Married Man’s Guide to Buying Without Lying

I’ve been a guitar nut for over 35 years, and I’ve been married to one woman for 28 of those. That makes me an expert at one thing: negotiating the acquisition of new gear. I love my wife more than anything, but let’s face it: even the best marriages sometimes involve hostile negotiations and delicate manipulations.

In the spirit of keeping love alive, here are my top ten marriage-saving tips for introducing a new guitar into your home…without lying about it.

10. Claim that the new guitar laying around the house is your friend’s, and you’re just borrowing it. Admittedly, this is kind of bush league. (Oh wait…it’s also a lie. I’m off to a bad start.)

9. Secret off-shore bank accounts. (I guess this is also kind of lying. This is harder than I thought.)

8: Give her a coupon for unlimited free back-rubs the day before you bring home the new axe. Yes, I know: it’s a tired, old cliché. The difference here is the small print you include on the back: “By accepting this coupon, bearer agrees to surrender all rights of protest to the acquisition of new musical gear. Back-rubs subject to availability.” (No lying here…it was a legal contract, and she should have read it.)

7. Fill your house with so many guitars that she won’t even notice a new one. (You don’t have to lie about it if it never even comes up, right?)

6. Buy a new guitar. Promise to sell one of your old ones to pay for it, if the new one turns out to be “a keeper”. Take 10 years to evaluate it. (Not technically a lie. You’re just trying to make an informed decision, and that’s a good thing, right?)

5. Ask her to pick the color of your new guitar, so that it can remind you of her of you every time you play it. (Manipulation isn’t lying…right?) This tactic is risky. It’s akin to Tom Cruise accusing Jack Nicholson of ordering the Code Red at the end of A Few Good Men. However, with the right timing and a little bit of luck you may be able to get her on board and actively participating!

Beware: the risks of losing this gambit are about the same as they were for Tom Cruise. If you sense things starting to go wrong, back-pedal like a madman, and ask her to talk about her feelings and stuff. May the Force be with you.

4. Give your new guitar to her as a gift. This makes it impossible for her to say no without looking like an ungrateful jerk. Make sure you get one you like, because in six months it will be yours! On the off-chance that she actually learns to play it…well…you can still borrow it. Plus, you’ll have a guitar-playing wife, which is totally hot.

3. Make all the guitars you own exactly identical. All 72 of them! Or was it 73? Gosh, honey…it’s so hard to keep track.

2. Buy a new house. Tacking $1,000 on to the purchase of a $300,000 house barely hurts at all. In fact, it feels kind of great…like a reward for making such a bold life decision. While you’re at it, throw another $1k into the budget so she can get something nice for herself too. It’s a win/win/win, and it costs practically nothing!!

1. Replace the neck on a guitar you already own. Save the old one. Then replace the tuners. Save the old ones. Then replace the pickups. Save the old ones. Bridge. Save the old one. Pickguard. Save the old one. Continue in the fashion until you have enough spare parts lying around the build a whole new guitar….which is really your old guitar.

This is the guitar version of Theseus’s Paradox, which posits the question “how many parts of a wooden ship can be replaced before it is no longer the same ship?” So…how much of your guitar must be replaced before you actually own a new guitar? Fifty percent? Fifty-one percent?

However, this exercise bends the thought-experiment ever further, because at the end of the process, the original guitar still exists. So…did it ever stop existing? Or did it always exist, just in an altered state of being? And if the old guitar always existed, where did the new one come from, when you never actually bought a new guitar?

That should keep her busy for a while.

Got any other ideas? Please…share. True love depends on it!

63 thoughts on “Married Man’s Guide to Buying Without Lying

  1. Love the Ship of Theseus idea. You came up with the whole rest of the list just to post that one, right? Anyway, there is finally a practical application for that graduate degree in philosophy 🙂

      • I did #6. However, when I bought the second guitar without having sold one after the first, it started to looking fishy.

        New tactic: talk about starting a band and tell her she’s going to be the singer. All the gear you buy hence forth is really about her budding singing career. So what if it takes 3 years to get the band together. 😬

  2. I guess I’m a lucky skunk!!!…my wife just caught me reading this and said…what are ya reading?…she looks and says….uhhh you don’t need to read that!!!…I never say no…im like heheheeeeee.

