August 2016 – Guitars Are Everywhere

posted in: Observations, Opinion | 0

The CRAVE Guitars web site is intentionally a serious place. Its mission is clear – to bring you “the coolest American vintage electric guitars from the biggest guitar companies on the planet”. What constitutes ‘cool’ is obviously for each of us as individuals to judge – one person’s love affair is another’s anathema and so on. A pervious article covered ‘A Matter Of Personal Taste’ (April 2016), so I won’t revisit that debate other than to say that the instantaneous gratification of ‘love at first sight’ can often obscure the deeper and sometimes (?!) more rewarding, meaningful relationship that can develop with ‘ugly duckling’ guitars over time. The same goes for people, apparently! However, as usual, I digress; let’s reset the starting point…

CRAVE Guitars Website

The CRAVE Guitars web site is intentionally a serious place. Its mission… you get the idea. There is a point coming, honestly, please bear with me. The main web site is a window into CRAVE’s ‘collection’ of guitars, amps and effects, and it is presented with a respectable reverence for the subject matter. If some guitars aren’t significant now, they may be one day and I’m just looking after some of them on their long journey that will probably outlast me.

As a full time slave to ‘the man’, I only have time when I’m not working to write one article a month at the moment and these are generally verbose monologues like this one (sorry about that), which attempt to look beyond the feeble façade of visual adoration and the abhorrent avarice of economic exclusivity.

In addition to the dedicated web site, CRAVE Guitars also has some social media channels that look at other aspects of ‘the guitar life’, for instance Tumblr looks at guitar brands and I hope to extend this sometime. Instagram shows ‘rose tinted’ imagery of CRAVE’s guitars, Pinterest and Flickr are essentially the gallery of CRAVE’s guitars. YouTube is an area where I want to expand considerably if I ever get the time. Most of these pages change their content infrequently. LinkedIn gets a new ‘quote of the day’ every day, either from musicians or people who think deeply about the human condition.

That leaves Twitter, Facebook and Google+. These 3 are my childish ‘playground’ for everything guitar-related. The thing is, in order to stay sane in our increasingly mean and nasty world, humour and positivity are vital ingredients, as is a strong vein of irreverence (and occasional mischievous iconoclasm) for the topical. On Twitter, which drives CRAVE’s daily commentary, there are no ‘sacred cows’ where guitars are concerned. The discipline of Twitter’s brevity and rapid throughput is, I find, actually a great liberator. If anyone looks at CRAVE Guitars’ Twitter feed, you’ll know that I try and do something different every day, which in itself can be a challenge. To me, there’s nothing duller on social media than rampant repetition. The way I try to ‘keep it real’ is to create ephemeral ‘themes of the day’, which look at guitars and other stuff from all sorts of angles, ranging from the serious to stuff that is completely off the planet. It really doesn’t matter on Twitter et al. One follower generously tweeted recently, “You guys put out some amazing stuff! :-)”, so I guess I’m doing something right.

CRAVE Guitars – Twitter

Once the strategy was set, the question of how to keep material varied and ‘fresh’ came up. Actually, it has proved quite easy, although time-consuming doing the research required. It has been fun creating new themes, finding relevant images and writing the supporting narrative in just 116 characters (140 less image/link). What it demonstrated to me – ah-ha! Finally, the point!!! (Ed) – is that ‘Guitars Are Everywhere’. I didn’t comprehend just how pervasive they are; pretty much wherever you look and whatever you listen to. The inspiration conjured up by this one simple instrument, either directly or indirectly, permeates the very fabric of our society in a way that surprised me and in a way that very few other manmade objects seem to do. Whichever way you turn, a quick look under the surface reveals that there is a fundamental human connection with this humble little music-making device.

I can’t and won’t try to explain why this penetration into our psyche may have come about or why it should be so strong. There are probably some learned academic papers somewhere that explore this enduring phenomenon. I’m certain that there is a fascinating psychological study in there somewhere, perhaps around attachment theory. My naïve perspective is that successive cultures in some way relate to the guitar’s particular characteristics and guitars, in turn, adapt to the prevailing zeitgeist in a way that no other instrument seems able to emulate. My subjective amateur observations, not reinforced by empirical evidence I hasten to add, appear to support this crude hypothesis.

