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What Got You Playing and What Keeps You Playing Guitar?

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Posts: 1206
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Topic starter

Since there are a fair amount of new faces around here (myself included), I'd like to know what caused you to pick up your first guitar. Was it for the ladies? The thoughts of being a star? Money? Or, simply for the love of music? So share your story. I'll start.

I've been a huge music fan since I was old enough to understand it. My parents listened to music more than they watched TV, so I was surrounded by 70's rock and southern rock. My Dad also played bluegrass on the banjo from time-to-time. It didn't take long for the thoughts of being on stage rocking out on the guitar to enter my dreams. Unfortunately, I didn't get my first guitar until high school. It was a little starter electric, a Gorilla amp, and a DOD distortion pedal (I think it was a DOD anyway). All of which was given to me by a close friend. I quickly realized that it wasn't going to happen overnight. That combined with the fact I liked to party a bit too much and girls were priority number one, I lost interest. I eventually gave the guitar back to my friend. No rock star status for me.

Fast forward 18 years. My kids are older, I've bounced back from my divorce, and I'm finally in a spot in my life where I have the extra time and income to afford a guitar. I start looking and researching and decide I want a Les Paul. I plan on buying a used one but need to play some before deciding. My girlfriend and I go to a local shop and I find my Epiphone LP Classic Plus that screams my name. My girlfriend ends up buying it for me. We walk out with the guitar, case, and Marshall amp. I was so excited I almost cried (hey, I'm man enough to admit it). It was the best gift anyone had ever bought me. At that one point in time, I knew I MUST learn to play, and play to the best of my ability. If not only for myself, but for her because of the gift that she had just given me.

It has now been roughly a year, and while I have a long way to go, the journey has started and there is no looking back. I smile everytime I pick up a guitar (mentally at least). I have no illusions of being a rock star or making a living off of playing. I only want to learn to write and play my own songs, and maybe entertain friends and family. Rock on!

So tell us your story. :D

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 13/09/2005 3:22 pm
Posts: 4921
Illustrious Member

I took a third-hand route in a bunch of ways.

I always loved music, but being an Army brat from a big family, we had no money... I did get a few piano lessons early on, but my folks couldn't afford to move the piano when we changed locations. Next I learned to play percussion in school, and became pretty good at it... then when I was in my teens, I was at a party and saw a guy playing an acoustic guitar. He was actually pretty lame, but I thought "I could do that" - so I kept watching his hands. He was playing in Am. I memorized where his fingers kept returning to...

Some years before that, my father had expressed an interest in guitar, so my mother bought him a Harmony acoustic for Christmas. He strummed it a few times, and it ended up in the closet. When my little sister expressed an interest, it got handed to her... she strummed it a few times, and put it in the closet. It had probably been idle for five years at that point.

So home I went from the party, straight to my sister's closet. I put my fingers on that Am chord, strummed it - and about half the strings busted. The next day I went to a music store, bought a set of strings and a Mel Bay book, and that was it. I started played every day until my fingers bled.

Less than a year later I had my first gig, and a year or so after that I started teaching at a local music store. I'd picked up plenty of bad habits learning on my own, but I had the sense to seek out good teachers for myself, and kept a step or two ahead of my students. A couple years after that, I opened a music store (at the age of 19!) and I've never looked back.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Posted : 13/09/2005 4:44 pm
Posts: 159
Estimable Member

Great thread!

I wish I had known (or believed) how much women respond to guitars, I would've started way, way earlier.

I had friends who played and would show me some things, but it never really 'grabbed" me. It seemed like too much work for not much payoff (hey, I was young) and drinking etc. was the priority. Looking back, I was so busy socially I don't know when I would have had time to practice.

About six months ago, I noticed that not only did I have more time on my hands that needed filling, I was watching way too much television. I used to listen to music all the time, now I only did in the car. I was turning into an old man.

So, I thought, "I know a guy here in town who owns a music store (he's a good friend), I'll go and have him set me up and I am going to learn guitar." So I went down, and he set me up with my SD, a Roland Cube-15, cables, picks, gig bag, strings, and a stand and I took it all home.

