TAC Spotlight: Heidi H.

Oct antenna experiment 001


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 Heidi H!


Southeastern Washington State.. the DRY side 😀

# of years played

I never say I “play”, but I’ve owned and dabbled with guitars off and on (sometimes not touching a guitar for months, or even a few years at a time) since 1973.  I re-started playing a few years ago, thanks to a new guitar store providing motivation and the first pangs of GAS! 😀

Favorite 3 Bands:

Wow, THAT is a TOUGH question!  Let me answer this way – the groups/bands/performers that most inspired my love of acoustic music early on, included several of the era – Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Judy Collins, Simon and Garfunkel, and other folk-oriented musicians (got to hear Joan Baez play live, AND meet her in person briefly! :D)   I still consider their music to be stellar. (I didn’t learn about Tommy Emmanuel until years later.. of course he’s a favorite now! :D)

Favorite “electric” bands include Los Lonely boys, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Matt Schofield (who I had the extreme pleasure of hearing LIVE from just a few rows from the stage a few years ago! :D) and many other great blues and blues-influenced artists…   I enjoy a wide variety of music styles though.

How many guitars do you currently own?

Let’s see… the rosewood Baden used for my icon, the Alvarez MD 80 mahogany (dread), my Alvarez travel guitar that’s basically a downsized version of the MD 80, my mid-1980’s Yamaha classical with solid top and lam. sides/back, the inexpensive Fender CD60CE the shop owner set up for me so I could still play a bit with “hand issues”, and my most recent purchase is a Breedlove (Pursuit model) nylon string “cross-over” type guitar.. also to help deal with hand issues.  (I also own a PRS SE Tremonti model electric, and a super-cheap Fender strat-style squire, but haven’t tried to play them in years.)  I guess that makes 6 acoustic and 2 electric guitars (for now! :D)

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

The personal satisfaction of learning new things, the enrichment  and self-expression music provides, how it feels to be able to do something today that I couldn’t do before, and the joy of hearing and feeling improved sounds coming from the instrument.  Besides, “noodling” the same stuff over and over for years can get boring! 😀

Secondly, I’d like to gain enough skill to be able to join in with one or more other players/musicians and have some fun hanging out and “jamming”, and/or be able toplay an actual song for family/friends, senior living center or something, and have it recognizable and sound good enough to be enjoyable for them.  A really wild and long-term goal would be to get good enough to play at a local open mic night.

Why are you an active TAC member?

The format of TAC lessons and features is great for busy adult lifestyle, taking care of ill family members and other real-life challenges. I like that I can “catch up” if I have to miss a day or few, on MY schedule, and still get responses to lesson questions or comments even though I’m “behind”! 😀   The way the lessons and features are presented is done in such a positive way and just plain FUN. 😀  Those are the main reasons I signed up to give TAC a try, but a big part of why I decided to commit to a full year’s membership is because of other TAC members that post comments and questions re: the lessons, plus all the interesting topics and helpful information in the forums.  😀  I’ve really enjoyed the feeling of “community” and “hanging out” with others that enjoy and appreciate acoustic guitar and music/creativity in general.  I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the answers to my questions and helpful comments and kind words of encouragement I’ve received from TAC members!  AND it’s great that even though I’m still fairly new to TAC, and a beginner as far as playing skills go, I can still contribute to the TAC community via lesson comment sections and the forums, be excited for other members and their accomplishments, “pay it forward” by making even newer members feel as welcomed as I was.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

I have several fellow TAC members to thank for helping me work up the courage to post a performance video, including the logic of it’s educational/training value to help me reach my goal of being able to play in front of others some day.    I was also given considerable help and encouragement to start learning how to post on You-tube, which was totally foreign to me… and finally, Dom gave me an extra motivator (and the final courage) by asking me to post a video of what my guitar sounded like.  (very clever, Dom! :D)  I didn’t (and still don’t) have the skill-set to make a video of the Wed. “solo with backing tracks”, but decided I could tackle the few bars of descending chords.  After learning the music, it took a few tries to get a workable video clip made, then the REALLY big challenge of figuring out all the stuff with You-Tube, then how to post it to TAC.  Then another TAC member “fixed” my TAC posting so the link to video clip would actually work.  Not only did TAC members help convince me to “give it a try”, and help me succeed in posting the video clip, but their friendly, supportive and encouraging comments re: my video performance efforts left me with a positive feeling. 😀   Having suffered the terror and indignities of being forced into miserable mandatory piano recitals as a child even though I couldn’t read music, the thought of having to “perform” in front of other students and Tony via the unforgiving nature of a video had me more than a little nervous, but thanks to the great folks here, I survived and don’t seem too worse for the wear! 😀

