I Now Pronounce You

Comfort Zones

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on March 27, 2007

My first (electric) guitar was a Fender Strat. It was a gorgeous, breathtaking “Standard” that I had absolutely no business buying. I had bought a PoS Washburn acoustic for about $125 to learn on, and broke my figers every day trying to play whatever I had in front of me at the time. (Note: “Blackbird” is a terrible, terrible place to try and START from) But i knew…KNEW that the Strat was for me. I knew the electric was for me. SRV played a beat up sunburst Strat…Eric Clapton played a black one (Blackie, which sold for $960K in 2004…for real) …David Gilmour…Lou Reed…Robbie Robertson…George Harrison played them from time to time…

And Jimi…well, Jimi played it like no one else.


It seemed like everytime I looked up, whoever I was listening to and loving was playing a Strat. I just HAD to have one. I ignored the Gibson players, like my friend Sweet Lou, who wanted that thick sound from AC/DC…and I ignored the legions of Ibanez players who wanted to shred like the hair bands. I knew which way I was heading…and it was right at the Fender.

My first one was a Standard. Not the cheap Korean one…or the slightly nicer (and as we know now, actually AMAZING) Japanese one. I dove right in and bought an American Standard. It cost me $600, with a case. A CASE! It was sunburst, with a rosewood neck.

This was a RIDICULOUS approach for a kid (I was, I believe, about 16 when I bought it) You’re supposed to buy something cheap, beat the hell out of it, learn, then buy something a little nicer…work your way up. I said, screw that, I want THAT ONE. And I scripmed and saved by working at Hopkinton Drug stacking boxes and running the cash register until the proud day that I walked in to EU Wurlitzers in Framingham, MA with Sweet Lou (we drove there in his sky blue Ford Escort) and said not too differently than Wayne “I’m feeling saucy today…”


Since then, I think I’ve owned close to a dozen Fender (and a few knock off) Strats. No lie…a dozen. Near as I can tell. There were others mixed in, but they were not my beloved Fenders. I’ve bought them at pawn shops, garage sales, new and used dealers…I’ve had 2 custom made for me by the Fender Custom Shop. I just LOVE Fender guitars. The other ones were all just…wrong. The felt wrong…they sounded wrong…they didn’t do what I wanted. But the Fender? It never failed. It is what I know. Then I went for a long, long time where I didn’t play anymore and got rid of them all. Some were given away as gifts, some were sold…but they all went away until as I’ve mentioned here before, I decided I wanted to play again.

My new guitar is an Epi “Dot” Hollowbody. I have torn it apart and rebuilt it with some new pickups, a new nut…changed the action…and am loving it right now. It feels NOTHING like what I am used to…where a Strat is sleek and has lines that are often compared to a woman’s curves…the Dot is a brick house. It’s big, and it’s imposing. It dares you to try and play fast. It feels like an acoustic on steroids. It’s heavy, clunky. Where the Strat screams, the Dot kinda moans…it’s throatier, less bell like. The neck is wider and it’s harder to bend. It’s making me do things completely differently than I’m used to…and for my efforts I’m getting completely different tones than I’m used to hearing. And I’m actually kind of diggin’ it.

So here’s to getting out of your comfort zones…whether you choose to get out of them or get knocked out of them, it’s only as good or bad as you make it. And making the most of it is what life is all about. Getting knocked out of your comfort zones is what life is all about. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what you have been through, or where you are headed. You’ve got to make the most of what happens to and around you.

And that’s what I’m trying to do now in all kinds of ways…making the most of it. Because really, the alternative is pointless and just makes you bitter.



15 Responses to 'Comfort Zones'

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  1. Dupont said,

    “So here’s to getting out of your comfort zones…” you certainly have me in on that toast, even with the green tea! I think a lot of us are just looking for that right now… that chance to be ok with being outside of our comfort zones, the need to feel better inside our own skins.

    At least, I know I am lately.

    ps. I was obsessed with Fender as a kid (never played myself though I wanted to, I’m worthless with instruments), all my favorites (a lot of the ones you listed too) played them – best of all? John Rzeznik’s purple rose baby. I loved me some Goo Goo Dolls, and it was his favorite, that’s all I needed to know!

  2. carrie m said,

    comfort zones are really interesting aren’t they? wonderful and miserable at the same time.

    when I was a kid and started playing, my dad bought me a cherry red Yamaha. I went on to strip it over the next couple of years – new pick ups, new headstock, upgraded from a little crappy Crate amp to a Mesa Boogie. My dad, all the while, had an awesome blue maple Fender Strat. I thought that was the holy grail of guitars, I loved playing it although it was a lot heavier than what I was used to and he used a heavier gauge string than I did. I always wanted one. Then I tried a PRS and thought, *this* is what I’ve been missing. But then I got older. Stopped playing. The strat still has a special place in my heart though.

