Category Archives: GUITAR

What it Means to be a Musician


I’ve played guitar, sang, wrote songs since I was 14 years old.  That’s a very long time.  I’ve always gotten refuge from the the world with music.  My guitar has been my best friend throughout my life-time.  I tend to be a solitary person, most comfortable with a guitar in my lap.  With or without an audience, though I do love an audience.

It is nothing new to me to be sitting with my guitar, a mic, a recorder and look up at the clock to see I’ve been at it for a good portion of the day.  Hours fly by when I’m working in my studio with audio or video productions.

Many people think I’m an idiot spending all my money on recording equipment and instruments.  When they learn the cost of my guitars there is always a long pause of silence followed by the eye rolling.

I bought my second guitar when I was 14 years old.  It was an Epiphone 12-string that I paid $300+ in 1972.  I worked after school at the local Winn Dixie Grocery store and saved for that guitar.  I proudly brought it home and was eager to share the news of my new 12-string with my family.  My step-mother, Nancy, insisted on evening meals with the whole family present and that evening at dinner time I announced that I had finally saved enough for my 12-string and had it in my room and if anyone wanted to hear me play it…  My stepmom asked me to tell my father how much I paid for it.  I told him and he asked me if I had a brain in my head??  He was very upset that I had spent that much on a guitar.  I learned from then on not to divulge the cost of my equipment to non-musicians.

Yes, I agree, I could have purchased several homes with the money I’ve spent on my instruments and equipment but, would I still be sane?  Music has been there for me like a blanket in the storm that is “life”.  Some would call me irresponsible and immature but, I call it self preservation.

I have a Guild 12-string I purchased in 1982.  Instead of paying for food and shelter I bought a long sought after 12-string guitar.  I am still the proud owner of that guitar today.  It has always been my most cherished possession.  You can probably imagine my joy at seeing this same model, Guild 12-string, F-512, written up in “Acoustic Guitar Magazine” as the best 12-strings ever made.  I proudly display a copy of the magazine, in the Guild guitar case along with the guitar.  I agree that yes, it is one of the finest 12-strings I’ve ever played.  I’ve written songs with that Guild when I couldn’t bear the tears, the pain, confusion.  That guitar has always brought great joy to me.  Just to hear it ring out as I play it is still a thrill that never grows old.

Owning so many instruments and equipment has left me quite broke but, I can honestly say that my experience with all things music is quite vast.

Discovering “EBAY” has been instrumental in being able to try out vast quantities of equipment that I normally couldn’t afford to try out.  If not for  buying and selling equipment on EBAY I wouldn’t have the means to try out new equipment every 4 years.  I have yet to purchase a guitar from “EBAY” but, I have gotten quite a bit of used equipment over the years.  Some good, some not so good.

Being a musician I will take work when and where I can find it, usually playing for free or little compensation.  I would not consider myself lazy as it takes great dedication, education, love of music, and great amounts of time learning intricate passages, scales, notes, chords and songs.  I’m constantly struggling to better my capabilities with my instruments, equipment.

There is so much to learn and so little time and this is especially true for musicians.

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Crazy Love (written by Van Morrison)

Down load PDF here

{title:CRAZY LOVE}
{subtitle:Van Morrison}

[A]I can feel her [C#m]heartbeat [D]from a thousand [A]miles
[A]And the heavens [C#m]open [D]every time she [A]smiles
[A]And when I come to [C#m]her [D]that’s where I [A]belong
[A]Yeah, I’m running [C#m]to her like a [D]river’s [A]song

She gives me [A]love [E]love [F#m]love [E]love, [D]crazy [E]love
She gives me [A]love [E]love [F#m]love [E]love, [D]crazy [A]love

[A]She’s got a fine sense of [C#m]humor when I’m [D]feeling [A]down
[A]And when I come to [C#m]her when the [D]sun goes [A]down
[A]She takes away my [C#m]trouble [D]takes away my [A]grief
[A]Take away my [C#m]heartache, [D]I go right to [A]sleep ..CHORUS

[E]Yes I [D]need her in the [A]daytime
[E]Yes I [D]need her in the [A]night
[E]Yes I want to [D]throw my arms [A]around her
[C#m]Kiss her hug her [D]kiss her hug her [A]tight[E]

[A]And when I’m re[C#m]turning from [D]so far [A]away
[A]She gives me some sweet [C#m]lovin [D]brightens up my [A]day
[A]Yes it makes me [C#m]righteous, [D]yes it makes me [A]whole
[A]Yes it makes me [C#m]mellow [D]down into my [A]soul …


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Fender Expo

When offered the Fender Expo as the “STUPID DEAL OF THE DAY” I jumped at the chance to buy it for this price. My mentor at the local music store “Danny D’s Guitar Hacienda” (in League City, TX) really raved about the Fender Expo
Fender Expo
when it first came out. He used them in the store for events and performances which always sounded great.
When I opened up the Fender Expo to check it out I had high hopes that this would replace my Fishman Solo Amp (I so regret selling that).

Right off the bat I noticed several shipping labels on the exterior of the box. This is never a good sign as it usually means the item has been returned and shipped back out several times. When an item is sent back to the company it is tested for 5 minutes? before deeming it suitable to ship out to someone else. This had 3 shipping labels attached on top of one another and the box looked like it had a very rough trip to my front door.

