The holidays are coming up, and if you have someone on your list wanting an instrument, local music stores are here to help!

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Sometimes They're More Than Just an Instrument

When I was in high school I wanted to learn to play the guitar, so my parents bought me a cheap guitar and I was off to lessons.  After learning a little bit about how to play my guitar and frequenting the local music store (this particular one isn't even around anymore) I had my heart set on a beautiful Epiphone Les Paul Studio Chameleon. This guitar was EVERYTHING to me and I knew I had to have it (Epiphone because at 17 I knew I couldn't afford a Gibson).

Below is a photo of my first guitar, an acoustic Ibanez circa 2005.

Melissa/GBF This was my first guitar an acoustic Ibanez
Melissa/GBF This was my first guitar an acoustic Ibanez
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Working Hard for the Guitar of My Dreams

I had a job, but I was in high school so I was only working part-time, and very few hours a week, and was mostly making enough money to put into my gas tank to get me to work and school, but I wanted this Les Paul it was my dream guitar.  After eyeing the guitar a few times, the salesperson told me that they offered layaway, and I was sold. I can't remember, but I think the guitar was around $400. Every paycheck I would take $25-$50 and make a payment on my guitar.   I did this for a couple of months.

Photo by Greg B.
Photo by Greg B.
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Then come Christmas morning, I woke up to find my dream guitar under my Christmas tree! My parents surprised me by going and paying off my guitar and bringing it home in time for Christmas.  I loved this guitar so much that I even had my senior photos taken with it (fun fact, I had the flu in my senior photos so that was fun).

Photo by Greg B
Photo by Greg B
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I didn't end up taking it with me to college because I was too afraid of it getting broken, and sadly I slowly stopped playing it, but who knows, maybe one day I'll pick it up again.  This guitar is still one of my prized possessions because I worked so hard to pay for it, and it was one of the best surprises my parents could have ever gotten me.

Photo by Greg B
Photo by Greg B
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A Reminder to Support Local Music Stores this Holiday Season

I tell you all of this because maybe you have someone asking for a guitar for Christmas, or maybe your kid has always dreamed of banging on drums or owning their own guitar.   This time of year we start seeing all kinds of lower priced guitars and drum kits popping up at big box stores, and while yes, it does seem like it makes the instruments more accessible, oftentimes you can find something comparable at your local music store.

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One Facebook post has been circulating from a music store in Alabama, Izzy's Vintage Guitars, and they made a post that many have been sharing because the message resonates.  Here is what they had to say about supporting local music stores:

The holidays are coming up, so here's some advice that you didn't ask for...
Before you buy that Keith Urban, Randy Jackson, or Estaban guitar for your child, niece or nephew, or *yourself*, STOP.
These "instruments" are built as cheaply as possible to maximize profits. That's all they're for and they're no better than a cheap toy. They play terrible, don't set up correctly, and literally fall apart. If it's uncomfortable to play, Little Johnny isn't going to take to the guitar, period.
Visit your local music store and talk with someone who knows what they're doing. They can suggest something in the same price range that will set up and play correctly, hold some value (helpful for when Little Johnny wants to upgrade), and won't be just a generally disposable piece of trash.
Remember, inexpensive doesn't HAVE to be bad, but inexpensive CAN be terrible. The folks that put their names on these "instruments" should be ashamed, especially being players themselves.

Evansville-Area Music Stores that are Locally Owned

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In honor of the holiday season I wanted to share a few locally owned music stores, and if you have someone on your list asking for their dream instrument, consider checking out one of these places first:

If I missed any locally owned music stores in our area please don't hesitate to reach out, so I can update the list appropriately (melissa@103gbfrocks.com).

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