Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Girls with guitars

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons for several years. My first piano teacher was really nice, and she believed that all music (including pop and rock) was worthy. Unfortunately, she and her family moved to another town, so I had to get another teacher. "Mrs. B" was from Armenia. She believed that classical music was the only music worth listening to or playing. Mrs. B was ruthless. Whenever I missed a note, she'd smack my hand with a ruler and yell things like "Turd finger! Turd finger!" I decided that piano was not my forte.

But guitar was. I knew as soon as I put my arms around one. I think I was eight or nine (?) when Mom bought me an Alvarez classical guitar for $100. It was Red, and at the time I thought that was really cool, even though it was a classical guitar with nylon strings. My guitar teacher was a peaceful hippie dude (hey, it was, like, 1975) and he tried hard to get me into Segovia, but eventually caved to my interest in rock 'n roll and pop.

I always thought girls with guitars were da bomb. I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. They were good guitar role models, but along came Nancy Wilson (of the band Heart) in the mid-seventies, and she rocked my early teen world. Joan Jett arrived on the scene when I was in high school. and not long after, Chrissie Hynde and Jane Wiedlin. There have been many since. And there will be many more. 'Cause girls with guitars rule!!!

The last time I played guitar seriously was in the mid-90s. Inspired by Don Felder in The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over tour video, I bought a Fender Stratocaster and an amp, and started taking lessons. I wrote a couple of songs, and actually thought about going down to The Bluebird in Nashville. (I lost my nerve. I was always a little bashful about performing.) Then I went back to school and for some reason decided to sell my guitar, and didn't play again for fourteen years.

Last weekend were at our friend Karen's house, and I noticed that she had two guitars on stands. I gravitated to the acoustic guitar, picked it up, and started playing. Suddenly, it all came back to me, like riding a bicycle. My tender fingers couldn't take the steel strings for long, but that old craving to play was back. Just so happens that Karen is thinking about selling the acoustic (she prefers electric), so she let me borrow it for a while to get the feel of it. I'm not sure yet if I'll buy it (she may decide not to sell), but one thing's for sure: I'm a guitarist. Not a great one, and maybe not even a good one. But it gives me a thrill to play. So I'm gonna keep doing it!

Who knows. maybe we'll start a band!