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Guitar Gathering 2015

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#1 UncleHammy

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 12:19 PM

I started this thread in hopes that others who attended this year's guitar gathering would share their experiences also.

 

 

It took me a long time to decide to come to the 2015 Guitar Gathering, not because I didn't want to go or I had other commitments but simply because I was intimidated. Which for me is a rare and uncomfortable feeling.

 

I started my guitar learning in November 2012.  In that time I have mastered sessions 1-6.  For the last year I have concentrated on learning and playing songs, mostly to play open chords and get comfortable with making chord changes, and partly because barre chords are in session 7.

 

I wanted to come to Gathering but I didn't think I knew enough to feel comfortable around some of the really great players that I knew would be there.  After much consternation and a little soul searching (I know seems a bit much for a guitar conference) I decided I was going to attend,  Where/when else would I get to meet Steve, see Jack Pearson, Nokie Edwards, Bret Mason, or Johnny Highland live and within touching distance?  Not to mention a personal guided tour of the Musicians Hall of Fame and tickets to NAMM.   

 

So I paid my fee, packed the car and drove the 12 hours to get here. (My wife helped me do the driving God bless her.)

 

And as I thought when I got here I felt a little out of place because everyone here was a better guitarist than me, and had been playing longer than me.  But as I started to introduce myself around the room I noticed 2 things,  First everyone was very friendly and second nearly everyone else was just as nervous as I was.  

 

The learning part of the gathering was fantastic, Will, Tom and Dino were fantastic, great players and even better human beings. Steve took time to answer some of my questions and encouraged everyone to participate as much as we could in all the sessions.

 

Last night I had the chance to have dinner with Desi Serna, He gave Dave_White and I a little private lesson on fretboard theory and the philosophy behind the books.  Desi was great, very personable and even took selfie's with several of us after the concert.

 

On the registration form Steve asked if we wanted to participate in the Student Showcase by playing a song or two for the group, needless to say I checked the NO box on that one.  But after talking to some of the other students I realized that everyone was pretty terrified at the thought of playing in front of the group.  

 

After the first day we went to see Jack's concert and while waiting in line Diane_B asked me if I was going to play and I immediately said no way.  She simply said "everyone is very supportive".  And that is what made me decide to give it a try.  So yesterday when Steve asked if anyone wanted to go first, I volunteered.  

 

I played Entitlement by Jack White.  I started out in my lower register but nerves got to me and my throat tightened up and I had to switch to my higher register.  I made a couple of flubs on chord changes (remember why I spent the last year learning songs?) but for the most part it was just bad not awful.  When I was done everyone clapped and gave me their congratulations.  It was really cool.

 

Thanks Diane_B for the encouragement.

 

Anyway the moral of this rather rambling story is don't be intimidated or discouraged because you don't feel you are good enough. Just come and enjoy the Gathering, and if you are feeling it, give the Student Showcase a try, you won't regret it.

 

 

 


-- UncleHammy

 

"If I make a mistake on guitar, nobody dies."  --Will McFarland at the 2015 Guitar Gathering

 

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#2 PatIam

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 12:40 PM

Thanks for sharing UncleHammy!  I got nervous and tightened up just reading your story.  Bravery is a tough characteristic to identify and quantify.  Stepping up to face an uncomfortable situation is very brave indeed.  Congratulations on putting yourself in that position.  The stuff of heroes.

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#3 Jusca

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 02:00 PM

Bravo, UncleHammy!!

I play in front of my family all the time whenever I can corner them. Heck, if anyone calls me on the phone, I'll pick up my gutiar and start playing. If I can play without flubbs, I'm in the golden zone of conquered nerves and full of confeidence I've learned the song to a subconcious level. Best of all, one of the first persons I've ever played for--on purpose--was a very critical and negative person. I told myself if I could make it through whatever comment he had, I was ready for any playing situation. He didn't say anything bad but my psyche was toughened to think "If the persoon is not supportive or helping me improve, who cares what he/she thinks!"


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#4 thumz

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 02:35 PM

Great post UncleHammy.  I appreciate your sharing it with us very much.  Thank you.


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#5 papamark

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 02:36 PM

Hey Uncle Hammy or cuz. You did great. You are right it is intimidating to get up in front of folks. Everyone' has those feelings. I'm glad you did it.

Even though we still have a couple of events I can say that the Gathering was a "TOTAL" success. I'm glad I came. I have meet some great folks.

#6 JLO_SWEDE

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 07:39 PM

Good for you Hammy.

Life is full of these barriers that we create for our self.

Getting past one is the best feeling.

 

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#7 Steve Krenz

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 07:51 PM

Hammy, (Steve)

 

I'm so glad that you and your wife decided to come and be a part of this crazy, little guitar conference.  I hope you enjoyed last night with all of the amazing players.  It's been a joy getting to meet you and all of the attendees and the Musicians Hall of Fame this morning was way above my expectations.

 

I feel so fortunate to be a musician.  It's a wonderful thing as you are learning.  

 

See you tonight at live lessons!

