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What Got You Playing and What Keeps You Playing Guitar?

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Posts: 759
Prominent Member

I started around Jan 04

Ever since I was little, guitar has always amazed me. FOr example, at age 6 I could hum the whole hotel california solo. I really didnt understand what I was hearing at that age, but I just knew it sounded good. To this day, I still have that solo memorized

Flash forward to December 03, my dad began to tell me stories about life back in lebanon, during the civil war, and all. When he reached the stories about my uncles and their band. I was awestruck, I knew my uncle played guitar, but I didnt knew he was in a band. As the story goes, during the war, my 2 uncles formed a band with their cousins, and they played huge gigs all around lebanon. They played a particularly large gig in the American University of Beirut (AUB) and ttheir whole campus was packed with people. My uncles' band were known and slightly famous throughtout the country.

After hearing that, I knew that I had to get started, and I got a fender standard strat in Jan 04, and Im still enjoying it and learning new stuff everyday. Also, me and 2 of my friends are now meeting (2 guitars and drums) every weekend to play covers of songs we now, and it's going great :D

Posted : 13/09/2005 8:34 pm
Posts: 533
Honorable Member

A week or two after I started college, a couple buddies and I decided one friday night to go find some girls. Figuring the girls dorm was a good place to start, we headed that way. We met a group of girls in front of the dorm and started talking to them. But I could faintly hear some music coming from out back. I drifted around in that direction and came across the most amazing woman I'd ever met (then or now).

She was sitting with a group of six or eight girls around her and she was strumming her guitar and singing. I was enthralled, as much with the singing/playing as with the girl. I just sat next to her, staring for a couple of hours (I think, could've been more) while she sang. She must have thought that pathetic, drooling guy was cute because we started dating that night.

It was every bit of a storybook romance. We were both always certain that we'd be spending the rest of our lives together - everyone who knew us agreed. We did everything together, including writing a couple of songs. She wrote the music and I the lyrics. The songs were very well received, and always requested whenever Janie would play. (She played around campus all the time). Eventually, she started to teach me to play. She really wanted another guitar to play along with her, especially an electric.

She went home for a visit one weekend, and Saturday morning I got a call that she had died suddenly during the night. Her death was ruled a suicide, but to this day I have never believed that. No one at school believed it and neither did Jane's younger sister.

I wanted to continue playing if for no other reason than for her, but I just couldn't pick the guitar up right away. Then, I had allowed life to take up much of the time/money I could've spent on guitar.

Before I knew it, some 20 years slipped by. One night a bunch of us were in a nice restaurant celebrating my little girl's 21st birthday. Her 18 month old son was getting antsy, so I picked him up and walked him around a bit. We passed by the guitar player who softly playing dinner-style music. My grandson was amazed and just wanted to sit there and watch. The guitarist was equally thrilled, since most people were ignoring him while they ate. So he turned and played exclusively for my grandson, even digging out some kids tunes for him.

That was enough for me. I decided that night, that playing the guitar would be a perfect way for my to remain a positive influence in his life.

I'm glad that kid liked the guitar so much, since I haven't put it down since.

-- John

"Hip woman walking on a moving floor, tripping on the escalator.
There's a man in the line and she's blowin' his mind, thinking that he's already made her."

'Coming into Los Angeles' - Arlo Guthrie

Posted : 13/09/2005 9:39 pm
Posts: 5582
Illustrious Member

The Beatles were a huge influence on me, I absolutely loved them. My father was a huge Elvis and Country music fan, so I grew up listening to records and the radio. We did not watch that much TV.

I did not want to be a guitar player, I always wanted to be a drummer. But I had a buddy who had a guitar. I would go over to his house and ask him to show me how to play. He had lessons, and I remember the first song he taught me was The House of the Rising Sun. So I would practice that everytime I went over. But my buddy never seemed to even care, it just set there in the corner. So one day I convinced him to sell it to me for $10. I can't even remember what kind of guitar it was, but it was an acoustic with extremely high action. I didn't care, I practiced till my fingers bled literally.

Then another friend sold me two electrics. I think they were stolen. Sorry, but that's the kind of guy he was. I never really asked, he would have lied anyway. They were Japanese and actually pretty good. I figured out how to play them through my stereo. I used to get great distortion.

