I got my first exposure to organized music and lessons as a sixth grade student in Decatur, Al. My parents encouraged me to play the trombone. My father played the cornet, and mother was a clarinet player in her high school days. I chose to play the trombone because it seemed a fascinating instrument to try and conquer. I asked myself at the time, how can I possibly figure out where and how the notes are played using that moving slide.
We moved to Birmingham, Al. where I entered the 7th grade at W.A. Berry High School. The band director, Ted Galloway, was a trombone player, and was known for organizing and leading a great jazz band over the years. He landed in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame before his passing.
My grandparents gave me a Kent electric along with a small amplifier around the time that I joined the junior high band. Being in the band, I got a general music foundation that served me well on my post-high school instrument of choice, the guitar. Little did I know at the time, it would later lead me to my hobby of being a studio singer/songwriter.
The year was 1965, at age 12, in Birmingham, Al., when America was dealing with a British invasion. Also, a time of civil rights strife, the Vietnam War was raging, political assassinations were happening, a very real nuclear threat from Russia existed, as well as the all important space race to the moon. I mention those macro occurrences, because they, along with the micro ones (sports, girls, siblings, etc.) served as distractions to my getting the basics on the guitar. Thus, I wasn’t prepared to play with other musicians as a means of socializing in high school or college.
I enrolled at the University of Alabama in the fall of 1971 and graduated in August of 1976. During that time frame I purchased my first acoustic guitar, a Yamaha. Mostly self-taught in college, I did manage to take several lessons from Lonnie and Richard after graduation at hardworking Jim Ball’s (deceased) Guitar Shop.
I met my future bride in 1974 and married upon graduation in 1976. We had our first child, a son, in 1980 and our second, a daughter in 1985. During college, and in the years following, playing the guitar was something that I loved to do every time I had a chance.
With divorce coming my way in 1990, it occurred in Sioux Falls S.D. in 1992, so, for my own reasons, I did the opposite of most divorcees and chose to quit playing for the better part of 20 years.
The desire to get serious and learn more about the fretboard returned in 2010 at the age of 57. It was then that I bought my first nice guitar, a Taylor….
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