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  #16  
Old 03-18-2023, 08:53 AM
bbatko bbatko is offline
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Default Share Your Acoustic Guitar Journey: How and Why Did You Start Playing?

I started at 58 years of age in late November 2018 (after Thanksgiving). I remember sitting down to watch TV and thinking “I should learn to do something instead of just passively sitting and watching TV.” I picked up an old, inexpensive Fender “D-18” style acoustic I had in the house for many years after my oldest son tried it for a while 20 years ago. I watched a few videos and tried to learn online for a couple weeks and then decided to take some in person lessons. I learned some chords and progressed slowly as working full time limited my practice. I say I learn in one year that someone learns in 3 months. I also don’t have a lot of natural talent. But, I was able to play an open mic last summer (2 songs or 8 minutes). I enjoy the challenge and the relaxation it provides. I’ve bought and sold several guitars which has been fun trying new ones and trying to find the “one”. I love reading NGD’s and seeing the pictures. I also love reading these kinds of stories you’ve asked for here.

Brian

Last edited by egordon99; 03-20-2023 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Removed religious phrase
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2023, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yair Matayev View Post
When did you first start playing the acoustic guitar?
I started playing guitar and mixed my first radio broadcast when I was thirteen years old.
Quote:
What inspired or motivated you to learn the instrument?
I tried trumpet but it couldn't chord and I couldn't sing at the same time. I had to have an outlet. I suppose I was also a child of my times, because in the 1960s to 1970s, guitar was huge.
Quote:
Did you have any musical background or experience before playing the guitar?
My father loved classical music. We always had it playing in the house. I loved to hear it and began stealing my parents classical records and listening to them for hours on my own. One day when I was about eight, my father caught me playing with his tape recorder and bought me one of my own for the next Christmas. I also sang in choir and made it to my town's all-city choir. Music was VERY important to me.
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What was the first song or piece you learned to play on the guitar?
I think it was "House of the Rising Sun."
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What challenges did you face while learning, and how did you overcome them?
I was a lefty but chose to play righty because there were no lefty guitars for sale in the town where I grew up. However, it was hard to get started. I had about four or five classes from a teacher before he gave up on me. From there I was on my own. As something of a latchkey kid, I spent a couple of hours a day learning the guitar. I studied classical guitar in college. Don't let anyone tell you that playing righty as a lefty isn't quite a bit different from playing righty as a righty. There are adaptations that have to be made. Even my classical instructor understood that.
Quote:
Do you have any memorable experiences or milestones in your guitar journey that you'd like to share?
Oh, I remember playing for the first time before a crowd of over 500 people. I remember being accepted into a hot band and having to get a really good electric guitar. I remember my first recording session in about 1980, being brought in to play lead electric guitar over a song. I remember the time somewhere around the turn of the century where my sessions work began overtaking my live work.
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How has playing the acoustic guitar impacted your life?
Playing both acoustic and electric guitar fulfilled a need to express myself musically that had to be met. Interestingly, my future wife chose to date me despite the fact that I played guitar. Playing guitar drove me into the Masters program I chose: recording engineering, music composition, and electronic music. And it has provided my sustenance since I work as a recording engineer, producer, sound designer, session player, and composer. I'd say it has had a little impact.

Bob
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  #18  
Old 03-18-2023, 09:22 AM
Photojeep Photojeep is offline
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I initially played the clarinet in grade school but in Junior High I came home from school one day (1969 ish) and my Mom was watching the Mike Douglas Show. Chet Atkins was playing Yankee Doodle and Dixie simultaneously on the guitar. I thought to myself, "I GOTTA learn how to do that!"

I ran to my room and took a hammer to my piggy bank. I gathered up my entire life savings of $14 and went to the Navy Exchange (we were living on Treasure Island Naval Base at the time) and bought a 3/4 sized acoustic steel string no-name guitar with mile-high action and a Mel Bay chord book. I was dead broke but I had a guitar!

I skipped right past the pages about tuning and started learning how to finger chords. My sister hated the fact I hadn't tuned the guitar and while I'm sure it was horrible sounding to her I was hooked. About a week later I went back to the tuning part and was amazed to find how much better my new guitar sounded!

We moved to the midwest shortly after that and as time passed I learned more and more songs and chords. The local paper used to print a column called "Words and Chords" to popular songs which helped quite a bit.

