One thing is certain about this pandemic that shows no sign of ending, it brings about some really interesting turns of events. Toilet paper shortages, coin shortages, bicycle shortages (who saw THAT ONE coming?), a resurgence in growing your own garden, home improvement stores becoming the busiest stores in town. The list of unexpected consequences goes on.

Here's another one to add to your list. Guitars are making a comeback.

In the worlds of Country and Rock music, guitars never really went away and we all have our favorite players to listen to or even try to emulate. In the world of modern Pop music guitars are largely lost in the mix. That left a lot of music fans without a strong motivation to pick up the instrument and for a while guitar sales suffered.

Then came the 'Rona and people spending more time at home. After a couple months of binge watching Netflix people started looking for something else to occupy their time and many of them turned to learning to play guitar.

According to the New York Times, the resurgence in guitar sales has hit most major manufacturers from Fender to Gibson who sell a lot of electric guitars, to companies like Taylor and C.F. Martin and Company who primarily produce acoustic guitars.

Andy Mooney, the chief executive for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, said that while many companies and industries worldwide are struggling, he never would have predicted a record year for Fender guitars.

One thing that a 21st century pandemic has over one in the 19th or even 20th is the ability to get lessons online. Whether you're watching a prerecorded YouTube video or Zooming in for a one on one lesson with an instructor you can get a lot of guidance without ever having to leave your house or even mask up.

Where should one go to purchase a new or new-to-you guitar? There are plenty of places online but you'll miss out on the personal attention, instrument setup, and new friendships that you'll get when you go to a local shop. Unless you're already familiar with the basics of the instrument and know how to adjust them for intonation and string height your best bet is to stay local. Not only will you be supporting another local business, but you'll have someone to reach out to if you ever have any problems or questions.

Fortunately we have several great guitar shops here in Wichita Falls. Sam Gibbs Music on Old Jacksboro Highway has been making master musicians out of mortal men for decades. Sam Gibbs Music also sells pianos and band instruments so if you've got other musicians in your family they can take care of all of your instrument purchase, repair, and instructional needs.

Bruce Lyons Computers and Guitars may sound like an odd combination but he's got a great selection of acoustic and electric guitars in stock and Bruce even builds guitars under his own brand. Yup, you can have a guitar custom made just for you right here in Wichita Falls. He's got a shop on Seymour Highway.

Hayley' Music is one of the newer shops in town, they're on Kemp Boulevard next to Hayley Eye Clinic and focus on stringed instruments like acoustic and electric guitars with the occasional ukulele tossed in just for good measure. If you're already a player and thinking about an upgrade they sometimes get some really nice instruments in on consignment.

All of these shops can help you find the right instrument for the type of music you want to play and keep you supplied in strings, picks, straps, cables, and all of the other bits and pieces that go along with your new hobby.

As a lifelong fan of guitars I can tell you that learning to play them is not easy, but it can be very rewarding and if you stick to it long enough you just might end up playing at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with people like Prince, Tom Petty, Dhani Harrison, Steve Winwood, and Jeff Lynne.

No matter how many times I watch that video I still can't figure out where Prince's guitar goes at the end.

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