Ah, my little Wechter Pathmaker. Such a fine axe. I might have to sell it this summer, so let’s eulogize it in advance.
Around 1996, I played one of these at a music store in Ann Arbor. Abe Wechter has a shop in Paw Paw, MI, so these guitars made their way into local shops. It instantly became my dream guitar, especially as I focused on acoustics at the time. I have always liked the double-cutaway of the Gibson SG, and the Pathmaker brings that awesomeness to acoustics. Having 19 frets clear of the body means you can play more of the rock stuff that uses that area of the neck.
Thing was, it had a price tag of about $1600. I think that was my annual income in 1995… so it wasn’t happening. I did take a postcard of the instrument and carried it with me for a decade. That’s right. I would put it on my desk at little temp jobs and dream of having the required cash flow someday. Silly, I know.
In 2005, I had a steady-paying office gig, my last full time employment outside the home since. By then, Wechter had subcontracted a lot of the initial assembly to Korea or somewhere, saving the final set-up for their shop to ensure quality. This brought the Pathmaker’s price down to something more reasonable in the $400 range. I ordered one on Amazon, sprung for the extra hardshell case, and had it delivered to Cisco Systems where I ran the front desk.
Over the next six years I played it at dozens of small acoustic and jazz gigs – cafes, restaurants, galleries, art & private parties, etc. It also works great in the studio, thanks to electronics that mix three different pickup systems to get just the right tone. I liked to play it with its natural tone, but it works as well as any electric with effects and distortion.
It has been a wonderful guitar to enjoy for so many years, and worth every minute I dreamed of her before.