I’m Jeph, it was summer before high school started my obsession learning to play guitar.
I am a member of knights of the altar in our town. One time in our meeting, Errol brought his guitar and showed his skills playing on it and some of the members played on it too. And I was amazed how they do it and told myself I want to learn that thing. When I got home I asked my mother to buy me guitar, she replied that my grandpa has guitar but my uncle took it. Later that time my uncle came. I asked him about grandpa’s guitar he said that it is not good anymore the body is broken. I asked my mother again then she said that she’ll tell father about this.
The next morning, I thought about where to borrow guitar but I don’t have friends that have. So I made improvise guitar using this plywood with 2.5 inches by 5 feet. I draw a line using pen marker perpendicular to longest length of the wood as the fret and put nylon as the string and went to the store to bought song hits because there is a chord chart there where it shows all the guitar chords. I practiced using this but I got bored coz too many chords to memorize.
High school, freshmen, Jerome was my classmate and was my first close friend in high school because he is also a member of the knights of the altar and came in the same grade school. He also love music and wanted to learn playing guitar. If we saw someone is playing guitar in the campus we stopped by and watched.
I joined in sepak takraw varsity team in our school where I met Erwin. Erwin is the one who taught me first how play guitar. We’ve know each other because we came in the same grade school but not that close and he is also a member of knights of the altar. One time after our practice he offered me to come to their house to take snacks. Into their house I saw this guitar I asked him if this guitar is yours and he said it’s he’s father’s guitar. I replied if he knows how to play it and he replied that he knows but only little. I asked him if he can teach me. Then he showed me these four chords and sung the song fit to it. He taught me four chords G-Em-C-D how to strum together with the beat or rhythm. And he said practice it again and again ‘til I played it fast and he will teach me the intro. I played and played until I got the rhythm but my fingers got numbed then Erwin said take a snack I know your fingers is hurting and I’ll teach you the intro later. Then he teaches me the intro and the song and he said that many songs are fitted in these four chords. I got home with my fingers numbing. I put ice into it and thinking about the chords I’ve learned.
Weeks after, Jerome told me that he bought new guitar and said I could come to his house. Every after school I spent 1 hour in Jerome’s house playing guitar. Jerome taught me some chords and songs. In the first place, it’s hard to play guitar while singing but I got it, I’m a fast learner. Jerome brought his guitar to the school and every break where playing it and leaning new stuff. Jerome got Sr. friends in school and borrow he’s guitar and showed us picking and plucking. Like he makes the guitar singing and I was damned wanted to learn that style. He said that practice one song and master it because it is easy to memorize and master the chords in that way. Then I got one song and learned to play it. Day by day I am learning more chords and style. Jerome and I shared each other new chords and songs every day.
I asked my mother again about this guitar she said that, father will come home next month and he will buy me one. I am so excited I cannot wait. After a month father came and gave me this guitar. I was so happy. My mother always scolded me because I spent more time in guitar than studies. Sometime I skipped meals because of guitar.
The other day, In school, I told Jerome that I got new guitar then after school I brought my guitar in Jerome’s house and jammed along together but our guitar is not in the same tune. Jerome and I don’t know how to tune a guitar. The other day Julius my classmate brought these oldies song collection song hits and I saw their how to tune a guitar. I borrowed it for a night then I practiced it that night and I got it. I admit that I’m a fast learner. Jerome asked me to teach how to tune a guitar then I teach him.
Months past I’ve learned and developed my skills in playing guitar. One time Val my classmate asked me if I know how to cepra. I asked him what cepra is. He said that learning the song just by listing on it. I said that I tried that but it’s hard. He said it’s good in that way because it will make you to get more idea in learning new chords and style playing on it. That night I tried again but it is really hard. Every night I practiced cepra until I heard a song that’s sounds so easy to learn. After weeks I got the song and I’m so happy that I learned that. Day by day I’ve met new people know how to play guitar and learned from them new songs and style.
Sophomore, we had a program in our section. Ian and I presented a song. I played the guitar for him.