Then my younger brother got a guitar and started playing. Two of his buddies played, one bass and the other drums. So we started a band. We didn't have a clue what we were doing. We used to play long songs about 30 minutes long because we only knew 3 or 4 songs. After a few months we maybe knew 10-12 songs and started to sound pretty good. We played a gig or two. But we all graduated High School and went different ways.

I got married young (20) but kept playing guitar at home. One day a guy walked by and heard me playing on my porch. He invited me to join his band. His name was Sam and he was an awesome rhythm player but couldn't play lead at all. I was strong on lead but not rhythm. So we learned lots from each other. We played for a year or so and had several gigs. We were pretty good.

After that band broke up, my brother and I formed another band. We were pretty wierd. We played all originals. That lasted awhile.

I went through a few more bands. Then I stopped playing in bands for about 15 years. I had a family and that came first. But I played everyday at home.

Then, like others I got divorced. I had missed playing over the years and decided to get back into it again. I found a band and joined. That was about 10 years ago. I have been playing in bands ever since.

I still want to get a drum kit someday! :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis

Posted : 13/09/2005 9:45 pm
Posts: 7833
Illustrious Member

I'm 49. I've always liked music. Played piano and a bit of trumpet and French horn as a kid. Got a lap dulcimer back in 1980, had fun with that, still drag it out now and then. Got a set of plastic recorders circa 1990 and learned to play fairly competently on them, but I was never in a consort and they're pretty limited for solo playing. In the spring of 2000 I had a motorcycle accident. High-sided. As I tumbled on the road, my right arm went up behind my head and wrapped around my back. I heard lots of cracking, crunching and popping and thought "Man, the fiberglass on the bike's really taking a beating!" I stopped on a narrow strip of grass on the edge of the road just before a bad dropoff. Whew! Saw my arm momentarily extended straight up against the pretty blue sky as I stopped. Instead of flopping over, it telescoped, then slumped like a beanbag. Uh-oh. It was really pulverized, darn near torn off. I got a metal prosthesis for my upper humerus with the shoulder muscles wired to it, and the rest of the bone wired together. Went through a long, difficult rehab with it. Meanwhile my son had gone through a similar situation to mine with the piano, losing a teacher he really liked and not having a good relationship with others we tried, and quit. My wife bribed him to stay in music, buying him a Squier Strat Pak as an early Christmas present. I liked his teacher and started lessons myself in the spring of 2001. I still play with him most weeks. I'm a slow learner. I can understand the theory and know exactly what I want to play, but it takes a lot to get my fingers to do it! I don't spend as much time practicing and playing as a lot of folks do, either, having lots of other interests and obligations. But I do enjoy playing! I mostly play open tuned slide guitar. IMO it's got a lot in common with keyboard.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Posted : 13/09/2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 1162
Noble Member

I always loved music ever since I was really young, and I was always pretty creative... so music seemed like a natural choice for me. I got my first guitar shortly after my brother got his guitar, so I guess my inspiration to first start was from him. When I first got my guitar I would write these instrumental songs that were, for lack of a better word, an "acquired taste" :lol: . Shortly afterwards, I really started getting into different types of music... The Red Hot Chili Peppers is one that sticks out, Metallica was a big inspiration too.

Then I started guitar lessons and learned alot of technique (I knew some before, but I learned an unbelievable amount of technique from lessons), I studied with my teacher for a couple of years: I learned everything from rock, blues and even classical guitar.

It's been close to 8 years since I first started playing and I've stopped guitar lessons for the time being and I'm taking violin lessons (my teacher is also helping me learn piano and vocal and is encouraging me to take some tests to see where I'm at in terms of theory). So I guess you could say I'm past the beginner stage of learning how to play guitar, I'm really just hoping I can find a band and start writing music: I'm also feeling more comfortable with my singing, so hopefully that'll help my music writing (I find writing lyrics to be really tough). As far as daily practice goes, I mostly concentrate on technique.

Oh, and on top of that, I learned how to play drums in high school for 4 years, and I learned trumpet for about a year or two.


Posted : 13/09/2005 10:56 pm
Posts: 815
Prominent Member

When I was in elementary school there were try outs for the school band and I wanted to play guitar or violin, but didn't get the chance for either 'cause there was no guitar in the band and my mom couldn't afford a violin. :( Then I lost interest in music for many years. Didn't help that kids in my school liked Vanilla Ice and hated Aerosmith.

