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Over the past 3 months, I have really been getting into playing the guitar.  This was never easy for me because to get into playing the guitar, I would first have to own a guitar.  I can't just go out and borrow a buddy's guitar because I don't know any Left-Handed players.  So I had to drop a couple hundred dollars to see if I could play music. 

The Squier Stratocaster

SquierStratocaster I started with a Squier Stratocaster from Musician's Friend (warehouse located in Kansas City) and began my music career :D.  Jerod was gracious enough to start me down a path of learning and I will always be grateful for his teaching.  The day I got the guitar we were going to meet in the office for our Thursday night meeting and Jerod was at home, up north in Kansas City for most of the day.  I some how convinced him that he needed to stop by Musician's Friend and pick me and my wife up matching guitars for Valentines Day and he was willing.  Michelle's guitar was red and mine was black and very much resembles the Rock Band Stratocaster.

The Les Paul

LesPaulStockPhoto Well here she is, my new guitar.  I must say I really enjoy the sound of this guitar.  No this is not a Gibson, it is an Epiphone, but I am a beginner and don't want to go from a $200 guitar to a $2000 guitar. 

The main issue I had with the Squier is it sounded very very tinny.  It was missing that rich sound a better made guitar has.  That sound where you don't even need an amp to be able to recognize a song because the sound is coming right out of the guitar.  The Squier did not have anywhere near that sound, but the Les Paul definitely does.

The Les Paul is also a lot more comfortable to play for me.   It could be the shape or the fact that the pickup switch is no longer there where on the Squier it was right at the base of my hand and I often hit it causing a different sound.  I am sure many of you have done this on Rock Band.  Instead the Les Paul has a tone switch to go between Rhythm and Treble.  It works by ... well I don't know, it just works.  Rob, will you please fill us in on that.

Guitar Center Experience

As you can see from this link, you don't have a lot of selection when it comes to Left-Handed Les Paul guitars.  There are a few more than the ones shown, but they are in the $2000-5000 range and I will get one of those when I play the Sprint Arena or record my first gold record (not anytime soon).

For our anniversary, we decided to give each other money for a big gift since we haven't done that in a long time, so Michelle decided to keep hers around for after the baby is born and I decided to spend all of mine, but $21 dollars in about 2 hours.  I forget who's idea it was to give money to each other, but it was a brilliant idea :D.

I walked in to Guitar Center and one of the kids there just looked at me and thought I was not going to buy anything, and walked off.  The older gentleman next to him saw the sparkle in my eyes and knew I wanted a guitar today.  I ask him, in a room that was Wall-To-Wall guitars, where are your left-handed guitars.  He said, "You're a lefty, we have a bunch of those over here, let me show you."  So we walked over to a support beam turned into a product display with 6 guitars on it.  This was the left-handed selection.  Ahhh the joys of being left-handed.  Standing there with at least 200 guitars around me and I get six to pick from and that wasn't due to my budget, but rather, this is all the had.  If you want to experience what it is like to be a left-handed person, go into your sporting goods store and ask to see the left-handed baseball gloves.  If they have any, you should be able to pick from 2-4 while being surrounded by 50 different types of right-handed gloves.

So there she sat, the Les Paul I was looking for!  I asked if I could play and he said of course and took me over to an amplifier.  They must not get a lot of guitar sales because at first he was just selling me on the amp.  I wanted the guitar.  So I began to play with no pick and I never do that and could barely get a note out of it while sitting there, but the ones I could sounded just like I wanted them to in a guitar.  So he asked, "Do you want to really hear this guitar?  I have played for 20 years and can't play a note left-handed, but I can get the same guitar in the right-handed model and play it for you."  I said, "Ahhh, yes please."

So the gentleman begins to school me in the ways of rock and made that guitar scream.  I was sold after the first 10 seconds, but he was nice enough to give me a 10 minute demonstration playing different styles to show me what it could do.

