As a teen picker, I had to buy guitar strings one at a time. Not sure they are sold that way now....singles. I changed strings back then when they broke. Now a new set of six is the standard, and frequent changes is the norm.
I had to wait until retirement from my "day job" before becoming full-time guitarist. I am now doing the work that defines who I am, and I feel the best I have must be given every time I play. My playing is me and it's also my ministry...to take the joy of God's music everywhere I can.
Chet Atkins, my forever guitar hero, tried it all. His earliest Merle Travis-style, through jazz, classical, teen beat, Beatles, contemporary, gospel, swing. Also some Texas shuffle. He played solo, with a small combo, with symphony orchestras, with famous pickers....young and old. He played Gretch, Gibson, Fender guitars and even hit a banjo lick or two. But through it all, my favorite alltime Chet favorite..Swedish Rhapsody. The tone and technique still blow me away.
At age 6 my parents shoved me on a public park show stage, against my will. With my tiny uke, I sang and played 4-Leaf Clover & If I Knew You Were Comin.' Although I was shaking and scared, I won 2nd place. A baton twiller won 1st.
I once read, "If nature is your friend, you don't need any enemies." At 7-degrees this AM, I understand that statement. Here in N AL we get blown away in the spring, burned-up in summer and now, frozen stiff in January. It's life of extemes here in Dixie.
Most country artist now wear jeans and Tees, with no appeal to the eye. The lead singer may wear a hat and boots, but we see few Nudie suits these days. For my first paid gig at age 17, I was issued a white-sport-coat and red bow tie. The whole band wore the same outfit and we looked sharp. I'd prefer to see the return of style on stage. fans deserve better.
My first guitar, a Sears' acoustic, came when I was 14. A Sears' electric came the next Christmas. I wonder how many guitar players got started with a Christmas guitar ? A gift too big to wrap and to wonderful to be forgotten. Ever.
I have four guitars and two each boots and hats. How many of these wonderful items do you have ? We country music types value our toys and each other. As Hank, Jr said, "We are a close knit fam-il-lee." In hats and boots !
It is easy to forget that our music is for others. It is a divine gift to be shared with all who wish to listen. Sometimes ego gets in the way, the urge to excel, beat the competition, etc But, the mission is service. Share your gift gladly !
Years ago my dad said, "there is already a Chet Atkins." I was struggling to perfect Chet's songs not thinking about my own style. We all have our musical "tone," our own pressure on the strings, and our own interpretation of songs. We are us and we need to stay that course.