I looked up lessons on the internet and started out. I printed all the open chords and started learning them, and then strumming, and then actual songs (thanks to this site!). I also looked up tab for rock stuff and practiced that with the distortion settings. Power chords are my friend!

That was about six months ago, like I said, and except for a brief period where my thumb was broken I play every day. I can't get enough of it. I don't even have a regimen, I just pick the guitar up, start banging out some chords and then work on what feels right. And then, mess around with the amp and rock out! Then stop for a while for food and sleep and work, and then back at it. Now I don't think I could quit even if I wanted to.

Last night I hooked my OE30DL up to my Pocket Rock-It and went outside. It was about midnight or so, and I had the distortion on, standing in the backyard getting the most awesome tones ever. I hit a milestone in my playing right then, it seemed like no matter what I did it sounded cool, and with headphones on the illusion of me sending those tones out into the night was breathtaking. I can't wait to do it again!

Oh, and a quick story. one of my girlfriends way back was sitting in the car with me, and she saw a guy she had met before we were dating get out of his truck. He reached into the bed and pulled out a guitar. She says, "Oh, he's got a guitar!" all swoony-like.
"What?" I said. "What's that got to do with it? That guy's a loser! (which was true)." I know him, and he is an insensitive jerk to people, and isn't very bright. And he's goofy looking. Literally, he looks like the cartoon character.
"No, if he has a guitar it means he's artistic and sensitive." She was totally serious.

A few weeks later we are at a buddy's house, waiting for him to change so we can hit the town. He is really good looking and got lots and lots of girls. I do ok, and he got more than I do, or did. That girlfriend at the time thought he was dreamy, too. Anyway, we are standing in his room and I look over and he has a Cort acoustic sitting on a stand next to his bed.
"I didn't know you played guitar." I said, pointing to it.
"I don't. That thing isn't even tuned up, and I don't know how to do it. But if you knew how many girls I got just because of that sitting there...girls are so stupid." He shook his head.
"Oh, really?" I replied, looking right at my girlfriend, who took that opportunity to intently study the carpet. Ha!

Since then, I have met several girls who are all over guys just because they are in a band. I think that is really lame, but have to admit part of that is me not considering it when I was younger! I am not the type to use people, though, so good on me, I guess. I'll never understand women, but now it looks like I only have to figure out one, and she's awesome, so I win!

I started guitar after meeting my current GF, but I must say she is "different" since I have been playing, and totally for the better. And she was great before. Of course, maybe I am different.

So, there it is. I can't wait to read what others write! This site is the coolest, and you guys keep me fueled to get better and better. Buying a guitar, coupled with the information on this site has changed my life. I went from a happy person to an ecstatic one in the time it takes to strum an "E"!

Bettie Page is the most beautiful woman who ever lived. You better recognize, G!

Posted : 13/09/2005 4:44 pm
Posts: 2801
Famed Member

Great topic

I got my very first guitar 20 years ago as a Christmas present. I love music at the time and I guess my parents had seen me air guitaring because I dont remember ever really asking for a guitar. It just came. It was a heavy, no name, horrible sounding instument and I had little desire to play. My parents took me to a couple lessons with a rather sleezy looking fellow. There was no internet, no Guitarnoise, and I had no tuner. Not really sure where that guitar ever went. Course I am being sarcastic, because looking back I can honestly say that I was a rather spoiled brat who took for granted what my parents were trying to do for me.

From the age of 18 to 20, I spent time in a garage band that had the opportunity to play some decent size gigs. I wrote alot of lyrics to the music the guitarist would lay down for us. It was the best time of my life. But all things come to an end and now that the guitarist (as well as the drummer and bassist) wouldnt speak to me anymore. I couldnt really write... Cause I couldnt play guitar for myself.

I fell into a great deal at about 26 years old. A friend at work had a Squier and an Amp that he was willing to sell me for 300 dollars I think. It was a beauty of a guitar and I noodled around on it quite a bit.. But I never really took lessons and the internet still wasnt that big. Certainly no Guitarnoise. I enjoyed it but without a good way to progress, I because disenchanted and quit. I sold the guitar and amp to my father in law, who owns it to this day. Dang I want that guitar back.

