Guitar

Note: I actually did this write-up as a way of explaining to a prospective guitar instructor what he would be getting into with me, but thought others might find it useful as well!

Background: I first took guitar lessons when I signed up for group guitar lessons in summer school at Appalachian State University. Since not enough people signed up for them to offer the class the instructor signed me up for individual classical guitar lessons. Not really knowing what classical guitar was or having sense enough to ask I went along, hoping I could learn something. I really only wanted to learn a few chords so I could play and sing some Bruce Springsteen and REO Speedwagon songs. Over the years I took a few more lessons from friends and teachers and acquired an electric guitar and a “six-string.” I eventually returned to the nylon string because I enjoyed the sound and, for lack of a better word, the intimacy of the instrument. I have had the bad tendency of concentrating on the instrument for six months or so and then abandoning it for years at a time, so am perpetually “beginning again.” I would like to not only develop my skills but find some regular performance outlets that would help me continue with my playing.

Goals: As the world’s most experienced beginner my goals are to become a little better at playing the nylon string guitar, primarily to accompany my own vocal performances and to play easier classical pieces. I also want to become better at transcribing music, primarily religious music. I would also like to see if I can learn to create guitar versions of songs from recordings. I have basic music reading abilities but my knowledge of music theory is very limited. I no longer dream of being some guitar whiz, but would like to become a more solid basic performer, and increase my knowledge of chords and techniques. I would also like to learn proper strumming technique on the steel-string acoustic and to begin to learn about finger-style guitar on that as well. Additionally I have found a local venue, (grocery store/landscaping supply place, actually) where people (mostly old men, I did not feel out of place) get together regularly and jam. I would like to be able to take part in this in the future.

Equipment: I own two Yamaha Classical guitars which are both about 30 years old. I bought one of them new when I took my first lessons and bought the second used on eBay as a backup. They both have beautiful tones and I don’t know which one I like better. I also have a very inexpensive classical guitar which I lovingly refer to as my “beater” guitar. I purchased it to have one I could leave at work or take outside to play or take camping and not have to worry about a few drops of rain, scratches, or worse happening to it. I actually adjusted the action on it myself. It doesn’t sound great, but I like playing it sometimes and it serves it’s purpose. I also own an Alvarez steel string which I occasionally fool around with and a 1981 Stratocaster which I would like to sell.

Guitarist I enjoy, admire and am amazed by: Phil Keaggy, William Kanengiser, Ace Frehley, Edward Van Halen, Mark Knopfler, Keith Richards, Sam Frazier, Julian Bream, among others. Also, anyone who has a beautiful tone and plays musically.