Under the tree, wrapped in white tissue paper and tied with red ribbon was a long cardboard box containing a guitar bought from the local department store for $13.97. The strings were so far off the frets it took a pair of vice grips to make any discernible musical sounds. A year and 52 guitar lessons later I could play Aura Lee and Amazing Grace and had the grip of a journeyman mechanic. That same year I made my performing debut with my best friend at the school talent show. A disaster. A year later, with money I made from my paper route I bought a Harmony electric guitar and a Kalamazoo II amplifier. It changed my life.