The time has arrived.

I am in the market for a mid-range acoustic guitar. I am considering the current O-series mahogany Martins, but have always played pre-owned instruments and would be thrilled to find an older guitar as well. Currently the Trading Musician has their usual broad selection, including a 1979 Gibson, a 1975 Guild, and a Martin J21M as well as several Martins priced well out of my range. After years of pawnshop trolling, I had come to think of the Trading Musician as a bit pricey, but compared to the undeniably mouthwatering goods available online from Jet City Guitars (at the time of linking, the lowest-listed guitar price is over $2k), and there are several items listed at over $10k), the listed prices and selection appear quite reasonable.

You know, that ’33 is more or less what I want, come to think of it. It’s over my budget, though.

As it happens, just up the street from the Trading Musician is the Folkshop (apparently and appropriately not online), which always has new and used Martin inventory on hand.

For the record, my current guitar is an end-mounted tension-bridge parlor Stella (but quite unlike the guitars that site celebrates, mine is more like these). Mine is probably from the 1970s. It’s covered with stickers and some ill-advised marker graffiti from the previous stewards, now lost in the mists of time. When I started playing it, it sounded like shit and played like an instrument of torture. The action was high enough that it hurt to fret it, and when I lowered the action, the fret buzz made the thing into a cousin of the sitar. The original machine heads in conjunction with the end-mounted tension bridge meant that for ages I was convinced that the instrument could not stay in tune.

After many years of fiddling, I can report that the instrument has a decent voice, at long last, and while it’s still a bear to fret, the action is not nearly the painful torture mechanism it once was.

I once knew a kid who moved to the US to attend high school from his native Venezuela. He told me about how he learned to skateboard. He was a gifted skater who was able to outperform most of the other kids we hung out with. His first skateboard was made by nailing the wheels from a steel-wheeled adjustable roller skate to the bottom of a 2×4 plank.

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