Fortunately, the Fender Expo was packed in its original box which was then boxed in a 2nd box. The Expo box looked untouched, clean and what you would expect with a new item. I was happy that I didn’t find fingerprints or opened plastic bags (I love but, 8 times out of 10 items have been repacked. You would think that they would at least wipe the finger prints off of something a buyer is expecting to be new).

Plugged in my Taylor T5 guitar and it sounded great. Plugged in my Audix OM2 mic, no sound. I changed, XLR cables, microphones, even went so far as to read the 2 page instruction manual. Nothing worked. Tried the guitar in both inputs and it sounded great. Tried using my Bose T1 mixer by plugging it into the combo jacks, still nothing. Tried to plug the T1 into the RCA jacks, nothing.
At this point I call Musiciansfriend tech support to see if I was missing something.

The unanimous opinion is that the Fender Expo is defective and I am to send it back to retailer (musicians Musiciansfriend is quick to offer replacement but at this point I’m not thrilled with the Fender Expo and decide to get my money back instead.

Of coarse the guitar sounded amazing through the Fender Expo and I was able to get an iPhone S+ to play through the Expo using a 3.5mm to rca adapter cable.  Which was enough to sample how the Expo operated and performed.

Unlike the Bose L1 Compact, it allows you to hear every minuscule adjustment of the dial controls which was not the case with the Fender Expo. The Fender Expo dial must be turned up to 10:00 position before you hear any sound. The Subwoofer was heard at 12:00 and not much difference after that. It seemed to me the adjustments on both subwoofer and volume were either on, middle, all the way, with nothing in between.

I was quite disappointed with the Expo and unless you get it for $399, I would take a look at other options.  I use a Fishman Artist for smaller gigs and the Bose Compact with the T1 Tonematch.

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[E]Out in the country past the city limit sign
well there’s a honky tonk, past the county line
The [A]joint starts a’jumpin’ every night
when the sun goes [E]down
They got [B7]whiskey, women, music, and smoke
It’s where all the cowboy folk go to Boot [A]Scootin [E]Boogie

[E]I got a job, I work hard for my money
when it’s quittin’ time, I hit the door runnin’
I [A]fire up my pickup truck and let the horses [E]run
I go [B7]flyin’ down that highway, to that hideaway
out in the woods to do the Boot [A]Scootin [E]Boogie

[E] [E#] [F#] [G#] [A]
Yeah[A]Heel toe, Do-se-doe, come on baby let’s go, [E]Boot Scootin’
Oh [A]Cattalac, Blackjack, come on meet me out back
were gonna [E]boogie
Oh [B7]Get down, turn around, go to town, Boot [A]Scootin’ [E]Boogie

[E]The bartender asks me says “Son, what’ll it be.”
I want a shot at that red-head yonder, lookin’ at me
The [A]dance floor’s hoppin’ and it’s hotter than the forth of [E]July
I see [B7]out-laws, in-laws, crooks, and straights
all out there makin’ it shake doin’ the Boot [A]Scootin’ Boogie [E]

[E] [E#] [F#] [G#] [A]
Yeah[A]Heel toe, Do-se-doe, come on baby let’s go, [E]Boot Scootin’
Oh [A]Cattalac, Blackjack, come on meet me out back
were gonna [E]boogie
Oh [B7]Get down, turn around, go to town, Boot [A]Scootin’ [E]Boogie

[E] [E#] [F#] [G#] [A]
Yeah[A]Heel toe, Do-se-doe, come on baby let’s go, [E]Boot Scootin’
Oh [A]Cattalac, Blackjack, come on meet me out back
were gonna [E]boogie
Oh [B7]Get down, turn around, go to town, Boot [A]Scootin’ [E]Boogie

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There are quite a few “inexpensive” guitars out there that will be fine for the beginner guitarist as you will probably want something different once you’ve discovered your own preferences and playing style. I advise people to stay with the major brands, as all of them have low end guitars that are well made. Most of the preferences can be set with the neck tension, bridge heights, string gauge, etc..  I wouldn’t recommend getting anything under $125.  The more you spend, the better the instrument.

I also recommend that beginners start off with (at least temporarily) nylon strings until they develop denser finger pads. A heavier – denser nylon sting can be used as the first set of strings. The nylon strings may not sound as good as the steel strings but, your fingers won’t bleed and you will be more inclined to stick with it.
My first guitar was a YAMAHA with “cat gut”, black nylon strings. That was in 1972. I’ve been an avid guitar player since and have bought and sold many guitars during this time.
I would recommend to go with a “name brand” that is a known guitar manufacturer.
Brands I would recommend are for the under $400 would be YAMAHA, EPIPHONE, ALVEREZ, FENDER, TAKAMINE, though everyone has their own preferences. I would also recommend getting your first guitar from a local music store that can help with the guitar setup and general care for the instrument.
You could also get a used guitar at a great price. But, I would advise to do some research on how to check for neck or belly damage.
Guitar lessons are always a great idea. I’ve learned more in the two years of lessons I’ve taken then I had learned from friends or had been able to learn on my own in the last 40 years. You can get references for instructors from your local music store.  Lessons range in cost.  At the time of this post I am paying $125 for 4 weeks of 30 minute lessons.
I’ve promised my neighbor that I old post some basic lessons to get started with and I will post them here for all to use and learn from.  Take care and have fun learning.

Below is a list (and links to buy from my aStore) guitars that would make great first guitars.

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