Mark is new guy in our section. He is also into music but we don’t have the same taste. At that time I’m more on acoustic oldies and boy bands, him he loves rap and hip hop. Jerome and I still sharing new stuff in guitars. Unfortunately, my guitar was broken. I damaged it accidentally. I almost cried. I fixed it but the sounds are not good as the same where is not broken. One time Mark brought his guitar in school then he said if I can teach him how to play guitar. Because of guitar we became friends and we always get along. He taught me how to beat box and I learned. I said I’m fast learner. Every day we are together and we became so close like brothers. We learned new things in songs and guitar and some other stuff like joining art contest.
I’m still learning and mastering playing guitar coz I love it too. But my guitar finally surrendered. It was totally broken and cannot be fixed. Sometimes I borrowed guitar from Jerome and Mark when I want to learn playing new songs. Months past I became known to my friends that I can play good in guitars and that I could teach them. I shared what I’ve known and received praises from them that made me confident. But I am still learning new style in playing guitar.
Senior year, I always love singing since I was 4 years old. In school we have a program and every section should have a presentation. Mark wanted to present but he pulled me to sing with him. I don’t have confidence at that time showing my singing in front of many people but mark pushed me to go in the stage. Mark taught me how to be confident and I get it from him. We sung where is the love by B.E.P. That was my first time to be exposed singing and rapping in front of many people and it was amazing. I got many feedbacks that are good to listen and that made me to continue doing it.
I also love dancing since grade school. Mark and I also joined dance group in our school.
One of our theology teachers Sister Martha asked me if I can dance, (maybe she knows about me, maybe someone told her) and joined with them. I said that I can dance and okay I’ll go then she said tonight we will have practiced. I came that night and I found out that it’s not what I expected, it was a gospel dance. We interpret the gospel in dance. But I can’t say no anymore so I practiced with them and I enjoyed it also. Every mass we have in school we presented and an altar boy at the same time. And because of that I became a little famous and known to school teacher and received many praises again that can melt me.
Sister Martha also made me Joseph in our Christmas presentation. And because of that I became close to higher section where they organize all programs in school. Mark also has friends in their too. Mark and I were invited to present song in a parent meeting. And we presented, Mark sung, me played the guitar and also sung.
There was high school government election and I was invited to present song when they go campaign. Then I go with them. I got into new friends I’ve met during campaigns. I heard that someone got a crush on me. I learned and jammed also to the other school mates who know how to play guitar. The last day of campaign when I came to the stage to present dance number I was flattered. I heard my name.
Mark and I go to some bar in our town to check if we can go present song to it. We talk to the bar owner but unfortunately we can’t.
If there is a presentation in our school Mark and I always presented a song because of that we got admirers and we can’t deny we got skills and looks too. When we go walking around corridors we heard girls saying our name and it’s so flattering because everywhere we heard our names. Mark and I are having a contest if who got more fans. Every corner of the school we heard our names and count if who’s got more fans and we laughed about it. We became famous at that time. Got more friends and burst out my confidence.
I already composed songs during high school but I threw it all and got into bands not anymore on oldies. Some friends are inviting me to play guitar for them in school presentation.
College, Mark leaved the town and stayed in he’s birth place.
I developed and master my skills in guitar. I can cepra, play with my own style, plucking, picking and changing guitar tune. I learned also how to drop D. where some bands using it for them easy to play. I was more versatile learning to stuff in music from acoustic to rock and all stuff in music. I can imagine and compose tune in my mind. I can say I’m like not much to August Rush imagination. Everywhere I go when I hear sounds my mind playing on it and give beats and rhythms.
I also made songs where I heard good feedbacks from my friends and classmates. And if there was a program in our department and school I present and every presentation I made I was like popular. Girls yelling my name, some want to have pictures from me. And I can’t sing clearly because of that, it’s so flattering. And I received a letter from an admirer that tells about how she feels about me and I made it a song.
In our department there was song composition contest and win second place for two times for two consecutive years. And I also joined vocal solo contest where I got third place. Sing gospel song if we have mass in our department. Because also of my friends they pushed me to that coz I feel they believed in me. And every after class we get some alcohol drinks and play songs and jammed. I became close to Basa my classmates, who loves singing and love to be drunk. Every Friday he always invites me to be with them and get drunk to sing and play with him. We also presented in some occasion in our school that we are drunk.
Also in our place, I play songs and sometimes dance number. My mother bought me a new guitar and until now it was still alive. It’s in my room and I told my mother if someone will borrow it don’t let it even my brother. Because I love it and it was made in a good class of wood.
