My humble guitar collection: Part 3

•August 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So by the end of the 80s, beginning of the 90s, I started playing seriously with a friend. We came from different musical backgrounds He was a drummer now interested in playing guitar, a fan of U2, Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel. I was into rock, metal. We started playing together and the desire to create our own songs came quickly. We would get one or two new song ideas after a weekend of playing.

Then high school ended and we were off to college.

While still continuing to develop new songs we found out that we had a little studio available to us at college so we decided to record a demo during the winter break of 92. With the help of a friend, who just finished recording a demo with his own group and who was a bass player we recorded in 2 weeks a 14 songs demo. At that point, I didn’t really have a good instrument so I was playing the Takamine my friend had at the time (who was lost to a fire some years later). I remember we used a Roland U20 for drums and chords. The process was a blast and I still listen to that demo with fond memories.

We did two shows in 1992 (we recruited a drummer after the demo was “released”). Even if I liked the experience, I quickly felt that I was having more fun in the studio creating and recording.

In the summer of 1992, we decided to push further and chose 3 songs to record in a semi professional studio in Île-Perrot. The experience of doing music with someone who had years of experience at that time really made us grew musically. Only two songs were released on that demo. One was played at the university radio station.

It was the greatest time. Being surrounded in music, full of energy, hopes, creativity. Ideas of grandeur. I was 18 years old.

But I was still without a good guitar.

So I got a good summer job in 1993 and started shopping around for a guitar. Even though our music was pretty folksy, sounding like Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and mostly Francis Cabrel, a french folk musician:

I was still influenced by other genres of music. I was engulfed in grunge music, listening constantly to Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. So I didn’t know what type of guitar to acquire. This is when I came across a show that was talking about Godin guitars, and specifically the Acousticaster.

Godin guitars came to be about 20 years ago in a little Quebec village named La Patrie. The company was started by Robert Godin. And they came to create the Acousticaster which was branded as an acoustic-electric guitar, so capable of offering the chance to play more genres. One of the first known musician to play Godin guitars, was Michel Cusson, formerly of Uzeb:

So this guitar filled my needs and I went in August 1993 to Steve Music’s store and bought myself a sunburst Acousticaster:

This guitar cost me 730$ CAD at the time and has the serial number 15542, so it might be early in this line. And it was my main guitar throughout the 90s. It’s the instrument that helped me define my sound and got me so many songs.


My humble guitar collection: Part 2

•August 16, 2009 • 1 Comment

The second guitar I bought, which was around 1988-1990 was a Stinger X12 electric guitar with a little amp.


This guitar was bought at Steve’s Music Store in downtown Montreal. I bought almost all my music equipment there. These guitars were entry-level instruments sold in Canada (might be related to the C.F. Martin Stinger line from Korea although I doubt it). If I remember correctly, everything cost me around 200-250$ CAD. A copy of the popular Fender Stratocaster, this guitar didn’t give the best experience but for a first purchase, it served me well and kept the desire to continue playing. I remember on the night were I finally convinced my father to drive me to the store so I could buy the instrument, we got a flat on highway 20 eastbound near Lachine. You can imagine how happy my dad was bt anyway, a couple of hours later I was in my room driving my parents insane.

Insane, I say, because that was the period where I was heavily into Metallica and my goal in life was to play all the songs from the first 4 albums. I never pushed the solo aspect of music playing and was more into the rythm part so James Hetfield’s part was my goal. So I played and I played like crazy trying to get to the speed and accuracy that I was hearing on the songs. At one time, me and a friend decided to try guitar lessons so we could improve. We went to our first joint lesson where the guy was mostly in “impress-mode” so he could hook us I guess. He gave us a couple of exercises and asks us he there was a song we wanted to learn. Master of Puppets was submitted.

So I went back to my place and tried the exercises that were given to me. Man was it boring! I was not cut out for it. I was learning more and more by ear and this teary approach did not help me move forward. We went to the second lesson and lo and behold, Master of Puppets was played to us. Boy were we amazed! Anyway, I don’t remember that much a part from the fact that I never went back after that second lesson.

This is about the time where I discovered the wonderful world of guitar tabs. To be able to buy an entire album in tabs was amazing and before I knew it I had a couple of books at home helping me getting the songs right.

One of my favorite songs to play by Metallica, was Four Horsemen:

So the end of the 80s was mostly centered around that.

My humble guitar collection: Part 1

•August 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here are the guitars that I owned and played with throughout the years.

The first guitar I ever played was a classical guitar that my godfather bought and was laying around the house.  My father was a guitar player also and kept the instrument, as well as a 12-strings classical which alas is no more (note: never lend a guitar to someone).  So I picked up this classical guitar and the first song I learned was the main line from the Peter Gunn theme:

I must have been around 10 years old.  Well the guitar was too big for me so I played it on my lap, not as good as Jeff Healey of course…

So this classical guitar is an Espana guitar, made in Finland.  These guitars were popular in the 60s and 70s in Canada and were sold at Eaton, a retail store that no longer exists today.  They were imported by an american company, Buegeleisen & Jacobson in New York City.  It must have cost around 100$ CAD at the time, but I find it’s a sturdy instrument that has kept it’s relative spark, through the abuse a teenager can inflict.  I played a lot with this instrument since then (about 25 years) and still enjoy playing with it… not on my lap though.


The return of the guitar player

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hmm my first blog post…

I wanted to create a venue just so I can describe what was happening in my little corner of the world.  I am about to go back into music after so many years of living parallel to it.  I started playing guitar in my teens and got very serious during college, making  a band, recording demos, a couple of shows.  Was in a great dynamic with a friend, where we composed music together, each completed the other with their sensibilities.  Then university took it’s toll.  Then musical path were diverging and eventually life took us in different directions.

It was by myself, that I saw myself exploring and developing my identity, taking all the different genres of music that the nineties were bringing to my doorstep.  So ideas were piling up, the passion was still there.

Then I entered the adult world.  I got a job.  I found someone.  I became a dad.

Then in 2005,  I kinda crashed from the events that life threw at that same doorstep.

In the past years, from soul searching, I noticed that faithful friend in the corner of my room, that I neglected in the past years, and went back to the music that made me.

In the meantime, I reacquainted with an old friend and talks of remaking music were on the table.

It’s coming back, slowly.  If I make a sudden move, it might go away.  But I’m patient…