My wife told me long, long ago that “Love is a Choice”. Though I wondered aimlessly for several years after hearing this, there did come a day when it dawned on me exactly what this meant.  So I fully committed to make THE choice. From that moment on we gracefully started down a different path in our relationship. And what a great choice.

I am sure you have seen the t-shirts that say, “My wife said if I buy one more guitar she is leaving, which one should I get?”. Yes, this is a rather comical punch at the love similarities between a musician and his significant other and a musician and his tools. Even though we all know the value of human life is far greater than that of a piece of wood with strings on it, there is a strange similarity with these cordial relationships.

As with any relationship you always have “CHOICES”. Not just the choice to partake in the relationship but the choice to further the relationship. So a typical musician will spend hours upon hours pounding out scales and dynamic fluctuations and playing the same song over and over in order to technically “get it right”. Once you get to a certain point in this relationship it may cease to grow or at least drastically slow down and at times seam a little tedious or boring. So what do we do when something in our human relationships goes astray? Sometimes, if we are open minded, we change our perspective and possibly, just maybe, if you have it in you, change our tone. Tone you say? Those are those little knobs on the amp that change the highs, mids, and lows. Well, sure. Those do affect the EQ plane to better suit what you’re looking for and help you to cut through the mix a bit. I’m talking about the attitude of tone. What is your attitude? Or, whose attitude have we taken on? Birds of a feather flock together. You have probably learned your attitude/tone from someone real close to you or like many red-blooded humans your attitude/tone/sound is shaped by your favorite musicians and bands that you grew up listening to. At some point in your playing you may want to take the power of choice and choose what “you are going to sound like you”. Your tone!

I have heard the questions & comments countless times “What guitar and amp set up do I need to get so I can sound like Eddie Van Halen?” or “If I get these cymbals will I play and sound like Neil Peart?” or “I have to have this piano to sound good”. I can tell you right now that the tools you play on are important but they still only add up to 50% of what you are going to sound like. Even the acoustics of the room you’re playing in can change your sound. You have to make a choice to sound like you. Okay if your starting a KISS Tribute Band you probably want to get a Les Paul and a Warlock to enhance the star painted on your eye. But even Mark St. John (the original guitar player for KISS) would happily play what you handed him and still sounded like him. If Stevie Ray Vaughan were to magically grace the presence of my music store for a quick jam I could hand him any guitar in the place and he (without his beat up strat) would still be unmistakably playing each note like he meant it and physically, emotionally, intellectually and audibly sound just like him.

Next time you set out to have some alone time with your axe, play each note like you mean it. Then ask yourself “Have I made the choice to love what I do regardless of whom else I think I sound like, Have I made the choice to sound like me”? Maybe your significant other will totally dig it and maybe they will be more honest than you are prepared to handle, either way it’s the one your meant to be with that will love you either way. So go further your relationship. Change your perspective. Be your tone. You just have to make the choice to be loveable and love the choice you made.