TAC Spotlight: David S.

David S.


The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine

Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!

The TAC Spotlight is a weekly focus on members of Tony’s Acoustic Challenge who have posted at least one performance on the forums and are especially active in the community by showing exemplary support or inspiration for other TAC members. All TAC Spotlight featured members are nominated by other TAC members.

If you’d like to nominate someone to be honored with a TAC Spotlight feature, please submit your nominee here.

Say hi to David S.!


Caledonia, ON, Canada

 # of years played


Favorite 3 Bands:

I have long list of bands that I like but my top 3 influencing performers are singer/songwriters who inspired me when I was in my teens and started to perform (I am a singer as well) on my own. Top of the list is Orillia, ON native Gordon Lightfoot, one of Canada’s most prolific songwriters of all time, next would be James Taylor whose songs I have enjoyed performing over the years, and then David Bradstreet, a Hamilton native songwriter who wrote “Renaissance” made famous by another Canadian singer Valdy.

How many guitars do you currently own?

Lets see – 1 Taylor, 1 Gibson, 1 Guild, 1 Yamaha, 1 Norman and 1 Susuki classical – so 6 is the short answer.

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

Working at improving anything you do keeps it fresh and stimulates the grey cells. For me music – guitar and singing has been such an integral part of who I am for over 50 years. Learning the material on TAC is new to me as I have basically accompanied my self for 50 years. I had developed a style that combines strumming, picking, bass runs all together as a solo artist but I wanted something more. I realized I was JUST PLAYING and NOT PRACTICING. Working through the lessons and songs on TAC require me to practice and do the same things over and over and over again to get them right. The challenge is refreshing.

Why are you an active TAC member?

I guess I could just do the lessons and learn the songs in isolation but there is such an amazing sense of community on TAC that is hard not to be drawn in by the caring and supportive membership. I admit I was a bystander for about the first year of my membership but at the start of 2016 I committed to being a part of the group, do the lessons, learn the songs and experience the group in its fullness – and offer support and encouragement to others who want to learn and are willing to bare their guitar souls to the rest of us. I salute the courage it takes to do that. Plus I get a real kick out of the badges and stuff.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

Recording a song to share with the group and the rest of the world is a challenge and takes a lot of work – the learning of the song, the practicing over and over and doing 30 minutes of takes to get one that is good enough(for now) – that’s what gives me a sense of accomplishment. Plus it begins a record keeping that you can go back to as time goes and shows us how much we really do improve if we stick to it. And I would love to win a GS Mini.

Tell us the story of your first Open Mic?

I started playing for others when I was 13  but they were pretty much scheduled and scripted. But it was not until I was about 50 when my daughter invited us up to party with her at her University at the on campus roadhouse. Turned out it was open mic night so being suspicious that she signed me up I took along a capo, a couple of picks and some lyric sheets. Sure enough, one of the guys who hosted the evening called me up, handed me his guitar and I was singing. It was a blast – this is not the group I would typically play in front of. Thunderous applause from the crowd was special and I figured I would have won the prize if there was one for the oldest dude in the place.

What else would be cool for people to know about you?

When I was a kid there was a 1936 Gibson L-00 in a cardboard case stored in my bedroom closet. It was my Dads. I only ever heard him strum it once or twice. After seeing Flatt and Scruggs play on the Beverly Hillbillies I thought I would like to play the guitar. And so when the salesman from the Ontario Conservatory of Music knocked on the door in June of 1965 my parents signed me up. Seven years later I had completed my Grade 8 Conservatory Exams and I just never stopped playing.


  1. Profile photo of Mike K
    Mike K

    Hey David, been away at a conference(Edmonton) so i am just catching up. Awesome spotlight, loved the improv at your daughter’s, your Gibson and your Band selections( saw JT in Kingston earlier this spring). Always enjoy your posts. Congrats.

  2. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    David, I enjoyed reading your story to get to know you better. And I was surprised it to hear that it takes you 30 minutes to record your videos because you have been cranking out so many songs of late. And they are performed so well. Glad to see you being recognized here at TAC. Keep up the effort my man!

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Thanks Andrew – I must have recorded solid for 80 minutes before I got a take of Blackberry Blossom I could live with.

  3. Profile photo of Kevin S
    Kevin S

    Congratulations David, great story. Amazing how an assortment of wood and bone and strings can make such impact and enhance and enrich a persons life. As an older beginning guitarist, I appreciate the insight and wisdom of those who have paid the dues and still hold on to the passion of playing guitar. This is such a unique and special group of guitarists, and I hope to be be able to absorb the wisdom of the accomplished, and someday inspire others to learn and enrich their lives through the guitar. I am looking forward to a performance with your Gibson. I assume it’s the same one that initially inspired your journey with the guitar.

