#6 Choosing Your Instrument: Electric Guitar

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I bought my first electric guitar,  from a school friend, don’t know what make it was, and can’t remember how much I paid for it. I was fifteen years old and still going to accordion lessons. To get started I found a guitar book in the local music shop, all it had was a few chords, with arrows on how to strum. “Blowin’ In The Wind” a Bob Dylan song, “Blue Suede Shoes” Elvis Presley, and “Dream” The Everly Brothers. There was probably more songs in the book, but I only remember these, because I played, guitar and sung them at gigs.

I had already studied scales and chords on the piano, so all I had to do was work  out the scales first on the guitar, then I could build my own chords. The book that I purchased was so basic, I threw it in the bin after a couple of weeks.

This is how I did it:
1) I worked out all the notes in the first four frets double checking on the piano if I
was unsure about any note. I memorised all the notes in first position, and started to
learn some scales from a piano book.
2) When I could play a few scales, I could then work out the chords from the scales.
3) This gave me a huge advantage over other guitarists, because I could do three
things that most couldn’t.  I could read music, I could work out chords from a
record, and I could hear when something just wasn’t right with the band.

The above skills are much more common now but in the mid 60’s when I lived in Ayrshire, it was very uncommon. When I was sixteen an agent took me on, and was often hired out to take charge of bands in some clubs and hotels, which gave me a lot of experience, but made me very unpopular with the musicians because they were always older than me and I was telling them what to do, plus I was getting paid more than them. I eventually started my own band , but that’s another story.

The picture (not good quality) is my with my first band, Andy Left, (drums) me centre with my first guitar, and my good friend Bryan (accordion & keyboard). I introduced a bass player, and a new drummer not long after this photo was taken.

The fender just has a great twang to it, plus I like Hank Marin and I have signature copy of the guitar.

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