Three Chords and the Truth
When I was a wee child, I used to love sneaking out of bed around eleven-o-clock at night. You see, my dad would just have gotten off work and had his dinner, and my mom would already be in bed. I would climb onto the couch, and my dad would look over at me and give a fake frown. Then a sly smile would cross his face and I'd scooch closer. With the glow of the tv flickering in the background, we'd talk about things, like the lizard I caught in the garden, the cupcakes we had in class, the crazy little dog that barked at me every day on the way to school. You know, all the important things in the world.
Some days this was the only time we'd have together.
Then one night, there was this guy on tv. He had a guitar. This man, he did things with that guitar that no one had ever done before. He rocked, he wailed, he made that ax scream. And he did it all with the guitar upside-down! I was mesmerized. Of course, I'm talking about the legendary Jimi Hendrix.
From that moment on, I wanted to play guitar like Jimi.
With all the excitement my little kid self could muster, I told my dad this and he smiled and told me that there was only one person who could play like that, and that was Jimi himself. But he took my meaning. That Saturday, my mom took me around to all the garage sales in the neighborhood until we found a toy guitar that my small hands could handle.
I tried to pretend I was playing like Jimi. I even turned one of my mom's scarves into a bandana. But to be honest, the guitar sounded horrible and I knew it.
The plastic strings were never in tune and when I tried to wail, it sounded like a bunch of hungry cats yowling at the sound of an electric can opener. The experience was discouraging, to say the least. We moved soon after that, and my interest in playing guitar took a necessary backseat to other things, like a new school and neighborhood.
Then, about two years later, I went to a friend's house where his older brother was practicing on an old, beat-up Fender. He was just running scales and noodling, but I watched closely as his fingers danced across the fretboard. When he finished, he actually let me hold it and showed me a few chords. I could sort of reach and it felt so good to strum and have an actual pleasant sound come out. That was all it took for the fire to be lit again.
I begged my parents for a real guitar.
After lots of negotiating and promises, we made a deal. I spent the next six months doing odd jobs until I had enough to contribute my share. My first guitar, a neglected Harmony electric from the pawn shop, came with a tweed case, a tiny tube amp and a coat of dust. I was in heaven. I tuned it with the included pitch pipe, strummed the one chord I was sure of, and I haven't stopped playing since.
The thing is, if my only experience had ever been that toy guitar, I might never have gone further. Years of great playing and great friends missed. Today there are far better options for new players than there were so many years ago, and still, 90% of people who take up guitar quit within their first year.
This website isn't only for newbies, but my goal is to see as many people as possible, from all walks of life, learn and enjoy the guitar. No matter what style you want to play, we'll discuss the gear that's right for you.
But I promise, there will be plenty here for players of every level. We'll look at all sorts of guitars and gear, discuss philosophy and playing styles, and debate the greatest guitarists of all time.
You know, all the important things in the world.