I couldnít afford lessons but had a burning desire to learn how to play the guitar. So I decided to

teach myself. I spent nearly all of any free and not-so-free time fantasising about being a guitarist Weekends, school holidays and many a sports class were spent frequenting music stores where I

could watch professional players noodle and where I could sit and play instruments whose price tag assured ownership only in my dreams. I listened incessantly to music over the media of the day

I listened to blues and jazz and flamenco and folk and, most of all, rock. I just listened and

watched like a sponge with an endless thirst


My first guitar was an unnamed slim-bodied, f-hole, cutaway acoustic guitar probably built in the

1950s. It was given to me by my brother-in-law along with a copy of Bob Dylanís A Retrospective

songbook. The guitar had only two or three strings and I had no money to buy a whole set

Until, one day, me and three other kids found a wallet with money in it and my quarter share

was just enough to buy a set of strings


I went to the local library and borrowed any book I could find relating to music and in

particular the guitar. Soon I could string chords together and come up with the odd riff. I penned

dozens and dozens of songs, which one day my father mistook for scrap paper and threw out

Just as well really, because in hindsight they were all pretty woeful attempts


Singing was something I taught myself as well. The first few years I tried singing but, being a huge

Dylan fan, it all sounded very nasal, not that I think Dylanís singing is nasal, mind you

It was some years before I discovered my diaphragm


Somewhere along the way I also discovered various other instruments that I learned to make

noise from. In the main, stringed instruments such as mandolin, lute, bouzouki, ukulele, etc

 tenor banjo being a recent addition