A Personal Guitar Journey

Andy | April 1, 2015 | 9 Comments

This is it. Music is what I want to do. There is no Plan B for me.

Hello! I’m Amanda. I’m 25, and live in Columbia, SC.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts and also some tips for beginner players. I’ve recently celebrated my 3rd year of playing guitar, on Sun Feb 15th.
I can’t even believe that! It’s just unreal to me.

There’s been lots of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve worked so very hard to get to where I am today. This is it. Music is what I want to do. There is no Plan B for me.

I will do whatever it takes to make this dream come true. It’s my passion, my heart & soul. It’s what I was meant to do.

I cannot imagine doing anything else. I’m the happiest when there’s a guitar in my hands. Feeling the cool strings under my fingers. The blaring of the amp.

It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and the most rewarding. I feel so very lucky & blessed to be doing this everyday. Still feels like a dream sometimes.

There’s been many ups and downs, and I’m sure they’ll be many more. I want this more than anything in this world. I want it so bad I can feel it & taste it.

I’ve made many musician friends, and feel very lucky to have them in my corner. Also, mom and dad have been two of my biggest supporters with this. They’re the ones that got the ball rolling on this for me and that’s something I could never repay them for.

I’ve got a very strong support system and couldn’t make it through the rough spots without that. I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life and the rewards have been absolutely amazing!!

Here are some tips for you beginners out there:

  • Don’t ever give up. Have a strong support system and find a good teacher that you get along with well.
  • Learn, listen and ask plenty of questions.
  • Be totally dedicated and have that passion – That’s a big part of what will keep you going.
  • Keep yourself inspired, motivated… and keep going.
  • Be prepared to work your ass off. Be patient and get as much practice as you can in everyday.
  • Get out in your local music scene as much as you can.
  • When your ready, get gigs and jam with other musicians as much as possible. You can learn something from most musicians.
  • Give it some time and I promise you, the rewards will come.

If you follow my advice, you will be successful.

I hope everyone that reads this, can take something away from it. I put a lot of thought & time into this. My first time doing something like this, so thought I’d give it a shot.

Got very emotional writing it. Enjoy it!! If any of you have any questions, or want to talk I’d be glad to help. Thank you for letting me share. Truly appreciate it!

Keep rockin y’all,


Please leave a reply below and maybe share something of your guitar playing journey and experiences:

What have been your Highs and the Lows?

What would be your Best Guitar Tips for Beginners?



Category: Beginners

Comments (9)

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    Hi, Amanda

    Thanks for sharing the thoughts with the deep core of your heart

    I can only say one thing that your post/advise is really gonna help me to learn guitar as I will start learning guitar in a day or two

    Your honest approach will definitely help you and people across the world. Kudos to you and to your thoughts.

    Have, wonderful days ahead.

    With Best Regards. 🙂

  2. Javier Alonso says:

    Tips? : Listen, listen, listen. Listen to all kind of masters: from Chet Atkins to Pat Metheny thru Wes Montgomery, Les Paul, Jim Hall, -hey, it can be seen that I like Jazz!!- and classic, and Paco de Lucía, flamenco too. Listen to other instruments, too, saxo, trumpet, violin, even vibraphone -Gary Burton teached me improvisation, the same who taugh to Pat Metheny but I’m a lot worse. Listen to Baroque classics: Bach, Haendel, Haydn. And finally, listen to yourself. Your music comes from within you.

    Good luck and have fun with it.

  3. Al Campbell says:

    I got my first guitar in 1968 when I was 13. Not a very good one, but usable. I learned enough basic chords to play a few songs and bought some song books to learn some more. Every musician I knew and a guitar teacher I had for a while in 1971 were more interested in showing me what they could do than showing me what I could or should do. I have always had a guitar even though I may not have played it much, taking breaks of up to a year or more. I used to say that I played just good enough to hide the bad notes when I sang and sang good enough to cover most of the bad notes when I played, and that was good enough for me for many years. I never learned correct strumming, scales, phrasings, never learned theory, or even the correct way to hold a pick. I always told myself that I would learn, actually learn to play after I retired and had the time. I’m disabled now and can’t work, haven’t for about 3 years. In that time I have been amassing things from the internet and a DVD or two concerning playing guitar. I don’t/can’t hang around with musicians and have no support system so it’s hard for me to keep motivated, but I try. When I do try I find it hard to keep away from the bad habits I have picked up over the years and at times its very discouraging. I know I need to have a structured practice and learning time but I’m clueless on how and what to structure. I keep plugging away though. Your post gave me incentive for today, thank you.

  4. Amanda Hoffman says:

    Thank u all for sharing your stories & advice with me. I appreciate it!! Y’all keep em comin!

