TAC Spotlight: Sean F.


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 Sean!


From the Chicago Metro area. Currently in Syracuse, NY

# of Years Played


Favorite Three Bands

Rolling Stones before about 1983, I used to want to grow up to be Keith Richards,

Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, they are the best live band in the world, absolutely SICK. When people ask how good I want to be ( I should live so long), I point them to the Fabulous Superlatives.

7th Heaven, they are a local Chicago cover band but they work 200+ shows a year and gross a million plus $$/year locally! They are my friends and are an example of what you can do if you work long, hard, and smart. I’ve known them since the Thirsty Whale days.

How many guitars do you currently own?

Currently 9, I may let a few go to finance a D-28 37A

1983 52RI Telecaster, my main electric, owned since new

Fender Esquire

Fender Strat

1957 Les Paul JR., owned since 1988, my other main guitar depending on the gig

1988 PRS CU24

2014 PRS 408 standard

1988 Martin D-18, owned since new

2015 Martin HD-28E Retro

Martin backpacker (secret weapon for faux dobro and recording)

Fender Jazz Bass

Why is it important for you to improve at guitar?

It’s what I do. Making music and making love are about all I’ve ever wanted to do. I had a big money IT job at AT&T for a while. All I thought about was getting out and to the gigs at night. I’m never going back. If I can’t work in music, I will starve. You can play music almost until you die. I plan to go out like Les Paul.

Why are you an active TAC member?

I sort of impulse joined after watching some of Tony’s Acoustic Letter videos. I wanted to know what those songs were that he was always playing and I thought it would be funny to learn them and play them at some of the jams around here. Also, my knowledge and skill in hard core acoustic styles is lacking, so I want to improve at that. After a few weeks I joined for a year through the special offer that came around. There are nice people here and it’s opened my eyes to a bunch of things. I’ve kind of set the goal of getting some of these flat picking songs down and then finding Tony and jamming with him. Seems like kind of a funny goal, you know, “Really?! You got to jam with the guy from those videos?”

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

I think I did 3 videos in the first 2 days I joined the site. That was what the site said to do, that was what I did. You know, when in Rome. Then I wanted to make it into that top 250 list.

Recording and “video-ing” yourself are some of the best ways to improve. So as painful as it is, I do it a lot. Man, I am UGLY in those webcam videos of myself !

Tell us the story of your first open mic?

My first open mic story is a little different than most peoples. I had puttered about with guitar since I was a tot. My whole family is musical. So I’d sort of dabbled a little for as long as I could remember. I always wanted to play but could never figure out why the guys on the radio sounded cool and I sounded like a Mel Bay big note song book. At 14 another neighborhood kid showed me a bar chord and how to play “Living After Midnight” by Judas Priest. It was like being hit by lightning!!! After that day, I did NOTHING but play guitar. I quit soccer, BMX, doing school work, friends; nothing but guitar. By 16 I did some paying gigs, at 18 I was working full time in a 100+ show/year band.

So…I was pretty well formed by the time I did my first open mic at 20 at Kingston Mines, which is a well-known blues bar in Chicago. I planned and practiced for weeks. The place was rotten with rock guys and such, playing pointy 80’s guitars. No one was prepared and no one really sang, or actually played blues. Well I went up in a suit and a tie, with my Telecaster. I plugged into a big old white Twin. I told Jimmy Dawkins to stand back and I blasted into “Eyesight To The Blind” with the full BB King intro, the band was hip and fell right in. Enormous cajones for a little white kid from the suburbs. I still remember Jimmy Dawkins yelling SH*T, and almost falling over laughing, he was jumping up and down as we played, we actually wound up trading licks!!. I also played “A Good Fool Is Hard To Find” by Albert Collins and “Pistol In Your Mouth” by Tampa Red. Jimmy Dawkins shook my hand and said I should stick around and play the late jam with them. At that time Kingston Mines had an early jam for the civilians and a late jam for the pros. A lot of those guys were like the back-up musicians for the well-known band leaders in town. Amazing

My first open mic was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love this stuff so much, I am literally sweating as I type this. I get so excited to this day by playing, or even talking about music.

