When I was in sixth grade I took guitar lessons for about a month.
Once a week after school I would take my cheap guitar and walk from my classroom at St. Xavier’s Elementary School in Junction City, Kan., to St. Xavier’s Junior High, where the nice lady who taught guitar also taught junior high school students.
I don’t remember what exactly the nice lady taught at the junior high school, I just remember that she was nice and incredibly patient.
I remember learning two or three chords on the guitar. The first chord I think was G and the other two, I want to say, were Q and W, but I could be wrong about that. The chords I learned all figured prominently in the song “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley” because that’s pretty much what the nice lady had me try to play over and over again.
Despite the fact that the nice lady had me sing as I tried to play, I enjoyed my guitar lessons. But, after a few weeks, baseball practice started and I had to make a choice between playing baseball or trying to sing and play “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley.”
Guess which I chose.
I say all of this to make it pretty clear that I don’t really know much about guitars. But I do know a bit about folks doing nice things for other folks, and what the guys at Big Don & Son Music City, 1501 Main St., are doing qualifies as folks doing nice things for other folks.
Don Duckworth, Jr., says that Big Don & Son will hold its second annual Restring Joplin event from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or so) this Saturday at their store. What Don and several other music store employees will be doing on Saturday is restringing guitars for anyone who needs to have that done. Don said that last year the store took in and restrung more than 240 guitars and that no one was turned away. Don said it didn’t matter if the guitar was a 6-string, bass, 12-string or classical because the same free restringing deal applied.
“We even did an 18-string guitar,” Don said.
I didn’t tell Don that I didn’t know that 18-string guitars existed. As I said, I don’t know much about guitars but I’m thinking that an 18-string guitar would be pretty hard to play.
That reminds me, years ago in the comic strip “Beetle Bailey,” Beetle was late for something and when he was asked why he was late he said, “I got my shoestring caught in a 12-string guitar.”
I thought that was funny.
Don said Restring Joplin originally was designed as a relief concert for victims of the Joplin tornado but it sort of morphed into some quite different.
“There were a lot of people who were hurting and didn’t have the money to have their guitars worked on so we decided to do the work for them,” he said.
Normally, Big Don & and Son charges $25 to restring a guitar and that fee doesn’t cover the cost of the strings. I told Don that I understood why he did the free guitar restring last year but I asked him why he decided to do it again this year.
“A lot of people told us they were looking forward to it. There are still a lot of people having a tough time and just don’t have the extra money to get their guitars taken care of,” he said.
Besides, the day isn’t just about restringing guitars. It’s a chance for folks who love music to get together. It’s a chance to talk about the Joplin music scene and it’s a chance to hear other people play. And it’s another chance for folks to try and put May 22, 2011, behind them.
All of which, in my book, makes Restring Joplin a neat deal.
When I was in sixth grade I took guitar lessons for about a month.
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