Blues what?!?Read Now
There's a term that I first heard several years ago that always made me laugh. I actually saw a couple of folks talking about it online the other day and reminded me of it. Never thought it applied to me. Still don't. But somebody asked me recently if I was one. The term is "blues lawyer."
I've always thought that a blues lawyer was someone that had arrived at a certain stage or position in life, had plenty of expendable income, and bought really expensive gear because they could. They may or may not play the gear they buy. They may or may not play out, but they probably play mostly at home than anywhere. And, when they play, they only know 4 or 5 licks in the minor pentatonic box 1 and don't really work to expand out of that, but they play their 12 bar worth of licks as if they were a local guitar hero. If you listen to the naysayers, they're, also, the ones that are keeping the various Custom Shops and boutique makers in business. Also, a blues lawyer doesn't actually have to be a lawyer.
I have never felt like I fit that role. Several reasons why. I own more budget gear than I do expensive gear. I work to get beyond those 4 or 5 licks, and work to someday be able to consider myself an actual musician. Most of the gear I have gets played on a pretty regular basis. I don't own enough boutique gear to ever be accused of keeping anyone in business, and I own exactly nothing from a custom shop.
Those accused of being blues lawyers often get a bad rap. It is said that they drive the price of gear up, especially vintage gear. They're sometimes accused of being cork-sniffers because they buy the nicest gear and don't/won't buy anything less than the absolute best.
But imho, there's room in the music world for them. The beauty of music is that you can do with it what you want to do. If a blues lawyer sits in their little home studio and has fun playing the same lick over and over ad infinitum, then that makes them happy. Who am I to, in the words of Jayne Cobb, damage their calm.
As well, look it from this perspective. It may be that they have that Custom Shop Strat playing through a Dumble amp. So what if what they paid on their guitar and amp would make a nice down payment on a house. It may've been their dream to some day own a guitar and amp like that. They worked hard, put in the hours, eventually managed to see some return on their hard work, and so they decide to buy their dream gear. Who am I to say that they don't deserve what they bought, and they should, instead, buy a Squier Strat and play it through a cheap amp.
I'm going to unfairly generalize here, but it seems that often those that criticize the blues lawyers are those that wouldn't admit it, but would trade their gear with them in a heart beat. For whatever reason, they haven't attained the status in life that the blues lawyer has. They may be much younger and just starting out in their career. They may be well into their career, but haven't been able to accumulate the kinds of disposable income it takes to buy expensive gear. They may be ragging on them because it's the cool thing to do. They may even just be taking part in the current rage against the upper class because they have more money. Doesn't change the fact that they wouldn't hesitate to play the same gear as the more fortunate if they were given the chance, and they wouldn't even hesitate to do it.
The one asking me if I was a blues lawyer did so for 2 reasons. They found out that I have a closet full of guitars, and they found out that I have a Klon (even though it's a KTR). I'm not a blues lawyer. Although I think that those that are should change the narrative, and wear the badge proudly. In the words of my best bud's dad growing up, just because you're a blues lawyer doesn't mean that you've got more money than sense. It just means that you can afford to buy what you want. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Some people drive Porsches, and some people drive Yugos. Some people drive what they drive by choice, and some do so out of necessity. The guitar community isn't any different.
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Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.