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How My Guitar Playing Started

On my 12th birthday my uncle gave me a guitar. It was an Archtop made by Framus. Sorry, but I don’t have it any more.

My parents payed for the weekly guitar lessons. My teacher was Mr. Thomsen in Elmshorn, Germany. This lasted until I was 16 years old. At that time I was pretty good in accompanying swing and dance music.

When I started my apprenticeship in electro mechanics, I put away the instrument and stopped playing. I became more interested in Model Flying and Ham Radio.

Between 1970 and 1974 I was a Radio Operator (Sparks) on various reefer ships, like the “Pica” of the “Laeisz” company:

On the long and lonely  trips I missed my guitar. On one of our stops in Bordeaux, France, I took the opportunity to buy a classical instrument. It was nice to play again and it made my life on board easier. When I left the ship in Rotterdam, it was no problem to bring the guitar home.

After my holidays I had to enter the next ship in Los Angeles. Since I did not want to carry so much luggage, I left the guitar at home. Our first trip was to Tokyo, Japan. I only had a half day off to do some shopping. When I walked past a music shop, I saw an infinite number of guitars hanging on the wall. I could not resist and bought one of them, a Yamaha G-150A.

During one of my journeys my parents had to move and wanted to get rid of all “unnecessary” things. So they sold the Archtop and the guitar from Bordeaux.

 

How I Rediscovered My Guitar

After many decades, in 2008, I rediscovered my Yamaha. It had spent its life in its gig bag covered with dust and had been pushed around from one corner to another. Despite the poor treatment she was in relatively good condition. The D-string was broken and there was a small dent in the front binding. After cleaning it and putting new strings on, I tried to play it again. The sound was pretty good and I could still remember some of the chords. But my playing had become very bad.

In the summer of 2008 I attended a classical guitar concert of Heinrich Wittrock in Darmstadt. I really loved his music. At the end of the concert I gathered all my courage and spoke to him. He was very friendly and I asked him if he knew someone who could give me some lessons. I was very surprised when he offered me to do it. We agreed on a date and started our weekly guitar lessons. He showed me everything; that is, he gave me a complete classical guitar training. Now I really learned to understand sheet music. The picture shows Heinrich playing on my 60th birthday party.

New Instruments

When I spent the first week of 2010 in Norddeich/Norden (East Frisia), I missed my guitar. So I bought a Ukulele in a music shop in Norden. It is a cheap instrument and the sound is a little dull, but playing it is a lot of fun.

My last acquisition is a new classical guitar. It is a Hanika 50MC. I bought it in the Musikladen Eberstadt. It is a wonderful instrument and a real improvement over my Yamaha.

 

New Guitar Teacher

Since 2015 I have a new guitar teacher because I became more interested in jazz and blues.

Another advantage is that she lives not far away from my home (15 minutes walk).