Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Peavey

I have a Peavey Predator from the early 90's. It was my first electric guitar. It's been a reliable guitar, but all through my teens I had to deal with Fender loyalists putting it down because it wasn't Fender and others rolling their eyes and repeating "Peavey" in a mocking tone because they hadn't heard of the brand.

I've used it for at least half of the things I've recorded in the last couple of years, and in that time I've noticed a few issues. The pickup selector switch was really touchy and tended to cut out when it was on my bridge pickup, which just happened to be the setting I used the most. For a while, I had a dead fret on my bottom string; due to problems with the neck bowing and the strings being set too low, pressing down on the 16th fret would play the 17th, so I basically lost a note on that string. For the most part, though, it was good enough for what I wanted to do (see: this and this).

This year, especially in the last few months, I've been spending more time practicing (hence the lack of new recordings). I never realized how badly my technique sucked, so a lot of it has been going back to year one stuff and retraining myself, all the way to how I hold a pick. Almost immediately, I started to improve, which rekindled my excitement for creating music. I started paying closer attention to the guitars that my favorite bands were using and started looking into the cost of buying new guitars or upgrading my Peavey. In the meantime, I took my guitar to my dad so we could fix the pickup selector, which also resulted in us lining the inside with tin foil to reduce the noise coming from my pickups.

I also took the guitar up to the place where I take voice lessons and had their guitar tech look at it. He said it was a quality guitar, definitely worth popping new pickups in. I also discovered legions of devoted Peavey Predator enthusiasts on the internet. Pre-1995 is apparently a gold mine of underrated guitars. Some people swear by all of the stock parts, some replaced the pickups, some replaced the bridge and tuning pegs.

Suddenly, my guitar went from being a "crappy strat knockoff" to "a damn fine musical instrument."

It's up at the music store undergoing some adjustments. When I get it back, I'm going to reevaluate the sound and figure out whether I want to replace the pickups or whether the ones I have can produce the tones I'm looking for.

If there is a lesson in all of this, it's the same one I've had to learn multiple times in my life: It doesn't matter what other people think. Applied to musical instruments, that means if a block of wood and wire sounds like I want it to, it doesn't matter what it's shaped like or whose name is on the headstock.

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