When trying to determine whether I will take on a new project, one of the questions I constantly struggle with is whether the cost of the right tools for the job will outweigh the potential savings or benefit of doing it myself (compared to paying someone with the expertise and tools to do it for me). If I gather the tools, will I use them again? Will I do a similar project that will require the same tools or are they so specific to the project that they are a one time thing? If I build it myself, will it be very good? How much time do I have to focus on selfish projects that are all for me?
I struggle with these questions now when I think of building a speaker cabinet. I struggle with these questions when I think about getting a used neck for the project guitar sitting in the garage. I struggle with these questions when I think about the effects loop I want to add to my amp.
These are just some of the projects I have in my head. Time, focus, money, and life have put them low on the priority list right now, but they are still high on my list.
For example, I need a speaker cabinet for my amp. I also believe I can borrow the tools to do the job myself and friends with the expertise (and willingness) to help me from screwing up too badly. So I think I’m going to do it (when I have some free time).
An example on the other side of the spectrum is adding an effects loop to my new amp. It is too new. I’m still learning to play through it. I think I have the tools necessary and friends with expertise to help, but I’m not there yet. Plus, Frenzel offers other mods that I would like to get for this amp, so why not pay him to do all the mods I want at the same time?!? He has the expertise and tools. So I’m waiting…and very doubtful if I’ll do the work myself.
Finally, the one project where I don’t have tools available through friends is the project that I think has the most long term benefit for my future guitar building desires….that is the leveling and polishing of frets. I want to build a guitar from the ground up someday and the neck/fretboard is the thing that appears to be the most difficult (in my mind). However, the basic tools appear to be costly (at least for what I’m willing to pay right now) and I would need to start saving for them now. I think I would use them for other fret installation and leveling projects, whether that is on my guitars or someone else’s. I know Wolverine could us a fret leveling and polishing. I know the Teisco Del Rey could use a fret leveling and polishing. I know my Epiphone Crestwood ET-275 will eventually need a fret leveling and polishing. The list goes on. Then add my desires to build a guitar from the ground up and the list gets even longer!
But one step at a time. I must prioritize these desires and focus my efforts while not losing sight of what is really important. So I will focus on the speaker cabinet before I start to focus on other projects. And I’ll focus on that after I’ve finished other projects around the house and with the family. It’s not just about prioritizing tools, it is about prioritizing life.
Oh, and try to play the guitar sometime in there too!