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 Roger L.!
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
# of years played
I got my first guitar as a kid, likely soon after the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Taking music lessons wasn’t glamorous though and after about two years that was it for the guitar. I was big into sports at that time – competitive swimming and Water polo. Twice daily training sessions kept me busy. Guitar stayed in the closet until 1987. The industry I work in was in recession, things were slow so I decided to re-learn the guitar. I went to a guitar store and asked the agent to get me a really good guitar. He played it for me and it sounded great – Larrivee dreadnaught. (I was too shy to play it at the store). I took group lessons at the local High School and some of the participants and I got together for sing songs afterwards. My guitar skill went from beginner to intermediate during that time period of perhaps three years. Subsequently, I got into other work and the closet welcomed my guitar again. This time for about 25 years. Then 4 years ago my parents passed away and my granddaughter was born. Somehow that combination of events got me back into the guitar – with a vengeance. I signed up to internet instruction and have been going pretty solid since.
Favorite 3 Bands:
Lol. How is that possible?
I’m mainly into classic rock so I have to go with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Moody Blues, Fleetwood Mac, The Guess Who, Herman’s Hermits, Turtles, Animals, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, CCR, Neil Young, CSNY, Byrds………
Having said that, I find I listen to Leonard Cohen, Jesse Cook and k.d. Lang a fair bit also.
How many guitars do you currently own?
Four in total. I have two acoustic Larrivee’s, a classical and an electric. I don’t play electric or classical – these guitars are remnants of the group lessons I took in the 90’s. But someday again quite probable.
Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?
A type of Zen perhaps. I find I want to challenge myself to the next level. I can spend hours playing where I’m totally lost in time. Sometimes its gut wrenching learning a song because I know it may take me months to get it smooth but when it happens it’s very rewarding.
Why are you an active TAC member?
I was quite content taking my on-line classic rock lessons until I came across a video of this wacky bearded character drinking bourbon at breakfast and cracking eggs with an axe. That was Tony and he was advertising a new on-line guitar course that had a fair bit of bluegrass content. I had been exposed to bluegrass back in the 90’s and associated it with running hills and stairs as a quick start to getting in shape. In other words, I find bluegrass really elevates my guitar playing. And this guy was making it fun. I joined right away.
The daily lessons are a must with me. I bought into Tony’s concept that playing even just for 10 minutes a day, will show faster results. I try to incorporate the chord progressions and licks into other songs I do. The Wednesday solo lessons with the backing track are invaluable also. Creating a lead was something I never did. Now it’s not so daunting (still a challenge though and it’s very useful to view other interpretations of the jam in the Solo Forum).
The way Tony breaks down the Song Lessons into manageable parts makes learning songs way easier than traditional online methods.
What convinced you to submit your first performance video?
Not being Tech savvy, I have just recently been able to post my performances. I used to say it was more important for me to practice than it was for me to “waste my time trying to figure out how to record and post”. Well, I got to thinking perhaps the performances are something that should be done as a tool towards further improvement. So I upgraded my cell phone for a better camera, made the time to learn what was necessary to get the job done and started doing it. Figuring it out wasn’t that difficult after all. Recording the perfect performance however is. Regardless, recording and posting your performance is definitely a key ingredient in building skill and confidence. I get it!
Tell us the story of your first Open Mic?
Back with the gang I did group lessons with, I became friends with a guy who was a very good player. His band had a gig at a dude ranch every other weekend and one time he was short a player so he asked me to join him. There couldn’t have been more than thirty people in the bar but I was thrilled to be part of their group that evening.
The same guy also did Christmas concerts at a number of senior’s hospitals. By default I was the singer for those. I don’t recall the song, but I noticed a lady in the first row crying. I felt so terrible imagining the lyrics of the song I was singing had struck a tender memory for her and remarked about it after the show. Lol – a nurse assured me it wasn’t the song that angst her as she had dropped her Teddy Bear and couldn’t pick it up.
What’s the one thing you’d tell other TAC members who don’t think they’d be good at writing songs?
I’ve never tried or thought about writing songs. To me learning a song like the entertainer performed it is challenging and rewarding for me. However, I envy and respect the songwriter who comes up with the perfect lyric or story that just makes the song. Similar for the perfect riff. Truly a gift.
What else would be cool for people to know about you?
A friend has asked that I play at her wedding and my granddaughters’ daycare would like me to accompany their sing song. This wouldn’t have happened if I still had those guitars in the closet.
I am Montana bound this June for the TAC Jamboree. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada so it’s only a mere 10 hour drive. Ellie will be joining me for the spousal program of the Jamboree.
Looking forward to meeting a few TAC members in the flesh.