George Carter
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A New Bouzouki

| Thursday 30th November, 2023

I bought a new bouzouki on Monday. It’s a simple, cheap Chinese-made model that still sounds really nice and plays well. It replaces the insecurity-compensating model that I was currently playing.

What do I mean by insecurity-compensating?

Well, by having an expensive luthier-made instrument, I feel like a ‘proper’ player even if I have no skill. I can disguise it as having standards, or as liking the finer things in life. But in reality I needed it to make me feel okay.

I did that with cameras when I was a deeply-insecure photographer. Buy the big camera and the bigger flash unit and you feel like you command respect (even if no-one else actually gives a shit that you have big Mr-fancy-pants kit).

I’ve now found myself in a more secure place. And part of my minimalism is about not getting attached to things, not having too much burden.

A good, cheap instrument can be gigged. It can be spilt on. It can get dinged.

It can even get totally destroyed and I can have another one within a few days. Not so with “Steve Agnew #2”. That can’t be replaced. Ever.

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with valuing one-off items, beautiful workmanship, an amazing unique sound. But it’s not for me. I don’t live in a museum-like house. I want my instruments to live with me, to experience the knocks of life with me, to travel free of hindrance.

I had a luthier-designed one-of-forty ukulele back in the day before I swapped it for what I call my “stunt ukulele”.

Same now with the bouzouki.

Life is better with a “stunt bouzouki”.

Now I just have to actually put in the graft to learn to play well (which I have started in earnest and it’s already paying dividends).

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