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Guitar Gopher

Joined 3 years ago. Last activity 3 days ago.




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Read guitar reviews, get advice on gear and learn more about the electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass.Guitar Gopher helps you dig up the best gear!

I've been a guitarist for over thirty years. I know finding your way as a musician is tough. My goal is to share what I've learned on my journey, and maybe help make yours a little easier.  

About Guitar Gopher

I write two kinds of reviews here. In the first, I'm telling you about instruments I own or have owned in the past. I'll let you know what you can expect from them, and help you decide if they are a smart option for your style and budget. 

In the second type of review you can think of me more as a shopping assistant. I'll do the research, and help you whittle down your choices when it comes to selecting a new instrument or amp.

I've just about seen it all in my 30+ years as a musician, and I can help sort the good from the bad. Of course the ultimate decision is yours, but I'll steer you in the right direction. 

You might also find guitar news, insights and tributes to some of my favorite guitar legends, and even a couple of lessons here and there. 

I try to keep my pages updated as I gather new information and as guitar companies change their products, but it's a challenge! Of course there is also the chance that I could make a mistake! Always check with the websites of the gear manufacturers for the latest specs on their products.

Positive discussion is always welcome in the comments!

The Story of Guitar Gopher

Sometimes it doesn't seem possible that I've been playing guitar for over three decades. Where does the time go? I got my first guitar for my 12th birthday.  It was a Hondo Fender copy, and this plus a tiny little Crate amplifier made up my first guitar rig. Even through this beginner’s setup I knew there was something wonderful about the electric guitar, and that it would be part of life forever. 

My parents made me take lessons, but that didn’t last long. I couldn’t stand being forced to learn songs I didn’t like when there was so much out there I wanted to know. So I set off to teach myself, using books and listening to albums by my favorite bands. 

Through high school I was pretty much on my own. There weren’t a lot of like-minded musicians in my school, so my evolution as a guitarist was based on things I heard in recordings. Guys like Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendix were my teachers as I struggled to figure out how they made the guitar sound so incredible.

Once in college I met other guitarists, drummers and bassists, and found myself in a few bands. Over the next decade I did the cover band thing. I did the original band trying to get signed thing.I wrote countless songs, recorded in studios, traveled around playing crummy clubs, came in to work at my day job on two hours of sleep after playing the night before. All the fun stuff, in other words. Or at least the stuff you need to get out of your system at some point in your life.

Trying to make a band work is tough. It’s like having a relationship with three or four people at the same time. Everybody has their own problems and issues, and keeping things together isn’t easy. I eventually even took up the bass so I could keep a couple of projects going.

When I’d had all the fun I could stand, I started playing in a few acoustic duos.  But that really isn’t the same, and I had trouble finding the same enthusiasm for projects that didn’t involve overdriven guitars. I had come to a crossroads.  People I knew were dropping out of the scene, getting married, getting real careers, moving on. 

Guitar Gopher Retires

Once I hit my early thirties the writing was on the wall, and I’d pretty much decided I was done with the music scene. But of course that didn’t mean I was done with the guitar. I still supported my buddies who were out there doing it, but for me the fun of the instrument was no longer about writing music and trying to make a name for myself. I remembered all the reasons I got into guitar to begin with. It’s about a love for the guitar, and the sounds it creates.  I became what I guess you’d call a basement hobby player, and it was wonderful. 

I also started to collect a lot of expensive gear. With a “real” job for the first time in my life I could afford whatever I wanted (almost), and that meant Les Pauls, Strats, custom guitars, Martin acoustics, Warwick and Spector bass guitars and other lovely items. That was a fun time in my life. But after a while it started to make less and less sense. 

My wife always says she doesn’t understand why I need more than one guitar, since I can only play one at a time. Of course this makes me laugh and laugh!  Obviously, all guitar players need many guitars! But why blow lots of money on expensive gear, when really it’s all about you, the player? When it comes down to it, the sound is in your hands, and your attention to tone and nuance. That’s what matters.

It occurred to me that there are better things in life to spend money on than really expensive guitars. From there out I made it a point to evaluate instruments based on their true value, not just their reputation. It led to some wonderful finds, and the discovery of some real diamonds in the rough. And it takes me back to those early days when I first discovered the electric guitar, and all I needed to be happy was a 10-watt amplifier and a cheap guitar.

Guitar Gopher Writes

So, why do I do this here?  I forget to mention that, in addition to writing music, for a long while I’ve also been a web writer and novelist. It only made sense to blog about the guitar and share everything I’ve learned over the years. I understand there are veteran players out there who know as much or more than I do (They like to tell me so in the comments!), but there are also lots of young players trying to find their way. I remember what that was like. If I can help them by giving my opinions of gear, or by sharing some of my experiences, then at least my adventures in the music world haven’t been for nothing!

The name? Maybe you’re thinking I’ve been known as the Gopher since I was a kid or something, and there’s an interesting story behind the name. Nope!  I was simply trying to come up with a catchy pen name and wanted something that would imply I was here to help. The idea of the company gofer came to mind.  You know, those guys that run errands and do the grunt work and basically assist the big boss.

Also, it helped that I could draw a gopher.   

Here at HubPages I have the chance to relive some of those old days and pass on whatever wisdom is left in this brain of mine. It’s been a fun road, and the life of a guitar player sure beats being a “normal” person. If you decide to take up the instrument you won’t regret it. If you are already a guitar player, well, then you know what I mean.   

Thanks for reading. If you love the guitar, hopefully you’ll like my articles too!

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Google+! You can find the links at the upper right of my profile page.

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