Have you ever thought why you persisted with playing guitar when so many others just gave up?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Philo426, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. Number1207

    Number1207 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    66
    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2019
    Location:
    London UK
    First guitar was a Columbus SG copy from Woolworths in West London. Got it with a very cheap amp (can't remember the make). The whole ensemble cost £30.(30 quid). It was dark brown with a black pick guard and looked mean as hell in my bedroom mirror. My older brother had just bought the Aftermath album by the Stones, and was also playing 'Not Fade Away' repeatedly on his Dansette in the attic. I was 12 years and thinking 'I'm going to have a piece of that' and proceeded to drive the family mad by loudly attempting to play some of the tracks on that album, whilst also trying to sound like Jagger on vocals. The rest is history. After 54 more years of playing, it is still mainly Blues and Rand B, now in my Ron Kirn S type (Number 1207).One day, I hope to finally get the hang of this thing!
     
    BuddyHollywood and Archtops like this.
  2. Davey76

    Davey76 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    45
    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2020
    Location:
    Australia
    That very thing has gotten us all this far without quitting. Ignorance really is bliss.
     
    BuddyHollywood, duzie and Archtops like this.
  3. metrokosmiko

    metrokosmiko Strat-Talker

    Age:
    32
    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2020
    Location:
    Lima, Perú
    When I was a child (no more than 8yo) I had this toy electric guitar and I put my Aerosmith tape on and played / imagined I was a rockstar.

    I picked up guitar at 13 (2003) and immediately formed a band with schoolmates.

    In 2008 I started gigging. Then I was in a somewhat important local band for 10 years and even toured other countries. We played our farewell show to 600 people and everybody was crying.

    Now I'm stuck in the pandemic putting songs together for my new project.

    If this sounds like the story of me making music, and not playing guitar, it's because that's what it is about for me. The feeling that I have an obligation to make a great record or tour again is something that never ceases to haunt me. It's more important than everything else in my life and if I fail at it, it means I failed at everything. I have other achievements including my career which I care nothing about.
     
    BuddyHollywood and Archtops like this.
  4. Tremoluxer

    Tremoluxer Strat-Talker Gold Supporting Member

    Age:
    69
    Messages:
    465
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2020
    Location:
    Ypsilanti, Michigan
    I was sick and tired of my parents telling me what I should or shouldn't do with my life. Playing the guitar was the only activity I was motivated to stick with, and had the added bonus of bugging my mom and dad to no end.

    One day after he got home from work, my dad sticks his head in my room while I'm playing my guitar.

    Dad: Is that all you're ever going to do; play that damn guitar?

    Me: Yup. Pretty much.
     
    Archtops likes this.
  5. Falstaff50

    Falstaff50 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    61
    Messages:
    166
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2017
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I am one of seven siblings and the only one that plays an instrument. My mom played some piano, by ear, and she learned from her mom who also played by ear. I didn't start guitar till I was 19 and had moved from Tucson AZ to a small town in western South Carolina where my parents had retired to (all my siblings save one were born in SC, me included).

    I have always loved music, played in HS band for a while and sang in the chorus at school. There was a family there in SC that my parents knew that I ended up becoming close friends with. All their 5 kids played one instrument or another and the father was an incredible guitar player. Funny thing is, he only had his left hand. His right had been cut off in his 20s in a work accident. The Dr had told him to learn guitar to strengthen his left hand as it had to do the work for 2 from then on.

    He was in his late 50s when I met him and he used one of those hooks that could be opened by a strap that went around his right shoulder and as he pulled on it with his right elbow it opened the spring loaded hook. That is how he held the pick. He used thick felt picks like bass players use sometimes. He played so well that I saw professional players shake their heads at his ability (I've often thought they should make a movie about his life). He could play it all. Rock, Country and Jazz. Anyway he taught me the basics as I was always their house as I was close friends with his youngest, piano playing son and had expressed an interest in learning. Even went with me to pick out my first guitar.

