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Her First Guitar: Jamorama?

Posted last February 11, 2013, 12:37 pm in People report article


I’ve been a semi-local musician for nearly 3 decades, and music has been a part of my life that has brought much joy and satisfaction. I have met so many wonderful people, and seen so many amazing places. In my younger days, we played 3 to 4 nights a week, but not quite so often now. 

 I’ve always taken the month of September off so that we can go back home to Kansas for the Walnut Valley Festival In Winfield. I’m not much of a bluegrass flat-picker, (in fact, I play primarily fingerstyle), but I can pick out enough on the mandolin to sort of keep up. The bluegrass festivals are just such an amazing experience! Everywhere you turn, there are incredible musicians, (some famous, some not), and friendly outgoing people that treat you like you’re part of the family. It’s kinda like Woodstock for Hillbillies. 

Back in 2010, I called our daughter Staci, and said, “Hey, Sugarbaby, remember how your mom and I taught you that there was more to education than simply going to school every day?” (Tammy and I aren’t exactly what you might call “conventional” parents and grandparents). Staci was kind of like, “oh shit, what’s coming”, and I told her we would like to take our granddaughter, Daslynn, (don’t ask), out of school and to the festival with us this year. Since Staci is our daughter, her response was, “man, that sounds like an awesome terrific idea!” and it was on. 

We arrived in Winfield about 3:00 Wednesday afternoon. We always camp with the same people each year, (it’s the only time all year we see many of them), and everybody was surprised and excited that we had brought the granddaughter we’d been bragging about for the past 7 years. They were also dumbfounded, that we were able to pack so much crap into our compact car and still squeeze her in there. She said, “By the time we got here, I was almost starting to get comfortable.” Isn’t she cute? 

If you’ve ever been to the Walnut Valley Festival, in Winfield Kansas, you know that there’s an 85%, or more, chance of either a flood, or a severe thunderstorm. You can ask anybody.

 We always manage to party through it, and we regulars have come to expect it and are fully prepared for any eventuality. 2010 was “tornado warning” year. It happened about 5:00 the first evening. I have actual footage of it on my website, if you want to see it. It’s on the “about me” page. 

Daslynn had such a marvelous time in Winfield! We went to many mainline attractions, small intimate stage performances, contests, and camp-side jam sessions. She saw and heard so many different kinds of instruments. Her smile and laughter, and her unabashed joy warmed my heart to its inner core, and confirmed to me that we had made the right decision in bringing her with. 

At the end of the festival, I asked her, “Dassipooh, now that you’ve seen all these amazing instruments, do you think you’d like to learn to play one?” She sad, “Pappy, I really like the fiddle and the banjo, but I want to learn to play the guitar and mandolin like you. Well, that did it. Tammy and I bought her first guitar the following Christmas.


 Because I’m primarily self-taught, I didn’t feel comfortable teaching her. I wanted her to learn right away things it took me years to discover on my own. Her mom can’t afford private lessons, so I went to Google, and looked for guitar classes online. What the heck, huh? If she can learn to play the guitar online, why not? I found a downloadable online guitar lessons package that impressed me. It’s comprehensive, yet fun enough to keep her interest. When my wife saw how quickly Das was picking it up, she made me get the course for her too.


We weren’t able to go to the festival that next year, because of a family death, but when we went last year, (2012), both Daslynn and Tammy were able to actually sit and jam along with others around the campfire. Read Jamorama Learn Guitar Online Review for more information about the lessons.