Why did you take up guitar? Wanna be a rock star or maybe just make music?

I'm not sure I'd equate Personal satisfaction to go far as Narcissism!
But having said that, I always wanted to know how/why something happened and to try and do it myself. So, it's more of a technician approach - how did Dwayne play that lead? So I figured it out...and it became a life's goal!


I was given The Joshua Tree as a Christmas present the year it came out when I was 9. Until then music had only really been the Top 40 stuff I heard on the radio in the car on the way to school (not a very musical family). I remember hearing Where the Streets Have No Name swell up from nothing for about 40 seconds and then the Edge’s classic echo chime come in. It was unlike anything I had ever heard and made me start to listen to more music and find out what music could be. That made me want to play guitar and make music that had a sense of space in it as well as realize music didn’t have to be the pop formula.

Zoo Bahnhof

The version of With or Without You featured in U2's Rattle & Hum movie.

That song usually plods along, but in the version in the Rattle & Hum film it builds and builds with great propulsion and momentum; climaxing in a solo, which was not on the original studio recording.

To this day, it is the best version I've ever heard of that song.


Back in 1950 when I was four years old...I was in love with music. My parents had the radio playing all of the time when we were home. These are the days before TV's were commonplace and also before RnR was even a concept.
I had a little RCA Victor 45rpm record player my parents bought me. It had Disney characters painted on it. I must have had over 60 or 70 45 rpms by time time I was 6 or 7. Songs like "Cool Water" by the Sons of the Pioneers,
"Toot Toot Tootsie" by Al Jolson, "Ebb Tide" and so on. I wanted to study piano at that point. But we were on the poor side. Both parents worked. My kid sister came along. My Mom did not drive and we lived in a three room apartment in Mt. Vernon, NY just north of The Bronx. To sum up: no room nor money for a piano. So I thought I would take up a flute or something small and easy to carry. It never happened. My Dad had two to three jobs at the same time for most of the years of my childhood and my Mother went to work also. My sister and I were "latch key kids" long before it was fashionable. I went to a parochial school that did not have a music program save for the church organist coming by once a week to play songs like "Santa Lucia" and "Low Bridge Everybody Down We're Going For A Ride On The Erie Canal". Fade to just after high school. I went to the University of Dayton. Left after a month as I got homesick and I did not like mandatory ROTC. Came home and went to a local community college. Parents bought me a used car but I picked out a 1962 Covair Monza Spyder. I insisted on the little red job sitting on a used car lot in Yonkers. Bad choice. I should have gotten Nader's book, "Unsafe At Any Speed" instead of buying the Monza. Fade to the beginning of my two and one half year recuperation time due to injuries suffered in the accident. My parents spoke with my surgeon and he suggested that at 19 years of age I might get a little anxious waiting to mend. So they should find something to occupy my mind. They asked me and I said okay...get me an electric bass guitar as it only has four strings and it would be easier than guitar. They got me a Univox copy of the "Beatle" bass and an Ampeg B-15 portaflex all tube bass amp!! When I recuperated I helped organize a band with some buds...we played in Greenwich Village clubs for a year or two...band broke up. I moved on and here I am still playing, writing, recording, etc etc. I guess if you really want something bad enough...you will get it. Eureka.
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Yer Blues

Because I wanted to rock! Then a year or so later I saw BB King in concert and got the GNR Tokyo Tapes on VHS and wanted to rock n' roll. Then maybe a year or so later I got to sit in for 3-4 songs with the band of the guy I took lessons from and got the gig buzz. At this point, what else am I going to do? I've accepted I'll never be a jazz guy or pick as fast as Steve Morse, but that doesn't mean I can't rock!


My parents were musicians as were my brother and sister. There was live music and musicians in our home every night they didn't have a show. Dad played guitar and my mom played piano so I learned both from birth (1958) in that sense but by 3-4 years old, dad would have me sitting on his knee teaching me little things. Music was accepted and to some degree expected in our family.

When my father passed the only thing left was his 1953-54 Gibson L3 acoustic that myself and my brother learned to play on as well as a few hunting guns. My brother got the guns and I gladly accepted the Gibson (photo below) which I still play every day 58+ years later; the same guitar I plucked my first string on.




I started playing guitar because of Brian May. When I heard his tone I didn't know what was making that noise, but I knew I wanted to do that.

I came from a family of athletes and I am a decent athlete myself (even at age 49) and there is picture of me at a baseball game in the on deck circle holding a bat like a guitar.

Years later, I wish I would have never picked up a guitar because I love bass so much. I feel like I would have made it further as a musician as a bass player. I play a lot of bass in my current rock band and I've taken up Jazz bass (upright) and play in a gigging jazz trio with my 15 year old son on piano. What great memories we are making.


I started playing guitar to make money. As a kid I was taught that you either went to college or you'd be stuck doing manual labor all your life. Mt family wasn't going to be able to afford that. I had already started fooling around on piano and started trumpet in 5th grade. When I saw the first wave british bands on Ed Sullivan (I'm old) I figured any idiot could do that and that there was money in it. I picked up a cheap acoustic and dug in. Worked out fine for me.