    I learned enough to play with a couple bands but always as the rhythm guitar playing singer. Never got beyond weddings and small clubs and parties. Got married at 28 and not my wife thing so I kind of gave it up for years off and on. Forced retirement for health reasons got me interested in playing again but have always had a guitar around.

    My teacher didn't know how to sight read and taught me to find songs I loved and learn those. You pick up what you need as time goes by. I think that may be key to learning. Otherwise you won't enjoy it.

     
    Archtops likes this.
  6. Archtops

    Archtops Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    427
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2021
    Location:
    SoCal
    Maybe it’s my age but some of these posts brought a tear to my eyes. I can relate to almost all of these shared experiences.
    My first guitar was a Martin acoustic that my mom got from a neighbor. I used to strum that guitar without playing any chords. I just opened strummed it. I loved the sound that each open string made and was hooked for life.
    My first electric guitar was a Gibson Special in 1963, which I quickly returned for a new 1963 Gibson Firebird. I can still feel & hear that guitar in my hands & head today. Although many years long gone.
    By 1969 I bought my first 12-string guitar. A Martin D-12 20. I loved playing chords on that guitar. So rich and beautiful sounding.
    Most of the following years I was an acoustic player and didn’t really play an electric guitar much. Until 1990.
    I bought a Jackson Stealth professional and started to learn how to shred. I loved the power of the Jackson and have since added a number of electric guitars along the way. I do still have the Jackson and can’t believe it’s 30 years old this year.
    (Wish I was lol!).
    That my friends is my story and I’m sticking with it. Now I’m going to go play my new Squier 50’s CV!
    6FF4EFF4-AE5A-4EB2-BB60-9B04A41006F6.jpeg
     
  7. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music.

    Messages:
    20,718
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Location:
    My house.
    I was under the impression I would be the worlds greatest guitar player. Women would fall at my feet. All the dudes in school who picked on me would beg my forgiveness. I'd be rich and famous.

    Hookers, blow......happily ever after.
     
  8. Mason Gordon

    Mason Gordon Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    69
    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    Location:
    Swansea
    Back in the day when I was about 6 years old a boy in the suburb where I lived had been bought a black Strat as compensation for having undergone some horrible operation, which had left his chest badly scarred. I was blown away by the fact that if you connected this thing of beauty into the mains power you could sound like The Who, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones; well at least that is what the 6-year-old me thought it was for; oblivious to the fact that none of the above used Stats. I was totally electric guitar smitten.

    Later in my early teens my mother bought me a catalogue acoustic, which had a pickup and came with a lead which I could plug into the family's radiogram; life was good, and I dreamed of a life on stage. An older friend of mine, who owned a blue Strat, a Selmer amp, and a van, had rented a church hall for us to practice in and at this point I was convinced that we were headed for rock’n’roll fame. We were going to be called the Larrytones; his name was Larry and mine was, and still is, Tony. However, shortly afterwards he got married and fathered a child, not necessarily in that order. My road to becoming a rock god ended up in a cul-de-sac. I blame it all on the blond hippie babe with the large, untethered breasts who gave birth to Larry’s daughter.


    Later at age 18 I bought a Les Paul copy, which I believed in my ignorance was indistinguishable from the real thing; it was plywood, but I thought it was the dog’s appendage banging out the Stones’ Satisfaction on it. Aged 21 marriage and a mortgage came along, and guitars and impending rock stardom did not seem to feature in my life anymore, nor going to concerts and generally having fun living the full post-hippie sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle I had hoped for. Worse, sometime during those 5 wasted years of wedlock I lost the Les Paul copy and the cheap catalogue electro acoustic. I had money, a nice car, and a good job but no guitar, and a wife who did not share my values; she once told me that I could not play Zappa’s Zoot Allures in her company as it was obscene. The Torture Never Stops with background gasps and screams provided by Frank’s wife on that album seemed to cause my wife extreme distress.


