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What Got You Playing and What Keeps You Playing Guitar?

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Posts: 10
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My parents have always been music fans, especially my mum; whenever we were in the car, she had Foreigner or John Mellencamp or Clint Black in the tape deck. At about age six, I decided I wanted to learn to play piano, so I took lessons for a few years on and off (I was a fickle child...). When I was nine, I got your standard crappy "student" acoustic guitar for Christmas; didn't want it at the time, never played it, gave it to the neighbor kid about a year later :roll: .

Right before my fourteenth birthday, the whole family was at my grandparents' house, and for lack of anything else to do I started noodling on my grandpa's Martin acoustic. The parents and the grandparents MUST have had a conference, because about thirty minutes later my grandpa gave me my SECOND guitar, my first electric...a 1956 Rickenbacker.

Why in the name of all things good you give a guitar that's nearly an antique to a thirteen-year-old is beyond me.

On our way back home, my dad and I picked up a Fender Frontman (which I still have to this day) at a pawn shop; started taking lessons in April '03. STOPPED taking lessons in July '03, which probably wins some kind of record or something...I'd just gone to Cornerstone Festival and decided that I didn't need lessons to play guitar. And let me say, dropping lessons was probably the best thing I'd ever done (musically, at least).

So, in February, I will have been playing guitar for three years, and loving every day of it. Taking up guitar actually was a kick in the pants for me musically in all sorts of ways...I've started listening to so many more varieties of music, picked up mandolin and bagpipes, played in a band, and started recording my own music via my Boss BR-1600.

What *keeps* me playing guitar? I'm not sure, exactly. Some days, it's a desire to be creative; some days, it's a need to vent frustration; some days, it's a means of spending time with friends; some days, it's a way to worship my GOD.

I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Posted : 20/01/2006 9:19 pm
Posts: 4
Active Member

I read all your stories, so many great ones. I don't know if mine is anything to exciting but I'll add it anyways. When I was like 12... I told my mom and dad that I wanted to learn how to play guitar. They bought me an acoustic at the local music store and signed me up for lessons with this guy who I thought the sun, moon and stars set upon. I took 6 lessons and he committed suicide. I thought for sure it was my bad playing that drove him over the edge. So that was the end of my guitar playing for many years. When it was my 39th birthday, I was sitting at the kitchen table, thinking about life and asking myself what was something I always wanted to do, but never did it. Then I thought "i'm gonna learn how to play guitar!" So I got in my car, went to this music store and bought my first Guild guitar. I didn't know a thing about it. The guy said "would you like to try it out first?" I said "how? I can't play it, I just want it." I thought if I memorized where the tuners were at, at what angle they were turned....that it would never have to be tuned again. What a moron! I went out and bought books, tapes, DVD's and nothing made sense. I went back to the same music store and signed up for lessons about a month later. I took hour long lessons for three years once a week. Then my guitar teacher moved to saint paul and i struck off on my own. I had a job working for the city as a bartender and hated drunks more and more each day. One day I just left it all behind. I quit my job, gave up all the benifits, rented an office space in town, ran some ads in the paper and now I've been teaching guitar for 4 years. I guess thats what keeps me playing..I never wanna be a bartender again and I love my students! No tip in the bar ever came close to seeing a kids face light up when he can play jingle bells for the first time. Priceless. Hope I didn't put you all to sleep.

Posted : 24/01/2006 12:18 am
Posts: 1206
Noble Member
Topic starter

This post came up on a search I did and I thought I'd give it a bump. :)


"Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution"

Posted : 03/01/2007 3:56 pm
Posts: 2261
Noble Member

Nice find, Cn'J!

Short and simple: Idol-worshipping Slash got me started, every piece of music I've ever liked keeps me going :) - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer

Posted : 03/01/2007 4:13 pm
Posts: 2736
Famed Member

The love of music and sometimes feeling of lonliness keeps me playing the guitar.I just wish i can play more than only strum three chords.

It needs only strings...

Posted : 03/01/2007 7:01 pm
Posts: 938
Prominent Member

Nice one Jason. Can't believe this thread was allowed to sink into obscurity.

I got started for a mixture of reasons really.

In no particular order:

1. Partially mid-life crisis I guess. :?
2. Partly because I'd just finished studying for my degree and needed something to fill the void after the long nights of study (television doesn't do it for me). I needed something to keep my mind active.
3. I've always loved music and admired the likes of Gilmour, Hendrix, Slash, the Young brothers et al. I guess part of me wants to emulate these guys in some small way.
4. It's something I've always wanted to do but never quite got round to it.

What keeps me going?

1. So much to learn so little time.
2. Achieving little victories one at a time and the sense of achievement each time I do so. It also keeps my mind active.
3. Gilmour, Hendrix, Slash, the Young brothers et al.
4. The thought of endless hours in front of the box and having to talk about big brother at work if I didn't play the guitar. :roll:

I guess that just about sums it up.

