instruments I’ve been known to play include piano, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, mellophone, baritone horn, percussion, crumhorn, and of course, kazoo.

I studied music education in college with the full intent of teaching in a high school upon graduation. That didn’t quite work out, but I intend on bringing more music into my life. Here is the plan.

First, if you are wondering why I am not teaching now, here is the story. I refused to settle for a teaching position that far from the type of position I wanted. When I finally did find and accept a position that seemed perfect for me, I was treated poorly by the administration, and my students suffered from a curriculum that was not in the interest of their best education. I don’t stand for such things, so I pursued other interests, leaving my musical background for my spare time.

My spare time has been almost nonexistent lately, but with my impending “graduation” from my master’s degree program, I may find myself less busy. I want to start practicing and performing more music again.

Owning a great musical instrument can be inspiring. For example, a cheap keyboard doesn’t grab my attention and beckon me to play, but a grand piano does. (It doesn’t have to be Steinway, but it helps. Either way, even a baby grand is a little beyond both my price range and my available space.) There’s something about being able to produce the perfect sound that makes me want to sit down and practice a piece of music and experiment with my playing.

But lately, I’ve been wanting to spend more time on guitar. I have never owned my own acoustic guitar. When I was in college, I “borrowed” my father’s Martin, but as I was a man of little money, I could only purchase a Fender Stratocaster made in Mexico and a tiny amplifier. I still have the Strat, but it doesn’t have the sound I want, and the craftsmanship isn’t quite up to par. The cheap amp is simply a piece of crap and playing guitar has been uninspiring.

I am considering one of two guitars, either of which will draw me to play. First of all, a solid wood Martin is the way to go for a great sounding guitar that will last for decades if taken care of properly. The Martin D-15 and the Martin 000-15 are basically the entry-level solid wood guitars in two different sizes, the 000 series being slightly smaller than the D (dreadnought) series. They both have a retail price of of $1,149, but anyone who has ever shopped for musical instruments should know that the retail price is nothing more than a joke. Both guitars should be available for purchase for about $600-700.

If you’re interested, read through the reviews of the D-15 and the 000-15 on Epinions. They both seem to be excellent instruments. The size difference likely results in the larger D series having a mellower and fuller tone than the 000 series. I will have to try (audition) the instruments in a store to determine which one suits my hands and my ears better.

I can’t consider any instrument other than a Martin. The sound on this maker’s entry level guitars is simply much more pleasant than that from any other brand’s instruments available within my price range. As I mentioned, a great sound is a necessary motivator for my continued playing.

If I go through with this purchase and the purchase of a new notebook computer, I may have to wait after buying one and before buying the other. Neither of these purchases are needs, so I could theoretically put them off for a while. The guitar and computer would improve my enjoyment of life and side business productivity, respectively. If I can swing both purchases, I would like to do so sooner rather than later.

Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published August 15, 2006.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

I bet you’ll know what I’m about to say…bring the music back in your life. Buy the guitar ;)

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Wow, I remembered that you were a musician but I didn’t know you were a one-man band! Go for the guitar!

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avatar 3 Anonymous

I always say that spending money on a passion is ALWAYS an investment :)

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avatar 4 Anonymous

I say you swing both. August is the best time to buy a new laptop from retail stores like Best Buy and Circuit City because of their back to school sales. As for the guitar, I purchased a black Martin Acoustic/Electric for around $600 off of (which I highly recommend)! God luck with everything and congrats on the MBA.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I just bought a laptop at Circuit City – It’s a Sony with a 17″ screen, 100 GB HD,a etc etc fully loaded – cost was $1049 and $200 total rebate – it seemed like a really good deal. (I know you hate rebates but you can’t avoid them). Check out the Circuit City deals. And um, go for the Martin (or there are some other high end quality guitars, believe it or not) – for fun and information you can visit the Martin factory and warehouse in Bethleham PA. For purchases, Music Row in NYC is a good place to start (47th and 48th off Broadway) – you can try out what you see and maybe get some good deals. The ‘Music Foundation’ is very happy to hear you’re diving back in to playing music!

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Just a note on guitars: the D-series has a bit more bottom end (the “fuller” tone you heard) but the triple-o size has a balance between bass and treble that makes it desirable for certain playing styles. Lots of musicians use smaller-bodied guitars in the studio.

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