My biggest influences were Jim Croce and John Denver. My friends and I swapped various songs we'd learned. I once even learned a song over the phone. I was on restriction and couldn't leave the house so I spent the afternoon in the kitchen on the phone (remember those wall-mounted beauties?) and learned "Time in a Bottle" from my girlfriend.

In college I played in a bar once. My friend and I wandered into the mostly deserted place in search of cheap beer. As I watched the musician on the riser playing, I absentmindedly started fingering chords to the song he was playing. He noticed and asked me to play a spell. He was the bartender and had to get back behind the bar so my friend and I enjoyed free beer as long as I kept playing.

I used to lead a choir in my old church for about 20 years, mostly as the only musician, leading around 10 singers and now am one of three guitars at my new church. We accompany about 15-20 singers, a piano and an organ. I don't lead this group but am having a lot of fun playing.

I've owned proabably 10-15 different acoustic guitars over the years and now own a Gibson and 2 Martin acoustics.

I've been playing around 54 years. I thoroughly enjoy playing but I always think I should be much better than I am.

And no, I still haven't learned how to play Yankee Doodle and Dixie at the same time ...

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  #19  
Old 03-18-2023, 09:25 AM
Craviola Craviola is offline
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It was Ace Frehley and Pete Townshend that made me want to play guitar. I got my first electric guitar at age 11 and like most kids in the 70's I was into Kiss, The Who, Thin Lizzy ect... I then discovered the blues, Albert, BB, Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, I was also listening to acoustic blues players like Lightnin' Hopkins, Bukka White, Son House and somewhere along the line I got into Leo Kottke, from there Jansch and Renbourn and all those players but it wasn't until listening to The Incredible Sting Band that I decided I needed an acoustic guitar. The idea of being free from pedals, the constant search for that sound and being able to walk around freely with a guitar was really appealing so I set out to get an acoustic.

I found a Giannini Craviola which was perfect as it was different and looked somewhat like a lute which made me feel abit like Robin Williamson. Ive been playing acoustic and collecting Craviola's since. Oddly enough I was listening to all these amazing acoustic players who played in different tunings but I always played in standard until hearing Stan Rogers playing "Harris and the Mare" and Archie Fishers "Witch of the Westmoreland" I then dived into open tunings and have been there ever since.

I remember Leo Kottke mentioning a guy named Robbie Basho in an interview so I set out to find some of his music, it took seven years searching at used record stores and record conventions before I found any Robbie Basho records and when I finally found one I remember being mesmerized as I discovered that somebody was playing the sounds I had been hearing in my head over the years so that opened another door for me to explore American Primitive style which I truly love.

I had stuck strictly to acoustic for about 11 yrs, I now play both acoustic and electric but I give the edge to the acoustic. Im 55, have been playing for 44 yrs and have enjoyed every minute of it.
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  #20  
Old 03-18-2023, 09:38 AM
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From the time I was a tiny kid, I was fascinated and in love with the sound of a strummed acoustic guitar ringing out. I remember my (MUCH) older sister having parties and someone always had an acoustic guitar. I'd sit there enthralled listening all night, or until my folks made me go to bed. Then in Sunday school, we'd have folk song circles and someone always played an acoustic guitar. In high school, I got waaaaay into listening to electric music, but the straw that broke the camel's back was the first time I saw the Grateful Dead in 1977. I just HAD to learn how to do that, or some lame approximation. So I bought a cheap (and horribly, awfully, no good very bad) acoustic guitar at a pawnshop for $60. And set about learning to play. After about a year, I knew I was in it for good and bought a much better acoustic and an electric and amp. From age 18 to about 28 I played a ton, more electric than acoustic - I played out a LOT, in jam sessions, duos, pick up bands for special occasions, etc. Almost always electric, although I think I played a bit of acoustic at some of our duo gigs.

Then I took 30 years almost completely off, just too busy to do it right between career and family demands which were more important at that time. Then about six years ago I got waaaaaay back into it, still a mix of electric and acoustic, but since my playing is largely on my own in a music (converted bedroom) room at home, I've naturally gravitated to playing a lot more acoustic and only playing electric either with a looper or when I'm recording stuff for fun - I love playing electric lead over acoustic rhythm on a lot of my recordings.

