At the age of 13 I first heard The Sex Pistols and pretty soon after had bought my first guitar. I remember it clearly, a black Les Paul copy that looked better than it sounded as it was forever going out of tune.
There’s nothing more exciting than the first time you plug a guitar into an amplifier and manage to string a few chords together, enough for someone to recognise a tune. The quality beginners guitars has most definitely improved over the past 30 years and you can buy a Fender Strat complete with a practise amp, lead a plectrum for around £199. These guitars are suitable for beginners but beware, they are replicas of the Fender guitars that famous guitarists use, and which you will want to end up with, if you catch the guitar-playing bug.
My two teenage sons have recently shown an interest in learning to playing guitar and this makes an ideal Christmas or birthday present without spending too much on something that may turn out to be a fad.
Over years I have owned some lovely guitars including a black and white Rickenbacker 330 as used by Paul Weller in The Jam and a tangerine Gretsch 6120 which I fell in love with after seeing Edwyn Collins play in a promotional video. I also used to play live with my brothers’ rare and weird shaped Ovation electric guitar. I used to think it cool that Robert Smith used the same guitar during his short stint with Siouxsie & the Banshees in the mid-1980’s. But then someone told me Noddy Holder of Slade also played one!
A couple of years ago I had the fortune to play Ronnie Lane’s custom-built Zemaitis Resonator guitar, the one he used to play the all-time classic Ooh La La for The Faces. Unfortunately, I’m still not that good. But I am hoping my sons will get hooked on playing guitar and if they do, like me and everyone else I know who plays, will eventually want to buy a better quality guitar, whether it be a top of the range new guitar like a Fender or PRS. Their choice, like mine will depend as much on the look they want to achieve and the choice of their favourite artists, as much as the actual sound of the guitar.
Fender guitars are one of the most common and iconic guitars used by musicians from all genres over the years including the likes of Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Pete Townsend (The Who), Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley; while legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, Ace from Skunk Anansie, Nils Lofgren from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and Axl Rose use PRS guitars.
Sounds Good Music sell amps, effects pedals and leads as well as instruments. Top of the range guitars can be several thousand pounds, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting on a guitar and turning the volume up to eleven!
What is your guitar of choice?