Don’t Forget to Thank Your Guitar

Sometimes I forget how much the guitar has changed my life. It would have started at about the age of 5, being energized by the catchy riffs and vocal melodies of the Beatles. By age eleven I had been listening to rock music on a daily basis for 6 years, heard countless guitar licks, rhythms and solos by a myriad of rock groups, and I knew I wanted an electric guitar – because there just weren’t many things cooler than that.

I began to salivate over a photo in the Sears catalog of a red and black electric guitar that I felt must surely be within my parent’s Christmas gift budget at $29.95 (I have since found a photo of this beauty online at:  http://www.silvertoneworld.net/electric/1405/1405.html.

I begged and pleaded until they caved and I was the proud owner of an electric guitar. I had no amplifier, but I delighted in holding the head stock against the rec room paneling so that it resonated through the walls, making it’s thin body more audible. I banged away on that thing through winter and spring but still couldn’t play anything resembling music, as the beginner book that came with it was gibberish to me. That summer there came an ultimatum from parent land – “you asked for this guitar and so you have to learn to play it – you’re taking guitar lessons!”

I won’t detail all the years of lessons, basement bands, bar bands, college classes and guitar teaching jobs that eventually sprang from my original obsession but I can say this – learning the guitar has completely shaped the course my life has taken. It has in one way or another determined how my classmates viewed me, what people I met, how I spent most of my spare time, sometimes who I dated, what jobs I held and how I spend my days now. Because of the guitar, many of my closest friends are musicians, and let me tell you, they make for interesting people, and they have likely permanently warped my sense of humor.

Because of the guitar I have had the pleasure of performing songs I wrote for people, know the absolutely indescribable joy of improvising music with great musicians, met hundreds of fascinating people who I have seen weekly for up to years at a time, can sit down and amuse myself with music written anywhere from the year 1500 to last month, and can make a living doing nearly the very thing I’d be doing if I wasn’t paid.

So thank you, Guitar, thank you very, very - very much.