My journey is the result of a lifetime of guitar being a complete and total mystery. I am a piano player so music has always been in my life. I grew up with late 80s and the whole 90s era music, but love all the way back to 60s music too. I just had to know how the darn instrument works! I wanted to become a guitarist all my life. Like a couple of my best loved friends and my dad were and still are.
I certainly did not appreciate it very much as a kid but I have a lot more respect for it now
My dad now helps supplement my online learning with Justin. I’m hoping to have him join me for a future community OM
I needed a hobby in retirement. Spent a lot on golf lessons, but realized I’m never going to be that great at it. I’ve loved music all my life, so decided to take up guitar at 58. I love it, and it’s a cheap hobby (if you can have some restraint on buying guitars).
This is a great thread.
I’ve wanted to play the guitar since I was a kid. I didn’t grow up in a musical house at all - nobody could sing on key, nobody played an instrument, and my dad had about 3 cassette tapes he played. For some reason we had an old Yamaha acoustic in the cupboard, completely out of tune. When I was a young kid I would take it out and strum it - it sounded horrible, but was fun.
When I was around 7 or 8, one of Dad’s friends came over for dinner, saw the guitar, tuned it, and started playing some songs. I was gobsmacked, it sounded amazing. I was enthralled. Thinking back it was straight-forward open chord stuff, but he sang well too. I wanted to be able to do that but had no idea how.
I started playing the drums at about 12 or 13 years old. From about 14 or 15 I jammed with my buddies, about half a dozen of them played guitar (of various skill levels) so we ended up jamming a bit - I was the only drummer amongst my friends, so it was almost always me involved. But I really wanted to play guitar. Sometimes at jams I had a go at my mate’s guitars while they had a go on my drums. I got a black Squier strat around 15 or 16 - the cheapest one, with a cheap amp, I think for my birthday - and gave it a go. I had a handful of lessons and learnt a couple of riffs and a few chords. But I couldn’t do the C chord, G chord, couldn’t do barre chords… I figured my hands weren’t right for guitar, so it went into the cupboard until I gave it to my sister (who never really played either). I continued with drums until I gave that up about 18 (after a couple of failed teenage bands, although we did a couple of party gigs).
Fastforward many years… about 10 years ago, I bought my wife an acoustic guitar because she hinted she was interested in playing it. But the guitar stayed in the cupboard rather than getting played.
Late 2021, around October, at 39, I saw it laying there and decided to pull it out and see what I could remember. Not much, I could remember E and D! So I googled for guitar lessons, found some reddit threads suggesting JustinGuitar and was away. Hooked. One of the very early lessons I watched suggested that learning on electric was best so a couple of weeks into learning I went and bought a Squier Strat (of course).
I do look back and think of alternate history, wishing I’d persevered with guitar (and drums), but that’s not what happened. Really loving playing guitar now.
I started playing at 16 for the same two reasons most teenage boys start playing guitar.
Unfortunately it didn’t work. I didn’t end up in a rocknroll band and it didn’t make the girls in my class more interested in me.
Having been a teenager in the 60s, I (like almost everybody else) wanted to play guitar in a band. However, I couldn’t afford it and never pursued it.
Fast forward from the 60s to being in my 60s, I retired from my second career. I was looking for something to keep me busy, and thought “now or never.” I bought my Dean Zelinsky electric guitar without having any understanding of the differences between various styles of electrics. I honestly thought it was just aesthetic.
Fortunately, I stumbled onto Justin, because after buying the guitar I really had no plan on how I was going to go about learning. Had I not, I probably would have fiddled around with it for a few days and then relegated it to a closet.
Here I am, nearly 7 years later, still plugging away at it. I’m not good, I’ll never be good, but I can play. Thanks to Justin.
