No, this isn’t a post about finding the perfect guitar and keeping it until the day you die. I know vintage players and they tend to be a fickle bunch…buying selling, selling buying and trading. It’s an eternal struggle between the forces of
contentment and that great desire to do a little better…to raise yourself up and break the bonds that tie you down. I know guys who treat their relationships with women that way but I was talking about guitars. Now, I’ll talk about women. Wives, to be specific. I hate to make the assumption that all my readers are men. They probably aren’t and maybe what I have to say can be applied to husbands as well as wives. But most of my readers are men of a certain age (don’t trust anyone over 30, remember?). So, what I’m really talking about in this post (after 150 words of obfuscation) is how to keep your marriage together and keep your guitar collection too. I’m no marriage counselor but I am still on my first marriage and closing in on 30 years. I don’t live in a huge house, I don’t have a “man cave” and I keep my guitars in the spare bedroom closet or in my office. What I hear from many guitar buyers is this: “could you send the guitar to my office? I don’t want my wife to see that I’ve bought another guitar.” or how about this: “Can you write me up an invoice for $900 (for a $10,000 guitar)?” I get it. I’ve been there. As a rule, lying to your wife is a bad idea that will get you in more trouble in the long run than telling the truth in the first place. But sometimes your wife doesn’t understand that it’s often a zero sum game. I buy guitar X for $5000, I sell guitar X for $5000, I buy guitar Y for $5000. Over and over again. Sometimes you make a buck, sometimes you don’t. All your wife sees is “omigod, you spent another $5000 on a guitar?” The truth is sometimes worthless. An outright lie can be pretty destructive, so most of us resort to the “lie of omission”. And it works…sometimes. My wife doesn’t think that having half a dozen guitars is a bad thing. She knows I enjoy them but she would probably draw the line at perhaps ten. This is not about accumulating a big collection. It’s about a lot of “new” guitars showing up while others disappear. So, what can you do to keep your spouse out of your guitar “business” when giant boxes keep showing up on your front doorstep? My best gambit was not to have them show up. Have the box delivered to your office or a friends house. I always keep at least one guitar in my (non guitar business) office to play when things are slow and I rotate various guitars from home to office. So, when a new guitar is about to arrive, I would leave the house for work carrying either an empty case or a different guitar. “Which guitar is that?” she would always ask. “The red one” would usually be the answer and that was enough for her. You see, guitars aren’t described to your non guitar playing spouse as a ’59 Les Paul or a 61 dot neck 335. That’s too much information and she really, really doesn’t care. “The electric one with the pretty wood” is a good answer as well. She never asked “which red one?” Not once. So, you bring the guitar to the office or to your friends house and you swap and bring the “new” one home the same day. You can straighten out the cases later. As long as you keep the guitars to “zero sum” you’ll be OK, especially if she keeps the checkbook. Is this a prescription for marital bliss? Not necessarily but it beats the hell out of the lame excuse of “well, at least I’m not keeping a mistress…” cuz you kinda are.