Tell us the story of your first open mic…

I have that as a “someday when I get good enough” goal.  Only time I “performed” was with my brother, when we both played acoustic guitars and he sang a Christmas carol in a Christmas program for a very small group several years ago.  We had a couple/few hours total to come up with a song we both could play in a key he could sing in.  We only see each other once a year at most, so even getting our timing to match was a challenge.  Our turn was part-way through the program, and we had to carry our guitars and walk to the stage from the audience, and deal with unfamiliar PA type microphone and some sort of “duct taped” add-on mic of some kind.  My brother plays for senior centers and his church on rare occasion, but this was totally new to me, and we were both nervous.  But thanks to “backing each other up”, following each other’s playing as-needed, we made it through without any major problems.  I guess it didn’t sound too bad, and it was really special to do something with my brother.. the same older brother that showed me how to play a “D” chord on his guitar when I was 6 or 7 and my hands were too small to reach the 4th, 5th and 6th strings.

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

As a teenager, I attempted to write a song or two, but didn’t have the “skills” necessary.  But who knows.. if I keep practicing and learning with TAC, maybe someday I will. ;D  I’m so impressed by the amazing creativity and “heart” that is apparent in songs written and posted by fellow TAC members!

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

I was a firefighter/EMT for a number of years, and still miss it

I enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, bicycle riding, archery, and other outdoor activities. Started learning about fly fishing and fly-tying.. have MUCH to learn, but oh what fun! 😀

I’ve dabbled with drawing/sketching and done a few watercolor paintings, enjoy a bit of sewing, and other “crafty-type” activities

I’m a licensed “ham radio” operator, and find it exciting to talk to people in other parts of the USA and other countries, learning about those people and places by friendly conversations or a quick “hello”.  I’ve enjoyed learning how to solder, and built a small two-way “ham radio” from a kit, then  used it to “talk” with a friend a couple states away via “morse code”.  I also dedicate my radio gear and skills to help my community and region in case of emergency, disaster, or any time communication help is needed, or any type of information or any type of help can be provided or supported via communication, such as when those of us volunteers with Skywarn weather spotter training (from National Weather service) provide real-time weather conditions and driving condition/safety reports to other “hams” and directly to the nearest office of the National Weather Service

I still own three motorcycles.. one off-road, and two highway-legal, and used to pack camping gear on a motorcycle and ride/camp with friends and/or husband.  But after husband’s nearly-fatal crash and months of hospital and rehab, I ended up parking the bikes because it made husband too nervous for me to ride any more.

Dutch oven cooking/baking is another activity that I enjoy (and family/friends heartily support.. at least if they get to eat what I fix :D)

Thanks to everyone that has made my first month as part of TAC so much fun, and a great learning experience! 😀


  1. Profile photo of Tony A
    Tony A

    Hi Heidi! I just joined about 10 minutes ago and was surprised to run into another ham! I have also owned a bunch of guitars for years, but sadly, my skills haven’t advanced further than beginner stage. That’s why I am here. Well, hope to talk to you on the bands sometime. I am solely CW and a little VHF. 73 de Tony/W6VFW

  2. Profile photo of nowhere man
    nowhere man

    I just loved reading what you wrote Heidi. I think you’ll achieve your goals! These spotlights are so COOL!

    1. Profile photo of nowhere man
      nowhere man

      BTW I went to college in SE washington a very long time ago. Amazing place, that part of the country!

  3. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    Hi Heidi! Really enjoyed your spotlight write up. You are a great addition to TAC’s growing community! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and (many!) interests.

  4. Profile photo of Bruce B
    Bruce B

    Heidi, congratulations on your spotlight. It is so nice to “meet” such a interesting person that clearly loves to challenge herself in such different ways.

  5. Profile photo of John Z
    John Z

    Congrats and thanks for the great bio! You’ve certainly been busy for one month in the TAC.

