TAC Spotlight: Tony M


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 Tony M


For the past 18yrs I have been living here in Allentown, 😉 PA, 20 minutes from the Martin Factory. I am native to Long Island NY(south shore).

# of Years Played

To make a short story long to make myself more interesting…

In my teens I played drums and trombone, I still do play drums in a band for fun once in a very blue moon. As a kid I always thought the guitar was for pretty boys(hair bands) and it just looked way too complex for me(typical Drummer). I also hacked a little at a piano my parents had, which I wish I took more seriously.  When I was in my early twenties I was far from home at school and missing the music element in my life.

One day before Christmas I walked into a Guitar Center In Dallas, TX and bought a Squire Strat with a small amp. I had a buddy show me a few chords and I loved it. I never really practiced per say but I would always try to figure out songs from great guitarists and of course they were usually the virtuoso type (my poor roommate). I learned the power chord and I went to town trying to emulate my hero’s; Van Halen, Led Zep, Rush, Def Leppard before 83, Mike Campbell(tom petty’s band), Guns n Roses, SRV and of Course AC/DC to name a few. I quickly realized that being good took a ton of work and I had little time to dedicate to it because I was pursuing my career which took up all of my time.

Life moved on and I would break out the guitar once in a while and have some fun, basically rehearsing the songs I knew and trying to learn some new ones. I picked up a Yamaha APX acoustic along the way and enjoyed strumming it.This guitar is most sentimental to me because I played it to my wife on our first date (I know, I know, it’s cheesy… but it worked, trust me, she’s way out of my league 😉

Fast Forward 20 yrs, marriage, job advancement, move with new company, house and 4 Kids. I still feel as though I am just noodling around. I buy an Epiphone Les Paul, and a Washburn Rover (travel guitar which I do a lot of) along the way. Then a little over a year ago I bought my wife a grand piano. I did a lot of research before buying it (good idea). Just like the guitar I learn that quality is huge. Whenever we play it we love it, It makes us want to play it often, and in an odd way it sparks some GAS.

I now start to pursue a high end acoustic feeling that a nice instrument inspires and come across this dude who looks like Ashton Kutcher reviewing guitars on Youtube playing Bluegrass. I’ll admit I never hated bluegrass folksy stuff, although I never loved it either. But this guy really got my attention with his precision and sound and he was great at the reviews. I then, with his advice and some footwork, bought my 2014 Taylor 814ce. Subconsciously I said to myself that I owe it to this fine instrument to learn how to play better and I wanted to take lessons. It was like it was meant to be, Amazingly I got an Invite from the “Bearded One”aka “Fretboard Finger Wizard” to take online lessons with him and learn how to play those beautiful songs. It was a no brainer. So to sum it up over 20yrs, but 1 serious year with TAC’s help and Still having a lot of fun!!

Favorite three bands

Like asking who’s your favorite kid..

Man cant we do Ten at least???

OK ,OK. Rush, Zepplin, U2, Tom Petty.. I cant add hehe

But I would be a liar to say Springsteen, Mellencamp and Joel did not Influence me Huge!

Dang, come to think of It Twenty is not enough!

How many guitars to you currently own?

Well I have my Squire Strat,  Yamaha APX-4A,  Epiphone Les Paul Ultra 3, Washburn Rover, 2014 Taylor 814ce, 2015 Martin CEO-7, and I see more Martins and a real Strat in my future

What convinced you to submit your first performance video?

I never did a live open mic as a guitar player.. not yet that is( ;)Dom) I did post a few videos on TAC over time. I must say that it was not easy. I was having a bit of stage fright and at first I think I was trying to get it down perfect. As time went on I started to realize that immediately being a perfect guitarist was not why I was here. I also started to find great people who were not perfect players either and we were all just enjoying and supporting each other through our TAC Journey together(speak of another Great Band). My goal is to try to get competent while keeping the enjoyment and relaxation. My day job requires me to travel a bunch and I am limited for time.  I just focus mostly on the daily lessons along with the monthly song, so posting some videos for me is limited.

A quick thank you

To conclude, I really want to thank Tony P and the TAC Crew ( Joel and Levi) along with all of you fine Members (TAC Family) for a great experience. It really has been fun and you all are just so darn nice.


  1. Profile photo of Ray W
    Ray W

    Hey Tony, congrats on the spotlight! Well deserved, says I. It was great “meeting” you on the hangout. I hope that when (not if) we finally meet face-to-face there is a drum set around so we can have some fun along with some picking.

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Thanks Ray, Same here on meeting you. It was fun at the chat room. I am actually getting DAS and might pick up a set just to get my chops up a little. Any ideas what to get for a decent practice set these days?( haven’t had a set in the house for a while outside of a Roland electronic TD-6. They just don’t feel the same.

  2. Profile photo of Carol M
    Carol M

    Tony, congratulations on getting your week in the TAC spotlight! It was really cool to read more about you here! You are a great asset to the community here, and I am hoping to someday meet you in real life, either at an open mic night down in PA, or at the Martin factory, and of coursr, at the 2016 TAC Retreat! You are a great player and an inspiration to all of us! Cheers!
    Carol M

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Thanks for the kind words Carol, I look forward to meeting up with you also. I am sure we will have a blast playing together. Your a great player yourself!