Quick answer to your question is that my favourite artists got me into playing - I just wanted to be as cool as Cobain with his guitar! my first try was probably when I was around 10 with a Dreadnought guitar (!) of my father’s - that didn’t take too long for me to give up then at probably around 14-15 I gave it another go and I learnt a lot of basics with my uncle, however he was bit of a bully and a full on alcoholic so I was not looking forward to lessons with him therefore I started to learn myself with a poor result - couldn’t play 1 song back to back, only small little riffs, chords and that’s it. Gave up and explained myself due to lack of money and good gear, truth was due to lack of good learning source.
Fast forward 10+ years later I found Justin and finally I am able to play as I always dreamt I would.
And I’m repeating myself i think… But NOW is a good time to get superstitious Toby
Greetings and have a nice playingday
I didn’t come from a musical family, beyond my parents enjoying music and having a large (relative to other family and friends) record collection, predominantly jazz. I started to get into music around 14/15 but no desire to play, despite always being captivated by watching people play. That came aged 18 after watching a Stones concert film, Keith Richards just made it seem like the coolest thing. Also had a varsity friend who could play. Bought the cheap acoustic, he showed me chords, some songs, and I struggled away.
On again/off again from then without much success which led me to believe I didn’t have the necessary ‘talent’ to learn. Until the end of 2016, when a colleague suggested I’d just never had the right teacher and why didn’t I try JustinGuitar. So Dec 16th I started with the first lesson, and have been at it ever since. While I may lack the talent, I’ve found that through slow and steady study and practice (not even so much practice, regular more important ie a few times a week) I can make progress.
And today, I just love all the aspects of this wonderful pasttime. Never would have imagined having my own YouTube channel and producing a few original songs as well as playing live Open Mics like my friend all those years before.
Our wise Premier locked us all up in house arrest for 22hrs a day for nearly a year in total.
Go crazy or find a hobby. Guitar was something I’d thought about for years but never really made the time. Bought first two guitars online, and my latest from a local music shop. Now I practice almost daily, and thanks to Justin, am making progress - (slowly ).
Oops forgot to add the Cigar Box I got a few months back, so its 14.
Purely to avoid any bad luck, of course.
Amazing stories shared here.
For me it was heavy metal which I discovered around the end of last century/beginning of the new millenium or so, when I was in high school. I really loved the sound of the distorted guitar even though I was so uneducated on music that I thought the distorted guitar was a bass (something I’m still very embarrassed to admit).
And that’s weird because we had music as mandatory class at school and I was pretty good at it. I had chosen the keyboards back then at school, guitar was not an option.
But anyway, even before that the first time I remember I heard the sound of the electric guitar and was fascinated by it (even though I had no idea what instrument it was) was when as a kid I was watching the Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, the theme song if that cartoon was so thrilling for me! In fact it still is only now I can also play it
I needed a focus for my midlife crisis and guitars seemed like a cheaper option than either blondes or Corvettes. So far the guitars are still cheaper but I’m getting close to a used Stingray.
I was 12. My older sister bought ‘Meet the Beatles’ and we saw them on the Ed Sullivan show. I started talking guitar lessons from a neighbor. My sister played the accordion, and we played Beatles songs together. I started playing in a band when I was 15 as the rhythm guitar. We weren’t great, but we were good enough to play at local teen hangouts, high school dances, the local battle of the bands and even a couple of bars. My parents didn’t know about bars😊. I also played with a school friend who sang at a local church. She was very talented and went on to attend a music college. I could see the large difference in musical talent between us. I stopped playing when I went to college.
40+ year hiatus from playing guitar…
I still had the original guitar that my parents bought for me in ’64, a Gibson ES-120T. I put some new strings on it and found that it didn’t seem all that foreign. I could still do some things that I had learned in my teens, rusty but still capable. A friend at work encouraged me and helped me see that the world of learning to play had changed a little during the last 40 years. I started poking around the internet to find all the new-fangled tools: TABS for songs, slowing songs down and looping to aid transcription. In the process, around 2009, I tripped over Justin’s site. I was still working which involved a bit of travel. I made progress but it was on and off.
