Wolf Music


Piece 6 - Wolf Songs

Without music, life would be a mistake.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Buying a guitar isn't as easy as you would think. A lot of it is personal preference. The first thing you want to do is identify what you're looking for. How much are you prepared to spend? Are you prepared to wait a few years for the guitar to REALLY start sounding good, or do you want one that sounds good NOW? Are you ever going to sell the guitar? If you aren't going to sell it, try to avoid the more famous makers. There are many guitar makers out there who are REALLY GOOD but aren't FAMOUS, and as such, their guitars are cheaper than you would expect for the sound. A well-known maker's guitar will cost more at the beginning but could appreciate in value. An unknown maker, unless he subsequently becomes famous, generally produces guitars that at best hold their value.

If you want a guitar that sounds good now, get one with a cedar top, which sounds as good when you buy it as it ever will - or else you could get a secondhand guitar with a spruce top that has already "opened up". Otherwise, a new guitar with a quality spruce top is going to sound good for the first 6 years, and then start sounding REALLY good.

There are many variables with guitars and the perfect guitar is what sounds best to YOU. So far, I have concluded that the closest thing to a "perfect" guitar, according to the majority of guitar makers and buyers, would be made of an Alpine or German spruce top. The grain is important - it needs to be straight grain, with medullar rays. The back and sides would be made of Brazilian rosewood , it would have a Guinea ebony fingerboard, a neck made of Honduran cedar, Rodger tuning machines, and have a cutaway body. It's good if the guitar comes with a climate case, and if you're going to fly anywhere with it, a Calton flight case (or something of equal quality) is essential.

The most important part of buying a guitar, is going out and playing several. Find a couple of songs that have both really high and really low notes that "push" the guitar. (I've found that songs by Villa-Lobos tend to be good for that.) If you're going to buy a guitar by mail, get one that you can send back for a refund if you decide you don't like the sound. I recommend you go to guitar stores if there are any nearby because you learn a lot about what you like best by playing several at once. (Very tiring, though!)

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Silver Sand Rag
Author Unknown


Wolf's website link

Wolf is 14, a music student at the County College of Morris, and has been playing the guitar for about 5 years

Asturias by Albeniz

Another important thing when buying a guitar, especially a nice one, is to make sure you're able to keep one safely. You should buy a hygrometer first and check how humid it is where you would be keeping the guitar. Perfect humidity is 50%. If it's too dry, consider buying a humidifier. Also, make sure the store you're buying the guitar from has kept it in good condition. Before you buy, inspect the entire guitar carefully. Make sure the neck isn't twisted, or warped. Look carefully at ALL seams. While looking around for a guitar, I found that a couple had warped and separated slightly. If a guitar is damaged, it doesn't NECCESSARILY affect the sound, but make sure it's repaired well, and make sure you are charged accordingly. A damaged guitar will not last as long as an undamaged guitar, and as such, should NOT be the same price.

The finish is also important. French polish seems to be the best. It's very soft, and you need to be carful around it, but when it DOES wear off in a spot, or get nicked or whatever, it's easy to re-apply it in that spot alone. With harder resins, they last longer, but when they get old you must have the guitar refinished all over.

For care of a guitar, first DO NOT SET IT ON VINYL! If you leave it touching vinyl too long, the finish will fuse itself to the vinyl. I trust you see the problem? Other than that, try and keep the humidity as close to 50% as possible, and wipe body oil off every time after playing. When playing, try wearing a long sleeved shirt, or else cut the toe out of a sock and wear the rest as a sleeve on your arm where your arm rests on the guitar. And you can polish it occasionally, but make sure the polish you get is compatible with the finish of the guitar. Avoid contact with buttons, zippers and anything metal. Always put your guitar back in its case and fasten the lid securely so you don't pick the case up by the handle later and have the guitar fall out on the floor!

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