Hello from the first Garden City!

Hi, I’m Nic.

I am 63 years old. When I was young, I played piano to a pretty high standard, I could even manage to play most of the notes in some very challenging pieces in approximately the right order.

Like so many of my generation I picked up a guitar for the first time in the late 1970’s to form a punk band with some friends. It was a no name SG copy bought in Woolworths, action was as high as Ben Nevis, and it had shocking neck dive. I got as far as being able to thrash a few chords badly (learned from a book). We spent far more time in acrimonious disputes over what we would call ourselves than learning to play together and inevitably after two chaotic public performances the band disintegrated. Lots of fun, and very Punk!

Shortly after this, I broke three fingers of my left hand in a Rugger injury. This brought any music making to an abrupt end for a fairly protracted period as even after the bones had knit it took several months before I was pain free enough to consider playing anything, and during that time I had lost a lot of strength and flexibility. To be honest, not playing the guitar was almost a relief. The first time I sat back at a piano I realised what a massive mountain I had to climb to get back to where I had been 4 months earlier and, in one of the few decisions in my life that I truly regret, I gave that up as well.

Music has always been really important in my life, I have very broad tastes ranging rom Palestrina to the Sex Pistols. About 5 years ago, freed from family responsibilities as my stepson was old enough to leave alone without much fear of him burning the house down, my wife and I discovered a shared passion for Trance music through which we have made many lovely memories together, and a wonderful circle of friends from all over the world. It seemed perfectly reasonable at the age of almost 60 to buy some decks and learn to DJ.

To my surprise, half-remembered music theory from 4 decades ago, (most importantly an understanding of the structure of a song and the circle of fifths), the ability to count to 4, and the amazing technology built into modern DJ kit, meant that this was nowhere near as challenging as I was expecting, and I fairly quickly got to a point where I was able to play in public without disgracing myself. I have no illusions of ever headlining at Ministry but it certainly feels good to have a roomful of people leaping around to tunes you have chosen and being able to blend seamlessly from one song to the next.

To cut an already too long introduction short, I needed a new challenge. The fact that I am posting this here should tell you what that challenge is!

I stumbled on Justin via a YouTube video about beginner kit, had a look at some of the lessons on the website even before I had an instrument and liked the combination of his relaxed teaching style and the clear and logical structure of the course.

I now am using the app as well as the website, and have slowly made my way to module 4 of grade 1. At times I am struggling to even find 30 minutes to be able to practice daily due to other life commitments, the fingers that I broke so long ago are complaining about the unaccustomed work, but I am slowly getting the chords into muscle memory to the extent that I have been able to play a few simple songs. My chord changes are still a bit slow and tentative, but I am finding strumming far easier that Justin led me to expect. Combining the two to actually play a song goes Ok for the first few bars and then breaks down into chaos as brain, right hand, and left fingers get overloaded and stop talking to each other. I am loving the challenge, and am celebrating each tiny bit of progress.


Hi Nic,
Welcome aboard.
If your battered fingers will put up with the abuse, you sound like you are going to be a natural.

Just finished watching Danny Boyle’s Pistol so I can visualize well :rofl:
Look forward to following how you get on.

Glad to see you ‘keeping it clean’ :rofl:


Lovely introduction, Nic, and we don’t judge length, long or short. Lots of music in your life so far and sure you will find joy in the guitar as you progress.


I was very fortunate to have a Saturday job for a while at Viv’s shop, so I was at the periphery of the centre of the scene if that makes sense. Pistol is a pretty good depiction of how it felt back then, although many of the portrayals didn’t tally with how I remember the people.

In showing that the early scene was fuelled by consumption of alcohol and amphetamines, it completely fails to show the heroic abuse of these that actually took place!


Hello Nic and welcome to the community. :slight_smile:

Nice that you were able to remember the theory to things. The brain is such a sponge when we are younger, oh how I miss it.

Justin will have you belting tunes out before you know it.


Hi Nic,
Nice Intro,
I wish you all the fun possible with the guitar …and wife of course :sunglasses:


Hi NIc,
Welcome to the community. This is probably the best place on the Internet to learn guitar. May you find the journey rewarding and fruitful.

There’s a few of us here who have lived close to where you do. For my part, I grew up in Knebworth and went to school in Stevenage.




I was a teenager in Switzerland at the time, so I felt like I was filling in a lot of missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They could have just as well called it: Chrissie Hynde, the early years, as she was a central figure in all episodes :wink:
Nice to see Poly Styrene acknowledged. Loved X-Ray Spex.

Well there was the Black Beauties scene-
I must say, the thought did cross my mind whether I too, might be able ‘accelerate’ my guitar learning :rofl:


Hi Nic and welcome! Celebrate away, every step of progress is a good one :+1:


Chrissie seemed like a lovely person when I met her. She was nowhere near as central to events as Pistol would suggest.

I can report that “accelerated learning” certainly didn’t work for me :wink: indeed, it made my piano playing far more sloppy.


Haha, I kinda guessed that on both fronts :rofl:


What an amazing story. It has been so many years since I thought about Woolworth’s and had no idea they sold guitars lol. early 1980’s maybe? It sounds like you have that music theory built into the memory bank, which translates to playing any type of instrument. I stumbled upon Justin guitar a couple years ago and found his lessons and technique to be amazing. He has a lot of critical thinking/psychology type of videos too that will make you a better performer and improve your use of practice time. I find them fascinating. Take it as slow as you need to to master each technique. You sound like you are already well on your way. We are here to cheer you on to success!

Jeff from California


Woolies only sold guitars for a short while as far as I know. I bought mine in late 1975. It came with a gig bag that was made of some sort of leatherette that ripped like tissue paper after about a week, a couple of really heavy picks, a pitch pipe, and a teach yourself guitar book. I cannot overstate just how terrible it was.

The music theory is buried fairly deep in my memory banks. A lot of the specifics have faded, but I remember a lot of the underlying principles.

When I was teaching myself to DJ, I was very dissatisfied with my mixing until I realised how much better it sounds to me when the two tracks are in a related key. The decks can help you by analysing the tunes with the option of either the “proper” notation or Camelot notation which I hate. I printed out the circle of fifths and stuck it on the wall behind the decks and it all came flooding back to me. Hopefully the rest will return as I come to need it!

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