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ArtistWorks founder and CEO David Butler is writing a series of blogs about his own experience learning guitar and how it ultimately inspired him to develop a new way to learn guitar online and eventually create ArtistWorks, a company dedicated to providing a better way to teach and learn music.

David encapsulates his musical journey in ArtistWorks’ newest course, Beginner's Guide to Acoustic Guitar. Taught by David, these online music lessons provide fundamental acoustic guitar lessons for beginners in a fun, approachable manner. You’ll learn how to play acoustic guitar through lessons that are based on the songs of your youth, including tunes by The Beach Boys, Van Morrison and Neil Young.

 Part 1: The Six String Invasion

learning guitarI grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, an Eisenhower era kid, my ears awakening to music in the late 50's and early 60's.  My family lived in a working class neighborhood chocked full of baby boomer kids running half-wild up and down the back streets of East Memphis.  Memphis would later become famous for the soul music of Stax, but in my neighborhood Johnny Cash was on the record player next door, Grand Ole Opry was on the Saturday afternoon TV, and Frankie Valley and other payola-driven hit makers dominated the ubiquitous "56 WHBQ" AM radio.  Something was changing though.

 

 

 

learning guitar

In the early sixties we were hearing the backbeat of something new, sounds emanating from a store-front recording studio downtown on Union Boulevard. Sam Phillips was at the control board weaponizing Elvis and Carl, and he was about to destroy corporate pop music once and for all.  It was a reverse Sherman's March, a southerner's music revenge, and it was reeking havoc on the New York-controlled pop music scene.  

At the same time, out in the west Dick Dale and his LA-based surf music perpetrated an ocean-to-ocean instrumental guitar assault on American radio.  Guitar music was suddenly everywhere, from the driving rock-a-billy music from Tennessee to the blasting hang-tens of surf music from California.  It was nothing short of an infection, an illness:  Every mother's son had to have a guitar.
 
My across-the-back-fence neighbor, only-child Wayne, received our neighborhood's first real guitar. I remember taking a turn or two  holding it and plucking its open strings.  But Wayne mostly hogged it for himself, making the rest of us jealous and frustrated.  Wayne would come home from his Saturday guitar lesson at Jack Marshall music store and show off what he had learned that day, playing such early surfer songs such as the Chantay's "Pipeline", Travis Wammack's "Scratchy", and the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run".  I wanted a guitar so bad I just couldn't stand it.  I would have to wait the childhood eternity of two long years, until I was eleven years old, to finally get a guitar of my own.  
 
Next:  A Guitar Arms Race
 
learning guitar
 

 

 

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