Who Are My Inspirations To Play Guitar?

Hey there, it’s TheAndySan here to answer a question that I ask myself everyday: who inspires me to pick up a guitar and play?

Believe it or not, some of my inspiration comes from people who’ve never touched a guitar in their life. People like my mom. Okay, so maybe she’s played a thing or two on guitar, but that’s beside the point. The point is, that I’m inspired by her sticking to her guns when times get tough. She also has a sense of self-worth that was passed onto me. I remember when we were on welfare wayyy back in the day, and although she could have stayed at home and collected the check, she worked her ass off to pay for everything and she managed to go to cosmotology school on top of that! Even though we didn’t have the nicest clothes or the trendiest toys, we never felt beneath other people. We had a strong sense of self-worth and knew that although times were tough, we would get through them and things would get better. And they did.

Of course, I am also inspired by actual guitar players. The most inspirational guitar players from 1-3 are my dad, Paul McCartney, and Marty Friedman. My dad was the reason I got back into playing guitar in the first place. I was always into music in some form or another. I got two Yamaha keyboards from my dad that I always tinkered on. I had guitar lessons when I was 7 and living in Michigan. I began to lose interest because we were playing babyish stuff like Mary Had a Little Lamb and the like. I wanted to play the flute in 5th grade, but I couldn’t afford one so they let me play violin. I was pretty bad at it so it didn’t last very long. In 8th grade music class, I played The Terminator theme for a project. Although the teacher told me to scrap it because I didn’t follow the directions, some of the classmates loved it! I didn’t get back into music again until my dad passed away about 2 months after I graduated high school. In another turn of events, Dimebag Darrell passed away that same year on December 8th (the day after my birthday), the birthday of Marty Friedman and Jim Morrison. At the funeral, one of Dad’s close friends, Rick Barr, asks me if I was in a band and if I’ve inherited any of my dad’s talent and good ears. I honestly couldn’t answer him about the latter, and it planted the seed that maybe I should pick up the guitar again to find out. A couple months later, I learn that one of the new workers at McDonald’s, Travis, plays guitar. After playing his guitar for awhile, he helped me get my own guitar in January of 2005 (I didn’t have my very first guitar at that point so that’s why I needed another one). It was a beat-up Squire Strat with a cable, gigbag, and a small amp for $100.

Paul McCartney has been such a big influence on my dad that Paul’s voice has become familiar and comforting. In a weird sort of way, Paul McCartney has been like a second dad to me. Sure we’ve never met, but when he sings and talks, it feels like he’s singing and talking to me and only me. Paul’s been getting a lot of slag about his albums being mediocre. I think that people expect too much from him. If you’re putting on a Paul McCartney album and expecting it to be Revolver or The White Album, you’ll be let down. That’s not to say his music’s no good. It’s just that you need to lower your expectations a bit to enjoy it. I grew up on albums like Flowers In The Dirt and the double-live album Tripping The Live Fantastic. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I first heard any Beatles songs. Of course I thought they were great, but I didn’t see much different between that and what Paul was doing. Then again, I wasn’t around when The Beatles came to America so I know I would be eating my words if I were around back then.

Marty Friedman, the former guitarist from Megadeth and Cacophony, has been my main inspiration as a player because he plays things that are normally not associated at all with guitar and they sound a-mazing! If you have the time, I highly recommend the following videos:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #12 (I based a riff around this):

Marty In Rock Fujiyama Episode #23:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #15:

Marty and Paul Gilbert in Rock Fujiyama Episode #47:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #22:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama Episode #7:

Marty in Rock Fujiyama episode #4 (I copied what he did to create part of a song called Heavy Metal Waltz):

Wow! I’d better stop posting Marty Friedman videos…for now. Anyway, there are a gazillion other players out there that inspire me. Players like Vince Gill, Gary Moore, Robbie McIntosh (the guitarist for Paul McCartney circa Flowers In The Dirt through Off The Ground), Paul Gilbert, Les Paul (the guy and the guitar), and loads more.

Well, I believe that this post has become redunk-yo-mama-liss long so I’m gonna go eat something before I go to work. Laterz!

TheAndySan