I now had the time, and no excuses, to play. By then Justin had significantly updated his structured lessons. I started with Grade1 and have followed his approach for the last 3 years. I wander off regularly to learn new songs and apply newly acquired skills to songs I know. I now know that talent is nice, but being motivated to learn and being willing to put in the work to develop skills is enough to enjoy playing music.
Enough with the distractions, back to practicing
Nice to encounter another Bocchi the Rock fan, that show was awesome and the animation of the musicians playing was super slick. Loved it.
As for what kicked off my guitar journey … well I always thought guitar was cool, I grew up with Dire Straits, Queen, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Metallica and whatnot, played the heck out of Guitar Hero 3, but had this idea in my head that I was “bad at music”. Probably because I have a very weak ear for pitch. So I never owned an instrument and had no intention of ever changing that.
Then I saw this video of a Korean kid playing a rock guitar arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, watched it dozens of times and then immediately went out and bought a beginner electric guitar kit.
Don’t know why this video was the thing that flipped me, yes the song is awesome, but I’d heard and seen plenty of great guitar playing on video before. But with this video in particular, there’s no fancy production, no flashy showmanship, no professional crew, no record label. You can hear a couple of mistakes in the playing. It’s just a dude in his bedroom, and I felt like … well heck, maybe I could do that too.
Of course I now know enough about guitar playing to realise I’m still years away from being able to play this song, it’s super difficult! But I still find it inspiring.
Great thread, loved reading everyone’s stories!
Mine is as follows…
Always had music in the house growing up, lots of Stones, Queen, Beatles, 60’s rock & pop (mum); country & western (Dad); but they were non-musical parents from an instrument playing perspective.
I loved hard rock and heavy metal from an early age, and was especially in awe of the guitarists.
Up to about when I was 12, Angus Young was my hero, then it became Jeff Hanneman/Kerry King (Slayer), James Hetfield/Kirk Hammett (Metallica) and Dave Murray/Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden).
When grunge hit, Cobain was also huge influence along with Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Tom Morello (RATM).
Around this time I was given an acoustic by my parents at 14 (still have it) and had some lessons. Unfortunately the tutor was into easy listening/country so the songs he wanted me to play I wasn’t into at the time (would certainly appreciate them more now! ) plus at about lesson 4 he wanted me to start singing along and I certainly wasn’t into that at 14! So as any good teenage would, I quit of course… (so many regrets!! )
Kept the guitar with me through the rest of my teens, into my twenties and thirties. Learned a few basic tunes and riffs along the way when motivation came but mostly it sat in the closet…
Then when about 40, I decided I’d messed around enough and started to get more focused, began playing a borrowed electric from a friend, then brought my own, then another… and another…
Justin had been on my radar for a long time, having seen his song tutorials and lessons on YouTube but I hadn’t fully committed to that until last year when I realised I definitely needed more structure and to get to grips with the basic concepts that I’d glossed over along the way! Justin has been a real game changer for me as I know he has for many others too.
So these days I am fully immersed into learning guitar, following Justin’s course (grade 3 currently), improving (albeit slowly) and loving every minute of it!
Then you’ll only be missing the blondes…
I’d say many of the stories can be found in either the introduction posts or the learnings logs, so I’ll just copy-paste from mine:
I used to like music, until I discovered metal… Then I loved music. For over 25 years, being a fan was enough, and I didn’t feel the urge to play myself, but watching Youtube I somehow came across Rob Chapman, and from watching his Andertons videos where he’s blindfolded and guess all kind of stuff just by the sound, to one video of his favorite guitars, which included 4 of his own Chapman brand, and I specially loved the sound of 3 of those. I started GASsing (before I knew what GAS means) about Chapman guitars and telling myself they were too good for me, who doesn’t know how to play. From there, the next question was, and what good be a good guitar for me as a beginner?
(continued in my log)
Something I didn’t share in my original log post was the video itself, which was this one: