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What Got You Playing and What Keeps You Playing Guitar?

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That was zen. This is tao.


My brain must be set on "delay" today. I read that, looked suitably solemn, and then burst out laughing about 5 seconds later when the penny dropped. :lol:

Posted : 05/10/2005 5:31 am
Posts: 3636
Famed Member

I guess I can add to this... Have a seat... :D

My family moved to a new (being built with only a hanful of homes) neighborhood in 1963. The house across the street was inhabited by a family with 4 children, the youngest being my age. The two oldest (4 years older) were identical twins that had a garage band. (The Clark boys as referred to) Dave was the bassist and Mark was the left-handed drummer. Some may even know these two as they had been highly involved in the music business and were living in Lake Havasu, AZ and near the west coast. (On a very sad note and to inform you as to the intense link between twins, they both passed away within 6 months of each other, just about 2 years ago last month.) Needless to say, to this day and while writing this, I breakdown. They were my way into the music world and will always be greatful for their contributions and influence they had on me. I will miss them till my day comes. :cry: :cry:

I was mesmorized by their talents. Their father was an accomplished drummer playing with a local orchestra and big bands earlier on in his career.

Late at night on weekends when I would "spend the night" we would listen to albums, vinyl, platters, etc....My first album ever bought and still have was Satana, the white album with the lions head on it. So that was when I picked up the guitar...roughly 1968.

I was in several garage bands throughout my school years. I played at everyone one of the/my school dances. I was always in the band rather than on the dance floor.

During one band, we had just found a great guitarist to join. Almost the same time our drummer stopped showing up for practice. One night I sat and filled in for the drummer and found I could pick this up faster and be more efficient on drums so at that time my musical life travel plans took the first left hander and I became the drummer for the band. That was about 1971. Needless to say, I've been drumming ever since.

However, as of the last few years some channel opened up inside me and an incredible transformation overcame me and I had a writing spree of about 1 year where words to songs would fill my head in a matter of moments. I would quickly write them down (sometimes at 3 AM). This went on for sometime and now I have almost a dozen songs on paper.

I own a small casio keyboard and attempted to hack out some melodies to fit all these lyrics. I spent the summer of 2003 getting all that on cassette. This year I needed to expand my abilities so I bought a guitar and amp since I found it's much easier to write with an instrument that can play melodies more than what I was able to accomplish on drums.

This has lead to an incredible appetite to get intimate with this instrument. I'm totally self taught but can read music and have a great grasp on technics and a nice ear for quality music. I'm currently working in my self-made basement recording studio.

I'm seriously looking at your CD section and contemplating offering up one of my songs or at least some lyrics for colaboration. Right now just call me chicken....braaaaack! :D


"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"

Posted : 05/10/2005 12:40 pm
Posts: 1206
Noble Member
Topic starter

I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to post your stories! Excellent stuff! I enjoyed reading each one of them. Thanks!


"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 10/10/2005 1:14 pm
Posts: 13
Active Member

I was 19 years old and at a party during christmas vacation, someone showed me the chords to Lola by the Kinks, and now 25 years later I am a guitar teacher.

I had only been playing a couple months when a friend asked me to join a band he was forming. We played classic rock covers at parties on campus and had a blast. Playing in a band or jamming with others is absolutely the best way to become a better musician.

Lately I have been trying to immerse myself into Gypsy Jazz and learn all those 2 finger Django scales. Whew!

I never did mind about the little things

Posted : 11/10/2005 4:58 am
Posts: 87
Estimable Member

For the ladies...

Jaja......I heard a trio (spanish music) play with their classical guitars and since then I've been fixated with music!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 5 guitars in my room alone!

headphones on bed, strap, tuner, and i have picks everywhere and my amp is here too ..


Posted : 11/10/2005 5:16 am
Posts: 8184
Illustrious Member

My reason is really simple: I really love music, especially rock and metal. Eventually, just listening to it wasn't enough for me, I wanted to make it.

At first I wanted to play the drums. I figured it would be a relatively simple instrument, at least easier to learn than the last instruments I played. I decided against the drums and went for guitar. There were many reasons, first, drums cost more, secondly, its harder to store a set of drums than a guitar. But the biggest reason of all was: the drummer sits in the back. I'll be the first to admit it, I like to be the center of attention and I prefer to be doing things up in the front lines, so I bought a guitar.

My hopes are to eventually play lead guitar in a band but not only that be the lead singer too. And yes, I'm an ambitious person.

