My Ultimate-Guitar

As a member of this great family we have here, I would like to express how this website has affected my development as an artist and as a person. I invite you to do the same.

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When I was a kid, my dad gave me his old guitar which he didn't ever play. It is a Juan Estruch guitar and it still sounds like sunshine. After a while, I started to take guitar lessons because you have to start someplace, right? Well, I started in a church, and took lessons from a priest who played Mexican "rancheras" on his accordion. He would teach us three chords each day, then we'd all play together as he played the melody and we played the rhythm.

My musical experience was limited back then - I was only able to get into Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Can't Stop" and "Californication," Gorillaz; all of that was because the only TV channel a couple friends watched was MTV, and we would go to each other's houses quite a lot, so that was what I managed to pick up. I liked that music, but it felt like "Well, these are the musics I like, I suppose."

But another experience came from my cousin who lived in one of the inner cities. I live in Caracas, Venezuela's capital; which is pretty much the closest you can get to a "sense of development" in this country, but whatever. I regularly stayed at my cousin's place for Christmas and New Year's Eve, and I remember him and his friends playing pirated CDs (because that was the only method available of listening to music in that place, we'll talk about piracy on other column) on his PlayStation. He listened to a lot of rap, Eminem mostly, and another music which I felt sort of intimidated by it, I only knew it had to do with something called "metal."

Well, you know, when you're a newcomer to music you sort of know that there are some crazy musicians, and that's just what I saw while I was "asleep" in his bedroom one day as his friends came by. I knew by the stickers on his door that he loved a band called "Korn"; all I knew was "That has to be that metal music. Just look at the logo, it's creepy as heck (for a kid)," but I actually haven't listened back then to a single Korn song. So his friends came over and they played a DVD of a concert that, for me, had to be of that same "metal" music.

Which band was it? It was freaking Rammstein, which for an ignorant kid, that's as metal as you could get in those circumstances. But it wasn't the music that shocked me, it was the performance, which included this very video:

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My poor 10-something-year-old was astounded by that clip.

"Where they actually having sex? How did he manage to...? But that's so much... What is this I don't even."

Metal was for nutcases, it seemed.

Some time passed and while browsing for "explosion" sound effects on one of the largest P2P programs there were back then, I found a file called "Ride the Lighting - Metallica."

"Metallica? Sounds like metal. I wonder how it sounds."

Magic.

What is this? The sheer power of this finding was tremendous. I didn't know how to react. Wasn't metal satanic music? Is this satanic music? Are there different kinds of metal?

Yes kiddo, there are quite a lot. And so began my journey through the seas of online piracy, because I couldn't buy records and I simply didn't know what the hell to buy, or to think, or what the hell was I doing; all I knew is that there was a whole world to be found in this music and I had the means in front of my face to explore it as I saw fit. I had found MY MUSIC. I started browsing online, gathering all the information I could about "metal." "Oh, so there are other 3 great thrash metal bands besides Metallica? And what was thrash metal? Hey, it seems I like Nu-Metal too!... But why do people say it isn't metal? It does sound good... Right?"

That was when the idea of "If it sounds good, it's good" hit my head, and it stuck there as it should stick into yours. Be tolerant of other people's preferences, everyone is entitled to their own stupid opinion.

So anyway, that's how I decided that I'd like to learn guitar. I just wanted to, there's not much else to it. Maybe chicks would dig it or maybe I could become a guitar god or whatever; I just wanted to learn to play. To play, just like a game, you know? I got the guitar and took lessons in the church, but as you may guess, the priest did not know jack about metal, why would he? So back to the Internet it is! Spanish-speaking guitar websites were pretty lousy at the time, they were limited and had little resources, and I knew that there had to be a place where people could find all guitar-related stuff since a LOT of people want to learn how to play guitar (a lot of my friends did start playing at that same time). And so came UG.

