Instruments I Play:
Takamine EG-116 Nylon Classical acoustic guitar (photo unavailable)
Takamine makes Martin-sounding guitars that carry Ovation price-tags and this guitar is no exception. Notes ring out as clear as a bell on Takamine guitars and though it's a nylon, the EG-116 is no exception. I love playing this guitar for finger-picked music like classical and blues because the strings are further apart and the wider neck makes chords easier to form.
Takamine EG-230 Steel acoustic guitar
The guitar that sold me on Takamine's; it's no accident major country recording artists such as Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney as well as just about everyone else in Nashville plays steel acoustics by Takamine. The E string is deep and the open G chord played by strumming D/G/B is so harmonic, if you play it in the right room, it might bring a tear to your eye.
Fender "Fat Strat" Stratocaster with a rosewood neck Seymour-Duncan bridge pick up, without the Floyd RoseŽ Tremolo.
Talk about your all-purpose guitar; let's see... Select neck and middle pickups with your selector and run it through compressed chorused or some reverb and you've got yourself a nice slappin' pop guitar sound. Want more jangle for something jazzier? Play with the tone knob. Want a tele sound? Put the selector in the middle. I personally like this guitar for when I need a chunky 80s-style Kee Marcelo-like sound for my rock songs thanks to that clean Seymour-Duncan humbucker. I turn to my Les Paul for sustain on solos though and my Ibanez for flashier solos (i.e.., finger tapping).
Epiphone Les Paul
We all want a Gibson, but we don't all have two grand. But screw the purists, except for the lousy tuners, you pull out this guitar when you need heavy metal. This thing is heavy and it sounds heavy. Those pickups don't just look good, they make your solos world-class. Long sustain, thick but somehow clean. But this is definitely not a versatility guitar. I turn to my strat when I need anything less than John Sykes-level sound.
I didn't mean to buy this guitar. I don't like the way Ibanez guitars feel to hold and the neck action is usually weird. But something about the inside of that guitar and how it reacts with its humbuckers just makes it a great guitar for soloing really fast. You barely breath on the thing and it wants to turn you into the next Eddie Van Halen. I learned my hammering on this thing, tricks to get harmonics on even the least likely strings and so on. It got stolen and I bought another one, I liked it so damn much. There is a Reason master guitarist Steve Vai plays these things (even if his version is several hundred dollars more expensive, hehe). I turn back to my Fender for serious string bending, though, because it always seems to hold its tuning better.
Nothin' beats a real 88-key piano like a Yamaha upright. However, like millions of other Americans, I live in an apartment. And I don't know how drummers do it (who don't use something like Roland's V-Drums) but you can't practice on something that loud. Not to mention, it's a pain to move them, to tune them and to record them. And since all I do is recording, there'll never be a need for me to have a real piano except to maybe practice.
Ideally, I'd have one of them nice 88-key weighted/hammer-action MIDI controllers hooked up to something like a Kurzweil K2500RS but putting money aside, just like with a real piano, space is a major issue at my residence. Not to mention carrying that thing would send me to the E.R. So, I use another one of Fatar's StudioLogics (a 61-key MIDI controller). It gets the job done and there are too many ways that are all easy to deal with the issue of octaves.
- 5-String Bass Guitar
I'm still looking at cheap but good 5-string electric bass guitars. Being able to play low C and D is important for my tunes because I write 'em all on the piano. And you can always tell when a song is written by a pianist because it's in the key of C. Predictably, every song I've ever written for the guitar and most songs you'll hear written by guitarists are in the key of E (or a detuned E like in the case of classic Van Halen) or A. Sometimes G, but that's because it makes it easier to play whatever chord is the complimentary minor to its major (which is usually E minor).
Right now, it's probably going to be an Ibanez.
Someday, I'd like to learn to play mandolin and the banjo since the only difference is that the strings are tuned to different notes. Instruments I'd like to know but probably wont get the chance to learn include drums and the fiddle.