Posted : 12/10/2005 8:07 pm
Posts: 2
New Member

Great stories everyone. Here's ours. Back in 1964 I had an uncle buy me a Western Auto guitar and amp combo. Learned the big three songs back then - 'Gloria', 'Louie, Louie', and 'In the Midnight Hour'. Since I didn't have teacher, and due to the bad strings and the Mel Bay books I gave it up.

Fast forward 40 years later. After a career in computers, systems analysis, creative thinking, and stage acting as a hobby - I found myself out of work with some major medical problems. Since I was confined at home most of the time I got tired of trying to write software or write screenplays. I dug out an old classical guitar I had bought 30 years ago. Still I couldn't play it. :lol:

I found an old Decca acoustic at a garage sale for $25. After gluing it back together and getting some new strings on it I was able to make some sounds out of it.

A few months later I went down to party with a neighbor. He pulls out this old Harmony banjo he was selling. I bought it just for the hell of it and put new strings on it and actually started doing rolls on it. The banjo is very challenging. I wasn't doing too bad with it but it was killing my back due to some bad lumbars in my back. My wife started learning the mandolin.

I tried playing the lap Dobro but got tired of the sound and not being able to keep a melody going. It is more like a lead instrument. But I have to say it does sound good jamming along King Crimson and Zepplein with the Dobro. 8) Like an acoustic Robert Fripp.

I tried a Sigma/Martin dreadnought but was having problems due to my back trying to get my right arm around it. I was looking for smaller guitars and finally found a Baby Martin. I have two Baby Martins now one with solid dark top and the spruce top. Finally, I have found a guitar that I can play comfortably. Love my Baby Martins.

In the meantime, I was learning music theory from the internet from all the great sites. The lessons on Guitar Noise, Whole Note, etc., all have contributed to helping me learn the guitar. I'm getting into scales now and harmonizing scales. It is unbelievably of the stuff you can learn from the internet. Wish I had it 40 years ago. I really enjoy learning music theory.

In the meantime, my wife of over 30 years, switched from mandolin to a four string tenor guitar and we are making music together. We are learning old rock, jazz tunes, blues, folk, and bluegrass. We've been recording songs together. I'm also writing songs now, too.

Sorry for the long post. I just wanted to tell everyone it is never too late to learn something you always wanted to do. Don't give up.


"I just want to talk to you. I won't uh, do you no harm. I just want to know about your different lives, on this here people farm." -Jimi

Posted : 14/10/2005 5:07 pm
Posts: 5
Active Member

well i guess what got me started was just a general interest in music..... i listen to alot of Radiohead so it kind of compells me to play better and better i know it sounds like hero worship but hey i still am still learnig so i guess when i learn more i'll be able to find my own style......

i find that alcohol taken in moderation, brings on all the effects of drunkeness......

Posted : 18/10/2005 5:11 am
Posts: 1206
Noble Member
Topic starter

Wanted to give this a little bump.

We are always getting new members and I love reading stories.


"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 14/12/2005 8:54 pm
Posts: 1120
Noble Member

OK - my story - long

More or less grew up with music. Started out on violin when I was about 6. At 13-14 violin wasn't that cool anymore... Joined the school band instead playing Tuba and Trombone for some years. However, in the meantime I had discovered the guitar too. My father have allways been playing classical guitar, but I think it was when I found a steel string guitar at home - must have been 12 or smt. - that things started to be realy fun.
Listened to a lot of beatles at the time, and I also had this sheet music book with Blackbird etc. Played mostly fingerpicking and easy strumming, started learning songs. Never had a teacher.
At 14 I got an Ovation guitar. Around this time "Brothers in Arms" (Dire Straits) came out too, and I realised that going electric was the way ahead :) Traded in my Ovation for a Squire Strat - white. For a while it was cool playing Smoke on the water, Money for nothing etc. But without a band it gets (for me at least) boring eventually. Was never successful in finding people with more or less same musical interest and skills.
So, after some years the Squire was traded in for a nylon classical - found my fathers notes and started playing.
The most significant happening for me - guitarwise - was discovering Dylan around 1990. My girlfriends father had a lot of Dylan LPs, and I (intially to please my girlfriend I must say) started listening to Blonde on Blonde, Bodukan, Blood on the tracks, highway 61 ... - this was my kind of music!
My first real salary, working as a bike-mechanic the following year was traded in for a Fender Newporter - I started also with harmonica and rack - mr. tambourine man, desolation row, like a rolling stone...
Since then I've just been playing - Dylan, Beatles, Tom Waits, Delillos (norwegian band), but except learning new songs from time to time I have never really gotten any better.
Final chapter so far. Got an Epiphone LP and a band(!) for my 30th birtday last year. Now practice has intensified. This time I'm gonna learn playing electric. Play with the band once a week Dylan, Kinks, Beatles, a little bit into jazz etc. I also try to do some recordings in the basement after dark, and I try to be systematic playing scales and riffs and fills and melodies...