  3. Fun read – well done. I’ve used nos. 1, 6, and 7 quite effectively through the years. I’m a firm believer in the notion “happy wife, happy life” but I’ve gotta have my guitars!

  4. Part by part, genius! Now why didn’t I think of that. I usually use the “Oh that old thing? I’ve had that for a while now” approach. “A while” meaning at least 24 hours…

  5. Used #7 effectively until she used cell phone camera to document my inventory. Even storing some in cases and bringing them out in rotation didn’t work!

  6. Put the family pants back on. Assuming you are not harming your family by using important funds needed elsewhere. Or just walk into her closet and count handbags and shoes.

    • I say “I can sell my bass in 10 years”, but no one is going to buy your used shoes or purses. But #7 works, especially if it is a similar bass, and in a multi-bass stand.

  7. I get *her* to buy me one, once in a while.

    “In case you’re wondering what I want for my birthday, I just sent you a link on eBay.”

    “Your birthday’s not for eight months.”

    “True. But your birthday’s next week. What would you like?”

  8. Better solution-pick a guitar playing wife to begin with… of course, this in turn means no solo trips to Guitar Center (why didn’t you take me along? I wanna look too! lol) but the tradeoff is someone who really gets you, and (in my case anyways) a musical and life partner…

    Of course, we need to build an addition to the house to hold all our guitars now… didn’t George Carlin have something to say about this?

  9. You forgot to hide the new guitar in an old case, and make sure it status hidden for awhile, so when you get caught playing it, you can honestly say you have it had for awhile.

  10. Buy your new guitar and write a love song about her on it. Sing it to her while introducing her to your new guitar You’ll get no hassle and prolly some nookie too.

  11. Easy tell her it cost less than it actually does. Put it on layaway until you have only about 140 to pay off and tell her there having a special on it. She will be happy your a money saver. Your not lying cause your only spending 140 as the receipt says 😂

  12. I LOVE Number 1! I’m not married, but I’ve been doing that for years. After a while you have all of these parts lying around and, while you sure as hell don’t NEED another guitar, it would be a damn shame to waste all of these good parts.

  13. Tithe 10%. Donate 1 per 10 that you own to a charity or local music academy (ie. your least favorite at any given time). Then your new guitar is simply a replacement and a null sum game for the whole collection. You may get a tax deduction, a pat on the back for being such a great person, and who can argue with being a generous “giver”?!

  14. Very ticky: make her understand that this guitar would be an awesome birthday present. Then, cross your fingers till your next birthday….

  15. I know a guy who only buys black guitars so that his wife can’t tell the difference between them. He says every now and then she stops and asks “have I seen this one before?”.

    • Yup. Pick a common color scheme that you like and is really common among varying brands and stick to it. She doesn’t really know the difference between Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, and PRS.

  16. This one is not be the easiest to pull off – I can’t, but I know someone who does – and it works. You buy a used guitar of collectable status, enjoy it for a while, and then sell it…at a profit. Your wife LOVES that!!! Repeat…as many times as you like.

  17. LOL! #7 and #1 are mostly familiar for me! Two more from my routine:
    “Oh! I placed a keen safety bid on ebay and this guitar stuck accidently…”
    The other is about not to appear as a guitar player. Instead claim to be a builder from the most early beginning, best first date -like: “My hobby is building guitars like yours is to knit” (hmm, the knitting is a lame example). But this works great with buying guitars in parts, see #1!

  18. It is fun to read : you may add to it …long before buying try to persuade the thought that what ever you buy it is future investment a never waste of money

  19. Hahaha I wait till she’s just about a sleep and ask her, “hey babe can i buy this bass, it’s badass at a killer price”? When it comes in I always tell her, “well you told me i could buy it not my fault you were almost a sleep when i asked”… I’ve gotten away with it a couple of times…

  20. I used a guitar the other day for a gig that I probably haven’t had out of the bag in 10 years. My wife whom I’ve been with for almost 7 years ask me, “where did that guitar come from?” I said “I’ve had it for a long time, I just never play it.” Which gave me the idea that I could bring home any guitar and say exactly the same thing!! She’ll never know.

