In my continuing homage to hot gear, we now enter the realm of the broken heart.
Remember that girl you went out with, once or twice, twenty years ago, where there was that brief, fleeting moment of connection, followed by…well, nothing? Or maybe that “pal” from high school where you realize, thirty years later, it could have and maybe should have been something else? The one where you could have probably gone a lot further, and there was potential, but something – it’s hard to remember exactly what, even – got in the way?
The Yamaha SG2000 is that.
The SG2000 is one of the most gorgeous guitars ever made. As dense as depleted uranium (meaning in terms of “weight per unit of volume”, not “Matt Snyders”), the body and neck are heavy, almost like carrying a guitar made out of steel railroad rails – so the sustain, fed through the SG’s gorgeous electronics, was just out of this world. It was a sweet-toned marvel with a low, slick action that made even the Les Paul feel clunky, and made playing Fenders (like my primary axe) feel like you were tryin to bend rebar.
It was built from the late seventies into the mid-eighties, and it never quite caught on like some of the others in its weight class – the Les Paul, of course, but also the Hamer Standard and the various Paul Reid Smiths – but it was a beautiful instrument that played just like ringing a bell.
I came across one on a frigid January Saturday in 1987 at the old Benedict Guitar store, on 34th and Lyndale. Visions of Stuart Adamson’s celtic guitar gymnastics skirling through my head, I sat and played it for close to two hours, putting it through every pace I could think of. And I fell madly in love.
And it was just on the high end of my price range. And prudence got the better of me.
And for 21 years, I think, I’ve regretted it.
Now, the Hollywood legend would have it that when you finally meet that girl who totally smote you back in high school, 25 years later, it’s all different; the thrill is gone (although the women in my graduating class have done really well, actually – can I get an amen, JHS ’81 guys?), with the SG2000, it’s a whole ‘nother thing. I found one, at Capitol Guitars in downtown Saint Paul, last summer.
And oh, my. Better than I remember.
Next year’s tax refund? Could be. We’ll see.