The Axe. Part 1

Inspired by Will Hodgkinson's "Guitar Man," this series tells the ongoing tale of my musical pursuits revolving around the guitar.

Ultimate Guitar

Note: - This was written a while ago. - I'm currently 17 years of age. - I have 5 more of these pre-written.

The very first real-life encounter with the guitar that I can recall rolls back into when I was in first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Brown, had brought the guitar to class to accompany our singing of "Ave Maria" (though I have no clue why we were singing that). The class sat down in our little "reading corner," as we sang together as little kids do. I didn't notice the guitar too much; it didn't interest me at the time. At the end of the song, I realized that all of the other boys have been focusing on her simple chord progressions while I was into actually singing the song.

"I could do that! That's easy!" they exclaimed as they attempted to mirror the strumming motions. They all agreed that the song was playable and worth a shot until one noticed the pick in our teacher's hand.

"No, look! She's using that thing!"

I sat, confused wondering why the kids weren't considering the difficulties of placing the left hand in the right position.

That's all I remember of that account. The next episode dates seven years later, as an eighth grader. Before I get into the specifics, however, I'd like to clear up some background information. Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario (that's in Canada), I did not go to middle school. Where I went was a Kindergarten - 8th grade elementary school with no doubt, many great staff members. But as the years went by, the great teachers and other faculty moved on or retired, one by one. By the time I got to eighth grade, my teacher was an out-of-place weirdo woman who was the least popular teacher in school. Nobody respected her, but now, as I look back, I see that I may have overlooked things about her, which brings me to the point.

This teacher, who shall go unnamed, was a true rocker, at least in her tastes. She was into Zeppelin, Alice Cooper (was she ever obsessed), U2, The Sex Pistols, etc. We went through a whole unit on the history of rock and roll, that to this day, I regret not paying attention or at least keeping my notes. At the end, were assigned a project: to make a music video. At the time, I didn't have much of a musical identity, so our group went with the classic, "Yellow Submarine," by the Beatles.

Among my group members, was a guy named Keegan Dunn. He'd been playing guitar for a while by then, so he said he'd bring his acoustic for the recording of the video. I had an old electric guitar that belonged to my dad that I'd also include in the video. It's strings were way past its prime, and the tuning pegs required two hands to turn. Anyhow, when Keegan brought over his guitar, he started to pluck away at the arpeggios of "Good Riddance" by Green Day, a song that I already knew at the time, and what I consider one of the first songs that sparked my current musical taste.

My older cousin introduced me to it about a year before, when he saw me downloading Simple Plan songs off Kazaa, a p2p file sharing program.

"You like Simple Plan?"

"I don't know..." I said, as they were really the only "popular" band I knew. "Simple Plan sucks! Let me get some good music for you." He started searching around. "Are you into new songs or old songs?" I shrugged. Then he downloaded "When I Come Around," "Good Riddance," and a hip hop song that I immediately deleted because I didn't want my parents to find it and its obscene lyrics. I thought the two Green Day songs to be okay, and soon grew to love them.

As Keegan plucked the first strings of "Good Riddance," my ears were stunned. I had discovered the harmonious beauty of the acoustic guitar.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well, you might have just as well posted all of it. Otherwise, nice to read, but kinda more suitable to a blog or something.
    Les Paul57
    agreed, it's interesting. look forward to reading the rest btw i live in Oakville, Ontario. small world eh?
    Wtf is up with elementary school teachers and last names that pertain to colors? My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Orange, and first grade was Mrs. Green. Looking forward to the rest
    As others have said, this is more suited to a blog - But it does highlight different advantages different guitarists can start with. For instance, you were actually encouraged to make music, you were actually TAUGHT music (which in britain, music education barely goes beyond the flute without costing 30 an hour...), and you were actually taught about the history of rock & roll, all I have to say to that is that you were lucky! Why you didn't pay attention I will never know, but at least you didn't end up playing simple plan.
    IM FROM MISSISSAUGA TOO!!!! =D okay i'm gonna finish reading. add me as a friend =)
    Ok hold is it not possible that this isn't in fact a personal recollection but a story written in first person some people seem to have that confused stop referring to the character in the story as the author. Keep em coming i might be proved wrong.
    question, is this a story with the relation to your life, or is this just a story from a first person narration? ...doesn't seem very blog type, but yeah it has to be longer to be a part/chapter of a total book..well, i understand you releasing the pre-writtens part by part, but it has to be longer.