Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tyranny of small decisions - Buying a Guitar or Equipment

I'd like to pontificate about something that is called the tyranny of small decisions. This is a series of small decisions individually small in size and time perspective, cumulatively result in an outcome which is not desirable or optimal. Moreover, small rational decisions can negatively change the context of subsequent choices, even to the point where desired alternative are irreversibly destroyed. Simply stated, analysis paralysis. This is when you seek only information that seems relevant but lack the knowledge at this time that would make other information relevance clear, so you don't look for the information. Then cogitate and torment yourself over fear of being short sighted - only to find you are in a paradisaical situation. So, what do you do? Shut up and buy yourself a guitar!

A while ago I wrote up a long essay about how to buy a guitar. That article is available at this LINK. <<<<

To prevent a tyranny of small decisions and analysis paralysis, you should quickly follow the thought process outlined in this article.

Scenario: You've earned a new guitar and you've determined a cost. You must decide the following options.
  • Electric or acoustic
  • Humbucker, single coil, or combination of pickups
  • Neck scale - long or short
  • Guitar body - solid, hallow, semi hallow
  • Maple, rosewood, or ebony fret board
If you start analyzing color, types of wood, types of tuners, bridge material, fret material, type of finish, wire manufacturer, resistor or capacitor type, potentiometer type and all of the variables available for a guitar. You will discover that you are wasting valuable time unless you are going to work in the music industry.

It's sort of like meeting a lover, wife, husband etc.... You have to take a certain risk. If it feels right it probably is right. Trust intuition because buying a guitar is not an irreversible decision. Guitar Center is very good about returns that are in good condition - Most retailers are fair in order to keep a good reputation. So avoid analysis paralysis. At least nail down most of your decisions before bugging a sales person, try it and buy it because while you are vacillating over infinitesimally small features, the best friend who couldn't play is now better than you on his Teisco Del Ray. Sometimes more is less! The more time you spend deciding to get a guitar means you have spent less time practicing!

Now get to it and stop procrastinating!

.... Should I get a Gibson Les Paul Reissue or Les Paul Standard?
Better question to ask yourself is what can you afford? You have to be optimistic that one day you will be able to buy that expensive guitar. Meanwhile it is important to play and practice because without practice you will NOT get better!

We all like to experience "new guitar day's," where we pick up that guitar we've had our eye on, placed on lay-away or fell in love with at first site (or strum). We bring it home like a new baby and play with it the first chance we have available. Maybe take a few pictures for posterity and send those pictures to our friends and family. This type of behavior is odd because most people don't  faun over groceries, clothing or furniture. On the contrary those people who collect and use cars, guitars, and other mechanisms of fascination certainly get spend a lifetime gawking and photographing their prized possessions.

If you can't make up your mind about a guitar then you will have hell to pay when you meet a beautiful woman!

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