playin' makeup, wearin' (daisy rock) guitars
When my daughter needed her first guitar, this model by Daisy Rock was exactly what she wanted (click the pics to enlarge). To my knowledge, this is the first line of electric guitars marketed expressly to girls. Is this a good thing? Or does equality imply that girls should be buying Strats, Les Paul Goldtops, and Martin acoustics? Frankly, I like the Daisy Rock idea and wish I had thought of it first. I don't remember seeing anything like this while misspending my youth in the smoke-filled boys club that was Torp's music on St. Paul's Rice Street. After seeing guitarists Mimi Schippers, Wayne Osgood, Rod Engen, Alex Piquero and some cool gender sessions last week, I thought about Daisy Rock and doing gender via guitar in adolescence.
Tish Caravolo, Daisy Rock's creator and designer, says "a guitar for girls is long overdue. Standard guitars are often too big and bulky for the female form. When I first started playing bass as a teenager, the instrument felt like a bat in my female-sized hands. At times, I wanted to quit because I felt like maybe the instrument just wasn't for me, or that I wasn't good enough ... many female musicians have experienced the same set of feelings and I truly believe this is why we have a lack of female guitar-playing .... As the mother of 2 girls ... I want to be able to provide them with opportunities ... to feel comfortable and capable."
As advertised, the Daisy is compact, it plays well, and it has some fun electronics (e.g., you can switch to what sounds like single coil pickups for a Fender-like sound or double coil for something closer to a Gibson). True to her story, my son's first (bass) guitar, in contrast, was long, dark, and tough-looking. He wanted an industrial-strength amplifier (power!) to stand up to any drummer, so we went with a simple and inexpensive Yamaha bass and a booming amp:
After a lot of playing, he fell under the influence of Flea and NOFX's Fat Mike. His second bass is thus a funky vintage Danelectro (whoa-- bassists' nicknames sure play with male body images: aside from wee Flea and "Fat" Mike, there's "the Ox" John Entwistle, "Bootsy" Collins, "Geezer" Butler...). I'm guessing his next stop is some high-end Music Man or Fender -- but I ain't paying for it, dude.
In any case, I'm predicting that if Ms. Caravolo is successful with Daisy Rock, she will indeed get a few more girls into guitars, onto the stage, and ultimately on the radio. I'm also predicting that my sociology friends will admonish me for perpetuating the stereotyping, rather than reallocating the big ol' black bass to the girl and the cute lavender six-string to the lad. As a parent, however, I have a pretty limited range of action -- you can lead your kids to axes, but you can't make 'em shred.