I’m not a very materialistic person, and objects don’t usually mean much to me. But there is one thing that I’ve had — and many different kinds. It serves the same purpose and fills the same void in my psyche. The object that I speak of is incredibly special in that it is so versatile and able to assume many roles across a vast number of both intended and sometimes even unintended uses. This immensely important object is the guitar.
The innovations in gospel and blues music with the acoustic guitar coincided with innovations in electricity that led to the eventual creation of the modern electric guitar. The electric guitar is the most important and influential instrument since the invention of the piano. And just like the piano, after its innovation, innovation in music skyrocketed. It brought a whole new world of sound to the collective ears of the world. Music has never been the same since.
The guitar is in everything that I listen to. It may not always be the focal point of a song, but it is always there. Around the age of 13, a family member introduced me to the music of Ozzy Osbourne. I didn’t know what it was at first, but there was something different about this music from the normal 90’s and early 2000’s pop and country music that I had been exposed to for the majority of my life. This “difference” was the guitar. It was catchy. It was heavy. It was fast. It was AWESOME. And it was making me fall in love for the first time in my young life. But it’s not just the guitar on its own; there was an incredibly talented musician creating these new sounds that I was now hearing, and his name was Randy Rhoads.
I became obsessed. I listened to everything that I could find that had his guitar playing. Tragically, there wasn’t a whole lot, as Randy had died in a plane crash in 1982 at the age of 25, seven years before I would be born. His playing gave me inspiration for the first time in my life. I needed a guitar. I knew that I had to learn how to play and attempt to maybe write something as great as the music that had inspired me.
My first guitar was a black Fender Squire, Stratocaster with a blue tortoise shell pick guard, and an old Peavy Bandit amplifier that was the same age as me. They were terrible, but they were mine and I was so proud. I got the hang of it quickly and learned the first half of the song “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne over the next month or two. I was completely hooked. Totally addicted. I found that I was able to listen to a song and pick out the parts that I wanted to learn and learn them by ear.
I started listening to music obsessively and continued learning new songs more and more as my skills progressed over the next several months, and very soon started to write music of my own. Writing music became more than just a hobby for me, and I soon found a mental escape in playing guitar. As I became older and started experiencing the world from a more mature perspective; my music writing became an emotional outlet for my thoughts and feelings where words always seemed to fail me.
My guitar is more than an object or even just an instrument to me; it is an extension of myself. It’s like having a second voice that only speaks the language of the soul, however corny that may sound. They both mean more to me than I could ever properly express. I don’t know who or where I would be without my guitar or music in general, but I can say that I firmly believe that our world would be much less awesome.