By Christmas 1983 I'd saved enough. I sold my Sherpa mini bus to a karate club to raise the remainder, to much dismay from my parents. 'How are you going to get to work with no transport'? 'But you can't even play'! Were just a couple of their kinder comments they suggested to me. I had a dream, or an ambition, and they were dream stealers.
Anyway, I knew I wouldn't be able to get the best deal that side of Christmas, so I waited until the January sales. By the time I was ready to buy my second electric guitar, I knew all the guitar shops in the area, I took my friend with me and went guitar shopping. I was looking at all the Strats in all the shops. I ended up in a shop in Walsall on the ring road. Again, it's name escapes me, but not the same shop I'd bought the Les Paul Junior copy from. I asked the guy who worked there if I could try a Fender Strat that had caught my eye. In other words, the cheapest I could find. It was about £300, and I was having it.
'Before you buy that, try this' suggested the guitar shop assistant. He handed me a Tokai Strat. It's a copy I thought to myself, I don't want a copy, I want the real thing. I tried it. It looked, felt, and played just like the fender, but was only £210.
'Before you make your mind up try this'. This time he handed me a Gordon Smith. It was £250. I liked it, but not as much as the Strats. Insistently, I do own a Gordon Smith now, I've had it about 20 years. I ended up purchasing the Tokai on that occasion. I have used it almost every day since, and I am still using it today. If you see a picture of me with a red Strat, that's the guitar.
Buying that guitar turned out to be the best investment I could have done. It propelled my learning. The guitar was easier to play, sounded far nicer, and made me feel amazing. Without a decent instrument, it is really difficult to develop as a musician. Without taking that risk of selling my transport to work, parting with what seemed an unjust amount of money for me at that time, would I have managed to learn the guitar to the level I did? I suspect not, therefore what career would I now have? Who knows? But I love that guitar and the business it has given me! It has paid for itself countless times.
Information on my guitar lessons http://paulclews888.weebly.com/guitar--ukulele-lessons.html
Tokai Guitars http://www.tokaijapan.com/
Fender Guitars http://www.fender.com/en-GB/#/american-standard-stratLH