Member Spotlight: Duane W


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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 Duane W.!


Harry Truman’s boyhood home town.

# of years played

51 (would you believe I started before I could crawl?)

Favorite 3 Bands:

Really hard to limit to 3 and they change from time to time:

The Who

Guy Clark

John Stewart / Kingston Trio


How many guitars do you currently own?

I (enjoy) suffer from chronic G.A.S. so more than I need and less than I want, and totals are not constant. Including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, electric bass and ukelele, 20+.

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

It gives me a larger pallet to work from as a writer, and it amazes people who only think of me as a bassist.

Why are you an active TAC member?

I really like the sense of community and the sharing of all the great talent.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

Song performance video was to qualify for the Wizard badge. Weekly solo zone video was to be part of TAC community, receive peer feedback and improve as a player.

Tell us the story of your first Open Mic?

I’ve been a bass player in rock bands since leaving the high school marching band after my Freshman year. While playing in a duo, I’d meet members of the Kansas City Songwriters Circle who encouraged me to start writing and join them at their monthly song challenge (I had 30 days to write a song to the monthly challenge topic “comedy”). Sounded easy enough, right? I wrote a song about alien abduction call “Mr. Spaceman” and felt well rehearsed at home. When it was my turn (along with 2 other writers) as I sat down I realized this was the first time I’d ever played solo, having always been part of a larger group. I managed to get through the song, don’t really remember much beyond stark terror and the feeling someone had filled my mouth with oil dry. Everyone laughed at the right spots and were supportive. This was the start of a relationship that still continues after 22 years.

What’s the one thing you would tell other TAC members who don’t think they’d be good at writing songs?

I think Glen Fry gave a great example talking about living above Jackson Brown in the documentary “The History of the Eagles”. Basically it takes dedication and hard work to be successful. One other piece of good advice is from Steve Seskin who said there is no such thing as writers block. Writers are either in “input mode” or “output mode” and these are out of your control, you just have to keep working all the time.

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

  • I’ve always been a horrible speller and while typing I suffer from digits dyslexia, so please ignore any typos.
  • I spent 6 years (’98 – ’04) as a local workshop coordinator for NSAI (Nashville Songwriter Association International).
  • The blues band I was with participated in the ’06 IBC (International Blues Competition) in Memphis. We played 2 sets on different nights at BB Kings on Beal Street. Lots of stress, and great fun. We didn’t win but didn’t suck either.
  • Currently working on putting together 4th CD of original songs.


  1. Profile photo of Gary L
    Gary L

    Hey Duane. Just read the interview questions. Enjoyed learning about your story. Look forward to seeing more on TAC.

  2. Profile photo of X

    Thanks for your thoughts and tips on songwriting. I’m very glad you’re a part of TAC!

  3. Profile photo of simon thorpe
    simon thorpe

    Hey Duane,congrats on the spotlight,you are a very knowledgeable guy on all things guitar,always interesting reading,thanks for sharing the wisdom…..

  4. Profile photo of Brett L
    Brett L

    Duane, congrats on the spotlight. Your story is inspiring for a beginner like me. Fun to hear about your journey and experiences. Cheers!!

  5. Profile photo of Dave H
    Dave H

    Duane – great read. Mountain, dang good stuff. Don’t see them mentioned very often. IBC in Memphis, always wanted to attend. Some day will make it there. Thanks for taking the time for the write up. And thanks for being a member and your contributions. Always enjoy them.

  6. Profile photo of Pat Horwath
    Pat Horwath

    Great to learn more about you Duane and having someone mention John Stewart who imo was a great songwriter. I would see him live in small venues in the SF Bay area a long time ago whenever he visited. My current luthier was a close friend and fixed his guitars. Going to pull out a CD and give him a listen.

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Pat, stumbled across Stewart solo stuff a long long time ago. I’ve always felt his solo career has been ignored for the most part. IMHO he’s a great writer and performer. I’ve sort of felt isolated as someone who enjoys and respects his talent. When I mention John Stewart to fellow song writers they generally come back with “the comedian, didn’t know he wrote songs!” “Cannons In The Rain” is still one of my favorite albums and “Irresistible Targets” is his most powerful song (also very really like the songs “Cannons In The Rain” and “Armstrong”). Never saw him live solo, saw Kingston Trio with and without him.

