How I Found The Guitar

In my last post, I talked about how The Beatles were a big factor in getting me to play the guitar more. However, I still lacked a lot of skill. I could play chords, but soloing was out of the question. It kind of felt like I wasn’t making progress, and when I was 13 I stopped taking guitar lessons. Really I lost interest in music completely. I kind of went back to where I was before I got into The Beatles where I would still listen to music, but I wasn’t really a fan. It was going to take another legendary band to get me back into the game, and that started from guitar class in middle school. When I was in grade 9, I was switching around some classes and ended up registering in guitar class because it was my only option. I figured it would be fine because I already knew how to play, and that would make it a fairly low stress period where I could noodle around on the instrument for 40 minutes. The teacher was the same guy that taught woodshop, and he really knew how to play guitar which made him a great fit for this class. He would always teach us a new song everyday, although often times it was just snippets of songs. The snippet we were learning that day was the last part of “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin (“and as we wind on down the road…”). It dawned on me that it was a song that I hadn’t properly listened to, even though I knew of its legendary status. When I got home from school that day I played it, and it was a similar experience to when I first heard “Paperback Writer…”

Stairway was a track that captivated me for the next few months. It was my gateway into Zeppelin, and through them I had found that spark of inspiration to get back into music. As such, in the fall when I began high school, I started taking guitar lessons once again. If I was going to be playing Zeppelin songs, it was important for me to get better at the instrument. My teacher was also a high school student, though a few years older. He was a Zeppelin fan as well, and showed me how they were inspired by blues. He taught me all the scales I would ever need, and from there I learned how to improvise, starting off with simple stuff like “The Thrill Is Gone” by BB King, moving up to tracks like Stairway. I was off to the races, and by the time I had finished Grade 10, I was finally feeling like I could actually play guitar…

Discovering Zeppelin was just as important as discovering The Beatles for me. I don’t think there’s a guitar player that’s had a more direct impact on how I approach the instrument than Jimmy Page. On top of that, my first high school band started because of a friendship I had developed entirely based on Zeppelin. Being in that band exposed me to even more music: Jimi Hendrix, CCR, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Allman Brothers Band, and more. I was now a kid whose entire life was based around music. The seeds of a career in rock and roll were being planted…


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