  5. Paul says:

    I started playing guitar in 1972, I was 15 yrs old. I took lessens for a year but the teacher was only interested in teaching me music theory and how to read music. I was into Black Sabbath, Deep Purple etc, I wanted to know how to play chords and play the type of music I liked, he took the fun out of learning how to play the guitar. I stopped playing guitar for a couple of years until I moved into a group flat where some other tenants played the guitar. I learned more in that 6 months than I did taking a year of lessens. About a year later I sold my guitar, which is a big regret of my life, a beautiful 1970’s Japanese copy of a Fender Telecaster. I didn’t touch another guitar until 2004 I heard an announcement on the radio for a program called Weekend Warriors. It’s for people who have for any reason stopped playing, eg to raise a family, they gave you a chance to play again. About 50 people turned up and we were formed into 6 bands. They put me with a drummer, singer, bass, & another guitar player, they supplied all the instruments and a teacher. We had 6 weeks to learn, 5 songs then play them at a concert with the other bands with the money raised going to a charity, we raised $5,000 that night. The other 4 guys and me stayed together, practiced and learned enough songs to start gigging. We had a great time over the next 8 yrs playing all over the ACT and NSW Australia, we played a lot of charity gigs and had the reputation of being one of the best cover bands around. I can’t do gigs anymore I get bad cramps in my fingers and wrist, but I still pickup a guitar, those years that played live are the best years of my life. I wish I had not given up when I was 16. Find a teacher that will listen to you and teach you what you want to learn. If you can play an instrument you will never be alone. Keep on strumming. Paul…

  6. Simon Foskett says:

    I played guitar as a teenager and loved it (wasn’t very good, but loved it) Played a few pubs as sing alongs ect, and moved to London. Met a great teacher who in my eyes was a guitar god. After a couple of years it all drifted. I sold my guitar to buy my wife’s wedding ring. After 25 yrs of marriage at fifty I rekindled my desire to play. For the last two and a half years I have been on the crest of a musical wave, I have a fantastic teacher, friend and mentor. My musical taste has always been eclectic but since meeting my tutor, it’s like going from black and white TV to colour.
    Music courses though my veins it invigorates and excites me, and I feel like a teenager again. I tend to play four or five one hour sessions a week and have made a practice time table to structure my learning. We all work hard these days because we have to, why then should we not play hard as well and enjoy our free time.This has paid dividends for me. Remember even the pro’s don’t get it right all the time, and when you foul it up have a laugh and try again. Keep the faith Guys and Girls and above all ENJOY!!!!!!!

  7. BOB ROMEO says:

    well Amanda,i am one of those who has given up and started again.the best instructor I had was my first back in 1975.iwas doing well,then he had to leave to go to college.i could not find one that I liked,so I quit.i have had many more but, all they did was put me on music books.
    never played with other musicians which I think is my problem.i am trying fingerpicking that I like a lot but it is frustrating.i looked up a guy in my area(Melbourne FL)he wants 40 dollars an hour whch I can not pay,i am retired on S.S.so that’s out.well the best to you in the future
    bob romeo

  8. Tom says:

    Working with the son of my long time musical partner right now, he’s 12 (I’ve been playing for 40 yrs as of this year). He’s got the dedication and the chops are pretty good for his age (playing 5 yrs at this point. The biggest negative is that he does not listen, he just plays. This is good up to a point but listening to the other musicians and (critical) listening to as much music as you can (especially stuff that’s not what you usually listen to) really helps.

    I have two basic philosophies that still work:

    1) 5%: If you can take 5% from any piece you listen to and incorporate that into your playing you are ahead of the game.

    2) 5 minutes: you can figure out/get started and eventually master anything technical if you do it 5 minutes a day, every day. Try it for a month and you’ll see what I mean.

    Other than that just be open to anything and everything and stop listening to only guitar players for licks, tricks and inspiration…check all musicians out.

  9. Joe Kelley says:

    I started playing the guitar at age 50. I’m now 57. My advice is to work so as to play, but play so as to work. In other words the idea I had, and still have, is to play music, so as to learn how to work at playing music, not the idea of working at becoming a musician so as to then have music as a source of income. The investment for me was, and is, to set aside play time, serious play time, and then use that play time to find the enjoyment of creating fun sounds on the guitar.

    The investment pays off right away, not at any retirement age, and not at the point at which someone is willing to pay you to play music. You find how the instrument is used by you to create enjoyable sounds that work for you as a fun experience from the first note to the last note each time you play.

    The down side here is that you also must be your own best critic. Forgive yourself for failing sometimes. Work through those sessions where you are not playing as well this time, and it is very easy to find work to do on the guitar. Play a chord. Play a new chord. Play a scale. Play a new scale. Build a solid routine of your music that you play every time from beginning to end as your personal warm-up routine, and make it your music. Work through that routine every chance you get, and then get an idea of how much fun you can have playing after you get warmed up, because you may find that today is your best day to have fun, not your worst day to have fun, playing enjoyable music.

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