Dream Guitar

I was happy to come across this article, “Revealed: The Real Guitar Heroes,” which features a new book,Instrument, by photographer Pat Graham. (Check out Graham’s awesome blog, here.)

In the article, various musicians discuss their favorite instruments. I particularly liked Peter Buck’s description of his beloved guitar, because it so closely matched what I’d already written in my upcoming Young Adult debut, Before You Go (July, 2012).

Before we get to Buck and his guitar, here’s a brief section from my book, written over a year ago. To set the scene: Jude and Becka are hanging out together for the first time after work; they’ve walked the Jones Beach boardwalk on a cloudy day and are now playing putt-putt golf. Becka tells Jude that she’s saving up for her dream guitar:

This could be what Becka’s dream guitar looks like.

What kind of guitar do you want to buy?”

“Rickenbacker 330,” Becka answered.

“You like that jangle sound, huh?”

“John Lennon, Johnny Marr, Peter Buck, they all played Rickenbackers,” Becka said. “You know Guitar World in Massapequa? That’s where I’m going to buy it. I’ve got mine all picked out.”

“Tell me,” Jude said, tapping the ball into the hole. He didn’t bother to fill in the scorecard. Jude hated those ultracompetitive guys who took things like P.E. way too seriously. He and Becka randomly cut over from the third to the eleventh hole. Nobody was around, nobody cared, and this one has a fake pirate ship in the middle of it to enhance the awesomeness.

“You should see it, gorgeous guitar,” Becka enthused. “Semi-hollow maple body, fireglo finish, rosewood fretboard with dot inlays, single-coil pickups –“

“Wow, you know your stuff,” Jude said. “That’s not a cheap guitar.”

“Almost two thousand balloons,” Becka said. “My parents are willing to go halfsies.”

“Halfsies?” Jude laughed.

“You know what I mean,” Becka protested, a hint of color rising to her cheeks. “I’ve been staring at that guitar for the past year. It’s my goal for this summer. I need that guitar.”

Jude knew exactly how she felt. He was always coveting a new guitar, or considering a trade-in. Every guitar had an individual sound, a character of its own, something that most people didn’t understand. Jude and Becka talked guitars and music, compared iPods and favorite tunes, thrilled to have that connection. “I’d love to hear you play,” Jude said.

I know, nothing fancy going on here, just two characters finding common ground, the beginning of something more. But I do love the setting, Jones Beach. I spent so much time there as a kid — hanging out and, later, working at the concession stands and washing dishes in the restaurant.

Now, from the article, here’s Peter Buck, name-checked in the section above (as is Johnny Marr, who coincidentally wrote the foreward to Graham’s book), describing his beloved Rickenbacker 360 JetGlo:

Buck & his guitar, 1983.

I bought my first Rickenbacker in about 1980. I love the tone. I love the history, knowing that Roger McGuinn and George Harrison and Pete Townshend also played Rickenbackers.

That one got stolen eventually, I think in 1981, when I was doing a show for $100. So we went to a tiny little guitar shop and pulled a Rickenbacker out of a box. It was in tune. I played it, it sounded great, and it’s the one I’ve used on every single record I’ve ever made. I’ve played it on stage my entire adult life and on every REM record except the “Radio Free Europe” single, because I didn’t have it at that point.

NOTE: I just triple-checked my Lennon/Rickenbacker reference. I know I got it from somewhere, that he played a Rickenbacker, but with Buck’s mention of Harrison, I started to wonder. Here’s a good article for guitar geeks, “The Beatles and Their Rickenbackers,” by Bjorn Eriksson.

And here’s Buck & company for your listening pleasure . . .

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