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7 Reasons Why You Should Buy Your Child That Guitar He or She Wants

Updated on January 25, 2012
A gorgeous inlay around an acoustic guitar soundhole.
A gorgeous inlay around an acoustic guitar soundhole.

When I was 12 years old, my father surprised me with an acoustic guitar. He hid it in the broom closet and then commanded me to go do some sweeping. I of course stomped off indignantly, threw open the door, and reached in to grab the broom...only to be shocked to see a guitar case resting against the wall in the closet. I was thrilled! 30 some years later, a travelling missionary from Ecuador borrowed it from me, and I never saw it again! I hope some little 12 year old Ecuadorian boy is discovering his love for music with it today.

The guitar, in one way or another, has literally been with me for the majority of my life. Acoustics, electrics, colorful, plain, cheap, expensive, beautiful, ugly, new, used, and all have held a special place in my heart. Some have come and gone, and some have been with me for a very long time. Some I hope to hand down to my children to bring alive the joy of music in their own homes through the years. From the first notes I learned to play as a boy, to the songs I sang growing up, and those I wrote when I thought I was grown up, music, through the guitar, has very much shaped who I am.

I am a firm believer in helping your kids discover those activities in life that they can learn early on, and take with them for a lifetime. You might be able to box when you're 22, but once your bones get brittle, it's harder to take a punch! But playing music is a lifelong recreation that not only brings joy to the soul, but brings pleasure to those you share it with. If you're considering getting your child (or yourself) and instrument, here are my 7 reasons why you should consider purchasing that guitar today.

1. The Guitar Is Relatively Easy To Learn

Granted, like any other instrument, the guitar can take a lifetime to master. However, I can give testimony to the fact that a person can, in one simple lesson, learn enough chords to play a complete song. There's an old joke that says with three chords you can play any song in rock and roll history, and while that's not entirely accurate, you can indeed play many songs once you've learned even just three chords. My very first lesson when I was 12, consisted of learning three basic chords, and all week long I played song after song with just those three. It was very encouraging as a new student to see such quick progress!

2. The Guitar Is Portable

The guitar isn't the only portable instrument, there are many easily transportable instruments. You can easily pack a flute with you, or take some maracas in your backpack, or even sling a viloin up on your shoulder, but there are many that you can't do the same with, or at least not without a great deal of effort. If you move a full sized piano any great deal of distance, you'll need to have it tuned again, and in order to move drums you'll need a truck, SUV, or hatchback with plenty of folddown room in the back. But the guitar is made to be taken with you. The cases are easy to haul around, and even if you don't have one, you can slip on the strap and walk around with it slung over your back, or just play it while you're riding your bike!

There's an instant kindredness I feel when I see someone carrying a guitar case down a street. I almost always ask what's inside. I want to know where they are going, where they've been, what they're playing. I doesn't matter how well you play, you look good just carrying one with you.

3. The Guitar Can Be Loud, But It Can Also Be Quiet

My son plays the drums, and I love that he does, but the drums are never quiet. It doesn't matter what part of the house we put them in, what level of the building or even what building on the property, we will always hear them. Drummers will argue that you can change the 'mood' of the drum, but drums are not meant to be a quiet instrument. That goes for a lot of other instruments as well, but a guitar can not only be made loud by strumming harder or by amplifying the instrument, it can be played especially soft and quiet. This makes it a perfect instrument for kids just learning to play. There's no pounding of unpleasant beats or noises to make you wish you'd have bought your son or daughter a triangle instead. Nice quiet guitar playing is the perfect background soundtrack for your living room, and as your child improves (or you do) you'll learn to love hearing those sounds coming from the instrument.

4. The Guitar Is Perfect Accompaniment For Singing

Because it's easily transported, and because the volume is easily controlled, the guitar is the perfect instrument to sing along with. I have had many a magical moment around a camp fire late at night, or just with a group of friends remembering great songs of years gone by, each one of us belting out at the tops of our lungs while I strummed out the chords from memory as best as I could. Additionally, while wooing the ladies during my high school days, the guitar was the perfect instrument to show off just how sensitive I was at 16.

5. The Guitar Is Useful In All Styles of Music

Do you have hopes that your child will be a classical virtuoso? They can do so on a guitar. Do they have hopes of rocking the world on a major tour? Guitar. Are the sounds of Willie Nelson and other country greats wafting down the hall from their bedroom? Yes, guitar. No matter the style of music from rock to country to folk to classical and baroque, guitars have always been a part.

6. All The Greats Played The Guitar

I lived in Nashville for just under a year, thinking I'd be a world class guitarist, but I learned one thing quickly in Nashville. Everyone you meet plays the guitar, and they all probably play it better than you do. There's a reason for that--all the great musical icons of through history played the guitar. Hendrix, Bon Jovi, Buddy Holly, Van Halen, even Elvis was known for wielding an axe. Granted, Elvis probably faked more playing on his guitar in movies than he actually ever played, but nonetheless, it was the instrument of choice for so many front men of bands and groups through time. Yes, there are plenty of amazing musicians who played the piano, or simply just sung, but the statistics are off the chart for those who slung a guitar over their shoulder.

7. A Guitar Is Really All You Need

We live in a great time right now where the resurgence of the singer songwriter has come on strong in the music industry. Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Ray Lamontagne, and a host of others have made a lot of music all based around the guitar. In many cases all they have is their voice, their song, and their guitar. The reason is, sometimes that is all you need. I see more solo musicians that play a guitar than pretty much anything else. Yes, all Kenny G needed was a soprano saxophone, but more often than not in local venues I see the musician and his or her guitar. They might even be a part of a band normally, playing with several other musicians, but they realize they can pull off a complete musical performance with just the guitar itself.

I could ramble on romantically about the guitar for hours, but suffice to say, you can not go wrong making the choice to get your son or daughter (or yourself) a guitar to begin your musical journey. You will start out with sore fingers at he start, but eventually you will end up with hours of pure joy creating endless amounts of beautiful music. Strum on!


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