Supporting Member
My grandfather gave me a guitar at an extremely young age - there is a picture of me wearing a diaper holding the guitar trying to play it, but I never took it seriously until I was a junior in high school when a bunch of my friends also started playing guitar. It was not a coordinated effort. We all started indecently and randomly. Despite starting so late, I just always knew that I would play the guitar some day.


As a young Louisiana teen in the early-mid 60s, I would listen to KAAY in Little Rock on my transistor radio at night, which was powerful enough to pull in WLS Chicago sometimes. Heard lots of great soul, rock and many other things -- under the covers, didn't want my parents to hear. At some point, knew I had to get a guitar.

But I never had any illusions whatever of being a star or even making a real living in music. I loved it and love it still, but always a hobby.
For me it's playing the music that I enjoyed listening to growing up. I've written many original songs, but frankly I'd rather play Van Halen, Judas Priest, Metallica or even Nirvana covers. I get great joy playing the songs that I love. So I suppose I never really had any aspirations to be a rock and roll star. Of course I fantasized about it growing up when I played my mom's yardstick in the mirror wishing I was Ace Frehley. But when I started playing, I never wanted to be in an all original band. I enjoyed being in bands that played a lot of covers and some originals and even loved playing in straight cover bands. But all original bands never did much for me.

Bob T.

My parents found out rather quickly that, unlike my extremely gifted brother, I pretty much sucked at everything. As a freshman in high school, they bought me a cheap strat knock off, small amp, and guitar lessons. I sucked for a while, but it was a blast to turn up and rock.

I've played in my church on and off for years now; I have other obligations, so it's not consistent. As much as I enjoy playing and improving on my playing, I don't have much desire to take it anywhere professionally. It's fun for me to play out once in a while. I guess I don't really want or need much more than that.


Supporting Member
About a year before the Beatles/Stones broke into my consciousness my auntie put her brown Epiphone on my lap. I instantly loved the feeling of the vibrations on the chest, the smell.

After British invasion had to do it for FUN! Not until the first jr. high party gig did I learn girls would talk to you.

Pretty much just enjoying through the stages of better gigs. Playing in bars made it a bit more serious. Our little jamband played the same bars as The Outlaws in Tampa and when they broke out we all thought we were next and got serious about chasing a career, around age 24.

Chased it until I was 31, clearly violating the Rule of 27. Day job...

In a bluegrass band for a few years, an instrumental trio in DC, now an old man noodling on the couch.

I mean I still try to go to the train station but they keep moving it.

All about the pleasure of playing the damn thing at the end of the day.


I came of age in the early '80s when popular music was all about the guitar - crunchy Marshall driven Guitar: ZZ-top, AC/DC, Ozzy, Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Dio, Van Halen, early Def Leapard, Metallica....

I heard those tones, bought those albums, and that is what I had to do. I fell in love with the guitar at age 11 and I have never looked back, never wanted to play anything else, and though my tastes have mellowed I never cared to listed to music that wasn't guitar driven.


I have asked the few guitar players I know and a few I have met. Most seemed to have learned young because one was laying around and they where allowed or encouraged to play. Some learned in school, private lessons or church.
The real question would be 'what drives you to play?'
Fame and fortune? (Money)
Impress someone? (Sex)
Personal satisfaction? (Narcissism)
Annoying anything with ears? (Anarchist)
I started out of shear boredom, and someone gave me one I could play at work.
That was about 3-4 years ago and now I can make 80% of the sounds and tones I want.
Guitar Songs play like recordings in my head now, totally wrecked some of my old favs.
When I learned how those old simple 3 cord songs are played I changed my study's.
What a fun ride it's been! I hope to be 'learning' for as long as I am able to hold it and pick a tune.....
I did it for ME. I had fun imitating others until I could make the sound I wanted to hear when I wanted to hear it. Now I can make Music and Fish! I will Never go hungry, or without music. Call it survival of the soul...
I am set.
What started your journey?
Summer camp counselor sang and played and I was inspired. Age 10.


The Movie Crossroads. And Parachute pants and a tank top so I could be EVH in the mirror.
I figured heck if you go to Juliard, you can beat the devil!
lol age 12


I loved music from about second grade or so. Then I heard Guns n Roses and Metallica at age 10. Wanted an electric guitar for Christmas. Mom said "no, you'll play it for a week and it'll just sit in the closet." Then around 17, I still wanted to make music, plus I wanted to get laid more. Asked again and finally got a white Squier strat. 22 years later, it turns out mom was wrong. If only I'd had it when I was 10, maybe I could've learned faster and done a few tours. Instead, I have a regular job and play in bar bands for pocket cash and free beer. But I did get laid more, so I'm ok with how things turned out.


Silver Supporting Member
The guitar grabbed me when I was a little boy and I knew I was going to play. My uncles were in a gospel group, one had a Gibson acoustic and the other played a Gretsch. I thought it was just so cool, and I loved the sound. It's been on ever since.

Don A

Silver Supporting Member
I heard Clapton with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Derek and the Dominoes, Delaney & Bonnie and his first solo album and wanted to play music like that with friends.

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