Then I got my first cd, Metallica's Black Album and interest in playing the electric guitar took over. I bothered my parents for about a year or so for one. My step brother got a free guitar from a friend a messed with it for a while then lost interest after breaking a few strings. The guitar is now stripped down and ready to be rebuilt (10-11 years later).

Not long after that my best friend at the time got his first guitar. An Ibanez style knock off. He was learning Led Zeppelin stuff. He got that early in the school year. Now the 7th grade. My mom finally decided to get me a guitar (C.F. Martin Stinger) for Christmas. Me and my friend had the same guitar teacher, then before high school my friend moved, so I lost interest again.

I messed around with playing guitar on and off for a long time after that. I almost got a Dimebag Darrell guitar with graduation money from high school. In 2002 my best friend (different one) passed away and I've been lost since then.

About 3 days before Dimebag Darrell (RIP) was murdered I started to practice again. It's still eerie to me. I have a guitar pick from a Pantera concert I went to with my best friend tacked to the wall behind my bed.

Well this past Christmas my parents decided I needed a new guitar to start me a new with playing guitar. Now I'm addicted and really into learning. I just love the sound of an electric guitar. Even a friend from high school and my nephew are playing guitar now.

Thanks to the internet, Guitarnoise, and for much help.

"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.

Posted : 13/09/2005 11:05 pm
Posts: 88
Estimable Member

You know guys - I have to say there are some amazing posts here. Some of these stories are really touching. And I am 6'2", 250 lbs of blonde-haired, blue eyed Anglo Norse-man who isn't afraid to say that. Wow....thanks everybody.

"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 11:10 pm
Posts: 159
Estimable Member

Wow, great stuff. Keep the stories coming! It's great that although we all have different stories, we can all be touched by the same thing, namely the guitar. Wonderful world to live in....

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

Posted : 13/09/2005 11:26 pm
Posts: 596
Honorable Member

Great stuff here. Oh wow! Where to start. I had access to all kinds of records as a kid, from the jukebox at my parents restaurant. I was 7 when dad came home from an auction with a beat up old Kay acoustic missing two strings. No encouragement, nobody showed me anything or even got me a book, but I had a blast pretending to be Elvis, or HAnk Sr. etc. We did have a piano in the house and one of my babysitters taught me to play the theme to the Young and the Restless. :shock:

Fast forward to 13, Ricky Skaggs concert at the county fair. Waiting in line for the man to autograph some pictures. Wound up sitting on the edge of the stage. Kept staring at this beautiful white Les Paul sitting there. The guitar player saw me, walked over picked it up and dropped it in my lap. LOL you would have thought he had given me the keys to the universe. He signed my pic, showed me a couple chords, and even let me strum a little.

THe fire was burning, but not hot enough yet. At 17 I joined the army, traveled the world, partied my butt off and met a couple pickers I'd sing a long with, both kept telling me I should play. Especially, my good buddy Johnny. He played a twelve string, and his favorite game with me was guess that song. He'd play two maybe three chords and I had to get it from there. Even half drunk I could get 18 of 20 most nights.

Still no guitar, too busy partying, and running off to the far corners of the earth, going through a couple wives in the process. Left the army, hit 34 and wife #3 decided she needed to go too. You folks that have been divorced know how it goes. Sitting here one night and said to myself, out of all the stuff you've done to this point, what's left you really want to do?

I had my first guitar less than a week later, been two years and there's no stopping me now. :D

Side note: That first guitar leaves tomorrow. It's being loaned to my friend's 12 yr old boy who has decided he wants to play. Hope it helps create another addict. :D

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- "WOW--What a Ride!"

Posted : 13/09/2005 11:37 pm
Posts: 2892
Famed Member

I love all the great stories!

I keep this one simple though (no offence).

I have many other friends that play including my brother in Mississippi and they were always having SO much FUN. WELL, far be it from me to be left out in ALL that FUN!!!

So here I am, and here I'll stay!

Love is forever!

End of Story!

Posted : 13/09/2005 11:40 pm
Posts: 3454
Famed Member

Fascinating stories. Great thread.

I came from a family that had no musicians at all. Not even a cousin or an uncle somewhere who played something. But my mother had a record player and liked classical music. I learned to love music, but formed the impression that actual playing was done by a distant group of people who had unique gifts and who spent a lifetime practising. Way out of reach for me.

