Paul’s Book Club Pick: “My First Guitar”

Everybody who has ever played guitar remembers their first guitar. That’s the simple premise behind my friend Julia Crowe’s new book, My First Guitar: Tales of True Love and Lost Chords now available on Amazon. In her passionate, revealing and entertaining book, Julia shares years of intimate conversations that she’s had with many of the world’s greatest guitarists on a subject close to their hearts: their first guitar.

Who’s this young guitar god? A clue: in 1976, I went from high school to college — and he came alive!

A pantheon of guitar gods from Jimmy Page to Les Paul to Albert Lee and Dick Dale sat down with Julia to talk about the instrument that started their lifelong love affair with six strings. Or, in Roger McGuinn’s case, 12 strings.

Guitar heroes like Elvis Presley’s lead guitar player, Scotty Moore; jazz man Pat Metheny; and rockers from Peter Frampton to Graham Parker, Melissa Etheridge and Tom Morello are among the more than 70 stars featured in Julia’s excellent book – the first she’s ever written!

Heck – Andy Summers, the great lead guitarist of The Police, wrote the freaking forward!

Who’s the 7th grader with the terrible first guitar?
(Sorry, no clue.)

I remember my first guitar all too well.

I came to the guitar late for a guitar player, sometime in the 7th or 8th grade. In fact, I don’t regard myself as a guitar player. I’m really just a guy who can play well enough to write a decent song and keep a campfire going with a credible “Michael Row The Boat Ashore”. But even a guitar player of limited skill remembers his first guitar – and so do I.

My first guitar was a cruel and merciless instrument: a smallish dreadnought with thick, inflexible wood, thick steel strings – and action nearly a half inch off the neck. My digits ached and bled just trying to finger those strings. I suppose if I’d known anything about guitars, I could’ve adjusted the bridge – but my damn guitar teacher never suggested it. He was too busy trying to teach me how to play “Santa Lucia”, for godsake!

Luckily, my awful first guitar taught me very well what a guitar should not be. As a result, I’ve had far more satisfying affairs with my subsequent guitars. Some have even resembled love.

In “My First Guitar”, Julia tells a lot of true love stories. Including her own. She’s an accomplished classical guitar player in her own right. And now, she’s an accomplished author as well. Bravo, Julia!

You can hear Julia Crowe talking about her book with our mutual friend and Madison, Wisconsin radio personality Casey Fox (WORT) by clicking on this link.

Just click ‘Play’ on the line that says ‘Guilty Pleasures’ — and Julia is the first hour.

And, if you’re in the New York City area, you’re all invited to Julia’s book release party. Here are the details…


Filed under Art, Beauty, Music

2 responses to “Paul’s Book Club Pick: “My First Guitar”

  1. Julia! Thrilled for you! CONGRATS!

  2. My first guitar required super strength to play. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Good memories.

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