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  #1  
Old 03-18-2023, 06:06 AM
Yair Matayev Yair Matayev is offline
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Default Share Your Acoustic Guitar Journey: How and Why Did You Start Playing?

Hello fellow acoustic guitar enthusiasts!

I thought it would be interesting to create a thread where we can all share our personal journeys with the acoustic guitar. Whether you're a seasoned player or a beginner, we all have unique stories and experiences that have led us to pick up this beautiful instrument.

So, let's get to know each other a bit better and share our acoustic guitar journeys! Please feel free to answer any or all of the following questions:

When did you first start playing the acoustic guitar?
What inspired or motivated you to learn the instrument?
Did you have any musical background or experience before playing the guitar?
What was the first song or piece you learned to play on the guitar?
What challenges did you face while learning, and how did you overcome them?
Do you have any memorable experiences or milestones in your guitar journey that you'd like to share?
How has playing the acoustic guitar impacted your life?

Don't be shy Ė let's share our stories and inspire each other in our pursuit of musical growth and enjoyment! Looking forward to reading your responses!
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2023, 06:43 AM
Dotneck Dotneck is offline
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Oh my…I’m almost 70 years old and don’t remember most of that stuff. My inspiration was my cousin Bobby. This would have been before the Beatles I believe. Took lessons at a local shop and we used a Mel Bay book and a rental guitar. I was about ten years old. I didn’t have experience with anything.

I seem to remember playing Red River Valley. I also remember playing “Our Day Will Come” in a group for recital day.

I finally was allowed to buy a red Harmony Rocket. I’m still a sucker for red guitars.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:06 AM
MinorMajor12th MinorMajor12th is offline
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My dad had some acoustics that he mostly bought and didn't play. When I was young I wanted to play them, but that was a no go. I also wanted lessons, but that was considered too expensive.

But I showed musical proficiency, so my school loaned me a clarinet. I took to it and, while lessons were still considered expensive, I eventually got my own clarinet and later saxophone. Didn't take my first lesson until college.

I was still fascinated by guitars and often thought of learning to play, but I thought I needed to focus on sax.

My attempts at becoming a professional jazz saxophonist weren't panning out, however, so I left school, worked for a while, eventually took evening classes and earned an English Lit. degree.

Spent time in the cubicles, mostly at a Big Four accounting firm, until my entire group was laid off not long after 9/11.

Woke up with nothing to do for the first time in years. Wanted to return to playing, but getting out the sax or clarinet would be depressing.

So, hey, I always wanted to play guitar! I first thought of an acoustic, but I didn't want to annoy people with my learning to play, especially at odd hours, so I went with a Strat I could plunk and play through headphones.

Eventually got good enough that I was okay letting people hear me, so I got an acoustic.

I've been going back and forth with electric and acoustic in the decades since.

I had to lay off for quite a few years, however, due to health and hand issues. But that's gotten better (a healthy diet and getting to a reasonable weight solved a lot of problems), so I've returned to playing. And as I'm older and playing by myself, I'm spending most of my time with an acoustic.

Edit: As for how it impacted my life, it has greatly helped me get through some rough times. Learning guitar kept me focused and looking forward to something after the layoff. And later, when post accident /botched surgery problems landed me in a hospital for five months, playing the unplugged Strat while connected to an IV helped keep me grounded.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:33 AM
nowgypsy nowgypsy is offline
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Like a lot of kids, after first hearing the bands of the British invasion I wanted to play the guitar. I was given a cheap catalog guitar and an ancient book. I lived in the country on a farm and there was no one around to explain or show me things. Let alone lessons. I quickly decided I had no aptitude for the instrument. Then life started and I didn't think of playing for many years. Eventually I became friends with a professional musician. He talked me into trying to play again and loaned me a guitar. He showed me the basic chords and explained the relationships between them. At that time I was hooked. Unfortunately my friend fell ill and past away before we got to any advanced techniques. At this time I was living in a cabin back in the woods. Again no one around who played anything. I had access to the internet on a dial-up line so that was how I got questions answered and kept plugging away. Ten years later I moved to an area with several musicians and regular jam sessions. now 15 years later I am still hooked. The jam sessions gave me the needed examples and inspiration that I needed. Without them I know I would not be as far along on my journey as I am.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:34 AM
Murphy Slaw Murphy Slaw is offline
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I gigged electrics for decades. Classic Country, Classic Rock, Southern Rock.

I got to where I despised distortion.

And drummers.