Now, two divorces later... I had decided when I sold that electric to my ex father in law.. that I would purchase another guitar when I got the chance. My main reason being that I wanted to write music again. I have since found other reason to enjoy my guitar as well. Its calming and fun.


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Posted : 13/09/2005 4:50 pm
Posts: 88
Estimable Member

Great thread....

Let's see....the first guitar I ever touched was one my parents bought me as a young kid. Crappy acoustic with nylon strings, sounded like it was plastic but I had a great time with it - that is until I had to go to lessons. The guitar teacher was overbearing a rather mean - shriveled old women if I remember correctly but this was years it scared me off and the guitar faded.

When I was a teenager I played drums and bass for a while but just to screw around wtih friends, nothing serious. My brother was the serious guitarist and had (and still does have) and Ibanez and a Washburn N-1 (Washburn is signed by Nuno Benntencourt (sp?)). He played a lot with that guitar and I stayed away because, well, it wasn't cool to be doing what my younger brother was doing and I had girlfriends to juggle at the time.

In college I was an English major and started doing some hard-core poetry writing. Ended up getting several things published and doing reading throughout the midwest at The University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin and other smaller schools not to mention coffee shops and clubs. It was the first time I ever had a "performance" bug. I had developed a cadence to my writing, an incorporation of rythmn and it was the first time I ever wished I had stuck with one of the instruements because I figured I could turn some of these poems into pretty decent songs.

College graduation lead to a job in the big city (Chicago), marriage, then shortly there after a son and a few year laters a daugher. My wife at the time was big into piano but it wasn't for me. I wanted something different. As caring for a family and working a full-time professional job at 60-80 hours a week doesn't leave much free time. Fast-forward a little and the marriage disintegrates, divorce ensues...the last three years have been rather less than plesant. So about two months ago I decided it was time to jump back in. I had scaled back my hours at the office, had a reliable schedule for seeing the kids and being involved in their lives and needed something that would allow me to be creative again. But poetry or short stories by themselves wasn't enough. So I went and bought a guitar and haven't looked back.

Music was always a HUGE part of my life from my over 1,000 CDs to friends in bands to seeing live music and I just decided it was time to stop being a spectator. I am in no mood for a serious relationship (divorce will have that effect on a person) and the women I date now understand they won't get a lot of my time because I work, see my kids, am doing my MBA and practice guitar an hour a night. That hour is what I look forward to each day - getting home, unwinding and trying something new. My fingers haven't bleed yet, but I have some nice blisters to show for it.

From here, who knows where it will go, but I figure the guitar will cost me less money than another divorvce, especially if I calculate it over time. That and it feels right to be creative again. Sorry for being so long winded!

"Practice until you get a guitar welt on your chest...if it makes you
feel good, don't stop until you see the blood from your fingers.
Then you'll know you're on to something!"
- Ted Nugent

Posted : 13/09/2005 5:20 pm
Posts: 22
Eminent Member

The first time I heard Jimi play the Star Spangled Banner... I thought "you gotta be kidding me man!" I couldn't believe my ears and from that point on I knew I had to start playing.

Posted : 13/09/2005 6:11 pm
Posts: 1206
Noble Member
Topic starter

Great stories everyone! I love hearing what and why people get interested in something.

I forgot to also add that I have several friends who are active musicians. So I've been into the local live music scene for many years. As a spectator though, watching and wishing I had kept with it so I could be up on stage enteraining everyone. Not to say that will never happen, but the one thing I could change was actually learning to play. I've got many, many hobbies, but the guitar is my favorite by far.

Keep'em coming!

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 13/09/2005 6:18 pm
Posts: 65
Estimable Member

well i wish it was eric clapton or something ...

but alas .. it were the power chords oriented grunge " progressions " of teen spirit ans rape me and othr nirvana songs ... hey i dont think kurt's a gr8 guitarist or anything .. but i wanted to play those chords and sing over them .. guess that's wat started me out ...

still going strong.. just been over 3 months though

Posted : 13/09/2005 6:37 pm
Posts: 4459
Famed Member

Interesting thread.

