"I started playing guitar at age 17. Originally, I started out playing drums at my friend, Cody’s house. I got fairly good at the drums. We talked about maybe starting a little jam band. Problem was, he was a drummer, too, so that kind of forced me to learn a new instrument.
So, I picked up the guitar.
My first guitar was a Washburn 6 string. I had no clue where to start. The most humbling guitar experience I've ever encountered was when my strings were out of tune and I couldn't even tune it myself. I had to take my guitar to the local shop to have it tuned. The guy looked at me and chuckled. I had never even held a guitar, let alone tried to play or tune one.
My dad showed me a few simple chords, like G, C and A. I learned some power chords and other basic chordings from guitar tabs of a few cover songs.
Once I got the basic fundamentals down, it was a lot easier to move those chord shapes around on the neck and learn how to make my own songs.
I spent a year alone in my bedroom trying to make heads or tails of a guitar. It was a mind numbing process; just going about it in my free time and not having anybody to give me any direction. It wasn't until Cody invited a buddy over to his house to jam that I truly learned where I wanted to go with playing a guitar. The guy showed up with an ESP 6 string with EMG pickups, tuned to drop B, and a half stack. And that sound was massive! I'd only ever heard a guitar played in standard tuning through small combo amps. My entire guitar world was opened up for the first time.
I knew the old Washburn wasn't going to cut it, so I got rid of it and got an LTD H-207 7 string. Amazing guitar for the money, by the way. I tuned it to drop B and started on this amazing new chapter. Drop B eventually wasn't heavy enough for me, so I went to drop G a couple months later.
Fast forward 16 years, I'm still tuned to drop G. It never got old. After years of noodling around, I found my own style and what came naturally for me. I never dove deep into music theory or scales. Personally, I can't stand it when someone goes into complete geek-mode when talking about playing a guitar, like it's some kind of math test. If you practice a lot, you’ll naturally learn what notes sound well together and where scales are, without knowing their names or having to go to college to play music “correctly”. Your true knowledge of guitar is the music you make, not how many chords, modes, or scales you can name off.
Don't turn something that is fun, into work, it no longer becomes fun.
I told myself many times that I would never be in a “jam band”. If I was going to be in a band, and devote the time and dedication a band needs, I was going to do it one time. I sat, thought, and wrote an encyclopedia of songs and played guitar by myself for 17 years. It wasn't until May 2019 that I decided it was time to give this whole band thing a try. Prior to Two Ton Memory, I hadn't played in any bands. I didn't want to waste sweet riffs! It takes too much time to write good material, only for it to be wasted if your bandmates aren't up to par or don't want to do it as much as you do.
I’m 100% a rhythm/melody player. One rule I’ve lived by and it's the single best piece of advice I can offer to anyone; don't kill a great feel with over-technicality just for the sake of being “technical”. Many guitarists make that mistake. You can do more with five notes in melody, than what you can by playing 100 notes per second.
Find your natural style and be great at it, or at least try. Ignore what others are doing, focus on you, and what you want to do with music. My approach to making music is simple; if a particular riff doesn’t have the same energy and feel a day after I make it, it gets thrown out. If you enjoy what you're playing, it will never get stale. When I create something, I also ask myself ”will this make people move?” and if there is any doubt, I trash it. I try to bring as much energy and melody into my writing as possible.
I want my riffs to hit the listeners' soul and shake the heavens.
I bought my first 7 string guitar in 2005. I’ve never owned another 6 string to this day. To be honest, I find it difficult to even play a 6 string now. It just feels like a toy and some of the chords I use on a 7 string are non-existent on a 6 string. My main guitar is a custom ESP E II 7 string, 27” scale, with a Fishman Fluence pickup in the bridge. I use GHS Boomers 13-74 strings tuned to drop G. Brain .60 guitar picks. My sound comes from a Mesa Boogie, Dual Rectifier.
When I'm not playing guitar, I enjoy fishing, shooting guns, archery, nature, playing roller hockey or hacky sack, relaxing by a fire with a beer, and just enjoying each day I’m on this earth.
Time - you can never get it back.
I hope my guitar playing brings some enjoyment into your musical lives. I look forward to meeting the Two Ton Memory fans and creating new ones!"