    At age 27 I reasoned that the financially ruinous cost of divorce was in fact a bargain in exchange for liberation and sanity and although impoverished by my decision pretty soon I found a wonderful music loving lady who shared my free spirited and hedonistic view of life, and although she was not a Zappa fan, she had no problem with my love of the guitar genius that was Frank. She was a Roxy Music fan, as was I, and we both loved Donovan’s Cosmic Wheels, so we were always destined to be as one. Some many years later she bought us tickets to see Zappa Plays Zappa with Steve Vai at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the greatest concerts I have ever attended, and even though she wasn’t a Zappa fan she admitted she now understood my love of Frank.


    In the early to mid-80s, I managed to persuade a pawn shop owner I had befriended in Cardiff to let me buy a real Gibson “The Paul” together with a 100-watt HH Head and a Marshall 4x12 for the incredible sum of £120.00, which I paid off at the rate of £20 a week; yes, in the mid-80s you could buy stuff like that in pawn shops that cheap; I loved that guitar.


    Now over 30 years later, no longer impoverished and still with the same music loving lady I now have several Gibsons, Strats, Teles, a beautiful PRS Custom 24 and a Steve Vai Jem. I no longer have the “The Paul” having part exchanged it for my first real Les Paul, a Joe Perry Signature in black burst; I still miss that guitar to this day. I am still a totally crap guitarist but since I gave up pretty much all illegal recreational highs my favourite drug is taken at least once a day through my Mesa Boogie; life is good
     
  9. jblue

    jblue Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    62
    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2019
    Location:
    NY
    Like many, I LOVED music. In the 80's I could name almost any Rock song in about four notes or less. From Zep to Floyd to Boston, T Rex, Robin Trower, Credence...and on and on. (remember Bachman Turner Overdrive? omg)

    I moved in with my gf in '83 and a we rented a room to a guy who played guitar. I don't remember the impetus behind buying my first electric (I had an '81 Yamaha acoustic that I bought while in Japan-still have it) I remember going to 48th st in NYC with my wife and "Frank" in a tiny Toyota pickup truck (had the directional lights on top of the fenders). I knew nothing about guitars, but my final choice came down to a '59 LP junior (unfortunately "upgraded" to a special via an added p/u-but it still kicked ass!) and a Flying V. I picked the one born the same year as me (that's how little I knew-lol) On the ride home (2 hrs) it began to rain. I said, "Frank, I can't let this guitar sit in the rain." He said, "I understand" and switched places; rode all the way home in the back. Some time later I bought an '81 Marshall JMP 50 combo. And the rest as they say... We played the living bejezzus out of that guitar. To this day, the combo of that guitar and amp makes me sweat (yes-I still have them both also).

    Kids, house, business ownership came at 25 and didn't let up. My gear spent too much time under the bed. I began to play again around five years ago, and with the help of the internet, I've learned so much more. THAT is the key for me. No matter what I learn, there's always more. Another song, another scale, another riff, another achievement. It took me four months to become half-way proficient at the into to "I know a little". To think that Gaines wrote that before he was 28 blows me away and shows me there is no end to what there is to learn. Each little lick spurs me on to the next.

    That same friend, Frank, gave me tickets to a college concert in '84 that he wasn't able to make it to. Some guy named Stevie Ray Vaughn. I'd heard his songs on the radio, but was unimpressed by the polish of his studio songs. I sat in the fourth row and was. Completely. Blown. Away. I literally got shivers listening to him. The hook was set deep.

    I now have a relatively impressive collection of gear and do my best to be worthy of it. I have never played before an audience, but it is on my bucked list.
     
    Scott Baxendale and Archtops like this.
  10. Axeman826

    Axeman826 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    63
    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Location:
    Far Rockaway, New York
    As @Bob the builder said, "It's in ya, or it aint".. Myself, I always enjoyed a challenge, even as a kid, so the challenge of guitar at age 16 was right up my alley!!.. I also wanted to be a rock star and bang ALL the girls!!.. Well after awhile, it dawned on me, I wasn't going to do either of those things, but by then, I had developed an intense love of the guitar, to the point that I told the girl, that later became my first wife, she would have to settle for a back seat to my guitar.. She stayed the course, even bought me a cheap SG copy, we got married, had a few kids, and got divorced, BUT there has ALWAYS been a guitar by myside, in arms reach or available to me... I remember I used to carry a Univox Mosrite copy, in a Pan-Am tote bag, to practice and even gigs.. Today, with my current wife, who bought me my very first Ibanez, I am the proud owner of over 20 various kit, modded and revamped guitars... It's just "in me"...
     