Then back in the 70s, during a particularly chaotic (but hugely enjoyable) time of my life I co-founded a graphic design business and my business partner got a lot of work doing promo pics and album covers for a local record label. The idea dawned that all musicians weren't necessarily intellectual geniuses who spent years in conservatoriums. :wink:

I bought a guitar but, for a variety of reasons, started travelling again. The guitar remained in various attics and cupboards for the next 30 years.

About 15 years ago I tried learning the piano, but every time I sat in front of the teacher I froze like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. Despite the fact that I was using books with pictures of gnomes and bunnies in (i.e. the most basic of kids' books) I couldn't get it. I formed the idea that I was musically dyslexic and would never read music or play well.

Then about a year ago I thought "Time to finally drag that guitar thing out of the roof and have a decent shot at learning it". I was in my late 50s by this point.

And the rest is history. Fame, stardom, women, riches..... well, not exactly. But I'm rapidly approaching being mediocre and loving every minute of it.

I play every day and can now read music (slowly, and not yet at playing speed, but it's on it's way...). I have 4 guitars including one that sits by the computer on a stand. Whenever I start reading at Guitarnoise the fingers on my left hand literally start to itch and I have to pick up the guitar and strum a little between posts.

I now cannot imagine a life without making music. It's an absolute joy to be finally on the journey. And part of the fun is meeting so many other people, both here and in my area, who are also on the same road. :D

Cheers, Chris.

Posted : 13/09/2005 11:42 pm
Posts: 81
Estimable Member

I love all the great stories! ...I keep this one simple though (no offence).

The Beatles. 1963. Also my dad played ukulele.

OK, Tracker. Simple enough? :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:


Posted : 14/09/2005 12:32 am
Posts: 2892
Famed Member


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Shorter than mine and still effective!


Posted : 14/09/2005 12:54 am
Posts: 3454
Famed Member

OK here's another long one (and no, that's not another " the bishop said to the actress.." joke).

I've never seen a thread grow so fast, or contain so much interest and passion as this one!!

So, as I'm an incurable waffler I'm going to have a second go... :shock:

Interesting how often music appears in the role of an antidote to some of the negative things in our lives. Some very moving stories there.

I thought I'd add my own angle, and explain how I now have the time to play and post here.

I've always been a ‘go getter' sort of person who thinks “that looks interesting” and then goes and does it. For a big part of my life I've been self-employed doing things that looked interesting to do. I won't bore you with the list but it's long.

The last big project I undertook was designing and building my own house. When I finished that I set up my own small shop selling classical music CDs and a bit of jazz and blues. So you can see that I like to jump around a bit.

Then my son was born. As my wife had a better paying job and a good career I took over his care and became a “house-husband”. I thought this would be a temporary arrangement until school came along, and I'd then devise another money earning enterprise. But it became apparent that he was quite severely disabled, and the dream of a quick turn around began to fade. I've spent the last 12 years caring for him, home schooling him and generally trying to explain the world too him.

Now please don't think that this is a sob story or a sympathy plea – it's most definitely not. Some of it's tough, some of it is hugely rewarding. I face no more or less of a hard time than most other people who bring up kids. But it has been time consuming. He couldn't talk at all until he was six, and his understanding of the world was extremely poor. We learned to communicate in a very basic way using picture cards that I made. Because he had almost no ability to predict or understand the world he was a constant danger to himself. For the first years I literally could not let him out of my sight.

Over the 12 years he has slowly improved. I can now let him out of my sight for some of the time. For instance I'm now upstairs and he's downstairs, but I can hear him. If he stops, I'll be down there in seconds to check what's happening.

So in some ways I've spent the last 12 years pinned to the spot, unable to move freely in the world until I get a ‘leave pass'. When my wife looks after him for a few hours on the weekend, for instance so that I can go and drool in music shops.

But like the prisoner who studies and gets a degree in jail, I've taken to music. It's been fantastic to make some progress at last, and to get to the stage where I really enjoy playing. And music is a great way to teach and communicate, so we both win.

Cheers, Chris.

Posted : 14/09/2005 1:04 am
Posts: 1206
Noble Member
Topic starter

Wow! All I can honestly say is "ROCK ON!"

Every one of you guys (and gals, I know you're out there) rock!

In the infamous words of Aerosmith, "Life's a journey, not a destination."

Keep'em coming ...

"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 14/09/2005 1:12 am
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