This is my story so far - the moral of this story: it is fun to play the guitar - it's even more fun to play the guitar with someone else!!


...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg

Posted : 14/12/2005 9:57 pm
Posts: 7
Active Member

I'm 23 now, last year I spent a year studying in Japan and was just overwhelmed by how largely music figures into the popular culture and everyday lifestyle of people there (if you've ever been to Japan, you know what I mean). I spent so much time going to karaoke, seeing kids busking in front of train stations, and watching a TV show about a bunch of teenagers in an indie rock band trying to make it big (called Beck, for those that might care), not to mention CD rental stores (you'd think that'd be a bad idea...) and the like... anyway, the very day I got home from Japan I used what little money I had leftover to buy my first electric bass, and then a couple months later a 40 dollar mexican acoustic from a pawn shop, and in a week or so I'm getting my first electric... I've taken to music like a fish to water, and I hate myself for not starting earlier :)

Posted : 15/12/2005 1:22 am
Posts: 180
Estimable Member

Wow, I can't believe I missed this thread!

My story also starts at a fairly young age. My mother is one of those people that just has innate musical talent. If she decides she wants to learn how to play a particular instrument, she sort of "just does." It's really aggravating to those of us offspring that didn't get the full benefit of those genes. :lol

Anyway...there was always an acoustic guitar in the house when I was growing up. In my pre- and early teens, I picked it up and learned a few little riffs here and there, but nothing to really write home about. I never *learned* how to play.

Fast-forward to about 2 years ago, when fellow forum-goer scratchmonkey lived directly across the street from me. One day, he shows up at my door toting a nice little Squier acoustic that he picked up, and proceeded to show me a couple of things he'd already learned.

Being the "if he can do it, so can I!" type of person that I am, I went out a couple of weeks later and picked up a cheap Squier Bullet setup with a little Crate amp. Armed with the Power of the Internet©, I looked up the tabs to a few of the things I was able to play 20 years ago and got to work.

Suffice it to say, it wasn't *quite* like riding a bike, but it got me hooked again. :) Scratch and I would play together frequently, and he's responsible for getting me to play in my first (and only to date) public performance at the local church that he attended. That was a great night, a bit nerve-wracking at first, but still a lot of fun. We done good. :D

Fast-forward to now...I've got four guitars in the house, I play at least one of them every day even if it's just for 5 minutes, and I'm slowly progressing. I don't practice as much as I should, but the songs I do practice, I'm pretty good at. 8)

So thanks, scratchmonkey, it's all your fault! :P

Posted : 15/12/2005 2:18 am
Posts: 10264
Illustrious Member

Ricochet - "That was zen. This is tao."

That's a classic!!!!

:D :D :D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Posted : 15/12/2005 2:31 am
Posts: 7833
Illustrious Member

Yeah, it's a classic (oldie but goodie), but it just fit there. :lol:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Posted : 15/12/2005 2:36 am
Posts: 10264
Illustrious Member

We should maybe add a second question to this thread...."What keeps you playing guitar?"

In my case....because I need to...I'm starting to reach a decent level of proficiency, but I still have to improve a LOT so's I can do justice to my own songs....there's still waaaaaaaaaay too much diiference between the way I hear them in my head and the way they come out when I record them....

I have a lot of things I want to do - form a band, play at the local festival, get paid for playing....hell, I'm still young (48) and there's time....!

I get the feeling next year is going to be make-or-break....I have to make that next step up soon or I'll never do it....

Going to quit smoking Dec 31st at 11:59:59....put the money I save into guitars etc...going to have a REAL go at it next year....there is NOTHING worse than unfulfilled ambition....and I've still got plenty of ambitions, it's about time I got off my you-know-what and stsrted trying to achieve some of them....

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Posted : 15/12/2005 2:44 am
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