Installing a Guitar Wall

Installing a Guitar Wall

My studio was starting to look like a music equipment junkyard. Strewn about everywhere were guitars, amps, microphones, all kinds of gig accessories, plus studio equipment as well as old and new monitors. And all the wires… Forget about it. Additionally, there were pieces of furniture I never used. When I walked in the room it was not warm and inviting. I felt like I was running an obstacle course just to get to my computer.

Because I spent so much time in there, and because I wanted to be more productive and creative, I needed to make some changes.

The first thing I did was remove unnecessary furniture. Next I cleaned enough space in the closet so I could store all my gig gear. Then there was one major thing to do: Install a guitar wall to get the guitars and accessories off the floor.

Let me state at the outset that I am less a “do-it-yourselfer” and more a “try-it-this-way-and-that-way-until-I-get-it-right” type of person. In fact, while installing the SlatWall MX Panel and the SlatWall MX Strip, my wife and I looked more like Laurel and Hardy than Do-It-Yourself TV hosts.

But no one knows how long it took us to complete the project, or how ridiculous we appeared while doing so. All people see is the final product and it looks great.

I learned several things while doing this project.

·      First, Stud Finders don’t always work.

·      Second, not all builders separate their studs exactly 16 inches apart.

·      And third, how useful Spackle can be.

While I can honestly say that the task can be accomplished without DIY skills, it would be quicker and more efficient to partner with someone who has those skills.

The on-site directions at Diamond Life Gear are informative, but I wish they would have had some specific DIY videos from the company. Even though there are some decent YouTube installation videos by customers, I think a couple of “official” company videos about the product addressing common installation issues as reported via their support people, would be helpful.

(Watch our video to see our installation process.)

I really liked the angled Guitar Hangers. With the guitars hung diagonally on the wall its like you’re in the middle of Guitar Center. The fact that the guitar hangers can be angled is great for two reasons. First, you can get more guitars on a strip when the hangers are angled. Second, the guitars look more impressive at that angle: like a Guitar Center showroom. I chose 12” hangers for my acoustic guitars because they’re bigger and stick out farther from the wall than my smaller electric guitars, for which I chose the 6” hangers. Picture: Acoustic blocking smaller guitars. I put the small guitars up front and the acoustics toward the back so I can see all the guitars. Picture: Small guitars up front. Putting the acoustic guitars up front hide the small guitars from view.

We played around with the placement of baskets, waterfalls attachments, and guitar hangers. Your choice of accessories will be determined by your individual needs.

I would recommend Diamond Life Gear SlatWall products. And since you’re going to need another person for at least part of the installation, I would also recommend partnering with someone who has decent “do it yourself” skills…and a good sense of humor.

Old Guys (and Gals) Still Dating

Old Guys (and Gals) Still Dating

Let’s say you have just turned 50 or 60 or 70. (Only the brave admit to their true age after 50.) You’ve decided you want love in your life but the idea of online dating is daunting. Nevertheless, your desire for a partner outweighs the fear of the unknown.

The good news is that there are more than 54 million singles in the U.S. and over 40 million have tried some form of online dating. There’s a pretty good chance that in the vast sea of humanity you might just get lucky.

I have floated in and out of the online dating world for several years and I’ve had great success. In fact, I advise clients—and teach classes—about online dating. Learning how to navigate this digital world took time, dedication and a positive mindset.

We’ve all heard the horror stories, but you have to know that there are a lot of success stories out there. Yours could soon be one of them.

My clients are successful in most areas of their lives, but they often are clueless about online dating. Here are a few things I tell clients seeking advice about dating online.

  • A rocking profile is essential. Just like a resume, the purpose of a good profile is to get you in the door. However, I cannot emphasize enough the power of good pictures that are recent. Nothing 20 years old or 20 pounds thinner. You WILL be discovered!
  • Do research before writing your content. You want your verbiage to “pop” while offering insight into who you are. Have someone proof your profile and make certain to use spellcheck before posting. Some sites are conducive to short profiles while others encourage more in-depth descriptions. A short profile might have a single sentence designed to grab your attention, then a category or two (bullet points are great) offering more specifics about you. (TIP: Make the last line in your profile an invitation to the reader to respond.) Here’s an example of a good profile:

I am a lawyer by day and a blues musician at night…

I can navigate between:

Stability and spontaneity

Hole in the wall and candlelight dinner

Street culture and high culture

Being adventurous or relaxing at home

A few facts that make me stand out in a crowd:

I believe in chivalry (I will always open the car door for you)

I am an avid Salsa dancer

I hold one of the highest scores ever recorded for Pac-Man.

If you would like to challenge me to a match… I’m ready.

  • Choose a dating site that caters to your particular needs. A few websites for the over 50 crowd I recommend are, and After a bit of investigation, it will become evident which one, or ones, are most appropriate for you.
  • Most importantly, keep an open mind and your sense of humor. Both will serve you enormously.

Look at online dating as a fabulous opportunity to learn about yourself while meeting interesting people. Remember, it only takes one.

Next year on Valentine’s Day, who knows?

Karyn Klein, M.A.




Story Behind the Song: Best Days of Our Life

Story Behind the Song: Best Days of Our Life

Best Days of Our Life

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Smoke

Not long ago I experienced a life-threatening incident. A real one. Theoretically we all know we’re not going to live forever, but when you see how easily, and without warning, it can all go away—when you truly feel that experience—it changes things. You don’t have to make a list of “what’s important.” You know. With a kind of clarity that only such experiences create.

One morning, not long after this incident, I was sitting in our great room watching my wife making breakfast. Something she did every morning. But this particular morning I was not preoccupied. I saw her clearly. I realized that this small thing was important. To me. It wasn’t important to anyone else besides us. But at that moment it seemed so important that it was, in fact, a unique and beautiful moment. I understood that my life was held together by these moments. Small moments. I also realized that the important moments in my life were almost all small ones. And that they happened with much greater frequency than I had imagined.

In fact, they happened every day. They had happened every day before then, but I just hadn’t noticed that…

These are the best days of my life.

Listen to the song


Best Days of Our Life

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Smoke


I see you in the morning, makin’ breakfast

A moment untouched by time

It makes me happy, after all these years

Baby, you’re still mine


Life is messy, sometimes worse

Hard to see how pieces align

But ev’ry night when I kiss you, before we go to sleep

I see imperfect perfection and I feel fine


These are the best days

These are the best days

These are the best days…of our life


Sometimes we say nothing, for hours

A silent lovers’ lexicon

Funny how the small things, become the big things

What you miss most when they’re gone


You’re not perfect, not even close

There been times I been halfway out the door

When we let each other be who we really are

Somehow…we love each other more


We’ve been hurt, we been mended

Lovers’ hearts are strong that way

Love is a light in the darkness

Love can heal a broken yesterday


I no longer feel invincible

Tomorrow could be a no-show

We live forever in hearts of the ones we love

And my songs go where I can’t go

And my songs go where I can’t go


© Stephen Smoke 2019, All Rights Reserved – Published by Kitmun Music