The moral of this long story, is to be tuned up BEFORE you hit the stage, be prepared and try to seem confident. No matter your skill or experience level, everyone can be tuned and prepared. At some point you just have to do it but if you have the choice of doing it now, or doing it a few weeks later and really knowing your material. Wait and do it later, you will feel so much better about your experience. I promise.

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

How would you know if you’ll be good or not? Did John and Paul know when they started? Did Mick and Keith know? Did old Hank know? Gwen Stephani made millions singing B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Who’s to say what a “good” song is? If your song makes one person happy; if your song makes YOU happy, then it was worth it and it is a good song.

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

I am a pretty friendly guy and I am always willing to share whatever knowledge I might have. I currently work in the central New York area in a “new country band” called JD & Rollin’ South. I play most Sundays at an open jam at Kellish Hill Music Farm in Manlius, NY. I sometimes host their open mic on Thursday. I was, at one time, the #4 Illinois State and #37 ranked Air Hockey player in the world. (I use that bit of information to pick up chicks).


  1. Profile photo of Michael D
    Michael D

    Sean, it was cool to read your profile and see your response to the spotlight questions. Almost like having another instructor on the squad for those of us who are more in the novice/ intermediate range stages of our guitar development. Glad you joined us 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Emma S
    Emma S

    Hi Sean, congrats being on the Spotlight. Very interesting reading how you honed your skills on the guitar. Thank you for taking the time in sharing your knowledge and experience

  3. Profile photo of jumpin' jeff s
    jumpin' jeff s

    HI Sean,
    I enjoyed your spotlight. I am glad you followed your impulse and joined TAC. We are all better off for your participation. I find your posts highly motivating and look forward to meeting you in Bozeman.

  4. Profile photo of Tony M
    Tony M

    Sean you are an inspiration and TAC benefits from having your experience, thanks for all your input.

  5. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P Post author


    A big thanks to you for being a part of TAC and for sharing your performances and knowledge with us!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your profile… You just can’t deny how cool being a world ranked airhockey player is!!! Great lineup of guitars as well!!! Thank you for being here!!! Congratulations on the spotlight!!!


  6. Profile photo of David W
    David W

    Congratulations, Sean! I always enjoy your videos and you tutorials are great too!

  7. Kathy

    Good Going Sean…. So happy for you being recognized for your guitar skills and for the person you are. Great background story as well. You are one special guy and I am very glad to call you friend. Sincerely Kathy of Kellish Hill Farm. Yee Haw !

  8. Profile photo of DeeDee L
    DeeDee L

    Hi Sean,
    Awesome #37 air hockey player in the world. Air hockey is fun. Great first mic story too. It gave me the goosies. Very cool. Thanks for sharing your videos and congrats to a well derserved spot light.

  9. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    SEAN! Congrats man. Well deserved for sure. You got some awesome guitar moves, and yes, the chicks dig it. HA! Air hockey king……..sweet. You got some skills man. If you like Marty Stuart, you like a LOT of guys from that genre, like Vince Gill (?) I am sure Tony P would embrace the idea of jamming with you.
    Enjoy your time in the TAC spotlight buddy. C U on the next Hangout…………..

    1. Profile photo of Sean F
      Sean F

      Yup, all those guys. I LOVE Vince Gill. Chris Scruggs is another great great guy. The first time I heard him do Harbor Lights on the steel guitar it made me cry.

  10. Profile photo of 1973.

    Congrats dood! You mean Bart Conner didn’t motivate you to stay a BMX’er in the movie RAD? <<ya, I"m old… Anyway, I always look forward to your solos, good stuff… Thanks for sharing your story and the vids from your bed… hahahaha… sorry bro, had too…

    1. Profile photo of Sean F
      Sean F

      I rode a Torker and worshipped Eddy King. I have a Powelite Pro ready to go right now. I do miss it.

