Thursday, January 18, 2007
El hacer compras para una guitarra (Ken)
At Calle Talcahuano, just past Saramento, hay muchos negocios Instrumentos musicales. It is the Buenos Aires equivalent of West 48th Street in Manhattan. I took a walk today to shop for a guitar.
Me compliaños es 10 dias mas y quiero una guitara Aregentina. My collection is missing a classical guitar with a cutaway and active electronics. In fact, I have not purchased a classical guitar since I bought one from Colonial Music in Frederick back in 1980.
Every year, I work up my Feliz Fiestas repertorio, pero no tengo una guitarra perfecto. It is about time I got a proper guitar to play my Christmas music. I did not bring a guitar with me to Buenos Aires. Actually, there are many things I did not bring that I should have. But that is what happens when you have never been out of the USA before and try to pack for a six-month trip to live in a foreign country. I look at the clothes I packed and shake my head in disbelief. What the hell was I thinking? I think of all the things I would have brought if I had only known. (Charlie, we are making a list. Only ONE of your suitcases is for you. Fair warning.)
Mi amigo nuevo, Lucas, the barman at Shoeless Joe´s, told me about all the negocios de musica in BA and drew me a map. He is an aspiring musician who recently purchased a guitar, but has not learned to play. We are in serious negotiations for trading Spanish lessons for guitar lessons. I followed his map and found the mecca of music in BA.
I went to the first store and told the man what I was looking for: "Mirando para una guitarra clasica con electonicos activos y un cortado." He showed me the Takamenis and Fenders for $800-1200 pesos. "¿Tenés una mas barato?" He handed me a Chinese-made axe with a piece of plywood for a fretboard. I gave it a try, but it was a piece of junk. He then gave me the one-step-up model. It played well, but still, it was a $775 peso Chinese guitar with the brand name "Texas." For those of you who know me, ´nuff said.
I went next door to MAK music and met Stelis. I told her what I wanted and she showed me a Gracia, Argentine-made guitar. A young man hooked me up to a PA and left me alone to try it. It was nice. "¿Quanto questa?" me pregunta. Ella dije, "$580." Hmmm, some quick arithmetic, that´s, carry the one, US$193. "Necesito hablar con mi esposa." I told her and tried to leave, but, no, there were still more guitars to try.
Here is the one I like, the Gracia Modelo Junier with both a phone jack and XLR input and a six band EQ with a built-in tuner. For . . . $670. That is $US223.00
I think that is a reasonable sum to spend for my 50th birthday. ¿No?
And I really like the idea of coming home from Argentina with the guitar I have been wanting that was made in Argentina.
Also, for those of you keeping score-
I saw a mexican Fender Strat in the window of another store. They wanted $2400 pesos for it. That is $800 US dollars. Musician´s Friend has the same thing for US$400. That means there is a 100% import duty on musical instruments.
So, if you are headed to Buenos Aires, bring along a Statocaster and hook an Argentino brutha up. Musico a musico.