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Guitar Gopher

Joined 4 years ago. Last activity 5 days ago.

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I've been a guitarist for over thirty years. I have played in bands, written many songs, and recorded my original music in professional studios. These days I'm just a hobby player, and a guy who still loves the guitar.

My writing is a way for me to revisit my days as a musician, and share what I have learned over the decades. Finding your way as a young guitar player is tough, and I remember what that was like. By passing on what I know, maybe I can help make your journey a little easier.

About Guitar Gopher

I write about pretty much anything that has to do with guitar - guitar news, insights into writing music and performing with a group, tributes to some of my favorite guitar legends, and I even post a few lessons here and there.

I also write a lot of gear review. You'll find two basic types of reviews, and both are intended to help you make an informed decision about which guitar, amp, effect or accessory is right for you.

In the first type of review, 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 do my best to steer you in the right direction.

I try to keep my pages updated as I gather new information and as guitar companies change their products, but it's a challenge.

Remember that my advice is always based on my own opinions, and there is also the chance that I could make a mistake. It's up to you to do your own reserach and arrive at your own conclusions.

Always check with the websites of the gear manufacturers for the latest information on their products.

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 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.

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. I hope you enjoy my articles, but more importantly I hope you learn to love the guitar as much as I do.

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