(Reprinted from a little rant I posted in 2010):
I bought a new car the other day. I've been wanting a ride that hearkens back to the glory days of the American muscle car, a politically-incorrect, fire-breathing monster that can melt a set of new tires in a single weekend. I found the embodiment of my dream in the new Dodge Challenger SRT, over 400 horsepower's worth. But before I took delivery, I paid the dealership an extra $500.00 to run some medium-grit sandpaper over the paint and dent the right front fender, so nobody would think I was a novice at driving a serious V8. They were so grateful for the sale that they threw in a modest crack in the windshield, at no extra charge.
Okay, so I'm not selling enough Seventh String Guitar Straps yet to afford a new hot rod. And if I was, I'd be waxing it twice a week, not trying to make it look abused. So I'm missing the point of master-built, custom-crafted guitars with expensive lacquer sanded down to bare wood in key areas, nicks and gouges in others, and the best available hardware corroded with carefully-applied acid.
I am an accomplished and experienced leathersmith, and I make some of the nicest guitar straps you'll ever use. But I cannot string three chords together on a guitar. If I buy an artificially aged instrument, will you believe I used to jam with Hendrix? Will you look at the wear and tear on it and say, "Hey, this guy's got some heavy stories to tell"? Or will you think I fished it out of the dumpster behind a nearby pawn shop?
Guitar collectors and aficionados, God bless all of you for the energy, the enthusiasm and, yes, the capital you are infusing into the premium musical instrument market during these lean times. May your passion somehow pay you back a hundredfold. But when you buy a nice new guitar, buy a nice new guitar, and let the battle scars come from the times it enjoys with you.