Great thread.


I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.

Posted : 03/01/2007 8:24 pm
Posts: 34
Eminent Member

Great thread indeed!

Even though I didn't really start learning to play until I was about fourteen, I think I must have really gotten the idea when I was six and the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. I couldn't hear them very well for all the screaming girls but I remember thinking that whatever that "George" guy was doing looked really cool.

What keeps me at it? A passion for life that I can't express in any other way. Joy, pain, love, anger, sex - things I don't even have words for - all manifest themselves somehow in my playing. I don't mean technical prowess, as mine leaves a good deal to be desired, but rather a loss of inhibition. And every once in awhile if I'm very lucky and having a good night, I get to touch somebody else on the same nonverbal level.

That, to me, is priceless.

If the dude woke up this mornin', he's playin'.

Posted : 04/01/2007 2:02 am
Posts: 54
Trusted Member

I missed so many chances at learning the guitar when I was growing up and thereafter. My Mom played a acoustic Gibson for years and then my Dad bought her an electric Gibson and amplifier at a pawn shop. She always wanted to show me how but I was too busy cruising the streets and drive-ins being cool (so DUM!). I had a neighbor whose Blues band played in my area, he always wanted to take me under his wing and teach me blues guitar but to no avail, another chance missed.
In 1984 a lady I worked with gave me a Yamaha FG 331 (made in 1971) that her sisterinlaw had left at her house. I carried it around in the case untill 2006 without plucking a string, decided to take a two month guitar course at the local college and enrolled last Sept.
It didn't take me long to realize I needed another guitar, so I looked around the web and music stores and bought a Seagull S6 Spruce, it had wide nut and it was the most guitar I could get for 300-350. I can manage a few songs the hardest being City of New Orleans by Arlo, I've always loved that song.
Sooo, I'm 60 yrs old, retired and learning the guitar. I know I'll have to spend some time here in the trenches with my acoustic for some months but then it'll be an Epi LP Elitist and a Vox tuber, probably a 60W so I can sit on the front porch let the vibrations ring through the valley below me (hey the blues man mentioned above did it so why can't I). He moved last year when his girlfriend showed him the gate. I know what you're thinking, opportunites abounded for this guy thru the years without him taking advantage why? The only answer, I was just DUMM!

Posted : 05/01/2007 4:16 am
Posts: 3709
Famed Member

It was the spring of 1977 and I was 16 years old. I had discovered the rock band KISS a year or two earlier. I decided I wanted to learn the electric guitar. If it was this much fun to listen to it, it must be really fun to play it. That was 30 years ago and I haven't looked back. Been playing ever since, nearly every day.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

Posted : 05/01/2007 4:47 am
Posts: 215
Estimable Member

Hmm...I have to say Daniel Ash (Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets) is my inspiration acoustically for the most part and electric as well. He's not a guitar god per se, but I'm drawn to his playing for some reason (Saudade for example). I'd have to say KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, (both of Judas Priest), Chris DeGarmo (Queensryche) and Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) are my electric inspirations. They're pretty wild, we'll see how I fare. :twisted:

Posted : 05/01/2007 9:11 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

My ex was once a wedding singer. One day she pulls out her guitar, which I didn't know existed, and asked me to take it to the shop for her. I thought it might be something fun for us to do together.

Well she never really got back into playing and my goal became to play for my home church. And I was just accepted to our church's praise team the plan is for me to sub for our rythmn guitarist about once a month.

Posted : 06/01/2007 2:54 am
Posts: 472
Honorable Member

Like a lot of you, I also had several close calls with playing the guitar (or at least the opportunity to learn from someone). Somehow, I was in the right place, but it was the wrong time for me. Anyway, back in Sept 06, I had a health scare and I decided I'd better take the time now or regret it. I will soon be 49, so this has been a real challenge for me. But, I have had a lot of fun (and frustration) so far, and I ran across this forum in December so I feel like I finally made the right decision this time.

What keeps me going?
1. The smile I get when I finally "get it" with something I've been struggling with.
2. My wife's voice from the other room saying "Hey, that sounds like (insert beginner song here)."
3. Knowing that when I get frustrated (2-3 times a day), I can come here and read that someone else is having the same or similar issues. The advice from all the great people that can about struggling and can relate and offer their advice.

Thanks for the opportunity to share.