I'm sure I've writing basically this same thing half a dozen times in the 5-6 years I've been active on this (and other) forums. But it's been a lifetime of musical enjoyment, with a long period of interruption, and I don't see myself stopping until I can't play any longer. I can’t realistically pursue most of the athletic endeavors from youth and middle age anymore. But until my mind or fingers stop working almost completely, I should be able to play and sing at my hacker's level and keep loving every minute of it...

-Ray
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Last edited by raysachs; 03-24-2023 at 02:53 AM.
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  #21  
Old 03-18-2023, 09:41 AM
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Music involvement started early on and I played trombone for 9 years (symphonies, jazz bands, concert bands, etc.) which I think ultimately grounded me for when my guitar journey started in my first year in college.

My "lightening strike" moment came one night in a darkened college lounge where I heard a "record" playing of very nice guitar music off in the background and around a corner of that room. Some time later, I realized it was actually someone live in the room playing! That started it all.....had to learn this. In those days, many guys in the dorm playing and we all learned.

Within a few months, I found myself playing with a "group".....had never sung and played.....but my bandmates had all come from bands in their high school years.......The "group" became The Sandy Hill Exchange" two guys with guitars/vocals, a female lead singer and a big stand up bass. Very Peter, Paul and Mary look......but our music had a bit more of an edge.

What followed was truly extraordinary in that we grew and played in all kinds of venues.....rallies, coffee houses, college campuses. Worked on covers and then our own music and arrangements. It was fun, serious, and for a few of us a life changing experience filled with memories over a 3 year period. So I learned on the "fly" and played catch up, practicing 5-6 hours a day. Did a "demo" record, met with producers, had a manager.....and toward he end of our time, reached our "top" with opening for the Sha Na Na
in the spring of our final year.

As with so many...life cut in and I brought family and work into place for many years after....still playing a little here and there to try and preserve the callouses! I still enjoy listening to our group as we have a record and a tape of our set that opened for the Sha Na Na and I have it on my computer now for the occasional listen.

As retirement approached, I once again began to concentrate and that has evolved into today's material which is original instrumentals in various tunings. Always loved those, and even back in the day, was playing a few pieces in altered tunings.
the journey this time around has led to 5 CD's of my music and now more of a presence on digital platforms in the last 10 or 12 years.

For me, the pathway is pretty set.....I'm continuing to try and bring more "stuff" each year to add in. Every once in a while I'll "play out" for a wedding or occasion, so that keeps things interesting too!

Oh, and first song? "Stew Ball" ....fall of '66!!! And an old promo pic of our group:

[IMG][/IMG]
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Last edited by islandguitar; 03-18-2023 at 09:57 AM.
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  #22  
Old 03-18-2023, 09:54 AM
Monty Christo Monty Christo is offline
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I came of age in the 70s, so my influences were rock, punk, new wave, and college radio. I played electric guitar from ages 12 to 35, but went almost fully acoustic when my last band broke up in 1995.

I still use an electric for recording leads, and I play a lot of other instruments, as well (tenor sax, pedal steel, bass, keys).

Today I'm mostly a songwriter, and I most consistently find my musical inspiration in an acoustic guitar, so that's the tool I reach for nine times out of ten.
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  #23  
Old 03-18-2023, 10:15 AM
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I remember very well what inspired me to pick up a guitar. Around 1971 my then girlfriend (now my wife) and I went to a Gordon Lightfoot concert in Portland OR, back in the day when Red Shea was playing with him. Soon after I bought a 12-string. Several years of playing later, family and job responsibilities appeared and my guitar, a different one by then, went into the closet. Started playing again after I retired.
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  #24  
Old 03-18-2023, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yair Matayev View Post
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 let's share our stories and inspire each other in our pursuit of musical growth and enjoyment! Looking forward to reading your responses!
Sharing is a two way street. What is your journey ?
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  #25  
Old 03-18-2023, 10:30 AM
guitargabor guitargabor is offline
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My musical journey began went I was granted the opportunity to take piano lessons at the age of 10.

For a couple of years, I practiced at the neighbors before my parents bought our first piano.

My grandmother, wishing to further stimulate my musical education, bought me one of those "no name" laminate guitars.It was a torture trying to learn simple chords due to the extremely high action.

That factor, along with the lack of guitar teachers in our somewhat backward small city, cut short my aspirations of becoming a revered "folk" singer/guitarist.

In 1971, my college roommate taught me how to correctly form the standard "cowboy" chords.I still owned that "finger buster" guitar.With fully grown and stronger hands,I could finally accompany myself, as long as no B flat chord was in the song!

