Thursday, May 29, 2008

And Then There Was One...

After a long battle with the management, my neighbors have finally moved out. It's been a long, stressful process, and I've been a good, supportive friend to them through it all, as I always am. It is so quiet in the apartments on both sides of me now. It's almost like a ghost town. I don't hear Chris's music in the middle of the night. No more waving goodbye to Skip when I leave for work. No more hanging out with the neighbors and knocking back a 12-pack. It was fun to actually have people to hang out with that were literally right next door. As suddenly as they moved out, there are people getting ready to move in. I hope I have good new neighbors.

Skip and Chris found a 2-bedroom apartment. It's not too far from here. I'm sure I'll help them move in. I can't wait to see their new place. Most of their belongings are downstairs in the storage room here. Skip is using my storage room. They will be moving out their stuff soon enough. As soon as their stuff is gone, I will also begin the moving process. It's time to say farewell to this tiny dump.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Going co-Mando

After much research online and several visits to Guitar Outlet, I finally decided to buy a mandolin. The gentlemen at the guitar shop were very helpful and informative. I also learned that it's best to try out several instruments before I decide which one I want.

That's something that I failed to do when I bought both of my electric guitars. The first one I bought at Media Play before they went out of business. Since the store was closing, everything was marked way down. So I scooped up the cheap electric guitar thinking only of saving money (which is, unfortunately, probably the last thing you should think of when buying a musical instrument). The guitar, which wasn't that great to begin with, soon broke when something became loose and a wire broke inside. And, of course, the store's closed, so I can't take it back. I could always get it repaired, but I don't want to invest more money in a hopeless guitar. The second electric guitar I bought at Guitar Outlet. My mistake was that I got the first guitar that was handed to me instead trying out others to be sure which guitar feels right, sounds right, etc. The guitar doesn't have the greatest tone, and the strings rattle. I think I'm going to trade it in for a better one, even if I pay a little more.

This time, however, I did my research. I took several trips to the store and looked at all the mandolins. Several were way out of my price range, but I looked anyway. I picked them up, made some chord shapes, strummed and plucked. I inspected the instruments to check for damage or flaws, and sure enough, there was one with a broken neck that had obviously been repaired. It was only $99. I wouldn't be getting that one. The older gentlemen showed me some mandolins and explained to me the differences in quality. The really nice ones are all hardwood and the cheaper ones are laminate. The hardwood ones are sturdier and have better tone. He also recommended a brand name.

I continued to look at the other instruments and ultimately went with the gentleman's recommendations. I bought a Kentucky KM-150 (click the link to see it on the Saga website). It is a beautiful instrument. I am very happy with it. It is a very well-crafted instrument. The quality is superb. The gentlemen told me to keep the receipt, and if there are any problems with it, bring it back and they'll fix it for free. You can't argue with that. He also gave me the number of a mandolin teacher so I can get lessons.

I've had my beautiful mandolino for 4 days now and I am in love with it. I am learning to play some songs already. It is a welcome addition to my musical arsenal. Maybe one day, I'll get a new electric guitar. And some bongos. And maybe some more things. And a place to put it all.