By the left…


When I first asked for a guitar as a pressie, Fatha replied: “What d’you want with a guitar? you can’t even play one!”

I persisted though, and, aged about ten or eleven years old,  I received one at Christmas… and it was effectively a fucking plastic ukulele! As much as I’d liked Tommy Steele, he was now more or less history for me, as by this time I was into The Shads. Imagine my disappointment etc.

Eventually I obtained my best mate’s old acoustic guitar for three pounds and ten bob, paid for by my parents as a fifteenth, or was it sixteenth, birthday present.

Our next door neighbour, an Air Force officer who owned a red-and-white solid electric guitar, gave me his copy of Bert Weedon’s Play In A Day and several other guitar chord books when he found out I was trying to learn to play. Wot a gent. Armed with my new tools, I set to work strumming away till my fingers were blistered and raw.

Having endured such a long campaign in order to obtain a guitar in the first place, I was damn sure that I was going to teach myself how to play the thing. On occasion I would break the instrument in frustration, then glue it back together again, re-string it, hope it would all hold together and resume my studies.

When I first took it I was advised to learn to play right-handed as it would be difficult to find left-handed guitars when and if I wished to upgrade. One night is saw a guy on on Top Of The Pops playing a Fender Strat upside-down to achieve a left-handed result. I was completely blown away – from then on I was determined to learn to play left-handed. And I’ve never looked back.

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