Author: Compton, Cliff

The social network

Iím wondering how many guitars are sold every day. You can get one for $85.00ís at your local rock and roll music store, even less at a desperate manís garage sale. John Green will sell you a quality starter guitar for $200.00 and a low end martin for maybe $550.00. Now Iím just talking about guitars, because thatís my heart instrument, but this could be about fiddles, or mandolins, or doghouses, or dobro, or possibly even banjoĎs, though I canít bring myself to go there. Guitarís (and other stringed instruments) are like the face book of people who do something with there fingers besides type.

I sell for a living, which means I have to meet people on a regular basis. Iíve got to size them up, figure out what theyíre into and up to and try to connect with them on a level that will facilitate a business opportunity. I like people in general, so itís not hard to do, butÖ..

Itís not like meeting somebody with a guitar. That connection is instant. My arms are open, and Iím reaching out.

I remember traveling from Yakima Washington to Portland Oregon on a hot summer day, and as I approached the pass a few miles before Goldendale, I saw that the traffic had come to a standstill. There was flaming wreck up the road that had stopped traffic and made for a two hour delay. While sitting in my car I noticed that the car ahead of me had a banjo in the back window. I got out of my car, introduced myself, and we started to jam. People started coming out of their cars and pretty soon we had a us social network.
I couldnít even begin to relate all the times something like this has started a connection with people I would have never known had I not played the guitar. I have met literally thousands of people, connected to their hearts, either from jam circles, or from the stage, or just one on one picking opportunities, and have become close friends as a result of these six strings.
I remember sitting in a line outside of Live oak a day before the festival gates opened to campers. Iíd never been there before, and it was the first festival Iíd been to in many years. I got out of my car, pulled out my guitar, and instantly, a social network. People singing, people playing, new friends made there that Iíve still got today.

This is a wonderful social network we have. We donít care if you are rich or poor, black or white, liberal or conservative. It doesnít matter if youíre a D.A. or a dirt farmer. All you gotta do is play a string instrument or enjoy listening to them. That makes you one of us. If you like Bluegrass, or old time, or gospel, or swing, or django, or C. and W. or folk music, hey, youíve got an instant circle of friends. Many of the best days of my life have come through this social network, this collection of like minded souls. Many of my closest friends, in fact Iíd say almost all of my closest friends, have come from the ranks of stringed instrument players.

Somewhere in this world, probably within a few miles of your house, sis a place where you can purchases a guitar, in fact you proably have one in your closet, that your great uncle Fred left you, when he died. Pull it out and login. Thereís a guy in the next cul-de-sac looking for somebody to pick with.

Facebook is wonderful, I go there every day, but Iíve learned an unfortunate fact: There are people in this world who do not play guitars, or any other instrument. Such a sad state of affairs. We need to help them.
Posted:  3/11/2011

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