Thursday, 8 February 2007

The Guitar!

I haven't talked about the guitar much but it has played a very significant role in my life since I was in my early teens although I did not attempt to play until I was fifteen.
The image to the left probably represents the pinnacle of my achievements on the guitar as I am caught here in the middle of playing my first full length solo classical guitar (On a beautiful spruce Paul Fischer guitar) recital at the Fremantle Arts Centre in 1986. An achievement far beyond where I thought I might go when I first plucked a guitar string!

Like most kids I started off trying to emulate the guitar heroes I heard on the records (yep vinyl!) that I had started to collect - and gods of guitar they were and still are:
Jimmy Page - wrote the best ever riffs

Ritchie Blackmore - the virtuoso of his era, just so fast and I reckon Yngwei Malmsteen must have listened to him a lot too!

Carlos Santana - loved his tone and wonderful melodies

Eric Clapton - Turned me onto the blues

and many others I can't think of but the above four were the main ones.

I had an acquaintance Detlef, who was a little older than me and whose last name I cannot remember, who taught me, to my absolute delight, a number of Led Zeppelin (all time favourite rock band) riffs that I had just not been able to work out at all.
This helped me to start to understand just a little bit how music worked on the guitar and passing on this and the vast amount of other knowledge that I acquired over the years became the way in which I eventually chose to earn a living!

I also remember spending hours learning Carlos Santana's Samba Pa Ti and I had now acquired an electric guitar and amplifier!

By this time I think I had learnt about the minor pentatonic scale (probably from Detlef) and spent alot of time trying to play as fast as Ritchie Blackmore.
I used an extended version of the scale that added an extra note on each string rather than the two per string scheme normally used.
Not long after the image above was taken I gave up playing the guitar for a number of years while I explored the world of motorcycling which I am sure will be the subject of another post sometime.

Having survived 6 years of motorcycling still alive and without serious injury amazingly, I decided it was time to actually find something to do with my life and part of this process was to to think back to what was really important to me as a teenager and of course it was music and the guitar specifically.
I decided that it was time I learnt to read music and so commenced my 12 year exploration of the Classical Guitar culminating in the concert mentioned above and the kickstart for a career as a guitar teacher. I will post on that next time.

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