What happened to me in early 2022 is unbelievable. It’s something I never thought I would achieve, a little forgotten dream that came true almost naturally. I had never considered such a possibility and yet … never say never in life. It’s so true. At my age, for the first time it happened to me to participate in a song with my guitar, a song that was released on all streaming platforms. It’s a tiny thing, a drop in the ocean, but to me it’s a huge accomplishment, completely unexpected and totally unplanned. A number of things happened that led me to this opportunity. I’m very happy that an official track contains a small musical contribution from me. I have gained a great deal of satisfaction….
The Stratocaster, Hendrix and SRV
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 11 years old and always dreamed of having a Stratocaster. It was the guitar used by my favorite guitar player at the time and I wanted one too. I couldn’t afford it, so eventually my parents bought me a reproduction, which was the best gift I ever received. Some time later I was able to buy a PRS Strat at cost price and then I almost stopped playing. I picked it up again much later and decided to make the dream come true. I sold the PRS and bought a Fender Stratocaster. Even though it’s a Made in Mexico, I think I achieved my goal. It is a vintage reproduction of 56, one of the first models created by Leo Fender, who was named the same as my son and had his birthday on the same day as me.
Playing the electric guitar it is inevitable to get drawn sooner or later to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, especially if you love the Stratocaster; or better, if you love those guitarists you end up dreaming of a Stratocaster.
For me the dream was triggered with an Italian guitarist, then through the usual David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler I pushed me back to Jimi Hendrix and his guitar heir SRV.
Is playing music a teenager’s thing?
In one season of the hit television series Desperate Housewives, some of the male characters get together to play music by forming a band that becomes their leisure activity. My favorite character happened to be the lead guitarist (and he played a Fender Stratocaster in the series). So I empathized and found it very likable. It’s a shame that the writers had thought of this little act to make the members of the group look like immature children who had not yet left their adolescence behind.
On guitar tone…
First of all I want to clarify that in this post I do not want to teach anything to anyone. I simply want to put in writing and share some things I have understood; by writing them I pin down the concepts, make them my own and clarify my ideas further. In addition, I gather these concepts in a single page for my future memory. Then if sharing can help someone else, so much the better.
As I often say, I’m just a strummer, not a musician. With the guitar I can do some things at a decent level, enough to perform them acceptably in public. Then all I have to do is look around a bit and there are plenty of guitarists better than me. I’m just not that bad, okay?
If one day I will learn to read and write music, know a little more about music theory, harmony, etc., and maybe make some money playing or teaching, maybe then I will shyly call myself a musician.
Musings from a photo…
A photo of me in my early twenties, smiling in a way that I rarely appeared in photos of the time, happy in my element, pleased with myself. I really wasn’t (but would I ever be?). In fact I was often portrayed with a long face, like I was angry or had just been in trouble. But in this picture I’m in a break in a rehearsal room with the band I played in as a college student, with my sister on bass and two other friends on drums and keyboards. I am holding in my arms the most precious object of my life. Not because it was something expensive, on the contrary. It was my first electric guitar, a copy of the Fender Stratocaster I had always dreamed of. My parents gifted it to me on my 16th birthday. We’ve been inseparable ever since. That’s why I look so good in this photo, which is why it made me think.
Sunday morning guitar players
Anyone can buy a guitar, get some practice (Youtube would be enough), take some lessons or advice from someone who already plays and then declare “I play guitar”. That’s what I did. An uncle gave my sister and me his guitar when we were 9 and 11 respectively. We experimented based on the first chords our uncle gave us. And we moved on. I in particular focused on being a guitarist, learning solos as well. Then when I was 16 the electric guitar arrived and by the time I was 20 we had a small band playing the songs of our heroes in the rehearsal rooms. When people say “I play guitar” it doesn’t mean much. I’ve always said that about myself – I play guitar – but what does it really mean? Do I play it alone? In a band? Do I perform publicly or do I play at home sitting on the couch? Even a professional can claim “I play guitar”. It only takes a small-time professional to humiliate someone like me who plays in his spare time. But there are also non-professionals with killer technique. The vast majority have not become famous, not even those who make a living from guitar.