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


Gold Supporting Member
I first picked up the guitar and wanted to play when I was not quite 5, and I wanted to be like my dad. I've gone through a lot of different motivations over the years - there was the stretch where it was just fun to play, then a decent way to make some bucks and a non-terrible way to make friends and get dates, then a way to pay the bills. Now, more than 30 years on and with kids of my own, I play because it's fun, and it's good for me, and it makes my kids and wife (and me) happy.


Supporting Member
When I was @ 10 or 11 I started really getting into music and wanted to play drums and guitar. So for me it was being passionate about music.


As a 12 year old Bashing out riffs with a distortion box that actually sounded like the record was the coolest thing ever!

Prior to this for about a year my folks had bought me a 100$ guitar and what I found out later was cheap bass amp (a Kustom)
Well i coul dnot figure out why when I bashed out chords it sounded nothing like the Scorps or VH or Ac Dc

Enter the 7th grade I meet a guy who says come on over dude lets jam.............
He has a DOD OD and all of a sudden we sound like a real rock guitarist. Seeral other factors entered in later -chicks dig it, people know who you are the band fun with friends . But the thrill of plugging in and making rock music satisfies to this day!

All the other stuff is a bonus! :drink


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?
I saw Arthur Godfrey playing his Islander uke When I was 9 yo. I thought it was a guitar and asked my parents to buy the one in the downtown music store. I still have that guitar and I’m still playing 59 years later.


I was 14. Suddenly grew 6-8 inches and lost my sports coordination and abilities. My mom married a guy I absolutely hated. I was too shy to talk to girls. I needed an escape. I heard guitar players play notes and chords that struck me to the core. The sounds were so perfect that I knew I could never attain them, but was okay trying for the rest of my life.


I was around 13 and hanging out with some neighborhood friends, bored and looking for something to do. The conversation turned to "Hey, we should start a band!". None of us could play anything except one kid played sax in school band and had an organ at home. The assignments of who should play what were debated and settled on by the group. I, being the youngest, was left out of the plan. This made me mad and I resolved to learn to play the guitar just to show them. There was an old Kimberly acoustic laying around the house, left by my brother or sister who had moved out by then - the strings sat about 3/4" above the fretboard. I successfully lobbied my parents for lessons and set off to become a big rock star. One memory is of waiting for my lesson and encountering an older kid known in the neighborhood as Huggy Bear, or some such, with a big white-boy fro. He said "Hey kid, let me show you something", and proceeded to teach me the Sweet Home Alabama riff. "Don't tell Bob" (my teacher), he warned me. I worked through the Mel Bay books for a few months until I was able to badger my parents into getting me an electric rig for Christmas - a Hohner Les Paul and a Fender Vibro Champ. Soon after that, our family moved from the city to a rural area with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I sat in my room and played along with records for many hours each day. I kept in touch with my friend from the old neighborhood - the one who was supposed to be the guitar player in the band that never happened. I asked him if he still played and whether he still had the beautiful ES-335 he bought. The answers were no and yes. I drove 600 miles and bought that Gibson from him for the princely sum of $300. Eventually, I hooked up with other musicians at school and discovered the feeling of playing with others - bass, drums, big PA speakers. I liked it. Around this time I reached a fork in the road and took both paths. It was the time of guitar heroes, and while I was able to learn and play most of the stuff passably, when it came to the Van Halen/Randy Rhoades tapping stuff I had a real hard time. It wasn't for lack of trying - I liked that stuff, but it just wasn't me. This kept me from being an in-demand guitar player in the rock band scene I found myself in, and feeling like I had reached the end of the road. But another thing happened around the same time - my sister sent me a box of blues records. All the Kings, Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Robert Johnson. Listening to these was a revelation to me, as they contained all the stuff I liked best about rock guitar, but boiled down to it's essence. That path became my path, and while it took a lot longer to find like-minded musicians to play with, and venues to perform were scarce, I've stayed on it ever since. A few years ago I re-connected with my old friend who sold me the Gibson on Facebook. He asked if I still had it and I sent him pictures. He was very complimentary of some recordings I posted, and while that made me happy, the original motivation that got me started on guitar 40 years prior had long since disappeared and I just found it an interesting circle that had been closed. My public playing days came to a halt when I got cancer, and now I get my musical fix getting together on Monday nights at a friend's house - good musicians and good conversation. Maybe someday we'll play a show. I'd be open to it as long as it ended by 9 PM :)


To make guitar music and to be able to accompany myself while singing. Tough to do with the trumpet (my first instrument).


Keith Richards opening riff on Brown Sugar. I got Sticky Fingers when I was around 12 years old back in 1971. After listening to it I picked up an old accoustic that someone gave my dad (he never played it but thought maybe one of his kids would). I tried to play the rif but it never sounded right. I didn't realize that Keith was tuned in open G at the time. I took lessons and after 3 or 4 months, my teacher transcribed Brown Sugar for me and showed me how to tune in open G. By then I had bought a used Fender Coronado. I also had started listening to Clapton and Jeff Beck. By the time I turned 13, I had saved $240 and bought my first Stratocaster. My parents thought I was crazy. $240 was a lot of money back then; around $1500 today. But it was money I saved from cutting lawns, birthday gifts, and the money I got for selling the Coronado (I think I got $75 for it).

Keith Richards opening riffs on songs like Satisfaction, Gimme Shelter, and so many other songs are still some of the most iconic riffs ever played.