    No stairway?!

  3. Dupont; You know, not so long ago I came across a copy of A Boy Named Goo” and realized that the best songs on it were the ones that were never released. And I do remember his Strats…he had the “Half-caster”, which he’d slammed, it split in half, but he kept using. And, green tea is where it’s at.

    Carrie M; DENIED.

    😉 Your dad has great taste. And clearly you do, too…A PRS through a Mesa (to me) has always been a much better sound that Gibsons through Marshalls.

  4. I now have a POS acoustic. It scares me a little. This is definitely outside of my comfort zone, and will likely be outside of my neighbors’ comfort zone as well.

    Cheers to stepping outside the box!

  5. Jo said,

    I don’t know whether to be depressed or glad that I know way too much about guitars than I should considering I don’t play for shit, thanks to the Bergle.

    Anyways, stepping out of your comfort zone not only makes you a better player in the literal sense but a stronger person in the general interpretation. I’ve come to enjoy being out of the zone, makes me work harder 🙂

  6. Carrie m; I forgot…my first amp? A Crate. I think it was everyone’s first amp. They should have just given them away with any guitar over $200. How long was it before your speakers just died? Me? Less than a year.

    Dagny; Cheers to you picking it up! Light strings is the way to start…and your neighbors won’t hear you…it’s an acoustic. You’ll be fine. When you get the 1/2 stack in a few months, THEN they should worry.

  7. carrie m said,

    Did yours have the cool ‘chorus’ reverb button on it? Oh I looooooved that. I thought it sounded so cool. Then distortion PLUS the chorus? Rockin’. So embarassing, I played a Warrant song on guitar for my 8th grade talent show. On the Crate. My speakers actually lasted on that thing, if you can believe it. I think it’s somewhere in my uncle’s house now when one of my cousin’s picked up the guitar.

    My dad also has a massive Guild acoustic guitar from the 70s that has the best sound on it. I never thought I’d be able to play it b/c it was so big. And the PRS + Mesa? F-ing awesome.

  8. Jo; I’m going to assume that the Bergle is your bf, and in that regard I understand. My ex from WAY back in the day once asked me “if there was a fire, would you grab me or a guitar”

    My answer;

    “Depends…which guitar?”

    carrie; HELL YES it had the chorus button!! And I was too naive to realize that it sounded terrible…I was just FLOORED…EFFECTS!!!! WHen I learned to play the intro to Pride and Joy I called anyone I knew and made them listen…then hung up and played “18 and Life”. I feel your pain there.

    You know your gear. SCHWING!

  9. DCVita said,

    You have such a great attitude right now. I don’t know anything about guitars but I dig what you are saying. You are right, when you start to realize that you are getting comfortable, that is when you need to step outside the box and do something challenging. It’s the best way to live your life to the fullest!

  10. virglekent said,

    Hey just wanted to let you know that the band is getting back together, Nothing major probably a couple of small club dates, a reunion tour, play some of the old tunes maybe a couple of new stuff. I’m making the t shirts now.

  11. DCVita; Thank you, but what choice do I have? The tears are shed, the milk is spilled and it’s time to get on with it. Starting over is a challenge, and I have to make the most of it…and that’s what I intend to do.

    VK; Just wanted to let me know? God damnit…this is how we would up parting ways the first time. FINE, but I get set approval…and no green M&M’s. I hate those fucking things.

  12. Maria said,

    Well I learned something new today! I’ve always wanted to learn how to play guitar (mainly because it’s a portable instrument). I took piano lessons for 10 years … can’t exactly carry a piano on my back now can I?

    I like what you have to say about “comfort zones”. It’s so true. It’s all about pushing your limit and going that extra mile … if people didn’t do that then they’d be in a constant rut. I remember from previous posts that you wrote you hadn’t really played in a while so I’m glad that you’re getting back into it. Some people find it difficult to find something they truly enjoy nevermind having a gift and recognizing that and honing it.

    Just further proves your wickedness as far as I’m concerned. And yes I will be there in spirit … please have a beer for me and think that while you are laughing it up with your new friends I will have my head buried in books for my exam the next day (cries!).

  13. julie said,

    I always wanted to learn how to play the guitar.
    My mom used to play and sing to me when I was little.

    I got a gorgeous acoustic for my 21st birthday and almost 4 years later its still in its case, and I still don’t know how to play.

    I know. I just lots points. Didn’t I.

  14. julie said,

    that was supposed to be LOST POINTS.

    Yea I should just go home.

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