Wanted to try this out to see who bites. I know @salUTE likes to jam and I’m sure a few others here can join in on the fun.
I purchased a set of D’Addario coated .11 XS strings today from Acoustic Music (one of the best places to go IMO) for my Gibson 00-G, which has been a great guitar. I used Elixir strings for years until I bought into the XS’s. I hate changing strings but am getting into the habit of it. I play only acoustic but at some point I’ll get an electric set up again. In the past I’ve played Fenders because I love the single coil sound and I think a new Tele is in my sights.
The past two years have been a lot of fun for me as far as songwriting goes, and last year I played a few solo shows. Being a bedroom guitarist for the majority of my playing career it was quite a step up to play my work in front of people. My goal is always to write a song/idea a day with the logic being that eventually I’ll come up with a few good tunes. I learned that approach from Sting.
I started playing guitar when I was 14 and then quickly transitioned to bass to play in a band in high school. When I played bass I used a Fender J and a MM Stingray with an Ampeg cab. When I turned 18 I realized that I wanted to explore composition so for the majority of the past 16 years I’ve been mainly been a guitarist.
Music is fun, and writing is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I’ve worked a ton on my voice and now feel pretty comfortable singing. I’m hoping to play a few shows this year to get over the performance jitters. My ultimate goal is to record an EP or an album of original work. I’m curious to see if anyone else here enjoys trying to write songs or just loves playing music in general.
I have played piano/keyboard for, well, almost 40 years. But it’s all be sight-reading (reading the music). Got pretty advanced and won a few competitions way back in HS. But it’s always some composer’s music. Now I just play casually for enjoyment, stress relief, and play the organ at church several times a quarter and perform something on the piano about once a quarter or accompany people.
I was taught/trained growing up by an old lady (she just passed away a few years ago at 105!) who was married to a world class tenor who passed away but they always believed in affordable music education (if you practiced!) so me and my 4 sisters took from her for about a 25 year period. I didn’t appreciate her background enough.
I have had thoughts of learning to play more free-style, chord based, but it’s a totally different world. I also have sung some and do ok, singing and playing a little bit. I wish I could ad-lib and knew more theory about composition, but hasn’t been a high priority for me. I do occasionally have dreams where I’m riffing away and it’s glorious.
My daughter taught herself guitar in the summer of 2020 (not the same ring as summer of '69) after learning some basic ukelele the prior year at a summer camp. She’s pretty good and writes most of her own songs and words (mostly teen angst, teen love, but usually a little darker than swift haha). It’s been good therapy for mental health struggles. She tried teaching me a couple of chords but I’ve never dedicated time to learn more or practice. My dad can play a few tunes on the guitar and loved that when he would pull it out to play.
I was blessed with a good ear (thanks, Mom) and have played piano, violin, ukelele, and guitar over the course of my life. At my best on piano I could play Funeral for a Friend all the way through by memory. Those days are long gone. In college I basically moved completely to guitar, not in the least because they’re much lighter than pianos.
Right now I have eight total guitars in the house; three electrics, four acoustics, and one bass. I’m playing almost every week at church, either in what we call, “The combo,” which is acoustic along with our amazing accompanist (I can’t believe how lucky I am to work with her), or our, “band,” which is more electric. It’s on YouTube. Sometimes we’re good, sometimes not.
Most of my playing these days is using these instruments:
*1994 Ibanez AW500 that I added a Fishman bridge pickup to in 2000
1998 Epiphone Sheraton II (it’s been neglected lately; I need to use it more as it’s a nice, versatile instrument)
2014 Fender Strat (Mexican build but I like it a lot)
And the best of the bunch
*1976 Les Paul Standard (I had the neck reworked last year and the guys at Guitar Czar were gushing over it. I did some research. One thing I found suggested there were only 26 of them that shipped from Kalamazoo that year. I bought it used for $600 in 1982. I think it’s worth a lot more now.)
I’ve sort of tied myself to Line6 amps just because they’re easy to program and use on stage. My big one is a 120W Spider III.
During COVID I took to covering some songs I liked, recording them, and putting them on FB. Did a couple with multiple parts using Acapella, but haven’t done it for three years. I couldn’t decide what song to play next. I’ve never written anything if my own. I copy well. I played in a band for 6 years. Some on this board have heard it. We might be doing a reunion.
Grew up in a musical family, but my grandfather was a pretty severe guy. He laid tile for a living but had a baby grand piano, played saxophone (tenor/alto) and clarinet and could read and write. So his attitude was “If you don’t want to learn scales and practice daily, dont touch the instruments.” So my brother and I became “Jocks” and my cousins took to the regiment. Two became professionals, one went to Berkely School of Music. Music pervaded ouir home; all of the time, classical, jazz, show tunes etc. with us kids contributing with all the modern music of the 6-'s and 70’s. Good times.
In my early 20’s, I started playing rhythm guitar. Not a prodigy, but could allways pick up the meter quickly. When I was living in outdoor education centers, there would allways be, like, 5 guitar players of various ability - which to me, sounded like a cacophony (3 guitars to many). So I started playing drums/percussion to fill the void and provide a backbeat. I discovered my sense of timing was innate, but of course… I never had chops. Bought a piano 30 years ago and finally learned those scales and some jazz junes in propper keys, but my careeer keeps me away from those 88’s… Hoping to pick up a decent accoustic for retirement.
I always loved homes that were stuffed with instruments. Loved hootinanies and seeing people play (all abilities). I think those that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s witnessed a cultural watershed and music imbued the times.
I’m always impressed with musical families. My mom really tried, but none of us had any interest, or really, any talent, but it was a good idea.
My wife’s family, though… WOW. One of the first times I went back for a family reunion, they decided to have a little music time. When they started hooking up the sound equipment, I knew this would be far more than my cousins playing pioneer songs on the piano and violin.
Sure enough, one of her nieces picked up the mic and started really singing. It was like a concert, she sounded just like Aretha Franklin. My wife and her sister joined in as backup singers.
I was blown away. This was very far from my clown brother with the $20 mini-megaphone singing jailbait songs for a giggle. This was serious music. Piano, keyboard, I don’t think there were drums or bass, but that might have been the only things missing.
So, a legit salute to Steggy, salUTE, Data, Hoop and Absolute, and everyone who makes a sincere effort to make music. You have my admiration.
With respect to music in general, and its benefits to life, here’s a fascinating story that was in last month’s AARP Magazine on how music therapy can be used with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
I’m pushing the care center where my mom is to turn on her radio to KBYU every day (we’ve rigged it so it’s the only station, and my mother can’t see well enough any more to turn it on and off herself) since she still has her perfect pitch, has a music degree, and spent her life playing classical violin, piano, and church organ. I’m really hoping it can help.
RIP Peter Schickele, the funniest classical musician in history. I’ll never forget him arriving late to his performance with the Utah Symphony after being distracted by a trip into the Kit Kat Club and swinging from the balcony to the stage on a rope. He was a genius. He passed away yesterday at age 88.
My neighbors growing up were from a very musical extended family. Several members were in various bands and a couple also appeared as regulars on a variety show in Canada. Their annual reunions featured a closing day “Jamboree” which was basically a massive music festival with dozens of acts performing for not only the family but neighbors were often invited as well. It was a lot of fun to get to go to the Jamboree a couple of times.