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Thanks Kevin – check out my post in the stage of Blackberry Blossom. I used the Gibson for that.

  4. Profile photo of Michael D
    Michael D

    David, I have enjoyed listening to your performances, and it’s pretty cool to learn a bit more about you. Love your list of songwriters, and J.T. is one of my favorites. He is one of the reasons I am working on finger picking. What Guild do you have? I play an OM F 30 rosewood, and I love the tone and sustain. Anyway, congrats on the spotlight!

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      I have a 1978 Guild D-50. I used it on my post of Billy in the Low Ground. thanks for your comments

  5. Profile photo of Robin D
    Robin D

    Your story and comments inspire me to be more adventurous with my music. Great interview!

  6. Profile photo of Russell S
    Russell S

    Hey David! What a great interview! I’m glad to get to know a little more of your story! Congratulations!

  7. Fred Richart

    It was fascinating to hear about your grey cells working after 50 years of playing. That’s a gritty story.

    Also, it’s a wonder what our kids get us into!


  8. Profile photo of Robert G
    Robert G

    Way Cool Spotlight, Congrats David! Your daughter’s semi-surprise open mic must have been a blast. Making a connection with the younger generation would be not only fun, but a rare life experience. Love the whole notion of a life long learning especially on the guitar front. Unless there is some sort of fountain of youth, there aren’t enough years left for me to catch up to your 51. But you’re inspiring me to enjoy adding on to my single digits history with guitar. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Profile photo of Dave B
    Dave B

    I enjoyed your spotlight David, especially your honesty about being a bystander here on TAC at first, but then getting involved. I feel like that is right where I am currently, not knowing anyone, but wanting to experience community here and support others. I hope to follow your lead. Thanks for being an encourager this way.

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Thanks Dave. Being with TAC now gets me practicing instead of just playing.

  10. Profile photo of David P
    David P

    David, what a nice spotlight, congrats. 51 years!That is so awesome. I think I am attracted to things you can never truly master to the point of knowing it all, and music so fits that as you exemplify.
    I really enjoy your recordings and am looking forward to your Gordon Lightfoot toons.

  11. Profile photo of Jason T
    Jason T

    Congratulations, David! You have an interesting story there….love the story of the 36 Gibson!

  12. Profile photo of Gary L
    Gary L

    Hi David. Happy to see you get featured. I really enjoy all of your posts. It’s great to learn a bit about you and your background.

  13. Profile photo of Charles B
    Charles B

    Cool David! 51 years playing and still learning, that really shows me a lot, congratulations on the spotlight. Its interesting to learn some about our fellow TAC’ers.

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Yup – keep learning and the old grey cells keep working. Win-win all around.

  14. Profile photo of Bradley A
    Bradley A

    I always know that I’m in for a treat when a new David S post comes out. Enjoyed reading your story here, and reeeeeallly look forward to hearing you sing. +1 to Lynne’s request for a Gordon Lightfoot tune 🙂

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Bradley you are most kind. And I will definitely do a couple of Lightfoot tunes.

  15. Profile photo of Greg W
    Greg W

    Your spotlight is a wonderful read. Congratulations David! Keep the performances coming, they’re always an example of how to play.

  16. Profile photo of Tony

    Congratulations on your spotlight David! I really enjoyed reading a little more about you and your music background. I’m truly glad that you’re here with us! Looking forward to seeing that old ’36 Gibson in a video soon. Enjoy your week.

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Thanks Tony. I’ll be uploading Blackberry Blossom today and I am using the Gibson for that one.

  17. Profile photo of Lynne R
    Lynne R

    Hi David…..still learning after 51 yrs. Now that truly is inspiring! I would love to hear you sing……how about a Gordon Lightfoot’s tune ? I envy you all of those years of playing ..small wonder that you sound so good. I hope to learn from watching you and perhaps throwing a few questions at you from time to time.

    1. Profile photo of David S
      David S

      Thank you Lynne. I will have to record a few Lightfoot tunes and post them up.

  18. Profile photo of Emma S
    Emma S

    Hi David, Congrats being on the Spotlight. What a fascinating story of your musical adventures. I’m so glad you are a part of the TAC family and your performances are wonderful to watch as well as your contributions to the Forum.
    WOW! that Gibson in the wardrobe got the ticker pounding.

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