Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I love the Trading Musician

My favorite shop in Seattle (nay! the world) is the Trading Musician -- a used-instrument shop about a mile north of the University of Washington. They have two floors of used gear: electric guitars and electric basses, plus amps, on the first floor; acoustic guitars, plus ukeleles and assorted band and orchestra instruments in a large room off to the side; drums and percussion upstairs; and mics, synths and recording gear also upstairs.

And pleasant, helpful salesfolk. Including the lady behind the counter, who sings and plays bass in a Metal-style Pat Benatar covers band called ''Battletar''.

The Trading Musician boasts a marvelous range of eras and price ranges (''inexpensive'' through ''botique-y/vintage/collectable''). There ain't nuthin' like it in Brisbane.

The original plan was that I would have lunch with my aunt and uncle, then meet my friend ''No-Tower'' at the store. (I used to call him ''Four-Tower'', because he used to have four PC servers in his home office; he has since divested.) My mission was to help him upgrade from an acoustic guitar to an electric -- and yes, he pointed out that saying ''upgrade'' exposes my bias; and so it does.

However, my aunt and uncle were nice enough to drop me off directly. So, while waiting for No-Tower to arrive, I hacked around the percussion area upstairs.

I got to try out a bunch of things that I'd read about but never experienced, such as the differences between different size high-hat cymbals: 14" diameter is the standard,but some hard rock drummers use 15" cymbals. I like!!!

I also tried out a ride cymbal with no bell. Interesting, but not on my "To Buy" list.

Dug through a few of their less-expensive cymbals. Ended up getting a Salvador Dali looking cymbal, a ''Trashformer'', with a delightfully trashy sound and at a bargain price. (Note: not my photo.)

I also bought a pair of plastic-bristled jazz brushes. I already have a pair of metal-bristled jazz brushes -- but the kids were starting to damage the ends when they used them, so I hid them away -- and now I don't remember where I put them. Oops. I figured that buying something different was better than buying a replacement -- and then finding the original.

(Because the US:AU exchange rate is favorable, and because things are generally cheaper in the U.S., I was open to picking up some music gear during my visit.)

Then No-Tower arrived, so we went downstairs. He was very methodical: he browsed around, looking at all the electric guitars and checking out price tags. He eventually chose about five, and tried them out for feel. From memory (i.e. I could be wrong), he then plugged in three to try out, and I borrowed a guitar strap from the salesfolk so that he could also try them standing up. He settled on one, and then had me give it a quick play to confirm that it was a decent guitar.

It indeed was: a Fender Stratocaster -- a ''name brand'' guitar, far fancier than my guitars. See photo at left.

Interesting that No Tower appears to be a single-coil man: all the guitars he demoed were single-coils. In constrast, I'm a humbucker guy. At the moment, at least.

Somewhere during the demo-ing process, I tried out two different inexpensive reverb pedals, as I didn't own any reverb pedals. But I do now! I chose the one that was twelve bucks more expensive, but had an extra adjustment knob and an extra slider switch: I figured the extra flexibility was worth it.

I also slid a distortion pedal under No-Tower's foot. I'm pretty sure he ended up buying it.

So, good times. Good to visit my favorite store in the world. :)


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