Your Beloved Guitars and Your Children
Gentle readers, if any of you have or soon
will have children, here’s an exercise that
will make life far better for you and your
offspring. In honor of your child:
1. Take your two most valuable instruments
out of their cases.
2. Hold an instrument in each hand in front
of you, parallel to your body.
3. Smack them
enough to do
least a paint ding.
4. Turn the instruments around and
anyway when you’re not home, inevitably
dinging them, which will lead to an ugly
parental interrogation, the kid’s rebuttal,
maybe lies, heated arguments, and then
the re-banning of the instruments.
Either way, your guitars will take their
depreciating licks. But with Plan A, you
bond with your kid, while with Plan B you
seem like an uptight dick. Let go. A gui-
although there were times I needed it, I
never used it because I didn’t want to seem
like I was welching on the deal. The guitar
has taken a beating, but our relationship
stayed unscathed—win-win. When my son
and I cannot relate on any other level, we
can always play together.
Well done, you
are now ready to
play music with
your child. Your
kids are going
to want to bang
on your gear.
Like the Garden
of Eden, the
of the fruits will
be those that
have two options:
Speaking of kids and guitars, should you
have some instru-
ments you no longer
use and would like to
help some kids with
the gift of music,
them to The W.O.
Smith Music School
in Nashville. W.O.
Smith provides basi-
cally free lessons
(fifty cents each) and
instruments for chil-
dren of low-income
households. My son
August picked up his
chops at W.O. Smith
during my impov-
erished days of his
Here’s the contact
Charlie Ritter, grandson of Premier Guitar CEO Peter Sprague, inflicts his damage
on an entry-level Strat-style guitar.
tar, beautiful as it may be, is just wire and
wood, not the flesh of your flesh. Don’t
be the uptight parent prattling on about
depreciation and original finishes. That
undermines what could potentially be the
only tenuous connection you will someday
have with your teenager.
Plan A: Give the
kid unlimited access and let the dings fall
where they may. Also, teach them that a
Tele will bounce, whereas an SG will break.
An SG may seem fragile, but it’s almost
bulletproof compared to an old Martin. Let
the little rocker smack those Taylor strings
as hard as his or her tiny hands can hit, but
encourage them to try and avoid smacking
the flat top’s sides into the corner of a coffee table.
The W.O. Smith/
Nashville Community Music School
P.O. Box 121348
Nashville, TN 37212-1348
(615) 255-8355, Tel.
(615) 255-8375, Fax
Plan B: Withhold access to your precious
instruments, which your kid will play with
You can’t stop the inevitable damage, but
you can minimize it by giving your kids their
own guitars to destroy. I told my son that
once he learned all of the basic chords,
I would give him a Strat of mine that he
liked. He kept up his end of the bargain;
I kept up mine. It’s a killer guitar and
John Bohlinger is a Nashville guitar slinger who has
recorded and toured with over 30 major label artists. His
songs and playing can be heard in several major motion
pictures, major label releases and literally hundreds of
television drops. For more info visit johnbohlinger.com