Friday, November 2, 2007

continued guitaring life

I remember playing these three guitars for years.
I began to teach myself how to fingerpick. At that time I thought that in order to fingerpick you had to wear actual picks on all five fingers of the right hand so I went out to the nearest guitar store (in Claremont, New Hampshire near where I grew up in Springfield, Vermont) and bought a couple sets of what must have been banjo picks (one set of steel and one set of clear plastic). I remember these picks nearly cut off the circulation in my fingertips. It's a wonder I survived to ever play the guitar at all.
So, of course, that wasn't working out and I don't believe I practiced with them more than 2 or 3 times.

At the time I had one issue of "Guitar Player" magazine that must have been a couple years old already. It's funny how much that one issue had an effect on pretty much all my musical life to follow. If memory serves (and I'm probably foggy on the details) there was an interview with Steven Stills in which he said that it's vastly more important for young guitarists to learn to play solid rhythm guitar instead of wanting to be a hotshot lead player right off the bat (I took note). There was also an interview with Jimmy Page who mentioned that two of the guitarists that most influenced him were Bert Jansch and Narciso Yepes (I doubly took note). The oddness of those two names stuck with me. Who were they? If Jimmy liked them, they must certainly be good. I believe also in that same issue there was brief mention of a guy named "Davy Graham".

Think of it! Here I was a snot-nosed 14 year old in Springfield Vermont in 1974 and I'd been at least introduced to the music of Bert and Davy (and by extension the whole modern history of eclectic fingerstyle steel string guitar, in my opinion) and to Narciso Yepes (ditto the classical tradition).

I shouldn't say I was introduced to the music, really, seeing as how I hadn't heard it yet! But the mere fact of Jimmy's reference to these players in the one magazine I was sure I would ever possess and the mysterious power that "Led Zeppelin III" had had over me since its release gave me a powerful urge to find OUT as soon as possible what he was taking about.

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