Thanksgiving is here again, and I am always overwhelmed by emotions at this time of year. Family and friends become extra important and special, and the family losses I have had to endure really come into an even stronger and sharper focus. The times when I can spend any time with my daughter Lexie, really are beyond description, and last night I was able to stay up late with her and teach her some slide guitar in open E tuning!
The guitar has always been a strong tool of “bonding” for us as a family, and just as with my late daughter Gillian who I lost along with my wife when she was just 14, was also an incredibly gifted guitarist, who was already well on her way to stardom, Lexie and I have this amazing musical bond.
We had some very powerful shows lately, and we are getting to play a lot together. The guitar, and all it has brought me is truly something to be thankful for, and we must all keep that in mind as we go through this, and all times of year. Having a chance to play of that “Thank You Les” Les Paul Tribute, and have Lexie sing “Vaya Con Dios” on it, as well as getting some Grammy nominations for my new album, have made this a very rich period for me musically, and for this I am truly thankful too!
When you play an instrument, it gives back to you and to others, all that you put into it. A guitar reacts to your soul, and is certainly deeply connected to mine, for sure! Sometimes I feel that for me there would almost be no sense in life if I didn’t have this thing of beauty to express myself through, and the communication with others is truly amazing. You can literally go anywhere in the world, not even speak the language, but as soon as you’re onstage, or playing with some other players, there is an instant connection and bond between all of you that can even go unspoken!
My travels have taken me to many exotic (and some not so exotic) places where this communication, and guitar-related passion occurs, and it has helped me have friends and experiences that will last a lifetime!
So this Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks for that work of art we all love so much, and which never fails to always give back whatever we put into it, with heart and with soul! Happy Thanksgiving!
Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth, affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar.