Frederik came to our shop last year for the first time and wrote a beautiful story about his experience in “Thomann Town”. You can read it HERE. He paid us another visit recently, smack in the middle of the #TGU18 event, and decided to write about it too. Here is what happened to our busker / touring musician friend this time…
Not too big for its own good
This is a story, not of cool gadgets, but rather a personal story, that began in the summer of ’94.
Not sounding as awesome as the Summer of ’69, but still – a pretty good year. That was the year I got my first six string. It was a 200€ investment, and I spent a whole summer saving the money to buy it. A red Peavey which got plugged into my ghetto blaster, and everything about the whole project was kind of horrible: the guitar, the ghetto blaster, my cringing attempts at “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, plus this was decades after Jimmy quit and Jody got married.
Driving to T-Town
However, this was my first guitar, and my first step into the fantastic World of Music. Fast forward 200 years to the summer of 2018. My second visit to Thomann Town in Treppendorf. After having spent a year dealing with the euphoria from my previous and first visit, I returned with confidence and feeling very cool. Only to find the place flooded with even cooler Canadian YouTubers who where flown in to tube you (for Thomann’s Gearhead University).
The TGU18 crew
…arriving at Thomann
However, I did what every man must do at least once a year. I started touching things that would ruin my economy, and I began to dream.
Growing up, I somehow bought into the concept that an electric guitar had to be a Fenderor a Gibson and cost at least 2.000€. A little bit of marketing mixed in with peer pressure, bim bada bum, a construed worldview.
I was introduced to an alternative when a friend of mine began to order electric guitars from the Harley Benton Series, affordable guitars which are a joy to play.
Finding “The One”
There I was, in the guitar room in Thomann Town. In spite of standing on a heap of dirt and minerals, hurling through space with 30km per second, in a galaxy on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy, my world stood still. And there she was, in the middle of the dance floor, amongst hundreds of other beauties of royal and noble pedigree.
But I could only see her, and heard her call out to me. “Freddy, we were meant for each other. I don’t care about your past. I don’t care about the other beauties you have hanging on your wall. Not even the hardtop Spanish flamenco beauty, waiting for you in your car right now. We can all live together, as one big family”. This may all have taken place inside my head, or it may have been the reasonable price tag or the level of moisture in the atmosphere that day. However, I ended up adding Harley Benton TE-80 NT Deluxe to my shopping list.
In search of new sounds
Thinking back to my Peavey-ghettoblaster experience, I thought it would be nice with some different sounds. Being the novice that I am to the game, I decided to opt for the Line 6 Pocket Pod. The guy giving me a demonstration of the thing, told me that it was a toy, and suggested I buy something cooler and more expensive. I replied: that’s perfect, and at the same time the recipe for a long lasting healthy marriage. If confronted with the question, why so many gadgets, I can honestly and truthfully respond with: ”It’s just a toy”.
That “first guitar feeling”
Throughout the years, I have bought several guitars. With my last purchase I went into the store, asked for something cool and expensive, and that’s what I got. It was just like the guitar I already had, just new and shiny. This time something was different. I walked away with that “my first guitar feeling“. The excitement of venturing out into something new. It’s really hard to put a finger on what created this feeling. Perhaps it’s the fact that I bought the cheapest gig bag there is, reminiscent of being a teenager with a strung-out economy. The kind of bag the seller throws into the deal, because you just spent all of your money on the guitar, and forgot about proper transport. Checkout time.
You Always Have A Thomann Friend
Bernard, or Barney as people call him, looked like a Barney. Not because he looked like a dog from a British children’s TV show from the late eighties, but because he was your friend, your very patient Thomann friend. Patience like the Pacific Ocean. Like he has seen the edge of the Universe, and knows that everything is going to be just fine. As he asks for the umpteenth time, “would that be all”, and I run off with a “oh wait, let me just get some patch cables“, as I am reminded of this hobby of mine.
Do What You Love
I like to ask people in different professions, what is the most annoying and often occurring behaviour they meet in their particular field. And I am afraid that the answer is: “what I’m doing right now”. Here I am, lying in bed next to my new baby. Why would a guy lie in the bed with a guitar he just bought, one might ask? To that I can only say, I am not a creep. I am on tour and living in my van.
here I am
Big, but not “bad big”
As I am lying here I think about Thomann and what I like about Thomann. Thomann is big, not Microsoft-big or the national deficit big. But still big, and what impresses me, is Thomann’s ability to keep its cool. Some companies lose it, when they reach a certain size. Take for example a company that rhymes with Nix-bus or Bryan Air. They are big, and traveling with them is a guitar lottery. In spite of paying good gold coin for safe passage, they might refuse to take on your guitar, depending on the mood of the person you are dealing with that day. That’s big in a bad way.
Thomann took the time to put up a sign, telling me to chill. Thomann even provided me with a king-sized hammock for that very purpose.
Sign, sign everywhere a sign
Thomann does not send a photo for Christmas with someone sitting next to a fireplace in a Norwegian sweater. That’s what grandparents are for. Thomann loves music, and Thomann loves people who love music. Thank you Thomann for being big and staying little.
Frederik Konradsen is a full-time working musician who performs, tours and busks around Europe.
Listen to one of his original songs, Busted In Bavaria, here:
And here is a video of him playing in a van:
Maybe you’ll catch him performing on the streets, or on stage, sooner than you think!
Joe has been singing since he can remember and started playing guitar when he was 10. He's been using it as a songwriting tool ever since. He is passionate about melody and harmony and admires musicians who create these in unique ways. Check out his alternative / indie projects Best of Feelings and Zef Raček.