Sunday, April 19, 2009
After two years of testing how long I can press onto steel strings without shredding my fingers into ribbons of blood, I bought my first electric guitar.
Big deal. Well it is. I paid for it dammit. Every cent. It's a very nice classic tobacco burst finish with yellowed pickguard and peripherals to create the whole vintage feel. And yes. With this investment I have sealed my fate as a left-handed guitarist. It's a hard uphill battle, one that will end only when Fender begs me to collaborate with them to create the Fari signature lefty Strat. You might have noticed that I changed my profile pictures from my classic katana picture to a photoshoot with my new wifey. If you haven't, go to Twitter or Facebook or Plurk to feast your mortal eyes upon it.
My experience buying it, however, wasn't anywhere as pleasant. I bought my wifey from Davis Guitars, I guess the biggest shop at Peninsula Shopping Center.
*-* The remainder of this blog post has been labelled NC16 by the author in view of its bright and colorful vulgarities. Please leave now if you are an underage hissy who will weep at the mention of the word fuck. *-*
I went there late morning on Good Friday. GOOD FUCKING FRIDAY. It still wasn't open yet. So I went looking around (I think only one other shop was open... The one that sells J&D guitars la for those who know, I forget the store names).
By the time I was done Davis was open. And oh joy my wifey was there for the taking! So I asked to try it and was entertained by the uncle himself. When I was there one week earlier, I was trying it when he came by and asked, "How? Everything ok? Are you going to buy the guitar?" And I thought, well, that's some direct business making going on there. I said something like "I'll think about it." And he nodded and reached out. "May I?" I wondered what magic he was going to do to the guitar. A magic switch to make it sound super sweet?!
He unplugged the guitar and returned it to its rack.
I'm a bodoh when it comes to these kinda things, so even though I was quite shocked I just got up and left the store to find my other friend who was repairing his guitar somewhere else.
So back to Good Friday, I was the first and only customer in the store, and he pulled the same thing on me again. If I surprised him by answering "Yes I'll take it", he didn't show it. I was sold anyway, I just wanted to make sure it was in proper working condition.
While he was processing the transaction, I asked a burning question. I saw the various effects pedals on display all neatly wrapped in plastic, some with price tags on them, and found it really strange. "These pedals, they are second-hand?"
"NO NO NO. You want second hand you go to Cash Converters."
I was again taken aback, and a little bit amused (I assure you that bit wore off quite quickly). I was asking quite a noobie question, for lack of a better word, but I'm sure there is no need to react so indignantly. And rudely.
I told him that I wanted a gig bag, and also requested that he changed the strings to 10 gauge (I know that string changing is complimentary and did not ask for a free set of strings) because I didn't like the thinness of 9, and also that he lowered the action.
"Action-wise, I can lower it for you no problem. But the strings... you should play it for awhile first... Get yourself used to it before thinking about changing."
Puzzled... "These are 9 gauge right?"
"Yes 9 gauge."
"9 gauge is too thin for me. Could you change it to 10 gauge? I like the sound better."
"But these are new strings... quite new. It would be a waste to change it."
Now I was downright shocked. Advice is one thing, and of course I appreciate advice, especially from old birds like him. But 1) Why the heck be so roundabout about it, and 2) what motherfucking business of yours is it if I wish to change my strings every 12 hours? I wonder how many of you reading this would disagree, and not that it's wrong to, that getting an instrument is a rather intimate process. Perhaps that's why they're called wives, because we invest so much time and effort assessing, re-assessing and assessing again whether this instrument is the one for us. And even more so for me, a lefty, it's gets rather personal don't you think? And now after I've paid you for the guitar, you're telling me what I should or should not do with it? It was only after alot of insistence and a developing black face on my part that he relented and said "I could change for you, if you want, no problem." As if he was giving in to my petty request.
And by the way, earlier, I was staring at the huge variety of strings, wondering what to pick, and I asked "Any string set you can recommend for playing blues?"
"Oh no no no, blues is in the style of playing, nothing about the strings. You play this way, its called blues, the only difference in strings is its clarity, brightness, and tone."
Fine, I'll give that one to him la, but still, how rude.
Honestly, if not for the fact that I fell in love with everything about this guitar, I would have walked out of the store. Gee Davis isn't the only store in Peninsula selling lefties I saw at least 2 more. I just happened to like this particular guitar the best.
Apparently I'm not alone. My friend related a long story about how his friend had an even worse experience than me, but it is not my place to say it here, because it did not happen to me, nor was I there to witness it. Exclusive distributor? You see how long you can last with that, if you get enough people angry. I just think that customer service like that shouldn't have to be tolerated. Not in the best of economies, and certainly not in times like this.
What do you think? Have you had any similar experiences at Davis?
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hopes were high and life worth living,
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid,
When dreams were made and used and wasted.
There was no ransom to be paid,
No song unsung, no wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night,
With their voices soft as thunder,
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dreams to shame
And still I dream he'll come to me
And we will live the years together!
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather.
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream
My friend was right. Human appreciation is fickle. Scrap that. Human appreciation doesn't stretch beyond the skin. 36 years, since she started singing at 12, no one wanted her. Now she's gone for it. And now she's got it.
The song is particularly beautiful because it so poignantly describes her life so far. Perhaps that's why she could ace it.
I'm gunning for her to win this round.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
A number of you would have already seen this aired on TV. The only thing that stopped me from letting my tears roll down freely the first time I saw this was because I was watching it with about 15 other guys. Yes I'm a dude like that. But everytime I've seen this ad so far tears never fail to well up in my eyes. The start of the music halfway through the ad is the cue.
Wonderful imperfection. Yasmin Ahmad was probably the best PR decision for MCYS ever.