Saturday, October 06, 2007

Our Guitar Girl

One day last week, I met Joycie at her apartment after her afternoon class, and she and I booked on down to Lansing to visit Elderly's.

Joyce got in mind that she wanted a new guitar... she has been using an OK one that my Mom bought at Sam's club. I think it is a Yamaha. It's a nice guitar, but since Joyce is not just an occasional guitar picker, I agree that she deserves a better quality instrument. Her first guitar, that we gave to her for her 8th birthday, is a classical acoustic, and as such, it's a smaller guitar. Joyce also has an electric guitar, but that's just for fun, not for serious practice. Since she decided to take an hiatus from violin lessons and instead take advanced guitar lessons from the same teacher, she became very inspired to get a new guitar.

She did her research, and she found a couple online that she was interested in, so off we went to see them in person. Elderly's is a really cool place. They sell all kinds of instruments, but I would have to say that most of their stock appeared to be guitars. All kinds of guitars.

Joycie found the Dean she had looked at, and sat and played it. It was nice. There were a couple of Alvarez she looked at also. I didn't know it until we got there, or rather, I didn't completely understand, but she wanted an acoustic guitar with electric controls to plug into an amp, with a cutaway.

She also wanted to get a darker finish, mostly because the 2 acoustic guitars she has now are both light finished. So once I understood what she was looking for, I helped find guitars for her to try. She played several, out on the floor, and then back in the glass-enclosed small room Elderly's has set up specially for playing acoustic electric guitars, so she could hear them on an amp. Early on, I found one that caught my eye simply because the neck and heel were gorgeous. It had a light finish on the solid spruce front, though, so Joycie wasn't interested in it. I finally convinced her to play it, and as soon as I heard it, I loved it. It was a Martin, and about twice as much money as the Dean and Alvarez ones she was looking at... Joyce liked the sound of that Martin, too, and she played it hooked up to an amp... beautiful! I figured while we were there, try 'em all out, right. So Joycie played guitars whose price tags well exceeded our budget... $1,500 up past $3,000. I told her, might as well play one, see what it's like.

It was funny, because she didn't really want to play a really expensive one, and finally she said it was because she didn't want it to ruin the one she was going to get for her. My girl has a smart head on her shoulders... I didn't think of that way, but she had a point. I talked her into playing the expensive ones anyway, and you know what... that Martin sounded just as good as some and even better than a lot of 'em. Seriously. Beautiful guitar. Joycie kept going back to it. She didn't want that light finish, and she didn't want to get that expensive of a guitar (it was $700), but she kept going back to it. I understood perfectly. It was definitely the guitar for her. We had to buy that one guitar.

I told her it was like the scene in the first Harry Potter movie, when Harry is buying his wand. There was a wand meant only for Harry... the wand chooses the wizard... That Martin definitely chose Joycie. Without all the flying boxes.

When we took her guitar to the register, the guy working there went and got a brand new one of that model, still in it's box. He thought we would prefer it over the "floor model" that folks had been playing. The tag, though, indicated it had only been on the floor less than a month... and Joyce played the new one, but it just wasn't the same. Every guitar is different, and the one she chose at Elderly's became hers during our time there... so a brand spankin' new one of the same model wasn't better. She sure bonded with that guitar!

I enjoyed our guitar shopping trip so very much... it was awesome listening to her play those guitars in the shop. It was also a pretty special moment to be able to give her that guitar.

Joycie also chose a beautiful leather strap for it. I like the flowery vine design on it.

She was a happy, happy girl...

And while I was taking photos of her with her new guitar, I decided to take some shots of her apartment... it's such a pretty apartment the girls have... This is the living room, with almost all the furniture provided by the twins (2 of her roommates, friends from high school).

Notice the pretty blue pots with plants... I did those just before we left for Lansing and surprised Joycie with them. One is an aloe and the other is a snake plant, both difficult to kill, so hopefully they'll endure with little care needed. This is the TV, also provided by Morgan and Melissa, and the black & white framed photo grouping provided by Joycie... all photos she took.

This is the view toward the dining area and kitchen, and you can barely see the washer & dryer at the back of the kitchen. It's a small space, but well-planned, very organized. And the girls are doing a good job keeping it clean.

And this is the balcony, with the chairs and tables that Joycie & I bought at Wal-Mart shortly after she moved in... it's nice that there is a brand new Super Wal-Mart pretty much right across the road from their apartment complex.

I've already showed you her bedroom, so that's pretty much the whole place. And I can't show you in a photo, but it smells really, really good there. The girls have a lot of scented candles around, which they cannot burn according to the rules of the complex (most of them belong to the twins, and their mom cut all the wicks off, just in case they were "inspected" at some point), and the girls also have a couple of those oil stick things... Joycie got hers at Pier 1. Those things are surprisingly not overpowering, which is what I thought would happen. Their apartment smells pretty. As it should.

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