A month or so before Christmas, a friend of mine sent me an email asking what she should get her boyfriend for Christmas; her reasoning being that, as he was getting a new acoustic guitar, she should buy him something guitar related, and I was a convenient person who also played guitar and therefore should be able to suggest something.
Buying presents for guitarists isn’t terribly easy – the things they want are either very boring, very expensive or both. You can stick as many shiny bits on it as you like, but a capo is still basically a clamp with a handle, and a pack of strings is likely to be about as well received as a pair of socks – necessary, useful, but showing a total lack of imagination on the part of the giver.
I suggested, therefore, that she should buy him something tangentially related to guitars, rather than something specifically for his guitar. Like, maybe a harmonica, or something.
It turns out that, in fact, harmonicas were the cause of some disagreement between the happy couple. He, being American and having grown up in America in the 1970s, was given to believe that all things country-music-esque were great and wonderful; whereas she, being British, of sound mind and character, and posessed of at least some musical taste (if not any actual musical talent), was given to believe that there is a special circle of hell created especially for purveyors of the aformentioned slide-guitar-and-harmonica-led musical atrocities.
Anyway, we to-and-fro’d about this for a while, and eventually came to the conclusion that she should attempt to go through his bag of guitarry bits whilst he was out of the room at some point, and then go and buy whatever seemed to be missing off a list I had given her. Problem solved.
A little while after Christmas, we were chatting in the pub; I asked if she’d managed to find a suitable present. It seems he already had everything I had suggested she buy him, so she’d ended up getting something non-guitar-related in the end, which seemed like an agreeable solution to the problem.
“So, then, what did he get you?”
“Ah. I have a feeling you’re going to like this.”
“Oh? Go on.”
“Promise you won’t laugh?”
“No. What did he get you?”
“A harmonica and teach yourself country harmonica book.”
“I like this guy already.”