Here I am.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:37 AM
jasperguitar jasperguitar is offline
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My tenant bought a harp. I helped her carry the harp to the second floor. She told me she did not know anything about music, or a harp. So, to help her out I purchased a cheap acoustic guitar. I figured I'd use the guitar to show her what scales were, and chords, etc. She moved. I kept the guitar.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:38 AM
peetar peetar is offline
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When I was 10-12(?) I liked hard electric music. Probably heard some rock'n Neil Young stuff from a friends older brother. Got a hold of a cassette tape of Rust Never Sleeps.

In the middle of winter we were playing in the woods all day and freezing. I drew a hot bath and popped in the tape. I put on the wrong side! I was too cold to get out out and flip and rewind, so I listened while I soaked. By the time I got out of the tub I was a big fan of acoustic guitar music.

I was never serious or dedicated about playing. Learned a few songs and historically would play for 2-3 weeks and not touch it for 6 months, rinse/ repeat. The last couple years I have tinkered around on the thing on a consistent basis.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:47 AM
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I'm not going to go into the whole journey thus far but I kind of remember the start. We had a guitar around the house that nobody had an interest in and I have no idea how or why it was at our house. This was a short time after the Beatles showed up on the TV screen, but I wasn't particularly smitten with any of that. A friend of my older brother came over and picked up that guitar and played something on it. Just the fact that someone could do that "got" me. That was more than 55 years ago now.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:52 AM
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Started playing somewhere around 1967 around age 9 or 10, can't quite remember for sure. Took it up with a more serious intent at 13 when I hit upon the right teacher. This guy had everything going that I was looking for. Stayed with him until I was about 17 or 18.

From there, I just stuck with it. Wasn't a big kid, not really a "jock" type. So guitar was a good fit for a quiet kind of kid who mostly kept to himself.

Gigged heavily thru the mid/late 70s through the mid 90s.

Still playing in a few bands for fun today, and we do get occasional gigs.

Last few years gotten into so solo/acoustic work at some of restaurants and taverns around the area. the money is decent, and the hassle is minimal. I never thought I'd like doing that but I do.

I'm also part of a quartet that supports a 45 ~ 50 person chorale group that sometimes even employs a 12 piece orchestra depending on the show at hand. We do 2 or 3 concerts a year. All stuff I'd normally not be playing, Swing Jazz, and Standards and the like. It's a chance to branch out and do something entirely different.

I fool around a little bit with Mandolin and Uke too.

Also started playing piano around 2005, and put quite a bit of effort into doing much more than "Dabbling" which is what I had always done prior to that,

Now go back and forth between that and guitar, with guitar usually winning out. But I do love the piano and it helped teach me to read way better than I ever could before. I just wish I could be better disciplined on daily routine to practice and move it forward more.

Still playing every day, my day wouldn't seem "right" without doing it.

I've met a few lifelong friends throughout the journey, whom I know consider like brothers to me. Can't put a price tag on that!

My wife who I meet in 9th grade, and we've been together ever since, is incredibly supportive of all of it.

The GAS, the rehearsals, the gigging and nights away when she wasn't able to be there when the kids were young. That makes a big difference in how we feel about ourselves as musicians and performing. She's been amazing.

I'm blessed.

So that's the long and short of it.
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Old 03-18-2023, 07:52 AM
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Mine is a journey of mostly failed attempts that finally led to learning.

Attempt one: I got my first guitar at 14. I was already a drummer then and continued to be a drummer well into my late 30's. But I was always fascinated by the acoustic guitar. At 14 I asked for and received an acoustic guitar for Christmas. It came with a few free lessons of which I took only one. I noodled for a few weeks and managed only to learn 'Smoke On The Water' on the low E string.

Attempt two: In my early 20's was in the Navy and bought a used Yamaha dread off a fellow sailor's wife. I had a friend that played and he managed to teach maybe 2 chords before I lost interest and sold the instrument.

Attempt three: In my mid-thirties, I was a drummer and singer in a 'basement band' (similar to a 'garage band') made up of work friends and decided to 'move out front' so I bought a Fender Telecaster and made the jump. I learned a few power chords but not much as the band quickly folded after layoffs and shift changes moved us apart.

Attempt four: In my late 30's bought an acoustic guitar and stumbled onto guitar tab and OLGA - the On-Line Guitar Archive, where people uploaded simplified guitar chord versions of songs. This was the first big jump forward for me. For the first time in my life, I had the motivation to actually learn more chords and become more fluent in my playing because I was able to 'connect them' to actual songs that I knew and loved. I had finally started to really learn to play the guitar.

