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Steve    86

I first picked up a guitar at the age of 14. It was a beat up classical guitar that had a split around the body creating a bellows effect. The action was so high, it was impossible to play anything above the 5th fret! and the tuning peg on one of the strings was missing. So all the other strings were tuned to that string. Over a period of time, the tuning got lower and lower. I loved it! It belonged to the guy who had recently moved into the house next door. He was training to be a teacher. Not the best start to a life long friendship! I hated school, and I hated most of my teachers! Believing them to arrive each morning from an alien place to beat some education into us mere humans. But Les Andrew was a persistant individual, and he was determined to foist this guitar onto me. He insisted I borrow it whilst he attended university. A cunning ploy! Armed with this beast, and clutching reams of music manuscript written by such dignitaries as Lennon and McCartney, and The Birds, and a book of basic chords! I was informed by Les to master the chord of Eb on the 3rd fret. 'This will enable you to play anything!' I was told. Weeks and weeks went by when I struggled to get my pudgy little fingers around an Eb chord. Changing to Eb from other chords, changing from Eb to other chords. It was torture. Bearing in mind the extraordinary height of the strings from the fretboard on this guitar, At last, I finally felt I could play this chord comfortably. I awaited the return of the bloke next door! When he did turn up, and we started to play a few songs together, I noticed that any song that was either in the key of Eb, or actually contained an Eb chord somewhere in the song, he would transpose the song into a different key! When I tackled him about this! He blithely imparted that you didn't play in Eb if you could get away with it...??? Despite this misleading start, I managed to keep playing and eventually bought my own guitar. It was a beautifull classical guitar. I left school at the age of 15, and saved up enough money to enable a visit to the local musical emporium! This was mainly dedicated to accoustic instruments. I entered the premises with the princely sum of £13 in my pocket. The sales person was an elderly (to me) gentleman who enquired if I needed assistance? 'I've come to buy a guitar.' I mumble feeling slightly embarrased. 'A wise investment young sir!' He exclaims in a very understated and gentle voice. I immediately feel at ease! 'Do you have a preference as to the style of instrument you require?' He asks. 'Err, I've been playing a nylon string one' 'Excellent choice!' This man is the epitome of calm. The sort of bloke you really want to be your Grandad! 'Does sir have a budget to adhere to?' 'Um. I've got £13' I mumble. This represents almost three weeks wages to me! 'Let's have a look shall we?' The place is full of guitars! Along all walls three high, starting with, on the left, the biggest array of classical guitars I've yet to encounter since that day! He selects a guitar and walks to the other side of the shop and sits down on a stool. 'I think this may be a suitable candidate!' He says. He then tunes it up in what appears to be less than a second, and hands it to me. ' I shall leave you alone whilst I attent to a few things. Please!' He says indicating the stool. I sit down and start impressing everybody with my mastery of the Eb chord. Then I strike up a snappy little number in Am by America called Ventura Highway. Feeling pretty pleased with myself, the salesman returns. 'What do you think? 'It feels lovely' I say. Which it did. 'How much is it?' I enquire. He finds a small ticket attached to a tuning peg. '£16 sir.' 'Oh. I've only got £13. I can't afford any more than that!' He takes the guitar from me and asks how long I've been playing. 'Not long.' I say. 'Will this be your first instrument Sir?' He asks. 'Yes.' I say. He is now sitting on the stool and begins to play. I have no idea what he is playing, but it's not Lennon and McCartney or the Birds. I am absolutely stunned that such beautifull music can come from a piece of wood with pieces of wire and plastic attached. After a few minutes, he stops and I am left speachless! He walks to the counter with the guitar, searches there for a few seconds and finds a carrying case. Puts the guitar inside, puts a set of pitch pipes in the pocket of the case and looks at me over the rim of his spectacles. 'That will be £13 exactly young Sir. Keep practising and above all! Enjoy playing.' I rush over to the counter scrabbling in my pocket for the money I have carefully folded away! I am still stunned and can't believe my luck! I have just obtained about 20 quids worth of gear for 13!

 

Two things happened to me that day. First, I became the owner of my first guitar. Second, I realised there was more to music than the Beatles and Top of the Pops..

 

Steve.

