Who knew I would have ended up after all these years totally engaged in playing the acoustic guitar. I say this because I grew up following my father play shows with a bluegrass band called Sounds of Grass. He played almost weekly for many years and he had instruments such as the fiddle, banjo, dobro, and acoustic guitar in my hands at such a young age but nothing stuck. Matter of fact, it was the more progressive players of that genre that really stood out to me even in my pre-teen years. Even at that age, I now reflect back and see that I had an “ear” for those that were a little outside-the-box in their playing style. None-the-less, I didn’t want to play bluegrass.
Then my teen years came along and the interest in guitar began. Maybe that was because I was listening at that time to bands such as Van Halen, Queensryche, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden to name just a few. These bands were obviously distorted guitar ridden and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was then that I shut myself off in my room and practiced for hours trying to be a rock star. I wanted my parents to buy me all the cool equipment, i.e. Les Paul, Fender Strat, Marshall stack, and all effects pedals so that I could cover up my lacks of skills. Needless to say, they didn’t but I still had my lack of skills and stuck at practicing all I could to change that.
Over the next few years, I desired to be in a rock band and play loud and hard. I was actually obsessed with it but nothing ever came of it. I think it was a combination of my lack of confidence in playing in it wasn’t the right fit anyway. My lack of confidence probably stemmed from only knowing how to play other people’s stuff and not honing in on my style or abilities which left me hanging when it came time for improvising. And this is where my journey as a player started to wander and without much steam. During the course of my life, I picked up the guitar may times trying to find my way but couldn’t get the ball rolling again and I had just about giving up on it all together.
This all lasted until I met Jules Smith and she inspired me to turn the corner and make a run at playing again. She had an acoustic guitar and when we started jamming around for the fun of it this is all I had to play and it felt right. Don’t get me wrong, I struggled with the feelings that it wasn’t an electric guitar and it may not be as cool to play but I have found over the last year and half that I was dead wrong. Playing the acoustic has been eye opening and an awesome experience. To me, there is so many possibilities with playing this style of guitar and I am just tapping into it’s potential. Acoustic playing has helped me to overcome my lack of self-confidence and has pushed me to play at a level I would have never imagined. Most likely due to the fact that you can’t hide behind anything. No effects to cover you up and since I play in a acoustic duo all eyes are on me as the guitar player.
I know that bluegrass what not my genre of choice but part of me believes that it created an appreciation for acoustic style instruments and playing and I just shoved it under the rug for the last 30 years. I am thankful Jules had me shake the rug out.