      1. Profile photo of 1973.

        Nice! I used to watch a dood named Matt Hoffman jump stairs by the local bike shop before anyone knew who he was and watched guys like RL Osborn and Eddie Fiola (only sort of famous person I got an autograph from, haha) do some crazy stuff at shows… OK, not “BMX”… Trace hangs head…. It was…. Freestyle… Back then there was no TV coverage of that stuff, we had to go find it. Good memories… I’m glad you brought that up in your bio.

  11. Profile photo of Bruce B
    Bruce B

    Sean, thanks for all the instructional videos you provide along with easy directions! I enjoy your skills and appreciate your approach to sharing them with us!

    I especially love your possessions: 1988 Martin D-18, owned since new

    2015 Martin HD-28E Retro



  12. Profile photo of Charles B
    Charles B

    Sean, Congratulations on the TAC spotlight, well deserved too.34 years of playing, wow! Good to read your story Sean thanks for helping us out. I know I need all the help I can get lets see I’ll be 90 when I get 34 years in!When I watch one of your videos I think man, will I ever be able to play anywhere near as good as Sean!Like your style, the way you play is what I hear in my head when I pick up the guitar, Your playing is inspiring, makes me want to pick the guitar up and practice. Your mini lessons/tips are great keep them coming! Glad you joined TAC hope to hear you play live one day.

  13. Profile photo of Vic G
    Vic G

    Hey Sean. That’s a cool bio. Glad to know you better, even beyond the hangouts. Congrats on getting the spotlight this week.

  14. Profile photo of Marco Jimenez
    Marco Jimenez

    Cograts on the spotlight Sean, you trully deserve it :)!!, and what an interesting life and vision, I always look forward to your videos, you are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many others.

  15. Profile photo of Lynne R
    Lynne R

    Very interesting read Sean. With 34 yrs under your belt,it’s no wonder your videos are so great. I love what you did with last weeks lick…..perhaps you could post every week with a little explanation as to what you are doing so that we can all learn a little something from your expertise. Congratulations on your musical accomplishments…you seem to live for music. How great is that!

  16. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    Great write- up Sean! Congrats on your week in the Spotlight. Your open mic story gave me tingles down my spine. That sounds like an amazing night.
    I can’t believe you gave up BMX though- you could have been in BMX Bandits with Nicole Kidman! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085204/

  17. Profile photo of X

    Sean, you are one of my guitar heroes. All I can say about your writeup is, I want to hear more. Over a beer or two here in the Chicago area, or in Syracuse some day…. Thanks for all you do here!

  18. Profile photo of Maggie

    You are the coolest, Sean! Such a talent – love your open mic story too! Awesome. Congrats on the recognition – very well deserved!!

  19. Profile photo of Andrew D
    Andrew D

    It was a pleasure to read your story Sean. I know Syracuse quite well, I grew up in Western New York and went to college in Binghamton and for 7 years covered the central New York State territory during my first job. I do not miss those winters though. See you around TAC.

  20. Profile photo of Dave H
    Dave H

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up, most enjoyable. Am in full agreement about Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives. Cousin Kenny Vaughn’s guitar playing is beyond amazing.

  21. Profile photo of Ray W
    Ray W

    Congrats on the spotlight! I love the wisdom you spread around and really dig the guidance in the hangouts. You’re one of the inspirational guys around here.

  22. Profile photo of Carol M
    Carol M

    Sean, congratulations on your well deserved turn in the TAC spotlight! It was really cool to read more about what makes you tick! I love watching your videos- I always know that I am in for a treat- you play so well, and lately have been teaching us some of the tricks up your sleeve! You keep continuing to impress, you are an inspiration and great role model! Enjoy the holidays! C

  23. Profile photo of Roeland

    Haha great stories – impressive, entertaining, intriguing and inspiring! Great to have you around Sean, congrats on the well deserved spotlight!

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