As a result, the guitar has enabled me to post thousands of Tweets so far and there is no sign of this letting up. I have many guitar-related themes in reserve, all ready to use when it feels right to do so. Currently, the ones that have been used can only be uncovered by wading through the backlog of Tweets, which isn’t very user-friendly. Maybe, I’ll start expanding these themes into the other, currently under-utilised, social media channels when I can get around to it. For me, it means that I have plenty of diverse material already researched for months of daily Tweets and I still think of new themes regularly, ranging from the sublime to ridiculous. Planned themes don’t include topical events that come up as part of going about our daily lives. Still variety is supposedly the spice of life. It’s certainly keeping me on my creative toes. Hopefully, amongst it all, there is some idle amusement for spectators, including some loyal followers (who’d have thunk!). HUGE thanks to anyone who takes even the slightest interest in CRAVE’s frankly flippant social media output.

Now, it may be that by revealing this little ‘secret’ to the world that others will commandeer my ideas for their own purposes. Well, in the spirit of sharing, I’m not precious about what I do and the more that the online community participates the better. For instance, I’m only tapping into the vast Internet resources that are already out there and applying some structure to it for my own purposes, so there is no way that I could legitimately claim this as my territory. Having said that, CRAVE Guitars is growing a modest online reputation, so perhaps there is a latent mine of interest to be tapped.

Hopefully, sharing these tiny titbits of transient titillation entertain a few similarly minded souls out there on the global hinterwebthingummy. Sometimes, my Tweets are intended as an essential distraction from the evil ghastliness that seems to saturate our so‑called ‘civilised’ modern world. Using puerile humour when things look bleak and desperate may be seen as trivial. However, the intention is worthy and there is an undercurrent of hope for a better world (it’s the ‘hippy’ in me, I guess). Manipulative? Possibly. ”Peace begins with a smile”, as Mother Theresa once wisely pronounced; something we can all surely promulgate at no cost and very little effort. Go on, try it – we can make a difference. Or perhaps I’m just another guitar-obsessed weirdo, deluded at the thought that we should all try and co-exist in harmony! Buddha rightly observed, “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace”.

All these things in combination may go some way to justifying why the guitar has become the world’s favourite musical instrument and, getting back to the title of this article, why ‘Guitars Are Everywhere’. Like the influence it has bestowed, it doesn’t seem that guitars are going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s face it, guitars, or rather their distant progenitors, have been around in one form or another for thousands of years, albeit in varied and unrefined forms. Despite appearances of being quite conservative, guitars continuously adjust to trend; for example, see my article, ‘What Does the (Digital) Future Hold?’ (June 2016 ) for a glimpse of the (conceivable) future.

It is possibly worth remembering at this particular juncture that guitars are not just objects to be disseminated for purely fashionable purposes; they have a very real and crucially important purpose, which is to enable people to make music. Music is undoubtedly a powerful remedy for our emotional and spiritual well-being and its healing properties are often underestimated. Whether the music/noise we guitarists generate pleases others who (are forced to) listen to it is another matter. Playing and listening to music can definitely be therapeutic and cathartic in an increasingly mad, mad world. At any rate, it has to be better than brandishing lethal weapons on each other.

Anyway, I’ve got to go, I’ve just thought of a new guitar-related Twitter theme that needs exploring – you know where to look – or follow the links at the bottom of any CRAVE Guitars web page. Alternatively just search the popular Social Media sites for CRAVE Guitars and see what pops up.

CRAVE Guitars – Social Media links

Remember, ‘Guitars Are Everywhere’! Resistance is futile. Until next time…

CRAVE Guitars ‘Music Quote of the Month’: “Music affects us in a very basic way that we don’t fully understand. Thankfully!”

© 2016 CRAVE Guitars – Love Vintage Guitars.

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