I make and sell guitars. Unusual guitars that you can play without strumming or picking, and this lets you play strings with both hands, so you can play bass strings and guitar strings at the same time. The name of this instrument is the Mobius Megatar.
Recently, a college student had inquired because he wanted to get one of our instruments. We wrote back and forth, and he was all set to go, but then he sent me this email —
“I’m sorry but the Megatar is not in the picture any more. I was coerced into buying a 2700 dollar classical guitar from a company that gives referral bonuses to the teacher who I was coerced by, so I’m left broke and on crappy terms with my main teacher for the next 3 years.
“I really wish I had the cash and time to delve into a tapstyle instrument right now, and if I could, it’d be a Mobius with Bartolini pickups, but it seems like that won’t be available for a while. With student loans and a no emergency funds (thanks to the aforementioned jerk of a teacher) I’ll be lucky if my car makes it without scheduled servicing for the next 6 months.”
What is really odd is that I got another email from another college student, in a similar situation who told me something of a similar story, that he’d been required (or perhaps urged) to get a nylon-string guitar for some upcoming course work. However, the second student seemed much less bitter.
And it got me to thinking. I can understand the disappointment he must feel.
And actually, it does sound kind of crappy behavior for the college music instructor, to push the student toward an instrument that pays the instructor a commission.
On the other hand …