  11. brashboy

    brashboy Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2013
    Location:
    Florida
    Great OP. But the question that really absorbs me is why after decades of playing, I remain so mediocre...
     
    Scott Baxendale and Esg877 like this.
  12. beeflin

    beeflin Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    64
    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    Totnes, England
    I just somehow started identifying myself as a guitarist and musician. I'm not sure, but it may have been because I wrote some songs I liked.
     
  13. Frankencaster

    Frankencaster New Member!

    Age:
    43
    Messages:
    8
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2021
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Nope, never thought about it. I have been playing since I could get my grubby little paws on one. Parents finally got me a Parts-o-caster that was decent (not great) one Christmas for about 60 bucks when I was 13. Since then, never thought about why or how, or if I'd be going anywhere as a musician. Been in bands and out of them. Went from that guitar and my first Peavey Rage to having a good job, 5 expensive amps at a time, to being so broke that I just had a guitar and a cheap practice amp, and back to having a good amount of guitars and gear. But I've always had something.

    When I was a little kid, my grandfather used to play old Buddy Holley, Bobby Fuller, Del Shannon, Elvis, Buck Owens, Tex Ritter, and so on, on this old Sears & Roebuck Model 319 while he sang along. Meanwhile my uncle (his son) had an old electric of some kind (a honky old knock off that looked like something between a strat and a Firebird) that he played through a tuck and roll amp. When I was maybe 6 or 7, my uncle showed me Smoke on the Water and Crimson and Clover. And I don't know, it's just a bug that bit me. There was always music in my house. My mom grew up listening to all kinds of records (from Alice Cooper and KISS to the Carpenters, Paul Simon, and Cat Stevens). My dad was more into outlaw country. I don't know, I guess I was just raised on guitar driven music.
     
  14. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    822
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    "The feeling that I have an obligation to make a great record or tour again is something that never ceases to haunt me." I know how you feel!
     
    metrokosmiko likes this.
  15. Esg877

    Esg877 Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    353
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Location:
    Brazil
    I started on my mother's nylon acoustic, a guitar that I still have and it's more than 80 years old. Almost a century. Plays like heaven.

    I was fortunate to grow up in an age of no internet and almost no good TV.

    I sat in my room with a little magazine of chords and little by little I was able to make and change chords, strum and sing along. I was becoming a real magician. I never even considered quiting. Quit to do what instead? I could take breaks whenever I wanted to read, play soccer, go surfing, chase girls, and be with friends. No need to quit.

    One day I had this strange dream. I knew I was dreaming, as often happens with me, but then I was playing guitar. The sound, nothing can describe it. I was in another dimesion and I knew it. I was not making music, I was making magic. I understood everything about why I play guitar, and why I love music. I saw in full glory the magic that I had before only glimpsed.

    I never thought why I never quit. I always wonder why doesn't everybody else see what I see, feel what I feel.

    I wonder why everybody else quits.
     
    Archtops and Bob the builder like this.
  16. billgwx

    billgwx Strat-Talker

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    309
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Location:
    Centereach NY
    Never mind others, I've often wondered why I persist with playing guitar when *I* feel like giving up!! :D It has its seasons, and outside of commitments already made I mostly just go with the flow. Usually some calamity brings proceedings to a halt, then some time passes by and I eventually wander into listening to music that inspires me to play, voila back in the saddle. After my father passed I wouldn't play at all for 6 months, then one spring day I just came back to it as if I'd never stopped and the break ended up being very beneficial, that year was probably my best as a player if not performer. Sort of same deal this past year with the pandemic, though that had other complicating factors since I didn't have a space to turn it up loud for a while, though I did stay somewhat involved through recording, playing bass on a blues record and playing on some songs for my band's latest release. Now I do have a space to turn it up, came back strong this spring and have already played one festival in Connecticut--great to be back out there again even if rust is flying everywhere :D
     
