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Getting My Guitar: A Narrative Essay

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

This is a narrative essay I recently wrote for my online English and Grammar class. I decided to post it on here, since playing guitar is one of my main hobbies. Enjoy reading, and let me know if there are anything that I could do to improve it.

A bell chimes throughout the tiny shop as I push open the glass door marked Music Shop, dismally announcing our arrival. I step inside, glancing around at the menagerie of instruments on display. From the tiny golden violins to shiny brass trumpets and efficient-looking electric keyboards, I am amazed at the wide variety hidden in such an unassuming shop. Mama steps in beside me, and I shiver, frigid air flowing in from outside as the door creeps shut.

The store is quiet today, and only a few people are here perusing the instruments. An older man, wearing a navy-blue vest and a dark grey beret perched jauntily on his head, looks up from behind the cluttered counter, offering a cheery smile and greeting. “Can I help you?” he asks politely, putting down the guitar he had been playing.

Mama answers first. “We’re here to get a guitar for Betsy,” she says, gesturing toward the back of the shop where the guitars are. “We’d like to look at some. It’s ok if it’s used, if it’s a good quality one,” she adds. I nod in agreement, excited to realize that today is the day I will get a guitar. I have been playing a baritone ukulele for the last few months, learning to play basic chords and strumming techniques. I am enjoying it a lot, but I want to try learning acoustic guitar.

Mr. Yale (for that is the old man’s name), leads us to the guitar section of his store, telling us all about the marvelous guitars he had for us to look at. He pulls the first one from the rack, a yellow-brown guitar with deep brown around the body. He says it is a sunset guitar, and indeed, it is beautiful.

I reach for it, viewing it with reverence as I held a guitar for one of the first times in my life. It is heavier than I expected, and bulkier too, feeling unwieldy compared to its tiny ukulele cousin that I have grown accustomed to. I strum gently down across the strings, wincing at the slightly discordant sound. The metallic silver and bronze strings feel cold, yet familiar as I try to form a chord.

Mr. Yale hands me the next guitar, which promptly strikes me as more beautiful than the last. It is a rich mahogany, the shiny black pickguard reflecting the bright fluorescent ceiling lights on its slightly scratched surface. The body of the guitar is glossy and smooth, and the bronze strings are shiny and new. Exhaling, I try again to play a chord.

This time, the sound is rich and full, filling the corner with a rich, harmonious sound. I smile. This is the one, the guitar I want to have. It feels natural in my hands like it is a part of me that I was waiting to discover. “This is the one,” I say, smiling up at Mama. Mr. Yale smiles warmly. “I thought that would be the one you pick,” he stated. He showed us the case that came with it; a hard, black one that had a few scratches and marks on it. The evidence of being loved by the previous owner was obvious, and I smile. Perfect.

I don’t want a guitar that was straight from a factory in China, brand new, stamped out of cheap wood by an automated machine that smells like fake wood. I want a guitar like this one, one that has a story. Someone has held this guitar before, carefully played melodic chords to their favorite song, poured out their emotions in a song. I smile. I am the next part of the story.


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