15 years later, I finally bought a decent instrument, one of those Yamaha imitations.Made in Taiwan,it was a clone of the Gibson Hummingbird.My wife still regrets that I traded it in.So do I!

In 1994 I bought a great Martin D-1, got serious and proceeded to undertake lessons.

After 10 years under the tutalage of my competent instructor, I gained enough confidence to attend Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace guitar camp.

During the past 15 years I have bought and sold more than a few Martins.

It seems to me, that once you get that "Martin" sound in your head you are doomed (in a good way...)

Although I'm not a virtuoso on the instrument by any means,I am able to perform out, compose my own songs ,arrangements, improvise, and just continue to enjoy the music...
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  #26  
Old 03-18-2023, 10:36 AM
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That was a fun read as I try to start the day. Like so many I started playing guitar at 11 after having played clarinet in the elementary school band, Im 76. I dont know why guitar but the magic of music has always been my muse. I never was a Beatles, Elvis, Beach Boys etc fan though I listened to them. I liked all kinds of music but came to the place that I knew somehow I was a musician but not having a lot of talent so I never took playing very seriously though I was in a variety of bands.
The big thing for me was hearing a guy in college playing fingerstyle. Ive been moving that direction ever since. Well Ive quit several times but then my best friend who played drums and bass said "Ive quit quitting" at least that was close to what he said. He has since passed and I miss him. We were in rival bands in high school, became friends then besties.
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Old 03-18-2023, 10:48 AM
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I started playing as a young elementary school student (don't remember which grade-maybe 3rd?) in the late 60's. My teacher said I was good" and a "quick learner" so I guess I took to it pretty well. Several years of lessons came and went and I played at things like student recitals and school events.
But my mom at some point decided I was going to be even better, and started demanding longer and longer daily practice minimums. Eventually I quit taking lessons over this. Even when my folks tried to convince me not to quit by offering to buy equipment that I wanted. I stubbornly dug in my heals, played the victim, and refused.

Some years would go buy at that point where I never (or at least VERY seldom picked up my guitar). Eventually I married, and always had my guitar (an Ovation that despite all this, I bought myself while in high school) in a closet.
Fast forward another number of years, and I'm working in Law Enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff. The stress of the job, the terrible things that I saw and experienced were doing a number in my head, and I ust wanted to quit. To give up.
One day, I picked up my guitar again. And it changed my life. It sounds melodramatic, but it might have saved my life. I got into musicians and music that I had never found before, found different tunings, and started to learn just for the joy of it.
Today, I play better than I ever have, know more about music than I ever have, and yet have absolutely zero desire to play in public. The guitar helped me in a deeply personal way, when I was in some pretty desperate times and I will be forever grateful.
Someday, I may play in public somehow, but at least for now, I'm not sad if I never do.
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  #28  
Old 03-18-2023, 11:35 AM
cedartop52 cedartop52 is offline
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The first couple of years (mid-60s) highlights were something like this: borrowed Stella guitar, House of the Rising Sun, Conrad 12-string, folk music, The Boxer, fingerpicking, Ovation Balladeer, Hendrix, Hagstrom Bass, garage band...and as the say, the rest is history.
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  #29  
Old 03-18-2023, 11:58 AM
stokes1971 stokes1971 is offline
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Started in '65 at ten yrs old. My dad finally gave in and bought me a guitar, an old used Harmony from the local music store, which was called "Harmony", probably cost $5 at the time.Warped neck made the action about a half inch at the 12th fret. No truss rod. Only strings they sold at the time were Black Diamond in "bridge cable" gauge, and only sold as singles. In about a week my calouses made my fingertips look 2x's as fat as my fingers. I dont know what made me keep trying but I used that guitar til about 1970. My dad played "cowboy chords" when I was young, on a Gibson archtop that was stolen by the time I was old enough to play. He taught me G-C-D and A-D-E and said that was all I'd need to know. I got hold of a Mel Bay book and a beatles song book and transcribed the notes in the songs to string/fret and put little notations over the staff like E/3, that is E string 3rd fret.In '70 I got a Sigma "by Martin" then I sold that and got an Ovation Balladeer. In '73 I sold that and got a 63 Tele and never touched an acoustic again til 2020 when I got a D'Angelico EX63. I had mangled my fretting hand in a motorcycle accident in 2013 and by '20 I decided it just wasnt going to get back to where I was, so I gave my electrics to my 2 sons and got the acoustic. Now I'm back to playing cowboy chords again, I guess life really does come full circle.
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Old 03-18-2023, 01:40 PM
Horseflesh Horseflesh is offline
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OK, you asked... Buckle up. This is long.