 

- Steve 


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#8 DianeB

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 09:42 PM

Hammy,

I didn't think I could feel any happier here until I read your post. You rock, my newfound friend. I haven't been that nervous since I was baptized and saw how deep the water was. My right foot kept looking for a foot rest that wasn't there, and it keep shaking the whole song. But I saw nothing but smiles out there despite Steve enduring the worst Neil Young impression he'll hear In his lifetime.

We've had three magical days here, and in a short while we'll be at Gruhn's for the live lesson. Somebody, bend my strings, I must be dreaming. What a joy to be a part of this musical family!

Diane
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#9 Steve Krenz

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 11:27 AM

Well, 

 

It's 5am and after collapsing in bed totally exhausted after last night's live lesson, my mind couldn't shut down from all of the wonderful things that have happened in the last few days.  And, as happens quite often, I rolled around for a few hours and then finally get up too excited to sleep.

 

We've had an amazing few days at our Guitar Gathering conference.  It feels like a family reunion - which is exactly how it felt that very first conference we did years ago.

 

I remember vividly several years ago at our first guitar conference unloading my guitars from my car and hearing a booming Texas voice saying "Hey Steve" come out from under this big cowboy hat.  That voice and hat was Warren (WarrenTx).  It was the first time I had met one of our Learn & Master Guitar course learners face to face.  We became instant friends and remained close for years.  

 

By the end of that very first conference day, I remember telling Paulette that it didn't feel like a conference at all, it felt strangely like a family reunion - where everyone knew each other, and me, and were thrilled to be together.  

 

The last few days of this Guitar Gathering felt the same - like this conference carried the very same DNA.  

 

More than I would admit, over the last few days my mind thought about the amazing people that started and supported those first conferences.  Friends like Adele (Adele), John (JohnB), Warren (WarrenTX) and Tom (Stargazer55) - all of which have left this life since the last conference we had in 2011. What started as screen names on a simple guitar discussion board ended up being some of my dear friends.  

 

This year's conference, much like that very first conference, was not started by me but by you - our wonderful family of guitar learners.  Everyone wanted to get together so much that they just told me that they were coming.  Then spend the rest of the time convincing and cajoling me all along the way.  You were determined to get together whether I cooperated or not.

 

The first conference torch bearers were MikeM and Adele and this year it was Mike (popeyetsm).  

 

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I was telling my wife, Paulette, yesterday that Mike is everything I need in a conference coordinator and how he took such an administrative weight off of me allowing us all to just relax and have a great time.  And we all did.  

 

By the end of last night people were laughing and having a great time and even buying a few guitars - despite my fruitless efforts to convince them that they were not in their right minds all jacked up by a great week in Nashville, Gruhn Guitars and Johnny Hiland licks.  

 

I think a lot about why our guitar family feels the need to get together so strongly. This desire to connect has always been there - in the DNA.  It's a phenomenon that I've never seen in any other guitar course or product. Ever.  

 

It's not just the great time we've all had the last few days of seeing great musicians and hearing great music, learning a few things in some workshops, or even walking the NAMM convention floor as we will be doing in a few hours.  

 

It's about having a meal together and laughing with folks who 72 hours ago were strangers.  

 

It's about feeling your heart pound like you were a kid as you play and sing in front of people in a hotel meeting room in Nashville on a muggy summer afternoon and then going back to your seat after conquering your fears.

 

A few days ago, a tug boat captain from Arkansas, a doctor, an art gallery dealer from Canada, business executives and computer analysts would have had little in common other than they are learning guitar.  But this week, I watched them all peering over the balcony of a Nashville music club watching some of the world's greatest musicians do their thing, while everyone smiles and laughs and loves music.

 

Going through the Musicians Hall of Fame yesterday was an unexpectedly emotional time for me personally.  I feel so profoundly grateful to be a musician - to be a carrier of music along with everyone attending the conference from our guitar family to the amazing players we heard.  

 

Can't wait to do it again next year with you all.

 

- Steve 

 

 

 

 


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#10 Grog

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 02:32 PM

Steve:

I truly wish that I will get a chance to make one of these gatherings before I head home to the Northern Rockies. Being sort of close in Hillsboro, Texas now, but I will not stay after I have fulfilled my oath to my wife. It does not seem like that will be much longer some days.

Your call to make sure that I received my Resources from mighty Oaks sure shocked me. After a hard day, and they can be bad some days, I was speechless. It did show what a caring teacher, and a wonderful man you really are. You may be grateful to be a musician, but I know that I speak for a lot of the students, and we are really  greatfull to have you as a teacher and a mentor. I feel blessed for the opportunity that you have provided to learn from the best.

I may not have been able to apply myself like I should have recently, but I always know that it is there and things have a way of working themselves out. Thank you Steve for being a caring and great teacher.



#11 Ron aka Columbo

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Posted 11 July 2015 - 11:07 PM

Steve.. what a great post. This is really one reason I stick with you and all you do.. like others I am not where I want to be in my learning and playing.. and sometimes more of a dreamer than a doer.. but with what I have read from many on the gathering it is very inspiring and hopefully I can move forward with my journey.

