I was inspired by a recent blog on Active Rain entitled "What was the very first personal technology you owned?" by Rene Fabre. Very nice job Mr. Fabre, and a very nostalgic trip for me. My life, also, has been heavily influenced by technology; and it got me to thinking about some of the things that have shaped my life. Probably the biggest influence for me has been music. My grandparents used to run a truck stop called "The Star Café" in the little town of Greenfield in California where I lived as a youngster in the late ‘40s and ‘50's. The jukebox was always playing the most popular songs of the day; and Les Paul and Mary Ford were huge then. In my mind I can still hear their wonderful music note for note. At age eleven I fell in love with the guitar; and, of course, my first hero was Les Paul. Les Paul was not only a wizard playing the guitar; but he was the father of modern recording. He invented so many machines and techniques that are still used today in the recording industry. He was also the one who got me interested in technology, and that has served me well over the years. Here's a nice tribute to Les Paul written by Craig Anderton: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/lespaul-tribute.
My dad had an old beat up guitar that he gave me to get started on. The back was coming off and the body was warped and split. The neck was also warped so that the strings were about 3/8 inch or more high over the fret board. In short, it was a mess. But I was so determined to learn to play that it didn't matter. There was a cabinetmaker in town -- Mr. Morgan -- who was so kind. I took my old beat up guitar to him and he glued the back on again and did whatever he could to make the instrument playable. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.
I started off with just about four chords or so that Dad taught me and I played every chance I got, often playing into the wee hours of the morning until my folks made me go to bed. My fingertips were so sore for about the first month because those high strings were just like cheese cutters, cutting into my flesh. Then, at last, calluses formed, thankfully, and the pain went away and it became easier to play.
As time went on I became even more passionate about music and the guitar. At last I convinced my parents to let me get an electric guitar. When I got my new electric guitar, I gave my old guitar to my best friend Ron and started teaching him how to play. He picked it up and "ran with it". Before long we were playing duets in our little church and having a ball.
The photo shows Ron playing my old guitar and accompanying his brother Sam on trumpet in that little old church. Ron and I played together for years after that and the passion has never left either one of us. I miss those times so much. They set the direction my life has taken to this day.
So, what was your biggest inspiration and where has that taken you?
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