Old Farts With Guitars

A Good Man

My older brother died last week. He was 65 years old. He just dropped dead of a heart attack while preparing breakfast for a men’s prayer group at his church last Saturday (March 26, 2011).

I commented to the pastor of his church that if you’re going to go, a massive heart attack, at your favorite house of religion and among good friends is about the best way I can imagine to go. That’s certainly a much better description than any bawdy jokes I could make about it. Fact is, other than the timing, I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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Shiny Objects

Before I proceed any further, I want to make sure the person who inspired this post is acknowledged. His name is Griff Hamlin and he has produced several DVD based learn-at-home guitar courses. I’m currently studying his Blues Guitar Unleashed (BGU) course. Let me say that I am very impressed with his course material and I believe it to be worth every penny I paid for it. Griff has my undying respect and admiration for turning his dreams into goals and his goals into reality. Griff, if you’re reading this, thank you, thank you and thank you!

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I am an accordion player (part 3)

So here we are, now a two accordion family. On top of that, I’m teaching. So I’m signed up for an advanced class with their best instructor and within a few weeks they determine I can probably teach any of their new students. The operation ran along the lines of a class of 8 to 12 kids for one hour each, every week. It happened to work out well with the studio, because they were just opening the studio in my home town. The original studio was in a town about 20 minutes down the road. My Saturday’s were gone, as well as one or two evenings a week. But I have to be honest. Teaching was a very addictive thing. I truly enjoyed it. I loved watching the kids that really got it early on and within a few months, I could always tell by the parents’ reactions when they dropped off little Jimmy or Susie whether the kid would survive the big meeting and after 8 weeks show up with a 120 bass accordion and who would stop showing up.

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I am an accordion player (Part 2)

I devoured the accordion! There was a lust in me that just couldn’t be satisfied. The Palmer-Hughes Accordion method was my constant companion.

At some point in 1962 or ’63 I hit the high point of my young life when my parents took me to the Galesburg High School auditorium to see the one and only Myron Floren from the Lawrence Welk Show perform in a one man show! I was mesmerized by all that talent up on stage!

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I have a confession to make. I am an accordion player!


As far back as I can remember, I loved two things. Music and the radio. In the late 50’s and early 60’s they were pretty much entwined. I can remember as a kid sitting in the back seat of the family station wagon (a red and white 59 Chevy Brookwood), listening to the likes of Peggy Lee and Julius LaRosa on those trips to my grandfather’s farm for a couple hours on the backroads of Illinois.

We lived in the country and as a pre-schooler, I was home pretty much all day. If I wasn’t outside playing, I was inside listening to the radio. Mom had it on all day long, from early in the morning until dad came home at night.

Read more: I have a confession to make. I am an accordion player!

I’m a guitarist Jim, not an Interior Decorator!

After all these years, I have a music room. It used to be my computer room and stuffed full of computing equipment. Before that it was my oldest son’s bedroom. But now it’s the music room. We started by painting it blue, with the trim done in an ultra-white. Neither my lovely wife or I are really good at staying within the lines, so we ended up with a lot of blue on the trim and a little white on the walls. Then I got the bright idea of painting a buffer stripe between the wall and the trim. We got the tape and put down an excellent demarcation line. Then I dug up a leftover can of red that our youngest son had used when he painted his room (when he lived here).

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To Everything, There is a Season

…And a time for every purpose under heaven. When I decided to start playing the guitar again (or should I say “attempt to start playing the guitar again”), I had been entirely out of touch with the music world for years. Let me restate that a little differently. I had not been playing, practicing or in any other manner keeping a skill set alive. My love of music has never wavered over the years. To this date, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 or so albums of music on good old vinyl LP records and another 300 or so on reel-to-reel tape. Now a lot of people have collections larger than this, but I have dragged this entire collection from its starting point in Illinois around 1963, to both coasts of the U.S. and quite a few states in-between. Instead of lightening the load over the years, I’ve kept adding on as I find new caches of material. But I digress…

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Yes Virginia, We Moved

It’s a great way to win friends and influence people, isn’t it?

Yeah, we moved the weblog from webmoron.net. After putting up the original blog, I found out the domain name OFWG.NET was available. Surprisingly, OFWG.COM wasn’t available and whoever owns it wants a boatload of cash for it. So rather than wait until I had two or three people regularly showing up to read my clever musings (not) I thought it might be wise to grab the new domain name and move everything while it was still a simple process. Hence the move!

As my kids were growing up, I always used to tell them that after they left home, I was going to start playing the guitar again and find myself some other like minded individuals of about the same age, start a band and call it Old Farts With Guitars. As of right now, it’s just me and it will probably stay that way for a very long time, unless I can get good enough again that I’m willing to embarrass myself in front of some real musicians who happen to be local. So for the moment, it will probably only be one Old Fart With Guitars.

So Arin and Nate and my loving wife Maurette, the family inside joke is being shared with the world… or at least the three people who will eventually find this blog.

May your strings stay in tune and your chords ring true!

Is This Thing On?

Good grief Charley Brown! I’m actually doing this again! It seems like only yesterday I was spending three hours a day, four to five days a week locked up in a Sunday school room at an old church with 3 other guys and various hangers on. Practice, every night we could all manage to get together was the rule of the day. That wasn’t always easy, because Ken, our lead singer lived in Boulder. Monty, our lead guitarist worked at the RC Cola factory. I’m not sure if Steve, our drummer had a job or not yet, as he was the youngest in the band at 19. Among the usuals was Joe T. who was always willing to man the tape recorder and try and mix our miserable PA system. Steve’s younger brother Scott would show up every now and then to tell us how awful we were. And there were always a few people who managed to drop by to bum a cigarette or a beer off of us. They said they came to hear us, but I think a Marlboro and a Coors ranked higher than we did.

The church had been the old First Christian Church in town. After they built a new one on the south end of town, this one, smack in the middle of town on College Avenue didn’t suit their purposes any more. So some smart management company had taken it over and the second floor was full of various rock stars in the making, a couple of improv comedy troupes, a marionnette puppet group and one or two old farts who rented the rooms to use as photo darkrooms. The old main sanctuary was used by a local theatre group who never seemed to be there. All this was just across the alley from an old three story house on Remington street. Three floors of little crummy apartments that the college students in town were oh so happy to have for next to nothing. Unfortunately, that house had a couple of cranks living in it, so we always had to have our practice done before 10PM or suffer the wrath of the local cops. Back then they didn’t need a complaint. If they drove by the church after about 9:30 and heard ANYONE, they came in and shut us all down. I think it was just an excuse to see if any of us had any weed. With half a dozen bands and an unknown number of teenies and twenty-somethings just hanging out there was always some excitement.

Anyhow, that was then and this is now. I’m 57 years old and starting over. I picked up a guitar course online (more on that later), hoping against hope that the 37 years without a decent guitar and absolutely no practice time, I could magically make a Fender Telecaster sound like it did when I was 19. The reality is that right now it sounds more like when I was 12… Or maybe this IS what I sounded like at 19!

Bring it on!