Twelve and a half years ago, I bought her father his first guitar. Now it’s his turn to see a face light up over the smooth, glossy surface of a Stratocaster. Scott gave Rose her birthday present a month early—because, I think, he himself couldn’t wait.
She’s been wanting to learn to play guitar for a while, but just lately her interest stepped up several notches. She loves to watch Scott play, and stands there asking a bazillion questions. Now she’s figuring out the answers with her own fingertips.
Daddy’s Strat is black, like Eric Clapton’s. Rose went for the red one, of course. It’s a three-quarter size, a better fit for her small frame. She holds it like a pro, her head tilted, shoulder curled, exactly like her father. Her hair hangs in her face, hiding her serious, focused expression. Scott taught her a few chords last night. Just like him, she likes the minor chords best, strums them over and over.
Watching history repeat itself, I got goosebumps.
You’re wondering if we’re crazy, giving a kid an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. Ah, but you see: the truth is, an electric—when it isn’t plugged into an amp—is quieter. Much, much quieter than an acoustic.
There’s an amp in the back closet, but Scott hardly ever plugs in. It’s just there, available in case anyone should have an overwhelming need for that extra push over the cliff to 11.
When he plays the acoustic guitar I gave him for Father’s Day a few years ago (you’ll detect a theme to our gift-giving), I’m astonished by how LOUD it is.
So Rose gets a nice, quiet electric guitar. And actually, it’s easier to learn to play on an electric because you don’t have to press the strings as hard as you do on an acoustic.
Plus, of course, you look devastatingly cool. Not that Rose has any idea what a rockin’ girl she is. Her primary concern at the moment is learning to play the chords to the Fairy Dance song in her beginning recorder songbook. She and Beanie are planning a duet.
From the Archives: Thanksgiving
Defeating the Purpose