Regarding Drums

Learning Guitar


Teaching Guitar


Christmas 1971

I started playing the guitar at age 14 (1978) when I heard 'Kiss - Destroyer'.  I thought, 'Hey, the guitar has a wider range of sounds and noises than the drums and I like that!'  So, my parents rented an acoustic guitar and I started to take a few lessons at a music store in Duquesne Village shopping center.

Soon, they bought me a Crestline Stratocaster guitar and Gibson GA-5W amp.  I also got an Electro Harmonix 'Big Muff' and all heck broke loose!

As I've described elsewhere on this site, Jim Bocsey was a great teacher for me in my early years.  He helped me understand the power chord (root/5th) and rock song structures.  He also showed me lead patterns both pentatonic and standard major and minor patterns.

I also took lessons off of Jeff Bower who was a local teacher where I grew up.  Jeff owned a studio with Jim Wilson and as a matter of fact one of my early bands (3D Mirage) recorded there a couple of times.  I enjoyed my times with Jeff because we got into the major and minor scales as well as the associated modes. 

Armed with what those two taught me and my turntable I was pretty much self taught by listening to songs over and over until I could figure them out.  I spent countless hours in my room working on solos and songs from KISS, Ted Nugent and when I joined 3D Mirage many other bands.  We covered songs by groups like the Eagles, AC/DC and The Cars so they were other bands that I listened to.  And then obviously Van Halen was a group that I listened to and learned for a long time.

I also would stay up until the wee hours of the morning practicing with a metronome under my pillow.  I would watch TV and just keep going over the modes in the key of 'F' (makes the best use of the whole fretboard) starting at 60 bpm and getting to 208 or so.  That of course took hours and hours for years and years.

My parents were really supportive of me, in fact they still are.  I missed school and gave them a tought time about it since I was 'going to be a rock star'.  I guess I didn't appreciate them at the time and I was probably more bull headed than I needed to be.  But looking back I realize that I was a real pain in the butt about school.

If you're a young musician with stars in your eyes, I'd first like to say, 'Welcome to the club!'  I encourage you to keep dreaming and never give up.  I also recommend that you give your 'other' future a little attention as well.  Having an education to fall back on is huge - so go to school!  Ok enough preaching...