How G String Guitars Started
Growing up in my city of Edmonton in the ’70s was exciting.
A substantial Italian community came to Canada to leave a war-stricken Europe in the ’60s to find work and prosperity.
But with the saying, “work hard, you also play harder.”
The community would have events virtually every weekend getting together to eat and dance the nights away.
The music was always live, and you would ALWAYS find me right at the front of the stage, sitting all night watching the different bands that the community events planners would hire to perform for the night.
So at seven years old, after my parents decided that playing a broom was maybe an inclination that I wanted to strum a guitar, they started me with lessons.
I took to it quickly but had this big red sunburst acoustic to practice on, and all I can remember is that it was awkward and that I etched groves into the body next to the pickguard because of my boredom with the course material.
I went through several teachers, and they always followed the same methodology.
It was the “how to play” guitar lessons by Mel Bay or whoever had the published lesson books at the time.
Along came this new guitar instructor from Chile.
Angelo was his name, and he was a slightly shorter man with long dark hair.
Angelo was new and had just been hired at the music school I was taking lessons from, and I remembered sitting with him for the first time and he asking me what I wanted to do with this instrument.
I was probably 11 yrs of age at the time, and I could not answer him.
My only experience was these “how to play guitar” formates the other instructors were pushing on all students.
I remember him (Angelo) saying, let’s start by NOT using these books, and we will learn some SANTANA tunes.
When I expressed that I did not know who Carlos Santana was, he reacted as if I had landed here, not on this planet.
I remember he joined one of the local bands that would play every weekend (he sported a black Les Paul), and later in the evening; he would break out into an edition of “La Bamba” and ROCK the house. DOWN!
This guitar mastery show was my first exposure to “free soloing,” Angelo became my original Guitar HERO.
My Journey To Guitar Hero
This performance established my future as a musician and a guitarist.
After my parents saw how committed I was to this instrument, they bought me a 1973 Fender Telecaster.
I still have it today (In my gravatar image), and I could not think of anything else.
Like in Guitar Hero fashion, Angelo suddenly left the school and the band, and nobody could tell me where he went off.
But his spirit only drove my desire to take me into the self-learning arena, and by the time I was 13, I was asked to take the same spot in that group that Angelo had owned for many years previous.
It was my turn to rock the house with “La Bamba.”
By the time I was 15, the music school owned by some of the band members had asked me to teach, and this became my full-time job on top of performing every single week with all of the bands that were playing at the time.
By 17, I started playing for A-Circuit Vegas-Style Show Bands and learning the world outside of the community band scene.
It was a time of incredible growth and perspective.
I roomed with a keyboard player from Chicago (Walter Cunningham) who jammed with Stevie Wonder and asked Al Di Meola to jam on the stage of one of his shows.
I have never to this day heard of a better keyboard player on or off the vinyl.
He was in his 40s, and I was this 17 years old, just soaking up all this experience around me.
Music Changes, But Passion Stays The Same
The love affair with this instrument runs deep, but it comes with many challenges in life; I am just glad that I am still here today to champion the cause for the local musician and upcoming next guitar heroes.
This quote by Les Paul says it best.
“A guitar is something you can hold and love, and it’s never going to bug you. But here’s the secret about the guitar – it’s defiant, and it will never let you conquer it. The more you get involved with it, the more you realize how little you know.”
One thing is for sure; I suspect I will be like Andres Segovia and continue playing and recording until well into my 90s.
This journey is no longer about being a rock star but about the desire to get your music out.
The Goal Of This Website
It is to help understand the gear through reviews, motivation to keep achieving your goals and to bring other musicians together to share experiences and support the new guitarist to become future guitar heroes.
How I Can Help.
One of my passions is to teach and motivate, and training on a platform online is just the next step in the evolution of education.
Thank you for going on this journey with me and for the love of the instrument.
Founder of G String Guitars