I'm not really sure why I started playing guitar, I always liked music and had played trumpet for a couple years in grade school then started playing guitar when I was 13 I think. At the time I had to walk to my lessons each week which were about 1 1/2 miles away and for some reason I felt like a dork carrying an acoustic guitar around.

I playewd for about a year but never practiced much, mainly because Twinkle Twinkle Little Star didin't do much for me...bvut even at an early age I had a feeling the guitar would be a hit with the ladies. But none of my friends were into playing music at all, we were all into sports at the time so I dropped the guitar to concentrate on sports.

Like pretty much everyone else my high school, college and some post college years were spent partying getting married, kids etc. But I still spent all my time playing sports. Although I loved the sound of the guitar I couldn't ever see how 1, I could learn to play it and 2. had the time.

Well I got divorced, almost 10 years ago now but still spent mos of my free time playing some type of sports, I was in like every league you could think of, softball, flag football, golf, bowling, basketball and still didn't have anytime.

I started working at a medium sized nightclub (3,000 seats) around 1994 and I was around alot of musicians/bands and I slowly started getting a bug to pick up the guitar again. Then the little voice started telling me I was to old to leearn etc.

Well I met a girl at the club who was alot younger than me and we started dating and I found out see was a guitarist in a hardcore band. That really started to peak my interest but now I didn't pick it up because I was embarrassed of what she might think of my playing.

After five years together she moved back home and I was alone again for the first time in my life. About 6 months or so after the breakup I tore my ACL and had to have total reconstruction which laid me up and put a crimp on the sports.

So now about 2 1/2 years later here I am..still a beginner but enjoying it immensely. The one thing that has changed is that when I started all I wanted to do was to be able to play some of my favorite songs and maybe play with my daughter, but after playing I've come to the conclusion at some point I HAVE to play out in a band situation or I will lose alittle interest.

To me it's like going to the park and just shooting baskets by yourself. It's fun to an extent but at some point you want to play a real game and that's where I am, I'd like to do this as more than a hobby, or at least play at block parties etc.

The problem is the older you get the harder it is to meet people let alone meet people that want to play in a band.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Posted : 13/09/2005 6:42 pm
Posts: 63
Trusted Member

My brother alomst got me started. He bought an electric years ago, he played it for a while, probably thought it would get him more girls. Then he realised how much practice it was going to take to get good! So he gave up.

After a while i noticed this guitar just sitting in the corner of his room, so asked him if i could borrow it. I got to stage where i could play a handfull or chords (very badly) and came to the same conclusion as my brother, this is way too much hard work!

Then years later......... I discovered i had more of a taste for acoustic guitar. The sound of it and being able to take the guitar any where and play, and wouldnt it be great if i could sing along with it too! Also, just around that time i started a new job, i discovered a guy there could play guitar, he said when we have to work away he would bring his guitar. He did, and played it really well and to top it off he had great voice too, and since then i've been hooked.

One day !!

Posted : 13/09/2005 6:52 pm
Posts: 99
Estimable Member

I just got bored.

After you do the same thing day in and day out, your brain goes on autopilot. I wanted to try something new and I had never played a musical instrument before. So 3 months ago, I picked up a used LH Seagull on eBay and have somehow managed to stick with it so far.

Maybe it's just a mid-life crisis. Oh well, it's cheaper than a convertable....

John A.

They say only a pawnshop guitar can play the blues. An eBay one does it better. A guitar's bound to feel unloved if her owner plasters pictures of her over the internet for all to see and then sells her off to the highest anonymous bidder.