  21. Now I knew it is Theseus and his paradox all along. I started repairing my own guitars, buying used or cheapos to practice the craft of repairing. Then buy some good ones to compare with the ones I repair, and I would show it to my wife. Without realizing it , I am raisng an orphanage for guitars.
    But really though, I give my wife something nice if I buy a bit expensive guitar ( especially on my birthdays).

  22. I told her I wanted to buy a new guitar. I showed it to her and it was pink. She asked, “Is it for me?” I said, “YES! yes it IS for you!” I bought it, but now she won’t let me play HER guitar.

  23. Yep. This is funny but helpful, I’ve been buying gear especially mics and she would think I always had them. Recent Strat had to have her full on permission though…My negotiation was no gifts for me an entire year and a pair of shoes for her every month

  24. Easy… I do guitars (OK, guitars, basses, guitar-and-bass-related gadgets….) – she does shoes. And clothes. I may have 20+ guitars and basses … she’s got 200+ pairs of shoes. And no leg to stand on!!

  25. Practical solution #11.
    Buy your new guitar for your loving child who should be around somewhere in the coming future. Love retained (and beyond), guitar is on your hand for at least your kid grows up enough to grip it right.

  26. Well. Hopefully,
    – not every wives are terrible shrews (I guess. I at least hope so…)
    – playing-guitar-wives could be more comprehensive with their playing-guitar-husbands’ fancies (when they’d been able to find a playing-guitar-man humble enough not to feel emasculated by his wife’s superior guitar-hero-skills)
    – one might maybe be able to understand that you do whatever you want with your own money, as she/he does with hers/his? nope?
    – is there a guide for playing-guitar-wives married to non-musician-husband who wish to buy new gear (if that ever exists)? I suppose the tricks wouldn’t be the same.

    • Humor is always either 1) at someone’s expense, or 2) an absurd exaggeration. I guess this silly blog post is both.

      Fortunately, these tips are easily adaptable to any living situation. Simply substitute the gender references in the article to suit. For example, married female guitar players can read the title as “A Married Woman’s Guide…”. Other possible titles could include “A Domestic Partner’s Guide…”, “A Polygamist’s Guide…”, “A Person in a Non-Traditional Relationship’s Guide…”, or “An Adult Son Living in Mom’s Basement’s Guide…”.

      Enjoy!

  27. Humor is always either 1) at someone’s expense, or 2) an absurd exaggeration. I guess the over-reacting comment was both 😉

  28. ‘Never picked ’em for this reason but my mates always have been guitar/bass players so the problematic’s quite the opposite. It goes from “you’re not really gonna pick that brand?”, “that color is awfull” or “I personally prefer single coils” to “… can I borrow it?”

  29. I hide them in the closet. Play them when she is gone. For as much as 2 years. Then when she finally sees them. I tell her I had them for a long time. See I’m not lying!😏 It’s a game we both play. She does it too!😜 She’s not that good at it though. I always find them but I don’t tell her I kmow

  30. Make sure she is OK with your guitar obsession when she is your girlfriend and you will never have any problems when she is your wife…I am a lucky man. I bought a guitar for myself (she helped me pick it out) the day before I proposed. The next day I told her how much I liked my new toy; she asked jokingly, “when are you gonna spend some money on me??”. Out came the rock.

    I have 2.5 Warmoth made guitars. The half guitar is sort of like #1 – a Fender tele and the only original thing on it is the body, bridge, and control panel. Warmoth neck of course!

  31. – When she asks: “Is that thing you’re bringing in the house yet another new guitar?” … Act like you’re hurt, and say: “This shows how little you care about me and my hobby. I’ve had this guitar for ages!” …
    – You get a new axe inhouse, and as a bonus, she’ll have slightly bad counscience…

  32. William Ashby

    Hey William Ashby, I actually had my wife fill at practices when we were between singers and she turned out to be pretty good and now she’s a back up singer with us full time. Buying new gear is much easier when she is involved and understands why I need 9 guitars, 3 amps and countless effect pedals.

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