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Jenn    184

i've never consciously thought about making music until ~1.5 years ago.. that being said, i've always done music. I remember being in third grade and couldn't wait to get to fourth because I got to pick an instrument. and that was one of the hardest decisions in my life!!! But I can also remember being in gymnastics when i was little and we were given time to play with shakers. that's the only thing i can really remember from that, apart from never being able to do a cartwheel. then i remember i made my mom buy me a shaker and i took that thing everywhere. i'm pretty sure i took it took an art museum and just had it on me always. i think this influenced my decision to pick drums in fourth grade though. i also did choir but i was never good..

then in middle school, i realized that i wanted to do actual melodies, so i took up the trumpet instead.

i somehow managed to maintain first trumpet from 6th-8th grade.. it just came naturally.

then i picked up guitar in 7th grade and started writing silly songs. 

looking back on it now, i've always been obsessed with writing stories and poetry. i remember spending hours on a poetry book that i made in fourth grade.. and my teachers being really impressed with my writing.

in middle school, i was told that i should go out for theater because i read a passage and i just got really into it.. and idk. my theater life never took shape

then i got to high school and i nearly abandoned music entirely. i went through some really weird phases of music, but it didn't really mean anything to me. i continued to play trumpet in band though. and i remember, senior year, my teacher had the class really short poems. and she made me read mine twice because it was so short but so to the point.

 

then i got to college, and still continued trumpet. but i got realllllllyyy into music. listening to it all the time. recommending songs to everyone. 

then i found my favorite band. and i just had to write. something inside me woke up. as if it had been dormant since i was little. and i started writing and singing. and took the steps i needed to grow.

 

looking back on it now, i was also told that i should sing by this producer that was my coworker.. at the time i was like hell no! but now i feel i need to pay him a visit...

 

i dont know. i would like to say that i had a grand awakening a year and a half ago, but i think i've always had it.

 

Oh also, apparently I would parade around the house to Tusk by Fleetwood Mac when I was really little

Edited by Jenn
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McnaughtonPark    695

I have enjoyed this topic so much, more so than many I have read in a long time.  

 

I grew up in a semi musical family, that is to say my mother played piano and sang.  All of us kids got piano lessons growing up.  I can still hear mom saying "that's not right, do it again".  By the time it was my turn for lessons i pretty much knew what to expect and how it was going to turn out.  It just so happened that I would get a little help in deciding that I didn't want to take lessons anymore when on the ride home from the instructors house after lessons one evening, a young man blew through a stop sign and met us in the middle of the intersection.  

 

The first time time I woke up, a man I didn't know was covering me with his jacket. The next time I woke up I was in an ambulance.  To this day I don't like driving through that intersection.  But for sure, at 10 years old I wanted nothing more to do with piano lessons.  But, for whatever reason, that's about when I started making up words for songs.

 

i know them as lyrics now, but back then I wasn't writing them down.  I would just sing them to melodies.  Not on purpose, there was no forethought involved, I would just sing what came out.  This has gone on my whole life it seems.

 

much later in my life now, my hands are not the nimble, trainable appendages they once were, and I find myself wanting to put music to words.  Words that came from not playing.  I have no idea at all and probably couldn't come close to guessing how many melodies have come and gone without music around them, or how many lyrics were sung but never written down, but I'm trying to limit those lost moments now.  I only hope my laptop holds out long enough for me to get through my to-do list.

 

 

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On 08/05/2017 at 1:45 AM, Steve said:

 

Two things happened to me that day. First, I became the owner of my first guitar. Second, I realised there was more to music than the Beatles and Top of the Pops..

 

Steve.

 

Turns out, these next door neighbour stories are very uniquely interesting! Thanks, Steve... loved your storytelling. I felt transported to a different era complete with a grandfather-like figure for a salesman (wonder if we get them these days)!

 

On 08/05/2017 at 3:12 AM, Jenn said:

i dont know. i would like to say that i had a grand awakening a year and a half ago, but i think i've always had it.

 

Jenn, you are so young; it's great to see the awareness you already have and the active steps that you are taking towards it :)

 

22 hours ago, McnaughtonPark said:

But, for whatever reason, that's about when I started making up words for songs.

 

Tom, it's fascinating how shock or trauma, when given the right outlet, can manifest into magical creativity that one never thought he/she possessed! It's even more fascinating when we realize that creativity is the one thing that can never dry up. So, once this journey starts there really can be no looking back!

 

I had no idea when I started this thread that so many of you would be sharing your stories and nostalgic moments. The flavours may be different yet the underlying passion is very similar. Thanks a lot, people!

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