Every anniversary in our town there are mainstream bands from manila visiting our town and every band visiting in our town I watched and I said to myself I like to have a band on my own. I also watched local bands in our place. I’m jealous because they have their own bands.
Jake is my neighbor and he came to me to tune he’s new guitar and teach him. We became friends and we made a drum box made from waste plywood. After that every night we get along and jammed along with the boys in our placed. Jake played the drum box very well because he’s a member in their school in drums and bugles. Jp cousin of Jake also knows how to play guitar. I learned from him new stuff. Also Michael, Jake cousin he also know how to play guitar. I also met Dodex he teach me some songs. Kirk also joined us, he also know how to play guitar and can also write songs. He has also he’s own group but day by day he go along with us and part of our street band no parking band. And every night we jammed I learned new things. And many boys in our place call me and play with them and drunk with them. Jake and I composed some songs together and I save one song that he made.
Deneboy is my neighbor we became friends because of loving music. And he has a band. He plays very good in guitar, organ and some music instrument. I learned more from him. And I get along with his band sometimes. And learning organ and drums make me wanting to play it well too.
Mark came back to our town. He wants to stay here to take college. I came to he’s house and showed him my guitar skills how I improved. Mark also has a good voice. He can sing very well. Sometimes, we went on videoke bars. We ordered one bottle of beer and sing a lot.
We talked about our plan playing songs in a bar.
One time we watch bands in our town and we thought about if we can form a band. He asked me if where we can take practice. I said I know some place. The other day we went to place where we can practice. Mark played the drums and I played guitar. Three times a week we go jam together and Mark learned easy plying on drums. And we came that we had the same taste in music now. Alternative rock.
We saw a post “battle of the bands” then we thought of we can join. Less than three weeks before the battles. So we had to get a one member to play on bass. I approach Kirk and no problem to him. Then we practiced but it’s hard for me to sing while playing guitar. So we get another one Raymond but it doesn’t work out. So I practiced this song riffs while singing until I got it. Kirk also wanted to sing so I give him some part of some song. Three days to go for the battle but our problem is we don’t have instruments but Mark has friends we can borrow so no problem. Now we are thinking if what would be our band name. We thought of anything until we end with “stomachache” and we go to the organizer and paid for fees. We thought of stomachache because every after practice we felt hunger.
The battle, I was so excited and nervous. We don’t have gadget for the electric guitar effects. We borrowed in other bands and I don’t know how to use it but some friends teach me. We present for the first time and I can say it’s not that good but it’s okay for the first timer and one week practice, I think. We received not good feedback from our friends that made us to practice more. Every weekend we take 1 to 2 hours practicing. So much plan for the bands because there are many organized bars that we can play. And there’s an upcoming concert at the park that we can play.
One time in Mark’s place he’s sister along with her friend. She introduced me this girl named Lyca. Mark said she knows how to play bass, piano and some stuff in music instrument. Then we planned to get her in the band to be our bassist and Kirk will be in guitar so that I can focus on the vocals.
We practiced but Lyca is not that good for the bass. We planned that Lyca will be on vocals and me in guitars, backing vocals and Kirk on bass. Then we deal with it and no problem with Lyca. Lyca bought bass because it’s hard to borrow bass.
Mark told me that he bought piano. He learns easily. He showed me some piece and it was good. I tried myself then easily get it. For me, it’s easy to learn piano than guitar and if you’re good in guitar easy for you to adjust playing in piano. Lyca has piano also so every time we go into their house I practiced. Sometime I borrow it. Sometimes from Mark.
We performed in the concert at the park, bars and battle of the bands. I enjoyed jamming with them. Mark and I making our dreams since high school to perform in front of the people. I made couple of songs for the bands. Lyca bought drum set, guitars for the bands so that we don’t have problems borrowing from the other when we want to go practice. I spent almost one year with my band playing songs that we loved. And I wanted to be on vocals.
After colleges, I went to Cebu to focus on my studies. Mark and the band continue playing in some bars in our place. Me, after I leave our placed I never get the chance to play again. But I’m still writing songs. Every night I sleep what I always wanted to be is to be on stage singing my songs in front of the people. Every song I hear I imagine myself that I was the one who is singing that song in front of a crowd. Every time I watch concert movie I wanted to be on that, I want to be like that. Every time I saw a band movie, I wanted also them to know my story how music and me get along.