I wanted to introduce myself a little and let all of you know how I got here.
I started playing the guitar about 20 years ago. My first guitar was a Washburn, but I don't remember the Model Number, only that it retailed for about $150.00 circa 1991 or so. I traded that guitar in for a much nicer one in December 1992. The reason I remember the exact date is that I recently divorced causing a move and was going through some old papers and found the Invoice, and the brochure from the new guitar. That guitar was Vantage Model Vs-25SCE. There isn't much on the internet about this guitar, but I did find one old review here, if you're interested in reading about it.
It's a very nice guitar, and retailed for $479.00 in 1992 dollars, so you can extrapolate what it would cost now. It has a solid Cedar top, Ovankol back and sides, Rosewood finger board, Rosewood bridge and Brown Herringbone binding on the sound hole. That information is taken from the brochure which I still have in my hot little hands. I traded in the Washburn for part of the cost, and was very happy with my new purchase. I took lessons for about 3 years before my 3rd teacher moved away leaving me on my own. As with most things, the guitar got put away, and played less and less when I finally quit playing it altogether. I hadn't played it in 15 years until just a couple of weeks ago.
Naturally during the move, I drug the case with the old guitar out of the closet and brought it to my new home. My seventeen year old son asked me when I moved what I was going to do for a hobby in my new place. Where I live now is much smaller than my previous home, and the hobby I had been enjoying is not possible where I live now, so I replied that I didn't know, but something would come along.
About 3 weeks ago, my son asked if he could borrow my guitar and expressed an interest in learning to play, so I let him take it for a week with the promise that he would take good care of it, and bring it back safely.
When he brought it back the following week, I asked if he was still interested, and he said yes. I told him I would try and find a second guitar for him to use, and he agreed. That was where my journey towards a Seagull began.
I first started doing some research looking for the best quality guitars for an inexpensive price. I was looking for used of course, and began the search. I found that the name Seagull was everywhere, and I started reading about them. Here are a couple of links that brought me to believe in the quality of the Seagull brand, Best Acoustic Guitars and The Guitar Medic. The entire Guitar Medic website was a nice read for me, because I am always interested in how things work and how people move through life's journey.
So I began looking for a used Seagull. I turned to our local Craig's list first, and found an S6 for $150.00, but by that time someone had already snapped it up. I made a couple of other calls off the list, but they wanted more money than I wanted to spend. After all, I was buying for a seventeen year old who may or may not stick with it, so I didn't want to spend a ton of money.
I had checked the local GC, but they didn't have any in stock, but advised me to watch their website on a daily basis because it was always being updated. So I did begin to watch, and the very next day, one appeared at their store in Overland Park, KS. I called the local guy and ordered it to be shipped in to the local store, so I could actually see it before taking it home.
As I said, I haven't played in over 15 years, so I asked a customer in the store to play it for me. It sounded great, the customer liked it a lot, so I bought some strings, and some other items, and brought everything home.
At this point my son knew nothing about my purchase, so I decided to make an "arrangement" with him. I asked if he would like to take lessons with me. I would be re-learning, and he would be just starting out. I picked up the "Learn & Master the Guitar" DVDs and books, and last night we had our first lesson. It is coming back to me pretty quickly, and he is picking it up pretty well. He already is an accomplished piano player, and we both know how to read music, so that is a plus.
That's where the decision had to be made as to who was going to use which guitar. For me it was a big decision. I have after all some sentimental attachment to the Vantage, and had played it a good bit, early on. So I thought I would take both guitars to local music stores to have someone who plays better than I, and has more technical knowledge than I to help me make the decision.
The first guy was a "certified Martin technician". He examined both guitars, checked them both for action, intonation, verified the neck was straight, etc. He asked me if they had ever been professionally setup. I told him that the Vantage had never been because I bought it new, but couldn't say for sure about the Seagull. His response was that he thought the Vantage might be just a bit better quality, but that the sound on both was great. He said the sound on the Vantage was just a bit "brighter" while the Seagull was just a bit "more mellow".
But that was when I began falling in love with the Seagull. His shop was quiet, whereas the GC was noisy with people trying electric guitars and amps everywhere, and I could hear the richness and sound depth of the Seagull.
