This coming Christmas Eve will mark my 59th anniversary of being a guitar man. The moment I saw my Uncle Jack playing his new guitar I knew instantly what my future would be. I was five years old. I played his guitar more than him and he gave it to me. I still have it. I played everyday. Seeing my interest in music my mother signed me up for piano lessons at St. Anthoney’s in Clarksville, Indiana. I was in the second grade and lessons cost twenty cents per week. We had the cheapest out of tune piano dad could find. I am sure it was free. Piano practice was not as much fun as guitar practice
I played for the kids in my class and my friends were very supportive. I was offered my first paying gig in 1967 to demonstrate guitars at J.C. Penny’s for $5.00. At the time I was getting $1.25 per week allowance so this was significant.
In 1971 I joined the Navy. Three days into boot camp the Navy found out I was a guitar man and assigned me to play guitar at Sunday Services in a “folk mass” band.
After boot camp I was sent to “A School” in Maryland where I was the choir director for the Girl’s Boot Camp Choir.
Eight months later I was stationed aboard a U.S. Navy Ship Afloat in Boston, Mass. My first day I was elected to lead the ships band. The Navy used me in Talent Shows and contests representing the First Naval District.
After the Navy I went back to Indiana and went to Indiana University S.E. for four years via the G.I. Bill. I had my own band and worked around Louisville and Southern Indiana. Got my first studio experience in 1974 and discovered my love for recording. Also started teaching guitar lessons in 1976.
In 1978 I got the opportunity to move to Dallas. Some friends from back home were here and doing great working for Ch marlie Pride. Plenty of opportunity. I never went back.
As soon as I got to Texas I found work plentiful and started working immediately in Frisco Texas at the only place in town at that time. Craig & Toni’s Double Barrel Steak House. I played there for about 4 months while doing some recording at Pantego Studios in Pantego Texas.
Started teaching guitar lessons as soon as I got here. I joined a big show band and hit the road with The Allen Dryman Show. Allen was an Elvis impersonator frontman. We drove as far as Portland, Oregon. I left the band to join a local Dallas band called Wheatstone Bridge. We worked 6 nights a week and were booked a year in advance. I had a full load of students at the same time.
Wheatstone Bridge lasted for 3 years. Then I joined a similar band called Southern Touch. Southern Touch had a broken down tour bus that bankrupted the band. ALL of the jobs were on the road and far apart.
I did not like being away so much, so I started my own band; Aura. We stayed busy and played just about every room in Dallas.
In April of 1999 I began selling my guitar lessons on cassette tape online and started JoeTheGuitarman.com. Within 6 months I had students in all 50 states and around the world.
In 1993 I started teaching guitar and bass at Larry Morgan Music in Garland Texas six days a week. As many as 89 lessons per week. In 2004 I released How To Play Guitar on VHS and two years later on DVD.
I started teaching out of my home studio in 2002. I am still here and also teaching via SKYPE or Face Time.
I still love to perform and do so every chance I get.