Lesson from an Old Guitar

Now that Christmas is over, I'm sure you guitar players out there are just amp't up to get playing on those new christams gifts (you know... New Guitarz). Now... not everyone has got a new guitar. So what! This article is really for everyone. It's about thinking of your guitar playing journey as a life long evolution. And, those out there that have put it down and haven't played in a while... "this is the story for you." - Riffmaster

Lesson from An Old Guitar by Chuck Hinson

Guitar Tab


Sometimes, the greatest parables can be found in everyday situations. What you’re about to read is something that happened to me in August, 1964. It’s the story of an encounter between me and my father, C. E. Hinson.

I’ll never forget the lesson he taught me that day … it’s one that I’ve passed down to my children, and to others. It’s my prayer that you’ll find the lesson in it, as well, and pass it on to those who can use the wisdom he conveyed in this. My dad was, in my eyes, the greatest man God could’ve put in the 20 th Century. He and my mama were the epitome of what Christ taught … and, to their memory, I dedicate this story.

I hope you enjoy it.


Years ago, when I was just barely into my teens, my dad came home from work carrying a battered, old guitar. He knew I wanted to learn to play one – I’d seen folk groups, country acts – even some new group called “The Beatles” playing them, and it looked like so much fun. In fact, while these performers were on TV, I’d watch carefully for the close-up shots, and (using a baseball bat as a “guitar”) I’d mimic their fingering, position of the chords and timing.

When he gave me the acoustic guitar, I sat down and, propping it up on my knee, began to position my fingers on the neck, just as I had seen the performers do. Certainly, I was going to be the next Elvis. But he did something that I’ll remember to my dying day: He took a big, calloused hand, put it over the fingerboard and stopped me from playing! Then he said, “Son, wait a minute. Let me tell you a little story.

Look inside this title
Easy Gospel Guitar Solos - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Easy Gospel Guitar Solos by Tommy Flint. For Guitar (Fingerpicking). solos. Gospel-Old Time. Level: Beginning. Book/CD Set. Size 8.75x11.75. 48 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. (94286BCD)
See more info...

You see, Life’s a lot like that old guitar you’ve got, especially when it’s time to pay your dues. And, just like the sounds you can make on that guitar, the ones you make in life is entirely up to you. We can’t stop you from framming away at it like an off-tune madman any more than we can stop you from playing beautiful music. When you get to be an adult, it’s going to be the same thing when you’re ‘out there’ in the real world. Nobody can stop you; it’s your choice as to what type of ‘music’ you give them.

Now, you see those strings, and how you’re holding them down with your fingertips? Each note is meant to create harmony with each other. That's your goal in life, son … learn to place each thing you do …each step you take … so it’ll be in harmony with mankind. Otherwise, just like with the guitar, you’re gonna make such a noise that nobody’ll want to hear you. ”I listened intently; this was good stuff! Then he continued,“ And, by and by, you’ll learn how to sing with that guitar – maybe even write a few tunes yourself.

Look inside this title
Fingerpicking the Gospels - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Fingerpicking the Gospels by Tommy Flint. For Guitar (Fingerpicking). solos. Non-Series. Gospel-Old Time. Level: Intermediate. Book/CD Set. Size 8.5x11. 72 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. (96021BCD)
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When you do, remember that a simple tune does better when the words are from the heart. Make them easy for people to learn … to keep in their mind. And you’re painting a picture with each one. Son, remember to do the same thing in your everyday doings, and you’ll make friends and be happier than you ever thought.

And that ‘song’ that you sing … the one you show everyday in your actions … will be the one that’ll go ‘number one’ with your friends and others. Just leave the lyrics open to your brother’s and sister’s point of view, and they’ll be humming that song long after you’ve gone.

Now … let’s hear you play …”

About the Author

Chuck Hinson is a publisher and announcer whose fondest memories are of his home in Pineville, North Carolina. Along with (then) Rep. (later Gov.) Jim Martin, he authored a resolution that called for, and later became, National Children's Day. He's produced three popular audiotapes, a newspaper ("The Window Today"), and has a website at http://greatinternetnewspaper.bizhosting.com

"There are always new things to experience, internalize then write about. This process is ongoing with me. It never stops. The opportunity to reach new audiences with all of the music that we have made is thrilling." - Graham Nash

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Updated: 12/27/06