How a Non-Musician, Over-The-Hill Car Salesman Ended Up Playing "Runnin' Down a Dream" On Stage With My Band After Only 2 Short Months Of Instruction!
Ira spent lots of his lunch hours crawling around pawn shops, ever alert for the really big bargain. And he found lots of them, too. He'd return to work with a Makita jig saw, or a slightly used electric razor, maybe an espresso machine—you know; things he could actually use. Then one afternoon I got a call:
"Hey Michael, I need you opinion about something."
Well, that's something I always have at least one of.
He told me he'd found an early 80s' Gibson Les Paul...
...and the guy behind the counter assured him that at $450 it was a steal. Ira didn't really know what a big deal a Gibson Les Paul was but he was intrigued by its looks and, of course, "the deal." I told him that if they'd give him 24 hours to claim a refund I'd take a look at it and determine if it was, in fact, a deal.
The guitar was legit, the price was great and Ira had an iconic piece of Rock 'n' Roll history that would serve well as a place to hang a shirt or jacket in his bedroom (it came with a stand). About a week later Ira approached me in my office and said, "Tell me what you think of this."
He dropped a 4 inch stack of papers on my desk; the front page announced that I'd be evaluating a do-it-yourself guitar course called "Jamorama."After 10 minutes of paging through the course I told him, "Holy Cow, Ira. This is the course I was planning on writing!"
I absolutely loved Jamorama.
The writer was knowledgeable and wrote in a very informal and conversational way—he talked to me rather than lecturing me. His progression through major and minor chords, sevenths and then into barre and double-barre chords was exactly the way I had learned when I taught myself to play guitar many years prior. And my favorite part? He had me playing a song by the third lesson! And that's what anyone who trys to learn guitar wants—to play songs!
Fast forward 60 days…
A drummer I played with had an annual party the night before the Indy 500. He set up his drums in his garage, invited all his musician friends and threw open the doors to entertain his neighbors until the cops showed up. Drummer and I had a little band and we'd be getting the night's entertainment rolling by playing a few songs from our set list, one of which was "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty.
Ira devoured Jamorama and by now was pretty efficient at playing barre chords. I asked him if he'd be interested in joining us on that tune and he nearly passed out at the thought of being a rock star for 4 minutes. He did little else but practice that song during any free time he had. When it came time to play he came onto the stage, plugged in his Les Paul and walked straight to me; "Michael, I'm scared to death!" he said.
He did great, of course, and when the song ended I stepped to the mike and said to the assembled, "Ladies and gentlemen, let's have a big hand for Ira!" They all clapped and screamed and yelled and did everything they could to make him feel like a guitar god. During the break Ira approached me with an extended right hand which I happily shook.
"Michael," he said, "don't ever tell my wife or kids I said this, but that was the coolest thing I ever did in my life!"
I've been playing guitar since shortly after I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I've taught, advised and mentored a bunch of people over the years and I know what it takes to turn a guitar "wannabe" into a guitar player.On this site I've reviewed what I believe are the best guitar self-instruction courses available today, and I invite you to read them. But I will say unequivocably that Jamorama is the A-1 best choice out there if you want to learn to play guitar and have big fun doing it!
P.S. They have the course on sale for only $49.95 right now, which is a crazy low price for all the information you'll get. And if you're unsure you can opt for one of their free multi-part courses.