 

We truly have a great group of folks.. and hopefully I will make it next year..

 

Ron


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#12 ussdfiant

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:02 AM

I told Steve last night that this was an amazing opportunity to break free from my basement and actually interact with a great bunch of guitar players. Talking with Greg Voros as he set up my guitars was a real treat ( our kids were born 4 days apart), seeing all the craziness behind the scenes with Live Lessons, holding and strumming $20-30K guitars at Gruhn's (and seriously eyeing a $5k one that I have a year to save up for), meeting Johnny, Will, Desi, and of course the man himself Steve Krenz was an absolute thrill. I could go on and on. Next year I'm going to try to bring my family so, like Uncle Hammy, my wife can share in the 12 hour drive from PA.

#13 Dulcilo

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 02:03 PM

It truly was an amazing week for me, one of total immersion into the world of guitars and musicians. Thanks for organizing it, Mike and Steve. That is a great photo of you two with Johnny at Gruhn's. And special thanks to all who played in the student showcase. It was inspiring and encouraging. Looking forward to next year!

#14 Dave_White

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:25 PM

I certainly echo everything said above. We had a truly amazing conference. Steve held everything together all week with lots of encouragement and laughter. Will McFarlane, Greg Voros, Tim Thompson, and Dino Pastin conducted excellent workshops. It was a treat to meet and interact with them. Some of the music theory sailed over my head, but I still learned a lot – including:

  • Before the next Gathering, I need to buy a guitar shirt – see post #10 above
  • The Musician’s Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame are two different places
  • Leave the work phone at home and don’t check email!
  • Boy, do I need to work on intervals
  • The people on this forum are even nicer in person

Looking forward to next year!


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#15 dodobird

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Posted 12 July 2015 - 11:16 PM

I can't find all the right words that can capture the feelings of coming home after this great week of music and friends. This Gathering has taken the whole forum family element that we all experience here and makes me feel so much closer and, well, it feels like I just left a family reunion! After a 6 hour drive home today, I unpacked and put everything away and sat down and I felt so alone without my new family around teaching, sharing, learning, telling stories, laughing, joking, playing music, planning on the day and coming evening activities.  Priceless!

 

I can't thank everyone enough for all the help and support leading up to and through this weeks gathering. This was a team effort & process and everyone pitched in and helped! Thank you so much. It was a very special week for me and I am so motivated. My musical juices are in overdrive!

 

A special thank you to Steve and Greg Voros...........they are very special people and we are so blessed to have them in this musical family. I hope all of you who have not been able to attend a gathering, will consider the 2016 Gathering. It is worth the time, the money and the effort. There is some little magic that happens during the week. 

 

Thank you all.



#16 rickrblues

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:35 AM

It was so great meeting everyone at the gathering.  It was even better than I hoped for.  Steve, Greg, and Mike worked so hard to put this on that I can't fully express my gratitude.  The sessions were tremendous - my favorites were Will McFarlane and Dino & Steve's improvisation.  Seeing Nokie Edwards was fantastic as the Ventures were the band that got me started playing guitar back in the 60's. The student showcase was scary for all of us.  I didn't know what I would play until I sat down, but only got lost once and, as Will said, nobody died. 

 

At Gruhn's Gregg showed me his new G&L Legacy and told me there was another on the wall.  I picked it up can carried it around playing it and trying to decide it make the jump.. Had Johnny Hiland play it and was sold.  It plays like a dream.

 

My wife accompanied me to the gathering and enjoyed the music events, MHOF, and NAMM as much as me. I'm sure we'll do our best to come back next year.

 

All the best to my new friends,

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#17 Dulcilo

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 10:18 PM

I found a new guitar also. I have been researching different crossover guitars (nylon string but without the wide neck of a classical) for quite a while and finally found one that sounds really good and is easy to play!. It was the last booth I visited at NAMM, Stonebridge/Furch guitars. Usually I like to buy American, but this company from Czechoslovakia is producing some fantastic sounding guitars. I think Richard Smith was playing one of their nylon string models at the Factory concert. They have a new model that is exactly what I have been seeking--a smaller bodied crossover with a huge sound. The depth and tone of this instrument is amazing. I think the two they brought to NAMM are the only ones in this country, and of course they don't sell directly to the public at the show. But, lucky for me, these guitars were heading to a local dealership after the show and I put down a deposit on one of them, just waiting for the pick up to be installed before it is mine. This is like a bonus after an already wonderful week!!

#18 dodobird

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 11:30 PM

Dulcilo- Congrats on finding the new guitar you were searching for. Enjoy!



#19 Steve Krenz

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 02:57 AM

Lucio, 

 

Congratulations on the guitar.  I didn't even know this was going on behind the scenes.

 

Sounds like a beautiful instrument.  Can't wait to see and hear it.

 

- Steve 


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#20 Dave_White

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 02:11 PM

Lucio - congrats on your new guitar - post some photos after it arrives!


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