My first guitar wasn’t really mine. A friend of my parents loaned me a cheap Yamaha dreadnought to take to guitar lessons. The neck was bulky and it didn’t sound all that great, but that didn’t matter. I loved it. I wrote my first song on it and still feel nostalgic about that thing.
Toward the end of my senior year of high school, I made a decision. I told my parents that I didn’t want a senior ring. I wanted my own guitar. My dad’s eyes lit up. He knew just the place.
We had a vacation planned to Branson that summer and there was some famous guitar shop he loved. He decided that we’d go there and the guitar of my dreams. The plan was set.
Months later, we drove to this little guitar shop and I was ecstatic. I didn’t have any particular brand in mind – I knew I wanted something with electronics that I could plug in, but other than that, I was open. My father said over and over, “Now, don’t buy the first thing you pick up and play. Look at lots of guitars to find the perfect one.”
We walked around the store a few minutes before I picked up the first one. An Alvarez WY-1. I had no idea an Alvarez guitar could sound and play like this. It felt so natural and alive in my hands. I played it for a few minutes and looked up. My dad knew what was happening. “Just play some others and see…”
I played three or four other (more expensive) guitars, but I kept looking back at that Alvarez.
This guitar is where it started. I played my first gigs with it, recorded my first CD with it and most importantly – discovered I was a worship leader with it.
It sits in my office now, virtually unplayable. The action on the neck is way too high and the electronics are weak. But I love that thing. I know I would have become a worship leader regardless, but every time I look at it, I feel like I’m staring at an old friend who was there when the whole thing started. He was with for every terrible set and every amazing moment of worship.
What was your first instrument?