I have always loved listening to music, surely inspired by my mom, who was always listening to classic rock and classical music. We'd often go to the record store and pick out something new. She never played an instrument, though I know she valued the idea.

When I was a little kid, maybe 8, my mom tried to get me into guitar lessons. I can't remember much, but it just didn't take. I think the problem was the instructor was just drilling me on some kind of exercises. I don't remember any MUSIC in my guitar lessons. I dropped that quickly. I was too dumb then to know what I needed out of instruction, so I didn't ask for things to be different. There was my first missed opportunity.

Then in grade 5 or 6, for some reason I took up the trumpet in school band. I don't even remember how the idea of music came up again but I very clearly remember that I chose the trumpet because it had only 3 buttons. This seemed like a cheat code compared to the guitar!

I played trumped in school through grade 11 but in that time I dabbled in 2 other things.

In grade 8 I tried learning drums. Again, I hate to say it, but I didn't like the instructor. Lessons were mostly rhythmic dictation. He'd play some crazy paradiddle-doodly-doo riff and we had to write down the notation for it. I could read music... But I don't have a lot of talent, and rhythmic dictation was really hard. And it's all I remember us doing. I hated it. I quit after a couple of weeks.

In grade 10 I wanted to learn keys because I loved synth sounds, so I bought a Yamaha DX-100 and started taking lessons on it. These lessons went much better, but, again I quit after a few months. Somehow I wasn't getting something I wanted and I wasn't sure what it was.

Now, grade 11. I quit marching band at the end of the year because I was tired of all the extra work, and sweating in that goofy uniform. We didn't have anything like a jazz band or orchestra that might have kept my interest.

So there I am, 7 years of music experience... I knew how to read music well enough to sight-read and play trumpet. I wasn't a great player, but I was competent. (Our school's brass section actually won awards -- they brought in an outside brass coach.) I could hold drumsticks (traditional not matched grip please), and I could peck out some things on a piano.

But after 7 years across 3 school systems and multiple independent instructors, I didn't know one single thing about music theory. I didn't know what a chord was, or an interval, or why some keys had more sharps or flats. I didn't know why some notes were "right" and others were "wrong." I didn't even know that there was a system to music. I honestly thought it was some kind of magic, something only gifted people could create.

I didn't know anything about making music other than how to push the right buttons. They spent 7 years making me into a jukebox, not a musician. And so I got bored and quit music. There's my fourth missed opportunity.

Fast forward to about age 50. I'm now the kind of person who's always getting fascinated by some new thing and diving into a new hobby. I know myself better. I know how I learn and what interests me.

I remembered my disastrous music education, and I decided to figure music out. I had learned over the years that there WAS a system, that it might not be magic after all. And I like figuring out systems.

So, I got super interested in bass, and guitar. I spent most of a year teaching myself how to play bass, electric and acoustic. Then my wife and I--she can already sing--started working with a singing instructor. Then, with the same instructor, we switched from singing to guitar lessons. (My wife was interested in that because her dad played, and like me, she failed to take it up as a kid.)

All along I was studying theory. The system was becoming clear. This has been extremely rewarding. The day I learned the basics of chord progressions was incredible. Almost spiritual. What an epiphany! (And it's not complicated! You can write that down on one page and teach it to a kid! Why didn't anyone do that for me?!)

Today I think I have been taking acoustic lessons for less than a year, and frankly I frequently despair at my progress. The guitar is the hardest physical skill I have ever tried to learn. But that is a sob story for another post.

But I am sticking with it, and the system behind the music is making more sense all the time.

A few weeks ago, at my instructor's urging, I even wrote my first song. It's a pretty mundane affair laden with I IV and V chords. I'm no Paul McCartney. But it's ... pretty OK. And I was really pleased to create a melody, something I thought was actually impossible for me to do not so long ago.

My instructor (and my wife) are trying to get me to do it at an open mic. I don't know that I ever will. I am not a performer at heart and I am still a terrible player.

But even if never become a competent guitarist, I'm still having a lot of fun figuring out how music works.
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