Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Learning To Play (Surf) Guitar

I've been struggling recently with learning a new instrument - the guitar. I've played in bands in the past, playing bass guitar, then later organ. I got out of music for a few years, but a couple of years ago I decided I really wanted a hollowbody electric guitar (a Gretsch), despite the fact that I didn't know how to play it. Music lessons are an option, of course, but other than playing in the school band in junior high and high school (the only formal music instruction I've had), I've mostly taught myself (and it shows!). I've been thinking about taking guitar lessons, but am not really sure who to go with.

Which leads me to my final dilemma - what kind of music do I want to play. Surf guitar is obvious - I run a surf rock label, and if I could ever come up with something decent, playing and recording solo or with other musicians, I'd have an outlet for it. But I didn't buy a surf guitar - yes, with the right amp, reverb and pedals you can get it to sound pretty "surfy", but it's not the ideal surf guitar. The thing is, I like other kinds of music too - indie rock, electronic, and Brit pop - I can't learn how to play guitar in all of these genres.

I'd love to hear some feedback from other musicians. When you started to play guitar, what made you decide to play the kind of music you play? Do you play more than one style of music? Have you sunk a bunch of money into pedals and amps to get a certain sound, only to decide later that you wanted to go for a different sound?