Rick Derringer

Perusing all the possibilities at an expo devoted to stringed instruments, we miss our childhood ukulele. Man, we could rip it out on those four nylon strings. While we pretended to be Bernadette Peters, with our sister playing the Jerk, we'd sit on the tailgate of Dad's pickup and perform "You Belong to Me" for the neighborhood. Sis went on to be a powerhouse on the Fender Stratocaster, and we, well, accidentally sat on the ukulele.

Coming from a family of guitarists is difficult when you have freakishly small hands and a penchant for ballet. Being born in the state that claims Willie, Stevie Ray and Blind Lemon wasn't much help either. There is, it seems, sort of a Texas-blues shame that descends upon the defiant. But who were we to resist fate? Dad (a B.B. King devotee) eventually provided us a six-string acoustic-electric on which to learn. But where to turn? Lessons are great, but we need something to practice with--new strings, a choice of picks and a new cable so this piece-of-shit amp will stop hissing. Matter of fact, how about a new amp? Oh, and we'd also like to see a vast array of musicians who are far superior to us.

Maybe Rick Derringer, the man whose band The McCoys stomped the Beatles out of the No. 1 chart position with "Hang on Sloopy." Or Joe Satriani, The Stratoblasters, former Fleetwood Mac-er Rick Vito and Phil Keaggy. Whatever the genre, the Dallas Guitar Show and MusicFest has the appropriate icon. It's a trade show, a festival and showcase for new models. There are vendors from Ernie Ball, Peavey, Sabian and more. The auction offers items such as a letter handwritten by Elvis, George Harrison's Harptone 12-string, a Sex Pistols drum set and Gram Parsons' custom-made acoustic. As ax addicts and music-history freaks mingle, we'll bet our box of Ernie Ball Slinkys that sometime during the event, three things will occur: an argument on the merits of Ronnie James Dio, the sale of a lightning-bolt guitar strap to a young indie rocker and our reunion with a fine little ukulele.


The Dallas Guitar Show is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the MusicFest is noon to 6 p.m. both days. One-day admission to both events is $15 or $25 for two-day passes. Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Call 972-260-4201.

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