Needless to say, this is my guitar now and I am really enjoying having it as a new member of the family :D.

DSC02260 DSC02259 DSC02262

Next Steps

  1. Must learn more chords. 
  2. Need to master bar chords. 
  3. Need to callus my fingers so have to play more.
  4. Need to get professional weekly lessons.
  5. A better strap would be nice

That is my journey with the guitar.  Is it hard to pick up a guitar and play, absolutely.  Can you make baby steps and learn as an adult, oh yeah!  If you are interested (and not left-handed) you have many avenues to get a guitar cheaply and start playing.  If you are a lefty like me, then sit on eBay, Craigslist, or somewhere else waiting to find one or do what I did and start with a nice cheap guitar to see if you like the craft.

Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 7:36 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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Nice post. I've often wanted to learn myself. I tried when a teen to learn the bass. It was a beautiful Fender with the Starburst pattern. When I would take it in for lessons, everyone drooled over it. Too bad it was owned by the church my dad pastored.

Rock band has definately gotten me interested in trying to learn again though. Now to find the time! I don't want it to be like my mountain bike that I spent a lot of money on and it sits in the garage.
Left by Randy Walker on Apr 30, 2008 8:46 AM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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If you want to learn a specific song there are excellent video tutorials for specific songs on YouTube. I'm impressed with the quality of some of them. I've learned a few songs that way. I borrow my son's Epiphone SG.
Left by Aaron on Apr 30, 2008 9:19 AM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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She's a sexy beast - hard to beat sunburst (or whatever the Les Paul camp calls it) paint jobs! Look out TechEd jam session! :P
Left by Jerod Crump on Apr 30, 2008 9:34 AM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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That's a VERY beautiful guitar! My first Les Paul was an Epiphone. You can never go wrong with a cherry sunburst Les Paul! :-) Congrats!

Left by Rob Foster on Apr 30, 2008 9:55 AM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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Sweet - I never did pick up guitar (the strings were too small) but I did pick up bass guitar long ago. I still play occasionally...I just don't play well :)
Left by Lou on Apr 30, 2008 9:37 PM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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You find the les paul playing more comfortable? I always found les paul guitars too heavy and lump (the edge of the guitar at the top will hurt your arm after an evening of playing).

The heavier sound is due to the humbucker pick-ups. A stratocaster has single-coil pick-ups and the les paul has 2 dual coil (humbucker) pickups, so you basicly get twice the sound for the price of one! ;). Any guitar with a humbucker will sound heavy. The disadvantage of having just 2 humbuckers is that with clean guitar sound, it isn't always nice. If you're into electronics, there are several modification schema's on the web available to modify the first humbucker in such a way that you can switch one coil element off and on with a switch :) I've done it with my custom ibanez axe which has 2 humbuckers.

The bar chords (barree) are something every guitarplayer struggles with but just practise a lot. Pick a favorite song which contains some or one bar chord and there'll be a day when you just get these chords and after that it will be easy.

Best way to learn guitar is to pick a couple of songs you really like (and which are easy to play ;)) and just learn them. Pick chords first, and then tabs. It takes time though so don't give up. Normally it will take several years of regular practise to get to the point where you can pick up any song and play it. Hell, I play for over 15 years (never took a lesson) and I still learn every day :).

If you have the bucks to spend: get a guitarport (or tone port) and connect your guitar to your computer, use a headphone and get the best amp sounds you'll ever hear :).
Left by Frans Bouma on May 01, 2008 4:01 AM

# re: Hobbies | Thanks @LesPaulRob (Rob Foster), Jeff has a Les Paul now as well!
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Kendra has been learning to play over the last 6 months. She is also left handed but is learning right handed because of the selection. Her instructor told her to try rights first, because for many people it doesn't matter.

You should also check out She seems to really like their material, and its been helping her more than the personal instructions.

Her teacher also made music sheets for her for Code Monkey. Want a copy?
Left by Scott Kuhl on May 01, 2008 7:45 PM

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