I play guitar, which I believe I’ve mentioned a zillion times here. So I buy things, occasionally, from Guitar Center. They send me coupons, the coupons save me a few bucks. Sometimes, they send me other things. It’s an arrangement that I’ve grown somewhat comfortable with (the people at my local GC aren’t strictly “knowledgeable” about what they’re selling so much as they’re “commission-hungry douchebags” about what they’re selling), as much as I’ll ever be with having advertisements sent to me.
Of course, my semi-comfortability with having Guitar Center send me stuff (as opposed to my totally comfortable delight when the folks at Bev-Mo send me a coupon) means that I actually look at the stuff that they send me. Which means that I couldn’t help but notice a flyer from Guitar Center advertising the new line of Fender Guitars due out this month.
Now, for my money, if you play guitar, you either play a Fender, a Gibson, or some shitty guitar that’s not worth the time and effort it takes to deride it. But oh, wait, I do have spare time to deride it while you try to keep the fucking thing in tune and wrestle your off-rhythm rendition of the intro (the only part you know, of course) of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” out of it. (Note: Squier and Epiphone, the respective cheaper brands of Fender and Gibson are also acceptable guitars – more than acceptable in fact. I play an Epi Les Paul and have heard no complaints about the noise I can make with it.) My point being, I have respect for Fender. Tons and tons of respect. So I can only shake my head at the contents of this flyer, announcing Fender’s new “old” guitars. Fender is proud to announce to your alcoholic, middle-aged stepdad that they now have a guitar he can play that looks like it’s been out on the road for fucking decades.
They’re called Road Worn guitars and let’s be clear: this is the electric guitar equivalent of pre-torn jeans. And it’s coming from a legendary brand. I mean, I would expect this kinda shit from Ibanez, but not from Fender. The idea is that these guitars look like they’ve been on the road since the fifties or sixties, but they’re brand spankin’ new. In other words, if you buy one of these guitars, congratulations: you’re the biggest fucking poser in Poserland. Pray I don’t find you.
The point of playing rock ‘n’ roll hard, in a rock ‘n’ roll band, is that you beat up your instrument. It gets its various dings and dents from your various musical (mis)adventures and each one is a story from your life that you get to cherish. Or you can just cut out all the hard work, buy a Road Worn guitar, and talk about how your guitar has a dent in it just like the one you saw on Eric Clapton’s Strat back when he was (and you might’ve been but probably weren’t) cool. How exciting is that?! I’m torn between the desire to weep and the desire to kill.
Fender makes some of the best sounding guitars on the planet, they really do. And these Road Worn guitars might sound like the very voice of god (meaning: Jimi Hendrix), but no self-respecting musician with any kind of work ethic will buy these guitars. The dents are part of the work of playing in a band and if you don’t earn them, you don’t need them. Save your money, play the guitar you already have, and the dents and stuff will come. Trust me.
The Road Worn guitar will hopefully be the Crystal Pepsi of electric guitars, but I have a feeling they’ll do pretty well. There’s a certain would-be rocker segment of our population that is going to go ga-ga for this synthetic piece of rock history (they’re the same people who think Dan Brown is “deep,” drink Bud Light from buckets of ice at Happy Hour, and shell out big-time Pay-Per-View dollars every time there’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship match. In short, assholes) and it’ll probably sell like fucking hotcakes for a while.
Psst… you want a real road-worn guitar? I’ll build you a Pete Townshend model from his heyday. It’ll be a box of broken wood and strings and maybe a couple of volume knobs. That’ll be $5000.