Whichever song I wanted, there it was. I could learn any song if I had the dedication; besides, Metallica's songs are fairly simple so I was on a field day right there. I would then go to the priest's lessons knowing quite a bit more than other kids who settled with what they learned in class; one time, the girl who assisted the priest asked me where was I learning those things and I printed some tabs for her, but she didn't quite understand them. Oh well. I kept learning and growing.

So what do all we have here? My friends, we have the means of world domination on this website. What could have Jimmy Page done if while being a session guitarist before forming Zep, had at his disposal Ultimate-Guitar? Ho-ho.

We do not value the possibilities of the Internet as we should. YOU CAN FIND PRETTY MUCH ANY SONG YOU WANT BY TYPING ITS NAME ON A SEARCH BAR, MAN.

And our fellow UG'ers, this community can't be beat easily. It's like a metal concert, plain and simple. There's the dumb kids, the moshers, the jazz players who love their dose of Norwegian Black Metal, we got 'em all right here. When I read an Ultimate-Guitar news column, if it interests me, I'd read it; if it's Courtney, Dave, Corgan, Simmons, Ian or any of those fossils complaining about something, I'd read the complaint then read the comments and laugh at whatever the medal-winner has written. There are a lot of talented writers and musicians in this community, it is expected that their comments are in place with their experience and talent.

Don't hassle about what other people write or do in this place. Remember we all came here to learn.

My point is that we have to realize we're all in this together. We just don't know it yet. To learn and to teach is a beautiful thing; this feeling is what has driven this website's contributors to make it what we are seeing right now. That's what I'm trying to get to; learn as much as you can, and teach as much as you can. Try to create, try to give something back whenever you can, there are a lot of guys who are as clueless as you and I were back then when we were afraid of snapping that high E string by trying to tune it right for the first time. Make music around you, bring people together by playing and learning, try to make something out of your instrument of choice; it is possible, you know. Neither Kirk, Cliff or Dave had Ultimate-Guitar so they could comment "First" on that "Dave Grohl being awesome" column. What's your excuse?

I'd like to thank all the tabbers whose tabs I never rated, Ted Nugent's nefariousness, and also I would like to thank Ultimate-Guitar's staff for working so hard and for trying (and succeeding) to keep their project up-to-date and in a steady place as the greatest guitar website in the world.

"No-one can destroy the metal
The metal will strike you down with a vicious blow
We are the vanquished foes of the metalWe tried to win for why we do not know"(Tenacious D - "The Metal")

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    T00DEEPBLUE
    This was a surprisingly entertaining article. My very first experience with 'metal' music was when I was 11 years old at a friend's house, and there was a VHS tape called 'Cunning Stunts' running in the guy's bedroom. I and a couple other guys just sat around the TV and listened to Kirk Hammett during that guitar solo where he was wanking on the Floyd Rose with his wah pedal, and it was the most incredible thing I had ever heard in my life. I just thought to myself that I've got to make something sound like that or else my life just isn't complete. The rest is history.
    EpiExplorer
    The first time I heard metal was in a cinema, not even when a film was playing, but the pre-ads they play advertising overpriced hotdogs and popcorn (**** english cinemas, srsly). They just had whatever was popular on the radio. I had no idea what I was listening to, I was like 11 and it sounded large, powerful, and just outright different. I still don't even know what the song was, or the band, or how half of it went, but I do remember it had a very wierd chord progression, even for commercial metal, and sounded vaguely like HIM.
    toateridax2010
    I remember my dad blared AC/DC on stereo once. My four year old brain had one of those "holy shit that's amazing" moments. I've proudly been hooked since. I went from Linkin Park to 3DG to a couple of other alt-metal type bands for years. I remember I made an Rdio account like a year or two ago, and I played Carry On by A7X out of curiosity. That just...exploded in my ears. That completely opened up the metal world for me. I started listening to Slipknot and Megadeth and Black Veil Brides (yeah I like 'em, sue me) and KoRn and Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica and Red and P.O.D and now heavier stuff like DevilDriver and Insomnium and Children of Bodom and Whitechapel and too many bands to think of right now. Rock and metal isn't dead. Hopefully Gene Simmons is soon.