  7. Profile photo of Tony D
    Tony D

    Yo Duane- Very inspirational especially with the plus 50 set (of which I am a charter member). I love how you put the stress on just doing the work.- Thanks

    Also thanks for mentioning the 20+ guitars, I’m definitely showing that to my wife…

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Tony, time flies when you’re having fun. There are days when it doesn’t seem that long ago when the journy started. One way justify any number of instruments is saying “if you buy a new one every couple of years and don’t sell any they begin to add up if you live long enough.” Just remember , if you get in trouble with your wile about the number of instrument in your collection, it your own fault!
      P.S. not all of mine are guitars, there are couple Ukes, they don’t take up very much space. 🙂

  8. Profile photo of Fred R
    Fred R

    Dusne: So glad to hear you like Mountain. Leslie West was fabulous in concert. And Felix Pspalardi was a great showman, as well He was the first bass player I ever saw play chords on the bass to accompany the lead.

    Also glad to hear you were in the HS band before branching out!

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Fred, glad to meet another Mountain fan. I really loved the sound they each produced. Even went so far as to own a Gibson EB0 and Sunn Coliseum bass rig wit 2 2×15 cabs for a while. For years I chased the Leslie West gutiar tone, kind of gave up when I learned he was using a Sunn PA head for his guitar amp. To this day I still love the sound of P90 pickups. Never saw them, but I think I have all the vinyl they produced and a CD or two.

  9. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Hey Duane, congratulations on this week’s spotlight. I enjoy looking at your posts and super thumbs up on Mr. Spaceman. Very nicely done.

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Emma, thanks for the comments and back at your about the videos. Yeah, if I had 51 instruments I’d be shocked too and single. My wife is very supportive (bought me a guitar as a wedding present) but there are limits to the number of instruments.

  10. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    Hey Duane. Congrats on the Spotlight! You have 20+ instruments and yet you STILL have GAS? There’s hope for us all…

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Steve, each instrument has a unique voice and use, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂

  11. Profile photo of Duane W
    Duane W

    Anyone who is curious or exquisitely bored, a recording of the song “Mr. Spaceman”, I talked about in the story of my first open mic has been posted in “the open mic” forum.

  12. Profile photo of Paul H
    Paul H

    Hey Duane,
    Congratulations on being hit by the spotlight! You have obviously put way more time and effort into stringed instruments, performance, songwriting and music in general than most of us ever will. It is great to have you here and making contributions to the TAC musical legacy.

  13. Profile photo of Jason T
    Jason T

    Congrats on the spotlight! Ever posted Mr Spaceman on here? I would love to hear it!

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Jason, thanks. Nope haven’t posted Mr. Spaceman because as weird as it sounds I don’t have a recording of it anywhere. Keep an eye on open mic forum I’ll see what I can come up with.

  14. Profile photo of Roger L
    Roger L

    Interesting read. Your guitar inventory is amazing. Chuckled at your open mic experience – could just feel it. Take care and happy pickin’

  15. Profile photo of Bradley A
    Bradley A

    Hey Duane. Congratulations on your spotlight here. I really enjoy hearing you play, and reading your comments in the forums. Love your story about performing “Mr. Spaceman” for the songwriters’ group. As I read it, I felt that sinking feeling of…what did I get myself into? Look forward to seeing more performances from you. Have a great week!

    1. Profile photo of Duane W
      Duane W

      Bradley & Roger, Thanks, the worse part of the first open mic , I was on the middle stool and had no where to hide or easy exit. It was definitely a trial by fire learning experience but it’s all work out in the long run.

  16. Profile photo of Tony

    Congrats on your spotlight Duane – it was nice to learn more about you. You’ve had a very interesting music journey so far – looking forward to more of your posts here at TAC! Enjoy your week, and I’m glad that you’re here.

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