  6. Profile photo of Tom C
    Tom C

    Hey Heidi –
    Great post –
    Funny how people flow thru “hobbies” as I call them…
    License since 1978 – Extra Class, owned a bunch of repeaters linked across the NYC area. Have since handed them over to EM groups that have used the coverage for years. It’s a great hobby that you can turn on and off at any time. Typically on 20M /m as I traverse the Northeast doing my real passion – Fly Fishing.
    Fished in my teens – or more flogged it, and caught the bug again when I took my team out for a team building event almost 10 years back now. Little did I know at the time that I was a “lifestyle”.
    Most all my vacations are focused around water, try to wet a line at least once a week. In fact just adding a few flies to the vest for the morning cast. I’d say it can be a real life changer – and like playing guitar – always something new to learn, and you can never have enough guitars or fly rods! Now I’m pairing down the rods I haven’t or barely fished for the newest hobby – finally learning how to play guitar.
    Belong to a few fly fishing clubs here – and we can easily pack 15-20 folks into a lodge or campground to fly fish, and like clockwork – after dinner – the guys would bring out the guitars, banjo’s and harmonicas and play around the campfire at night. So I set my sights on one song for this Spring – and that’s playing Wagon Wheel with the guys around the campfire.
    So 3 months back for Christmas I took the plunge – bought a guitar, instead of another fly rod – and have been working on building up the calluses.
    I’ll get there no doubt… It’s a great way to wind down the evening – and just as rewarding as nice tug on a fly you tied on the bench 🙂
    Tight Lines

  7. Profile photo of Michael S in Illinois
    Michael S in Illinois

    anyone who plays guitar(I seem to have a few), has a Border Collie(we have 3), camps, hikes, is a weather spotter(me too), I’m also a CERT member) is pretty OK in my book. Good goin’, Ma’am!!!

  8. Profile photo of Heidi H
    Heidi H

    Thanks everyone, for the warm, fun, kind, and humorous responses from this wonderful group of TAC! 😀
    I will take your supportive and encouraging comments to heart, and I truly DO plan to post SOMETHING again before long! Haven’t been able to spend much time on TAC, or with guitar lately, and am looking forward to more of BOTH in the next few days. 😀

    Re: the Baden guitar (icon photo) it is wonderful (especially for it’s price-point) has it’s certain charms, and also challenges when sitting and holding due to shape (strap definitely needed to prevent dropping if not seated just right! :D) There’s definitely something about that guitar that draws me to it at certain times, while the Alvarez “dread” calls another, and I’ve been amazed at the unique nuances provided by the new Nylon string (cross between nylon and steel style) Breedlove. 😀 I’d hate to have to just pick ONE of them! 😀

    DREAM guitar? Well, since this write-up, I’ve acquired what is my CURRENT dream guitar! 😀 I’ve got a beautiful whisky-burst Breedlove “concert size/shape” steel string, the Oregon line with Myrtlewood back and sides.. silky-smooth ebony fingerboard and bridge, … a fingerpicker’s delight, and since buying it, I’ve only ONCE put it in it’s case.. I can’t stand to have it out of my sight even on the several days in a row that I haven’t been able to play it much if any! 😀 I’ve been working on several songs with that new Breedlove “Oregon”, and hope to get at least ONE, and as many as 3-4 songs posted before my major orthopedic surgery that’s scheduled for late April. 😀
    Thanks again everyone for your kind words, good humor and general TAC-awesomeness! 😀 Heidi

  9. Profile photo of jeff s
    jeff s

    Nice spotlight Heidi, I am fascinated by your radio hobby. I am learning to fly and talking with the tower is intimidating for me still. It is a whole different style of communication, almost a language of it’s own.
    I am glad you got over the posting issue. I definitely faced those feelings the first time I posted. I look forward to your future posts.

  10. Profile photo of jeff s
    jeff s

    Nice spotlight Heidi, I am fascinated by your radio hobby. I am learning to fly and talking with the tower is intimidating for me still. It is a whole different style of communication, almost a language of it’s own.
    I am glad you got over the posting issue. I think one way or another most of us face the same feeling as we post for the first time. I look forward to your future posts.

    1. Profile photo of jeff s
      jeff s

      I rewrote this above. Better to speak for myself than to try to speak for others. I bet, as I think about it, Dom fired out that first post without trepidation or hesitation. : )

  11. Profile photo of Ray W
    Ray W

    What a great read, Heidi! I had a love/hate relationship with the motorcycles I owned. I would ride for a few years, almost get run over, sell the bike saying I was done, and 2 years later get the itch and get another one. That lasted until we had kids and a baby seat wouldn’t fit on my Honda. 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear about you tearing up an open mic!