I was 14 years old and electric guitars just looked so cool and shiny (I guess I was a gear nut pretty early on haha). We had a music class in school where I got to learn some chords, so I begged my parents to get an electric. Around that time too I got really into rock music and especially Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page. I heard the solo to Stairway and told myself "I want to play like that" there was so much emotion, and depth. I had picked up guitar planning to just learn a few chords and simple songs, but Jimmy Page was the guitarist that really inspired me to practice and keep playing and to be a great guitarists/musician.

james evans

I was in 3rd grade buying records by Ricky Nelson (Waitin' in School), Chuck Berry (Sweet Little Sixteen), Danny & the Juniors (At the Hop) and Jimmie Rodgers (Honeycomb). Then by 4th and 5th grade all we had on the radio was Bobby Rydell & Fabian (Ugh). So by 5th grade I had to get a guitar to play the songs I used to hear, Unfortunately, my teacher was so old & lame going thru the Alfred books, 2 years and I still was playing single string melodies and had not learned a chord. I quit but picked it up in earnest on my own when the Beatles came into my life.


My dad and uncle have both played for as long as I can remember. They played in a local weekend band for years. That was my introduction. I picked it up real young, but it didn't stick at first. They were playing a local bar when i was about 13-14 and I was allowed to attend by the owner as long as I stayed close by my mother (non drinker, knew the owner). They played All Along the Watchtower and for whatever reason it took me. Seems cheesy but i just felt it. I went home and started going through dad's Hendrix, then SRV, then CCR, then Skynyrd, then the Allman Bros, then Free, The Band, etc, etc. After that, it was full speed and been playing ever since. Played in college bands, etc. I'm 33 now, married, with twin 4 year olds. I guess now I play for personal enjoyment, but still get that feeling. I'm sure my wife thinks i'm crazy, but on tough days or stressful days, the only thing that can make forget about what's going on and disappear is the guitar. I love it man. Again sounds cheesy but there's just a certain feeling only me and that guitar know when i'm playing.

Kurt Leege

I was a classically trained pianist. Around age 16 I decided I wanted to write music, but every time I wrote something on the piano it sounded like a poor facsimile of Elton John. I decided that in order to release the music in my head I needed to learn a new instrument, by myself, on my own terms. I quite liked the guitar so I bought one and taught myself to play.

It worked so well that I found after a few years of playing I could write on the keyboard too. I stuck with the guitar though. Suits me better....
Last edited:
Drummer's NEVER get the hot girls. So I switched to guitar (Bass and 6-string), although Bass players don't do much better than drummers.


For me, initially it wasn't about girls but rather the sound of the guitar. It started with Les Paul and Mary Ford. First their hits on the radio and then listening to their B-sides and then picking out other guitar oriented songs as they came out. Later on, it was the Beatles and then the British Invasion artists. But all that lead to was a desire - without a real instrument, I was relegated to doing the air guitar thing.

At 15, my family moved to OH and I didn't know anyone. One day a guy was walking down our street with a guitar case and I decided he was someone I needed to know. He taught me my first chords and introduced me to his circle of friends who were all players. I learned enough to earn a role as the bass player in their little group. One guys dad had a fairly large detached building where he had his ham radio and a small 2-track studio where tinkered around with electronics so that's where we met to play.

Over the '69-70 winter break from school, I decided that I didn't want to be just the bass player so I sat down with Zepplin's first album on cassette and a borrowed guitar and learned as much as I could and never looked back.

So I guess I took up guitar to make music (which is why I still do it) and friends. Most of the girls I dated thought it was something I'd give up later. Luckily my wife was more understanding about my affliction (GAS).


I wanted to be a drummer. Then an older brother threw a party that got out of hand and some people smashed up my cheap drum kit. Nice....

At 15 I wanted to play bass guitar because my friends thought it was cool. but my parents thought guitar was a better idea because you could play songs. I have no idea what I wanted t o play for but Genesis, Kansas (Rich Williams lived on my street), Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Todd Rundgren...those were what I was listening to at the time.

I got a red Fender Mustang and a horrible used amp. A year later I painted apartments so I could buy a Musicman 65-210 tube amp.

Never had much musical ambition. At 60 years old, Im still a bedroom studio player. (synths, guitar, bass, drum machines)


Supporting Member
For as far back as I can remember in my childhood, music moved me. I felt it in my soul when I heard music. I ran through all the records of my parents and older siblings. I didn't know about genre, I was too young. So I listened to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Rolling Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Black Sabbath, all that I heard that moved me. But my dad took a guitar out of a case in the corner of our living room, the one I let my hot wheels cars run down the humps. It was a Ventura V-10, I still have it, and he began to sing and play, and I was blown away by the look and sound of the instrument. On TV I saw Bill Haley and the Comets and Chuck Berry and I knew I wanted to play guitar. It was all within a short span of time. I was very, very young. And then, I saw Hendrix on TV. It was an clip from the movie Jimi Hendrix, the double white album. It was mind blowing and I wanted to be Jimi. So I started strumming my dad's guitar. My older bro soon got a Hondo II LP copy and a Fender Princeton Reverb (1965, sold it a few years ago) and an MXR Distortion + and Crybaby. When he was gone, I snuck in and tried to play. He busted me and began showing me songs. It's been in my blood. I wish I could gig professionally, like show up, plug up, soundcheck, go to the hotel with the family, walk in and play a show, then move to the next town with the family on a private bus. I gave up when I was paying dues and got sick of the people around me and the lack of desire to succeed. I was also making straight A's in college, and I figured it would pay more (I grew up poor and wanted to have a stable income), so I quit trying to make it and focused on school. I have played music all these years because playing guitar is like breathing to me.


Trending Topics