Fender Set the Tone From Day One
That above title is an intended pun of course. My first guitar (apart from the Westone bass) was a Fender American Standard Strat. It shaped me as a guitar player and I am forever grateful for it. I decided that the best policy was to buy an expensive (for me) guitar from the beginning, so it would encourage me to stay motivated to learn how to play it! I could have got a cheap copy as a less risky investment, but that’s the point. A Fender guitar is a sound investment because it’s not a toy, it is a professional instrument and overall will tend to appreciate if you hang on to it long enough!
That American Standard Strat cost me almost an entire month’s salary, but I was still happy about that. It was well worth it in my opinion. The smell inside the guitar case was unforgettable and to this day I find that same smell emanates from the case of all new Fender guitars, unmistakable!
I didn’t have any lessons. I chose to start off by playing along to records, that I was getting into. One other thing I used to spend most of my wages on was CDs and I had a huge collection of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Blues albums, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy. I had a lot of other genres of music too, like old soul records, James Brown, Bob Marley albums, but I used to mostly accompany Jimi Hendrix.
As you can probably imagine I wasn’t (and I am still not) in the same league as Jimi Hendrix, but knowing this I didn’t try and emulate him. What I chose to do was to play my own thing as if I was another guitarist in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, playing my own riffs and licks that complimented his playing. It proved to be a great way to learn guitar, but after nearly a year of this I found I was a pretty adept lead player, but I didn’t know many chords!
Still it didn’t stop me finding a way into my first band and moving to a new town. I made a load of new friends and a whole new world opened up to me. My life got a lot more exciting and fulfilling as a result. Amazing how an electric guitar could have such an effect. Yes I can honestly say that buying a Fender Strat changed my life in a most significant way. Thanks Fender!