  12. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    Way to represent Washington State Heidi!!! Especially the Eastern side! And I think you are the first person I’ve heard of here using a Baden guitar, I bet a lot of people have never heard of them. You have quite a guitar collection, but do you have your eye on one particular guitar model that you see as your End-Of-Days guitar? You know, Martian Zombies are attacking planet Earth, there is no hope left for man-kind, so you have no choice but to sit back relax, wait, and play that one guitar that is your prized possession? I’m surprised that with all the Tommy Emmanual fans out there, more TAC members here don’t play a Maton guitar, his guitar of choice.

  13. Profile photo of TomD

    Similar thought process here; sold my bike years ago. I had full confidence in my skills, but the other drivers,… aaaargggh!

    Besides, guitar is LOT cheaper. And, easier to justify when GAS hits.

    Best Regards,

  14. Profile photo of Dru

    Wow, Heidi, with all of your interests and activities, I can see why you like the flexibility of the TAC lessons. Sure, keep telling yourself that you are not a player, but we know you are! Nice getting to know you better.

  15. Profile photo of leslie c
    leslie c

    Hello Heidi
    First Happy Easter to you and family
    Congrats on your spotlight
    It has been very interesting to read
    I picked up on a couple things we
    First, Carlos Santana, and second Motorbikes

    Your a very interesting person loved everything you
    mentioned in your spotlight
    Les, from England

  16. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Hello Heidi, what an interesting read. Congratulations on your spotlight. First off thank you for your service as a firefighter and first responder. Secondly, great job of getting over the hurdle of getting your video posted for us to see. We look forward to seeing your next videos.

  17. Profile photo of Mike K
    Mike K

    Heidi, great post and great stories. We have some very interesting people in this group and you certainly another! Enjoyed learning about you. mk

  18. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    Heidi Congrats on a well deserved spotlight. You are a kind and fascinating woman.
    I am sneaky but not clever….well, ok maybe sometimes by accident.
    NEVER wait until ‘you are good enough’, before you play in front of people.
    Under no circumstances should you:
    Use someone else’s opinion on you not being good enough, and
    GOOD LORD NEVER take your OWN opinion! We are always our worst critics. The demon inside us that always strives to put us down, needs extraction by force. You know what will make that rat-basXXXd leave you alone? Ignoring it. I am going to be 65 years old in June, God willing. I decided, yep, I DECIDED, I was so tired of wanting and never having, only because that demon said I wasn’t ‘good enough’.
    Heidi……you ARE good enough………….Have you seen some of my early solos? HUH? 😉
    Sorry to pull a Nike commercial on ya, but “Just Do It”. “Paying it forward”,? for pulling that same stunt on Maggie, she found herself on stage, and because she made me “put up or shut up”, I had to do it too. What was I thinking, but look at the fun we have now. I know you want it, and we are really rooting for you to get it………..carry on my friend…………..

  19. Profile photo of Lou Q
    Lou Q

    Hi Heidi, congrats! on your spotlight. I enjoyed reading about you and your active interests. Will keep an eye out for your future posts.

  20. Profile photo of Greg W
    Greg W

    Congrats Heidi! Nice Bio, enjoyed hearing what you are involved with outside of TAC.

  21. Profile photo of Lynne R
    Lynne R

    Enjoyed reading about you Heidi……you express yourself very well. I must have missed your video post and will have to look it up. It is not too often that I meet another ” fisher women” who also loves to camp,ski,hike and cycle as well as cook!

  22. Profile photo of Duane W
    Duane W

    Hi Heidi, Very interesting read, thanks for sharing. I too used to ride motorcycles. Sold my last one (BMW R100T) 25 years ago just before youngest son was born. It was very impractical for hauling young kids around and at the time I was riding my bicycle way way more miles per year. Actually got tired of trying to keep the motorcycle battery charged and tires aired. Also need the garage space for “kid’s stuff”.
    I can relate to the challenges of your first YouTube post, trust me it gets much easier with repeated use. I think you should go ahead and give it a try for posting solo zone and song performances. TAC is without a doubt the most supportive environment I’ve encountered. I would love to hear you play the Breedlove. Best of luck and thanks for sharing your story.

  23. Profile photo of Roger L
    Roger L

    One of the cool things about TAC is learning more about the participants. Nice read. Enjoy your week.

  24. Profile photo of Tony

    Hi there Heidi. Really enjoyed learning a little more about you, and I’m glad your here! Looking forward to hearing some of your posts soon, and enjoy your week in the spotlight! You’ll be ready for that open mic opportunity before you know it.

  25. Profile photo of Dave H
    Dave H

    Heidi – what a delightful read that was. Thank you so much for taking a lot of time writing this up. I am in the same boat about my motor cycle. Will put in on the market as soon as as the warmer weather arrives.

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