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

    Very cool to read your story Tony M. I have always said why tell the short story if you can make it long and interesting. I hope to see you at the very least next summer in Bozeman and look forward to future hangouts on line. Those are definitely fun and you add an E ticket element to it. Thanks for your participation. You make TAC a better place.

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Thanks Jeff, Ditto to you about adding flavor to TAC. It’s been great getting to know you.

  4. Profile photo of Dru

    Great story, Tony. Thanks for being part of the daily music community I look forward to checking in with and sharing. Hope things are good in Allentown–my family’s original stomping grounds weren’t far from there. Be well.

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Thanks Dru, I look forward to getting to know you better and sharing the music we learn.

  5. Profile photo of Bruce B
    Bruce B

    Tony M, I loved reading your story, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts in the Forums, and, of course, being with you in the hangouts has been lots of fun.

    You are a humble guy, which is easy to tell from the hangout. You have a good sense of humor, and you don’t seem to take things too intensely. It’s like you ‘hang loose’!

    That said, your photo above seems to be from several years ago! Or, maybe it’s that you always wear a hat in the hangouts!

    Any way, congrats, Tony. Glad to be getting to know you through TAC.


    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Haha, Bruce Thanks Bud! I know ,I look like a missing person in this photo. It is from a video I posted just before I took off to work and didn’t throw my shirt on yet. Go figure. Me thinks that some dudes at TAC headquarters had a good laugh. ; ) When I first saw it I was like NOOOO!

  6. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P Post author


    A big congratulations for the spotlight and a huge thank you for being an active member!!! I loved reading your story as well as learning just how close to the Martin shop you are!!! Next time I am out there we may have to play a song or ten together and go on a tour 🙂 Sincere thanks for being here!!!


    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      I would love to go through Martin with you. We would tear up the Guitar Sample room for sure. The Thanks for being here is all mine, I love your instruction and its made me enjoy my instruments even more. Thanks Bud.

  7. Profile photo of DeeDee L
    DeeDee L

    Hi Tony,
    Congrats on the spotlight. Loved your short story made long. Thanks for sharing and keep on posting when you can.

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Darleen I tend to try to make my boring life seem more exciting 😉 I will post try to post more. Oh and I loved the pushups! Awesome girl!

  8. Profile photo of Charles B
    Charles B

    Tony, “dude who looks like Ashton Kutcher ” That is funny! There are several people here at TAC that I get inspiration from watching their post, you are one of them. Keep’em coming, congratulations on the TAC Spotlight !

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Charles that is real nice of you to say that. I am going to try to post a vid sooner or later. 😉
      Thanks Bud

  9. Profile photo of X

    Congrats Tony! I loved reading about you and getting to know more about you. I’ve enjoyed every post we’ve traded. It was awesome to get to talk to you in the last community hangout. I love your choice of covers when you play (and that last one was so darned good — it’s been too long!)

    We HAVE to somehow get together to play and sing. Let’s work on that!

  10. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    yeah Buddy, what Maggie said. Open Mic (or at least on stage performing? Check.
    I have already said publicly but will say it again. From the moment we actually met in person, I felt we had been friends all our lives already, even actual brothers. We get closer every day, and now Sharon and Jenny can get that opportunity too since they have finally met. You are a way better player than you’ll admit, and you helped put me at ease on stage. You definitely need to be on that stage, with or without us. If you and Maggie do something together up there the place will go wild. Can’t wait for that. And regardless of the names we call each other, you are a great guy. Honestly, A better, kinder man does not exist. Honored to call you friend. Congrats on your spotlight.

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Same here Dom. We are literally on the same wave length. It’s been a blast around you! Putz. Hehe

  11. Profile photo of Maggie

    haha! Tony – looks like you already need to amend what you wrote here – that live open mic can now be checked off the list (although maybe next time it will be somebody else’s turn to accompany *you*).

    I loved reading your answers here and learning a little more about you – I feel like this was “Tony M” week for me – got to meet you live in person and also learn more about you from the spotlight… you are awesome!

    Congrats on the well deserved recognition 🙂

    1. Profile photo of Tony M
      Tony M

      Maggie Thank you, it’s actually been my honor to get to know such a talented kind person. I would be honored to sing a song with you even if it was not on a stage. See ya soon

      1. Profile photo of Duane W
        Duane W

        WOW!! Glad to meet another guitar player who started out on Trombone. IMHO best beginner ear training ever. I highly endorse playing open mics or jams. It’s not really that different from sitting around a campfire making music with friends.

        1. Profile photo of John Bell
          John Bell

          Hi Tony M.!! Congrats on making the Spotlight!!!Saw your performance with your Other Brother,You two amigo’s were Great!!!Enjoy!!!!

          1. Profile photo of Tony M
            Tony M

            Thanks John, I will be always indebted to you for your recommendation of my CEO-7.

        2. Profile photo of Tony M
          Tony M

          Thanks Duane, Yep trombone section in school band was a hoot. Watching me and all my buds slides in different positions on the same note. LOL I did actually get pretty good .

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