A Guitar Center Moment

One night in the not too distant past I went out to GC to audition a couple of amps, the Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue and Princeton Recording amps. That, in and of itself, was a fun and interesting experience, but what ensued during the audition was even more fun. The store's one Princeton Recording amp was set up with a display of small amps right in front, facing the entrance door. Despite my natural tendency to try to blend in, I grabbed a stool and an ES335, plugged up, and began evaluating the amp by playing some blues tunes. I found out that the Princeton is a cool little 15 watt amp. About halfway through putting the amp through its paces, while I had the amp turned up a little loud, a smiling guy came over and began asking me about it. I told him what I knew. I'd play a lick and his eyes would light up and he'd ask about what else the amp could do. For a little bit, I auditioned the amp for both of us, trying its various controls and demonstrating its features.

Once I worked through the basic features of the amp and started to just play, my smiling friend wandered off. After a while he came back with a tall friend of his in tow who took one listen and enthused, "Yeah, baby! That's the stuff! Play it! Let me try that!" He was so enthusiastic I couldnt refuse so I simply smiled and handed him the guitar. He played a few bars with gusto, handed me the guitar, and with those bright eyes said, "Your turn!" I played a few bars and he put out his hands again, "Oh, yeaaahhhh!! My turn!" He was a good player. It went back and forth a few times with him egging me on and me replying. My new blues friend said, "So, what's your name?" and then introduced himself as "the King." He grabbed an SG, plugged up to the little Orange amp next to mine, and we began "cutting head." Now, it was none of that competitive crap with winners and loosers, it was just two guys who loved the blues talking with the guitars. Fueled by my new friend's enthusiasm, we traded off playing solos over twelve-bar phrases. As I said, I normally like to blend into the wallpaper at a guitar store but this guy just egged me on with his open, friendly, enthusiastic attitude. He would push and I would answer. After a few minutes playing and living "in the zone," I suddenly looked up and realized that the other rooms of the store had emptied out and a crowd of about thirty or forty people had gathered around us, watching and cheering us on.

After about twenty minutes of trading some sizzling licks, we wrapped up our jam, bumped fists, and broke it up. The impromptu crowd applauded and dispersed, my new friend wandered on, and I went back to quietly auditioning the two amps and blending into the walls. If I hadn't been there the night when it happened and experienced it, I wouldn't have believed that the little moment happened and that I was a part of it.