KC (Jim-Bone)

Posted : 31/01/2007 6:36 pm
Posts: 1221
Noble Member

I went freelance workwise just about 7 years ago.
I work mainly from home, its proved great in all respects involves a lot of sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for clients to get back to you.
So, looking for something constructive I could do to fill that time, I took up piano (maybe 4 years ago now). I really enjoyed it but didn't get too far. I'm no natural and piano's tough for any adult to learn I think.
So last year around this time, I figured I'd look into renting a guitar and see if that wouldn't go better. But, because the Squier '51 was on sale for 140, I didn't rent I bought! And never looked back... :D
I don't have to do anything special to keep at it. I just flat out love it. And I love that feeling of 'beginner's mind' where you're exploring something completely unknown for the first time.
Thanks to places like GN, there are mountains of resources for a novice who's learning on their own. And if you're a real newbie: no one here bites; jump into a forum, ask your first question and get started on what is hopefully a lifetime pursuit. :D


Posted : 31/01/2007 6:58 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

OK the journey begin when I entered junior high school. I was assigned to music instead of art class. When asked what instrument I wanted to play I said trumpet. However since it was 4th and not 3rd period music I had, trumpet was not available. Having seen The Benny Goodman story I then chose clarinet. Three years later when entering senior high the education professionals once again scheduled me in a beginning woodwind class.

By now I knew that if clarinet players where no longer needed in popular music. If I wanted to play some Earth Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang' or Tower of Power with a band I needed to play sax. So I took this opportunity to get my hands on a tenor sax. The teacher was amazed at my progress until parent teacher night when my parents outed me and told of my 3 years clarinet experience. I failed to make the basketball team so in lieu of PE I started playing clarinet in the band.

After 3 years of playing all the reeds in school jazz and teen aged funk bands I went into the Army. Decided my tenor was too big to lug around I just took my flute with me. Making music became a lower and lower priority. Jump ahead 20 years my lady at the time was an ex-wedding singer and self taught classical guitarist who had also let her music go. As a surprise I had her guitar set up and recaught the bug myself.

At the guitar store I was recommended an acoustic by the owner. I knew the people that I listened to didn't play one but I got to reading all the sites which proclaimed the acoustic as where beginners should begin. The people I liked either played jazz boxes like George Benson or Norman Brown or played nylon like Jonathan Butler, Peter white or Marc Antoine. Thinking that I could play her classical I tried out a few acoustics. Although I am relatively large her guitar and all the acoustics seemed big to me.

The fret board seemed to wide on hers and the bodies too big. In the end I bought an Ibanez AEG10. Not for the electronics but it looked and felt right and had good reviews. Armed with my new guitar and the complete Hal Leonard method I started playing. Being able to read, at least single notes, from my sax experience gave me a gave me a start I do wish I took piano because I still have problems reading multiple notes and I think of chords as one note not the notes which make up a chord.. I was getting pretty good at picking out melodies.

Along the way I got a cheap semi-hollow electric' it got stolen about a month ago. It looked more impressive then my classical Yamaha. While not what Benson played it is what Paul Jackson Jr or others play but about that time my goal became to play in church. For that I new that I would have to learn chords and be able to change keys. It seemed as if barre chords were the only way. I took group lessons and was shocked at how bad my timing was. So I begin playing along with records. The pick also went away I was more comfortable playing with my fingers as all my efforts went into playing chords. The only person I have seen with my unorthodox style was Curtis Mayfield. It worked for him so far it works for me.

Meanwhile my relationship had ended. But the church had an old classical with steel strings mounted on it. That became my project as I rebuilt it. And started to do some finger picking on it. When the praise team leader reached out to me and asked me to sit in. So I went to the guitar center and picked up a used Yamaha CGX111 I had been playing around with for months to celebrate reaching my goal. It has a narrow fret board felt and sounded right to me. And his time the electronics was a want so it would be easy for the sound team to plug me in. After I bought it I read negative reviews but so what. So here we are today. I am trying to find my place among the team, our lead guitarist plays a tele and the rhythm guy plays a Taylor 6 and 12 string as our style is starting to change away from Israel Houghton like sound to more of a rock feeling.

Best of all I'm having fun.

Posted : 31/03/2007 12:38 am
Posts: 395
Reputable Member

What got me started? I have no idea.
What got me into playing in bands. It wasn't the partying or the substances. When you're in a band, you find you are working while everyone else is getting messed up. I had been through the partying stage of my life, and it was no longer fun. The band became the fun. Jamming until sunrise was fun.
What keeps me playing? Well, it's not the money or the lifestyle.

What got me into the Oenyaw thing? I had a few close family members die off in a short period of time a couple of years ago. Recording/creating the whole Oenyaw project was a type of self-healing process for me. It took me through alot of problems, and gave me something to occupy my thoughts other than the situations at hand. Now, it's turned into a way of discovery. Not like some self-awarness creative artistic expression experiments or hobby. A project that I keep working on. Always in my thoughts.

Moby Dick. "Captian Ahab must get his whale!"

(For some reason, this board won't let me post "Moby 'Dick'". Herman Mellville is turing in his grave.)

Brain-cleansing music for brain-numbing times in a brain dead world

Posted : 02/04/2007 3:28 pm
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