Hello, My Name Is Rich Levy and I’m A Guitar Addict

This is all new to me. I’ve only been playing guitar for a little over a year. And yet, I can’t get enough of it. It’s like drugs. I have a little and I want more. I have a Gibson and I want a Martin. I have a Martin and I want a Fender. I have a Fender and I want a vintage Guild.

Of course, I’m in denial that I have a problem.

But the real issue is that like-minded addicts surround me. There are multiple guitar players in the office. I have a teacher who comes to my house once a week. A neighbor (who learns from the same teacher) takes the train with me twice a week. We all talk gear. We talk songs to learn. I’ve been lent a guitar for the weekend to ‘test drive.’ I can’t seem to get away from it. (A co-worker was recently thinking about my guitar ‘collection’ and thought a specific guitar would be good for me. I never thought of my guitars as a collection before.)

But here’s the secret. I don’t want to get away from it because I love it.

I love the tech-geek stuff about all the equipment. I love learning new songs that I’ve never heard. I love downloading the songs and listening to them for the subtle points that no music can provide. I love that my 9-yer-old son can recognize the voice of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, David Bowie and Paul Simon. I love that I’m learning all my favorite songs from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I love that our living room has been renamed ‘the music room.’

Of course, I have years of material and things to learn. But that’s the beauty of music, you’re never finished learning. There’s always something else to learn. A new song. A new riff. A new spin on an old riff. A chord that seems impossible to play until you master it.

The other thing – you can have secret songs that you never play in public, but privately love. Here are the songs I’ve taught myself and play when I’m a little down in the dumps:

• I’m a Believer – The Monkees. Makes me smile every time.
• Suite Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. Strange tuning (EEEEBe) and fun to play.
• Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison. Always picks me up.

I’ve also begun taking requests. My daughter asked me to learn ‘If Not For You’ by Bob Dylan (the George Harrison version), and a friend recently asked me to learn ‘Closer to Fine’ by the Indigo Girls. I also had a request for an ABBA tune, which I turned down. Even I have my limit.

So, yes, I’m an addict. And yes, I take requests. And yes, privately I also play ‘Stairway to Heaven.’