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Why I Created ArtistWorks

learning guitarI woke up on my eleventh Christmas morning, in 1965, to find that Santa had caved into my wishes and brought me my own guitar.  It was a Silvertone six-string acoustic, purchased (by Santa) from the Sears Roebuck and Company catalog for $17.95.  It came with a single guitar pick, a Don Rainey how-to-play 45 rpm record with pamphlet, and a red and black cord to be used as a guitar strap.

Rainy's instruction record taught you how to play "Red River Valley" and other traditional country tunes (check out the embedded SoundCloud link above to hear it, or listen here).  I would no longer have to beg Wayne to let me play his. And the best part?  My new guitar was the exact same model as Wayne's guitar, and I couldn't wait to show it off.  I ran out to the back fence yelling "Wayne, Wayne," (we didn't have cell phones yet) and when he came out I said, "I got a guitar just like yours!"  He turned around and walked inside without saying a word, and I smiled in triumph -- he was no longer the only kid with a guitar.  Moments later he came back outside and … oh my god. He was holding a new Christmas guitar of his own -- an electric Hagstrom, gleaming silver with a whammy bar and everything, and it looked just like the ones all of our guitar heroes played. Now, unbelievably, he had two guitars.  And he even got an amplifier! 

I learned an important life lesson right then and there: there will ALWAYS be someone with better gear.  I took a vow that no matter what, I would become the better player than Wayne. I would overcome his considerable advantages such as his rich parents (at least they seemed rich to me), his music store guitar lessons, and his two-year head start.  I took my new Silvertone and my Don Rainey how-to-play 45 record, and determinedly learned the three chords (C, F, and G7) necessary to play "Red River Valley" and "On Top of Old Smoky".  These tunes may not have been terribly hip, but I loved playing them.  And I quickly learned that the same chords used on stodgy old country songs could be being used to play considerably more dangerous music such as rock and roll.  I was on my way.  

Next:  My Mom Steals My Guitar

learning guitar

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