‘I love you baby, but not like I love my guitar’ – Prince
Whilst I’m not the most accomplished guitarist, I love to look at them, play them, and I’m lucky enough to own a few. However, a drawback of my expat lifestyle is that I never have them all together in one place, they are spread around the world, in Australia, Dubai, Cyprus, and UK.
However, regardless of how much I play, or which guitar I play, nothing beats listening to ‘the professionals’. My passion has always been for rock music, and my first exposure to real rock guitar music came in my latter school years, in the early 70’s – with my guitar heroes being rock gods such as Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore, Steve Howe, Tony McPhee, and the late, great, Rory Gallagher. My first concert was to see Rory performing at the Brighton Dome, supported by Greenslade, I think in 1973; a magical night. His ‘Live in Europe’ album is one of my all time favourites, it never sounds dated, despite being more than 40 years old – ‘you can call it what you want, but I call it messin’ with the kid!’
Since those days, I’ve had the pleasure to listen to many more excellent exponents of the rock guitar, but my heart will always belong to the classic rock music of the 70’s.
My first guitar was bought for me at Christmas 1972 by my parents, I was 15. It was a basic classical model, with nylon strings (which are so much easier on the new player’s fingers), and with the help of my best mate, I managed to learn to tune it, play a few chords and a 12 bar blues base line.
Another good friend then taught me about the songs of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground – ‘Waiting for the man’, ‘Sweet Jane’, ‘I’ll be your mirror’ and many more. Songs that I still play today.
Alongside Lou Reed, I love playing classic Dylan tunes such as ‘Like a rolling stone’, ‘If you see her, say hello’ and of course the wonderful ‘Tangled up in blue’.
In my later school years, I started to play in bands and had my first gigging experiences; I continued to be involved in a few bands until my early 20’s, then it kind of fizzled out. I still kept playing at home, but gigging was a thing of the past.
That was until 2012; whilst spending some time in Melbourne Australia, I got involved in a programme set up by a local music store, called ‘Weekend Warriors’. It allowed us wannabe rockers to play in a band for a few weeks, and be coached by a couple of really great professionals. Our band was called ‘Click Track’, and the programme lead to a live gig at a club in the city, where we got to play a 30 minute set, it was a great experience and I really enjoyed it.
Playing with Click Track, using my Gibson Les Paul Studio
Since then, whilst I’ve not gigged any more, I continue to strum when I get the chance. I also love to wander around guitar stores, admiring the Gibson’s, Fender’s and other makes, and who knows maybe in the future, other models will find their way into my home, I can only hope!
My guitar collection:
Gibson Les Paul Studio – Cherry red finish
Epiphone Dreadnought Acoustic, 1997
Fender Telecaster, 2010 American Standard – Ash finish
Martin 000X1AE Electro Acoustic
Fender GC12NAT Acoustic
Yamaha SG30 Electric, 1977 – Natural finish
My Fender GC12NAT, at home in Cyprus
My Dubai pair, the Telecaster and Martin, in front of my small but noisy Fender Mustang I amp
The unique Yamaha SG30, not bad for almost 40 years old!