Next week I turn 23. This means that two years have now passed since I came into possession of my beautiful Gibson Les Paul Futura. Prior to this I had happily played the same Yamaha Pacifica since age 11, a guitar I still treasure to this day. I had often promised myself that when I got good enough to merit a new guitar I would treat myself to a beauty, with the vision of keeping it forever, allowing it to age alongside me.
Fast forward some years and I feel ready to commence the search for my musical soulmate. I started to look into new guitars, obsessively looking online and making trips to an excellent guitar shop, Andertons, not too far from my home. I tried everything from hollow-body Gretsch guitars to PRS beauties, and everything in-between. Despite my love for the Les Paul shape, none within my price range had blown me away, and I ultimately narrowed my search to an Alpine White American Fender Stratocaster and a PRS S2 Mira. After some deliberation I decided that I preferred the feel of the Strat’s neck and its distinctive Fender tone (perhaps also swayed slightly by my love of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour’s strat tone).
Just before calling it a day, a shop assistant asked if I had tried the Futura. I had not. What happened next would change my life forever. At a first glance, I was blown away by the guitar’s looks – the beautiful wood and its stunning colour. Then I held it: heavy, and solid, a serious piece of kit; not something a child could throw over their shoulder. I was already falling in love. Next, I plugged it in…
… What I heard was incredible. Beyond a Les Paul’s usual three pickup options, and tone and volume pots, the Futura presents a range of features rarely seen on other unmodified iterations of the model: a conventional humbucker at the bridge, and a hum-cancelling P90H Sidewinder at the neck, both of which with the option of coil splitting for an even greater tonal range, putting two iconic Les Paul tones into a single guitar. The action is perfect and the neck fast. I knew this was the guitar for me.
The shop assistant mentioned that the guitar was the only one left in stock, but I had already made up my mind – I was not leaving without it. I told my dad (a phenomenal guitarist himself and never one to miss a trip to a music shop) that I was going to buy it then and there, to which he surprised me by revealing that he would like to buy the guitar for me as a 21st birthday gift. And what a gift it was.
It’s funny how two years later I get the same excited rush when I pull it out of its case that I got the first moment I saw it. I used to occasionally look at guitars and dream of maybe one day owning this one or that one, but I haven’t looked at guitars for sale since; but why bother when I can just take my dream guitar out of its case and play that instead?