Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota

A Brief Account Of Me And My Musical Journey

A Brief Account Of Me And My Musical Journey

I have been playing guitar since approximately late 1989. I've actually owned a guitar for longer than that but, really wasn't able to play much of anything with it.

I spent countless hours as a young boy playing air guitar to records down in our basement. We had an old hide-a-bed that I would unfold and that would be my stage. I made some replica guitars out of cardboard, and then eventually made a couple out of wood with rubber band strings. This allowed me to act out my fantasies of becoming a rock star. Deep down though, I really, really wanted to play a real guitar.

Me pretending to be Billy Gibbons

On my 15th birthday my mom took me to a local pawn shop and I picked out an acoustic guitar. It cost $40, and even in 1980s money that meant it was a piece of doo doo. I brought it home and messed with it for a while, then realized I didn't know how to play it. So I bought a Mel-Bay "how to play guitar" book, and discovered that just owning the book didn't make me suddenly know how to play it. So the guitar got stuck in the closet.

Occasionally I would pull the guitar out, mess with it for a few minutes, then realize that just storing a guitar in the closet doesn't cause a person to magically know how to play guitar. Rather than work and practice at it, I would just stick the guitar back in the closet.

About four years after that a friend of mine was looking to buy a guitar so he could learn how to play. I decided that I'd rather have a little bit of cash than a guitar collecting dust in the closet, so I sold it to him. I don't remember what I got for it, but I would speculate I probably at least recouped the original $40 purchase price.

Fast forward another year, and in a weird coincidence I had moved in with the guy to whom I sold the guitar. So now this guitar was sitting around the house. And my roommate didn't keep it in the closet, so it was always in view.

During that same time my younger brother had started playing drums in a band with some of his friends. So I would hang out during some of their practices and watch the guitarist. From actually seeing someone play I was able to pick up a few things. So back at home I picked up that acoustic guitar and started messing around with it again.

Occasionally when the guitarist in my brother's band wasn't around I would pick up his electric guitar and try and play. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it played compared to the old acoustic guitar I used to own. I realized that part of my problem (just part, though) was that first guitar my mom bought for me was extremely difficult to play, and it wasn't doing me any favors.

So I decided to try and find a different guitar of my own that played a little easier. I went down to the old Sioux Falls Music store and started playing guitars in my price range. Having a low budget extremely narrowed my selection. I found a guitar that played pretty easy and had a really wide neck which made the fingering easier for my uncoordinated hands. Best of all it was only $30. I bought it. I had no idea until a couple months later that I had purchased a nylon string classical guitar. All I knew is that I could play chords on this guitar that I was unable to play on the old acoustic.

I continued playing that classical guitar for several more months until I saved up some money and went another pawn shop and purchased an electric guitar and an amplifier. The guitar was a blue crackle-finished Series 10, and the amplifier was a solid state KMD combo. Both of them were beyond awful, and I hate to say it but the guy at the pawn shop saw me coming a mile away. He charged me way more money than these objects were worth. But I was gung-ho to get an electric guitar and this got me going.

A couple weeks later I found myself having to unexpectedly move out on my own, my heart ripped to shreds from a failed relationship and making some rather poor life choices. I needed to make some changes. My guitar became the instrument (pun somewhat intended) of change that helped me through this period of my life.

I was working the 2:30 PM to 11 PM shift at the time. I would come home to an empty apartment after work and play for four or five hours until I got so tired I had to go to bed. When I got up in the morning I would play until I had to go to work. I channeled all of my energy into becoming better and better at my instrument.

After I'd been playing a couple of months I joined a band, then a few weeks later got kicked out because I wasn't good enough. I didn't let that deter me, and six months later the same guys couldn't believe how much progress I'd made and asked me to re-join their band. That particular group never amounted to anything, but it was nice to be wanted.

So that's how my guitar journey started. Prior to picking up guitar, I had played piano for most of my life (self taught.) Since I learned guitar, I've also figured out how to play a little of quite a few other instruments and sing, but admittedly I do none of them overly well.

Because God has a sense of humor, I have been the music leader at two churches for more than 20 years. I've also played in several bands that went absolutely nowhere (haven't we all.) Probably my biggest claim to musical fame was showing up for a concert (that I thought was just going to be a rehearsal) wearing only my boxer shorts. That incident still gets brought up from time to time.

There are now far too many musical memories and milestones for me to list all of them.

Years ago in high school when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life (not that I ever did) I took one of those job-skill aptitude tests where you do a bunch of manual dexterity stuff, answer a bunch of questions about your likes and dislikes, and the computer spits out what job fits you best. I remember sitting in the counselor's office as he went over the results of my test. At the top of the list was "musical instrument repair person". I can remember the counselor's response after reading this outcome: "Well, you'll never make any money doing that. Hey, how about becoming an electrician?"

Well, about fifteen years after started playing guitar seriously I took the plunge and melded my woodworking abilities with my interest in music and started making the instruments you see on this web site. By God's grace, I hope to be making instruments and playing music for many, many years to come.

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This page last updated on 06/28/2018