TAC Spotlight: Ray W.

Ray W.

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.

The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine

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

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

Say hi to Ray W.!


Out in the middle of the woods in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois.

# of Years Played

I got a guitar as a gift from my dad a while ago but didn’t really start working on learning until about 3 or 4 years ago.

Favorite 3 bands:

Three is really too much to ask.  Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers would have to be up at the top of the list as well as Keb’ Mo’ and Alison Krauss and Union Station.  That doesn’t give the whole picture though as I also dig everything from AC/DC to Jesse Cook and have a real soft spot for schlock 80s pop stuff.

How many guitars do you currently own?

Taylor 314ce, Martin 000-15M, Taylor GS Mini, Alvarez RD10, an old Ovation that belonged to my dad, and a Harmony pawn shop Frankenguitar with electric guitar guts that was my first one…so six.

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

The obvious answer…because I’m not good enough.  I can’t play everything I want to play so I learn.

Why are you an active TAC member?

By participating we become more than a group of individual guitar students.   The sharing and encouragement make us all better.  The TAC community is one of the biggest reasons why TAC is so special.  I feel lucky to be a part of it.

What would you tell TAC members who don’t think they would be good at writing songs?

Just started working on it and I would say the same thing that others have told me…if there’s music in you, let it out.

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

Dom T. started a Margaritaville project and, being a Parrothead, I couldn’t resist.

Tell us the story of your first open mic?

Haven’t done an open mic but I’ve performed at church.  It involved me singing in Spanish as part of a report on a mission trip.

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

I design and build custom speakers for a living, which is a lot of fun.  I’m also a home school dad, a runner, and the drummer for the church band.


  1. Profile photo of Bradley A
    Bradley A

    Congrats Ray! I always enjoy your posts…music…stories..comments. Glad you are here. Keep on pickin!

  2. Profile photo of Ray W
    Ray W

    Thanks for all the kind words! This is why I enjoy this place so much! You’re such a great group of folks that I’m honored to call friends.

  3. Profile photo of Marilyn U
    Marilyn U

    So cool Ray! Thanks for sharing more about yourself. Look forward to joining you in forum, etc. as I become more familiar with TAC

  4. Profile photo of Michael S
    Michael S

    Ray – thanks for the inspiration. God bless you, your family and your music!

  5. Profile photo of Karol D
    Karol D

    Thanks for sharing your music and yourself with us! Glad to see you in the spotlight.

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

    I lived in Cambridge in the early 70s for about a year or so.. If you find any of my brain cells in giant city or Carbondale, please send them back to me! Thanks

  7. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P Post author


    Thank you for sharing more about yourself in your spotlight!!! Thank you for being a member here on TAC!!! So cool to learn that you build custom speakers, you are a runner, and so involved with your church!!! Thank you for sharing your time with us here on TAC!!!


    1. Profile photo of Ray W
      Ray W

      Thanks Tony, I forgot to mention that I play hockey too. Mostly center but I’ll play whatever skater position is needed at the time. Not cool enough to be a goalie though.

  8. Profile photo of nowhere man
    nowhere man

    Hi Ray,

    I have enjoyed the times we’ve been able to be on hangouts together, and it was great to learn even more about you. We still have to get together one way or another and play and sing. And I’m also wishing you good times along with the work that you’ll be doing on your trip.

  9. Profile photo of Tony M
    Tony M

    Ray you are one great guy and I enjoy getting to know you through TAC. Good Luck on your Mission and God Bless.

  10. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    Hey Ray. What an interesting guy you are, but many of us already knew that 😉
    +1 Vic’s comments God Bless you and your wife for the work you do.
    Congrats on this spotlight. I am pleased and humbled that I was the influence you needed to do your first video performance. I am so happy you did. I think actually it was Mark Young or Tony M that MAY have had the idea and started the thread, but either way, you DID IT!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your talent displayed for us all to enjoy.
    BE safe!

  11. Profile photo of Duane W
    Duane W

    Ray, Congratulations on being selected for “Spotlight”. Reading about your guitars brought back memories. I’ve either owned or currently own your complete list except the Harmony. The RD10 is one that I regret letting go, it really played and sounded great.

  12. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    Hi Ray. Congrats! I think this has been posted while you’re in Honduras, so hopefully you’ll be able to find somewhere to access the internet to bathe in the warm glow of the spotlight. You deserve it!

  13. Profile photo of Tony

    Hi Ray,

    Enjoyed learning a little more about you thru the Spotlight. Living in the middle of a National Forest sounds like a nice place to be a guitar player. Congratulations on your Spotlight!

  14. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Hi Ray, congratulations on your spotlight. Although your write-up above is short, there is so much more that we know about you through the forum, for example your upcoming trip to Honduras to do missionary work. You are a great man my friend, and may God bless you, your wife, and the work that you and your colleagues do for others in need. Keep on drummin’ and strummin’!!

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