My next stop was at another Music store who I had contacted and they agreed to play both guitars for me to listen to. This guy was more of a player than a technician, and he could play very well. I asked that he do some finger picking on both, because I think that is where I might like to work towards. Again, the Seagull sounded much fuller and richer than the Vantage.
So I began thinking of how I would present all of this to my son. My reasoning was this. The Vantage looks better, and has a much tougher finish on it than the Seagull, so I reasoned there would be less chance of scratching by a wayward pick. The Vantage is also a cut-away, and has an electronic pre-amp installed from the factory. The Seagull has no pre-amp. I figured that he would need the pre-amp if he wanted to play at the Church, or any other functions in the future where amplification is required.
After explaining all of the above to him, he agreed, and now is using the Vantage, and I have the Seagull.
We learned together last night, and I told him that if he stuck with it and practiced every day, by the time he graduates from High School in May, I would help him find a Seagull for his own. He was happy with that.
So now, I am going to re-learn to play the guitar using my "new" Seagull S6 Original that was born in October 1999, and I am told by Michel Belanger from Godin Guitars is a 2000 Model, and I am ecstatic.
Here is a picture of both guitars standing side by side in my living room.
Ok, I fixed it. :)
Ditto - what Jonah said
might you two be blessed with the same taste in music too?
Excellent story, my friend! Parallels my own in a lot of ways.
I learned to play at age 13-14 ... self taught ... got good enough to play in bands in high school and college ... then when my band mates scattered, I sort of quit for a long while. Later I developed "trigger finger" in my left hand (causes finger to lock when bent) after working for days with a post-hole digger landscaping my new house and with this problem, playing became difficult anyway. About 4 years ago, I decided I wanted to start up again. I went to the doctor and had got a cortisone shot in my hand that relieved the "trigger finger" symptoms, and the after a lot of searching and comparisons, I bought a Seagull S-6, while handing my old Epiphone over to my son, who like yours, was just expressing an interest in learning.
Honestly, the relief from the "trigger finger" and the fact that the Seagull practically plays itself, made me get so enthusiastic that I'm now playing at least 1-2 hours every night and I'm hitting open-mic nights weekly just for the fun of it. Amazingly, the more I play, the less the hand injury occurs. I still may need surgery, but so far so good!
I think that the Seagull S-6 with the nice wide 1.8 inch nut is one of the reasons I was able to manage playing while my hand was healing up. I've since bought a Martin and a Seagull Artist. I rotate between the three guitars every evening and love all three equally.
Thanks for sharing your story with us! And welcome to the group.
Thanks Jonah and Lennie!
"I think that the Seagull S-6 with the nice wide 1.8 inch nut is one of the reasons I was able to manage playing while my hand was healing up. I've since bought a Martin and a Seagull Artist. I rotate between the three guitars every evening and love all three equally.
Thanks for sharing your story with us! And welcome to the group"
Thanks Jud. I like the width of the Seagull too. My fingers are a little fat right now until I get some callouses built back up again. :-)
"Beautiful guitars! My son just started playing - he has "my" Lyon by Washburn Fender Strat copy.
That Vantage, much like my Aria, has a headstock that, IMHO, kind of looks like the Seagull headstock, with the straighter pull than usual. Nice!"
I love both of these guitars as noted above. I do appreciate the richer sound of the Seagull.
I'm sure I'm going to like it here at this forum.
I tried to join the "Un-official" Seagull site, but I think they are closing down. I still haven't been approved over there. It only took about 12 hours to get approved here.
I'll have a lot more questions in the future I'm sure, and will give advice where I can.
I'll turn 60 in another month or so, and it seems strange to be starting over in a lot of ways, but at least now, I have the freedom, and time to devote to the guitar again, so I'm going to give it my best shot.
Someone told me that yesterday, and I didn't believe them.
Maybe I should look at it from that perspective. After all, two people can't be wrong can they? :-)
Unfortunately for the Unofficial site, all of us who talked over there came over here...even the moderator!
So, you're in the right place! :-)
I found a video of a guy playing Wildwood Flower with a tablature reading of sorts, but at any rate, I can now play the song again. Not as well as I used to, but it's coming along. I even got the hammer in.
I'm a happy man!