Attempt five: This led me to starting a band with my two youngest children. Now in my mid-40's, my son, who literally 'grew up' playing drums sitting on my lap was already a better drummer than me by the time he was 8-years-old. He got his first full-sized drumset for his fourth birthday. When he was probably 10 we dragooned his 11-year-old sister into playing bass guitar and we had a cute little three-piece band that actually got pretty good. But as is the case with most things in life, being in a band with your dad eventually becomes 'not cool' and both moved on to bigger and better things.

Attempt (with final success) six: At the age of 50 my wife and I found ourselves with three kids in college, an empty house and a lot of time on our hands but no money to do much of anything else. I had bought an expensive (by my limited-means standard back then) Taylor guitar and felt that I needed to 'justify the purchase' so I dragooned my wife into forming an acoustic duo with her on lead vocals. We knew we were onto something pretty quick.

We worked hard for a few years and made the jump to open mics. Then to opening for local bands for free and finally to getting paid to play. That was probably four years ago. The pandemic shut us (and everyone else) down for a few years but when we came out of that we retired from work and found our niche (playing assisted living, retirement and nursing homes). Last year was a huge leap forward and this year we've already booked 150 gigs with more to come.

I'm now 61 so that final attempt (and the only one I really count) was 11 years in the making. I should also note that somewhere in the early part of those 11 years, probably 10 years ago, I stumbled onto the Acoustic Guitar Forum. While I credit most of my learning to play the acoustic guitar almost entirely to my early encounter with OLGA and subsequent deep dive into its successor, Ultimate Guitar, I credit AGF with my deep dive into all-things acoustic guitar and related equipment. Since finding AGF I have bought/sold/traded probably 35-40 guitars and a lot of other equipment.

It's really been - and continues to be - a lot of fun. I'm glad it took me this long to really learn to play guitar because I know too many talented players who started young that are now disillusioned and burned out from a lifetime of 'not making it' despite lifelong efforts and with nothing to show for it. Yes, they can really play but they live day-to-day with no savings or home of their own and way too often no significant other to share their lives with. It's a cautionary tale, or at least it is/was for me. While I wonder how much better I might be had I stuck with it way back at 14, I also can't help wondering if I would be having this much fun at this important time of my life.
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Old 03-18-2023, 08:37 AM
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I remember watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan (I'm almost 68) and I became interested. My neighbors were really into them. They had electric guitars, amps, etc and as a 9 year old I was really impressed. My parents gave me a Sears Silvertone for Christmas that year (1964).

Previous to this I had learned a bit of piano and learned to read music a little. My mother, sister and aunt all played piano so I had a few free lessons from them and I took a few from a teacher as well. Learning the guitar was a natural step I suppose.

I played guitar constantly until I was about 23 and then I stopped playing seriously until I was about 45. It was in about 2000 that I started to learn finger style with the goal of becoming proficient.

So 23 years later becoming "proficient" never really happened, but I love playing guitar and now I'm learning classical style as well (home schooling).

I'm enjoying the hobby more than ever.
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Old 03-18-2023, 08:38 AM
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18 years old ... bought a guitar and a book showing where to put your fingers to play Gary Davis tunes. After three days, no progress, all efforts cease.

Late 30s ... rented a guitar to see if I'd stick with it. Got caught up in enjoying every little bit of progress and still do. I've always been drawn to the acoustic guitar in music.
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Old 03-18-2023, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post

So 23 years later becoming "proficient" never really happened, but I love playing guitar and now I'm learning classical style as well (home schooling).

I'm enjoying the hobby more than ever.

after hearing a bunch of your recordings, I'd like to disagree with that statement.
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Old 03-18-2023, 08:43 AM
Mikalooch Mikalooch is offline
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I started playing acoustic guitar seven years ago when I turned 50. Always wanted to play guitar but just didnít think I could. My inspiration came from my children. Both participated in high school marching band, and both could play several instruments, and I thought if they could why not me, so the journey began. I never really found it too challenging. I loved it from the very beginning progress was slow, and still is but thatís OK. I think it was most challenging for everyone in my family listening to me repeatedly play scales and chords over and over. Couldnít have been fun, but they indulged me. First song was Hey Joe,big Hendrix fan. Playing acoustic has broadened my musical horizons. I listen to different genres and players, that I probably never would have before I started. Playing has brought an incredible amount of peacefulness and joy to my life and Iíve met a lot of really cool people along the way, so Iím really grateful to be a part of the AGF and the acoustic guitar community. Thanks for starting this thread Yair. Enjoy the day everyone!
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Old 03-18-2023, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp View Post
after hearing a bunch of your recordings, I'd like to disagree with that statement.
Thanks Ray, I really appreciate that.
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