My Relationship with the Guitar

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Since no one asked, I will throw some thoughts at the altar of “online content” and talk about guitar. Particularly, my relationship with the guitar.

Someone said to me once that the guitar is a male instrument, but I have comfortably seen it as a female instrument (I mean B.B. King has Lucille, so I think that’s the final word on it…). A ship is a she…a guitar is a she.

But I think the point was being made about which genders often PLAY guitars. I associate it with a male fieldhand approach to life, but then you have Elizabeth Cotton. You have late 90’s era Lillith Fair. You have Indigo Girls. You have Joni Mitchell.

And, if you’re lucky you find a book on Sister Rosetta Tharpe at the library by accident.

Of course, a guitar doesn’t have genitals but it seems to be one of the more sexualized instruments, moreso than say, drums, bass or the triangle. I am not saying that any instrument can’t be sexy in itself, for musicians, or for listeners; but that somehow guitar seems to carry the stamp of sexuality. From “guitar gods” (what an idiotic phrase) that embody masculine energy, to the craze of marketing “girl power” guitars that are pink with flowers (also idiotic) I see that marketers are ready to grasp the power of the guitar to symbolize sexuality.

Briefly, a quick story. I walk into a guitar shop when I was in my 20s to graze at the guitars, and the salesperson starts trying to sell me these small Martin guitars that are great for girls/women and I am like DUDE! Look at my hands! (I inherited my Russian farmer side work hands) I am like I do not want a miniature rinky dink guitar safe for “the weaker sex” give me a regular guitar with some 13s, please and thanks!

Sigh.

Anyways, I am not trying to act like I am subject to prejudice, but that I happened to enter a guitar store after the salesperson had clearly been “briefed” on how to treat a female customer. While it’s great if a young girl won’t touch anything that doesn’t have rainbow unicorn stickers on it needs a pink guitar in order to start playing, it’s just a little saccharine for the serious business of music. It’s not that it can’t be fun…but by making music “cute” it’s just a little manipulative.

If you want to play guitar, pick it up! Don’t wait for someone to pave the road.

 

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