John's Journey with Guitar Weekends

Many of us start to learn the guitar later in life as we have more time on our hands plus we’ve also got more money to spend on the things we enjoy. Here’s a really interesting guest blog from John Peat on his journey to learning the guitar with Guitar Weekends and the collection he’s grown over the years. Some of the items are now for sale if anyone is interested…

Dear fellow Guitar Weekenders,

Back in 2005, when my wife died, my way through the situation was to go back to my youth and rediscover my interest in railways and playing the guitar. The railway interest was self-supporting but I set out to better myself with the guitar situation.

This was tackled on two fronts. I had to get some decent gear and I had to find something that fitted my then working lifestyle that I could join in the way of tutoring.

The buying of the gear was no problem. I was living and working in Stevenage and Coda music was in Stevenage Old Town. It also helped that my neighbour’s son-in-law worked there. He later took over the management of the Luton Branch and my custom followed. My collection developed into a very playable wall of 1960s designed guitars. Reaching this point involved buying and selling a few/several/ many guitars and amplifiers until I reached my final collection in 2014. It is not the most expensive collection of gear as I only bought mid-range models. This has been brought home to me many times when attending Guitar Weekends and drooling over some of the guitars that have been brought along.

It is easy to build up a collection when you live on your own and have a large spare bedroom!

When I was coming up to my retirement in 2011 I decided now was the time to find someone to improve my self-taught guitar playing. It all started with a google that resulted in me finding Guitar Weekends, then being run by Malcolm White.

My first mistake was to slightly, GREATLY!!!!!!, overestimate my playing capability. I chose a course that was totally wrong for me. Although I did gain a bit of reputation for challenging the tutor to target his training at the correct level for amateur players, not degree level music students. However, I learned from my mistake and carefully planned a better route through the courses. The best thing I did was book the four blues courses in the correct order and this ensured I actually progressed. And I still challenged the tutors, and by now Ronnie, if I thought the tutors overestimated the ability of the class. I would like to thank Ronnie for taking this all on board as the courses I chose post-blues courses were better “pitched” for the amateur “Weekender”.

So where am I going with this? When I moved to Norfolk in 2016 one of my sons suggested I join the local bowls club as my body could no longer cope with badminton. When you are young you are told to play sport to stay fit. Forty years later in my case my knees were shot.

So I joined the bowls club and what happened? I met some other people who had a common interest in playing music and we have formed a band. The bowls club is known as Wymondham Dell and we became the Dell Boys, which probably makes me Rodney.

The other thing that happened is that I met a fellow new bowler and she and I have been together for over a year and making plans for the future. I emphasised the she just in case any of you were worried about me. So something has to go as we try to merge two households into one.

PLEASE NOTE I’m still totally crap at bowls.

As I said earlier I have a range of mid-range guitars and cheap solid-state amplifiers. When playing in the band I like guitars with tone and volume controls for each pick up that allows me to ramp up and down as appropriate. So for gigs, I tend to stick with the Epiphones. My son wants my pair of Fenders and the Gretsch for his own collection.

So that leaves the two Burns guitars. These are a white Hank Marvin 40th anniversary that I bought in 2010 and the Club Double Six bought in 2012. Both have the silver snakeskin pattern cases. Neither have been gigged AT ALL and are in immaculate condition. Current used prices on the interweb are £600 to £1000 for the Hank Marvin and around £300 to £400 for the Double Six.

I would also consider offers for the Epiphone ES175 jazz guitar. Current used prices around £400.

I also have to clear out some amps. There is a Marshall MG 50 combo and then my speciality Marshall MG100 head plus two 1912 cabinets. What is the speciality of this bit of kit? It is measured in Watts per Kilogramme as it can be carried by aging rockers without fear of dislodging anything personal.

Other stuff being considered is an Epiphone SG style single pick-up bass bought in 2013 and never gigged, plus a Line 6 Spider 30 from the same year.

I am advertising these here for Guitar Weekenders first as I know if anyone wants them they will be going to a good home. Please be aware that I live in Norfolk and would not want to post any of this gear as they are instruments or heavy amps.

If you are interested please contact me John Peat by email.