  17. Lonn

    Lonn Mod Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,137
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    Carmel Indiana
    Admin Post
    I've been involved with guitars for 20 years now and still can't play. Buying/selling/tinkering/repairing gives me enough enjoyment.
     
    skeen, Scott Baxendale, train and 2 others like this.
  18. Rickenbacker1953

    Rickenbacker1953 Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    65
    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2021
    Location:
    49457
    So you mean you get involved in side track stuff . I didn't start playing until I was 46 yrs old. I'd always desired to but my parents had simple means and many nights producing offspring .
    I guess I got lucky . I walked into a music store to just look around . The guy who waited on me was just in his early 20's . He was really a good player . He said to me learn on an electric . It's way easier . Then in a couple of years buy an acoustic if you want one.
    Shortly after that I met another great player who a struck up a friendship with . He taught me for a lot . Then the Internet came about and then Youtube videos . Today I'm pretty decent .
    But the way I was taught was playing songs by ear . I learned theory on my own . Probably because I was Older that came rather easy . So did barre Chords
    Practicing Scales and arpeggios etc seems to be how most learn and why most quit . Because it's boring . I learned to play and sing . While Only know the basic Chords all from the Low E at first .
    Today I practice scales but not really that often.
    I remembe when the guy teaching me taught me all of Secret Agent Man and Johnny be Goode . He told me if I could get over on these solos . Everything else would fall into place around them . He seems to have been right.
    Sadly He passed on a few years back . He was 63 when I met him . That was 20 years ago.
    I also tear guitars apart . Don't sell many anymore . Only because most of who I sold to were out of the USA. Today shipping is way to costly .
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
    BuddyHollywood and Archtops like this.
  19. Philo426

    Philo426 Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Messages:
    2,281
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2017
    Location:
    Struthers,ohio
    Wow!this sure is a popular thread with a lot of interesting answers.Glad I posted it up!
     
  20. mikhailwatt

    mikhailwatt Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    58
    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Location:
    Austin, Tejas
    Short answer - never considered giving up, ever.

    Unlike some, I didn't grow up in an especially musical family. My dad played trombone in high school and sometimes sang in church choir, that's about it.

    But my mom signed up for the Columbia record club in the late '60s - a new album would show up about once a month... she didn't bother sending back the ones she wasn't interested in, so I kind of took ownership... Tommy James & The Shondells (Crimson & Clover), the Doors first album, The Turtles, The Mamas & The Papas, etc... I wore those out. Later on I got a little 45 RPM record player and a friend of my dad who serviced juke boxes gave me a box full of old singles... a few old gems in there. I ate that stuff up, and constantly listened to AM pop radio, back when "Green Tambourine" and "Maggie May" were new...

    Took up trombone in elementary school for a couple years, but in 6th grade we got a hip new music teacher that played folk guitar - she offered a guitar class and I was all over that. Mom took me to the music shop and bought me a new classical guitar. Trombone faded away pretty quickly after that.

    In junior high I got the bug for an electric guitar - Ace Frehley and Led Zeppelin were on my radar by then, so mom bought me a new Memphis LP copy... veneer top, cheap pickups, bolt-on neck, probably terrible action, but it was cool. At some point I replaced the flatwounds that came on it with a set of Extra Slinkys. Of course I took it all apart to see what the guts were. Bought a little no-name solid-state amp from a friend's father. Also plugged into the aux input on my "quadraphonic stereo system" and cranked it into overdrive... hahaha. My poor mother's ears.

    Then I got an MXR Distortion+ and the mayhem really began. :)

    Fast forward a bit - my younger brother took up drums in junior high, and we decided to form a band... our supportive parents put up with a lot of racket from the basement...
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021