Posted : 13/09/2005 7:14 pm
Posts: 312
Honorable Member

Well, I used to really like rap. I loved it. I was sitting in the car listening to some rap channel and then commercials came on, and i switched it to rock my next choice and Paradise City was on!! That blew me away. That solo is insane. I never listened to rap after that i just started play my dads guitar alot more often and playing WAY More rock. Still to this day i havent played rap in forever. Rock and roll is the way to go. then my pops picked up a guitar for me and ive been rockin since lol

Sing Me A Song Your a Singer, Do me a wrong, your a bringer of evil. - Dio

Posted : 13/09/2005 7:17 pm
Posts: 8184
Illustrious Member

I am an Indian.And traditionally guitar is NOT an instrument of choice out here.We play instruments like harmonium , tabla , sitar , sarod and lots of types.I was always interested in music.I used to sing.Actually my mom's brother who is 20 yrs older than me (wow great :lol: ) , used to play guitar in his college days.He still plays the guitar although gets very less time now.
(He is a very successful doctor with a lots of patients thats the reason 8) )

Anyways , i started listening to English songs when i was in 6 grade but at that time it was backstreet boys and the general popular music.But as i have grown i got 3 cds from my mama (mother's bro) full of old english songs (like billy joel , cliff richard , richard marx , pink floyd , john denver , eagles , metallica , guns n roses and so many ).After hearing all of them , i knew i wanted to play guitar.I had seen him playing guitar and already it was like some magic being done in front of my eyes.

So after a lot of persuasion i got my guitar in March this year (thats a yamaha classical guitar , amazing :wink: ) and then till now i have had no teacher and have learnt guitar only through internet , tabs and myself.It has been a good progress and i can pretty well play rhythm guitar to say the least and some leads too.

I am a singer too.I am going to perform soon 'Country Roads' on guitar on my college freshers day.I guess people take it the good way :D.Though hindi songs still dominate people's mind out here and of course they will still good music is good and nobody is gonna deny that.Guitar is just the right kind of instrument that suits me so well.I like seeing the guys play drums too and maybe i will start drums also (cauz no one is playing well here :twisted: , n then we ask the question , what led you playing drums :twisted: :twisted: )

Music is life , it breathes through me everyday.Guitar is the best companion i got and i hope it remains with me forever.

Yoo Hoo GN


Posted : 13/09/2005 7:39 pm
Posts: 2849
Famed Member

When I was a teenager I dated a girl from the neighborhood. After going to her house a number of times I found out both of her brothers played guitar. Actually, one played guitar and bass. I guess I expressed an interest because the next thing I knew they were teaching me how to play on their fathers guitar which he was not playing anymore. About a year later I broke up with the girl but not the guitar or the two brothers. I guess I wasn't paying much attention to her since I am not even sure when we broke up :lol: Anyway, we played together a good bit and did a lot of house parties, weddings and such plus a couple of local bars. I did take actual lessons for awhile with a real teacher but more to learn theory not how to play.

For a variety of reasons, all wrong, I laid off for awhile but picked it back up awhile ago and plan to stay with it now. I may have mentioned this before but my daughter (Violin. Viola, keyboard), son (guitar and percussion) and grandson (guitar) are into music which is more than likely why I got back into it. Oh yeah, my ex wife (their mother) could not even whistle.

Nils' Page - Guitar Information and other Stuff
DMusic Samples

Posted : 13/09/2005 7:42 pm
Posts: 8184
Illustrious Member

I played Susaphone (sp?) in middle and high school (marching band) and Bass guitar after school. I continued playing Bass when i went into the navy after high school. Toward the end of my enlistment, while I was away on a detachment, my apartment got broken into and my bass and amp were stolen. That was the end of it for me. I got married shortly after my discharge and started producing kids, 4 girls in all. Fast forward to last October. I took my youngest (11) to Toys-R-Us to spend her birthday money. She bought a "First Act" guitar. I said well if you want to learn I will buy myself a guitar and we will learn together. Of course my 13 year old didn't want to be left out of the family band so she took up Keyboard (and they are both doing treally well with it) we all took lessons for a couple of months but that got a bit too expensive so we work from books and the internet.
One thing is for sure, I will play guitar for the rest of my life and I hope Guitar Noise will still be around to share my triunphs and pitfalls with.
PS: the First Act guitar was a piece of almost unplayable junk, I bought her a nice Dean acoustic to replace it with.

Posted : 13/09/2005 7:58 pm
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