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James Wallace

I started playing guitar at 10 years of age when my grandfather gave me an old guitar. It was not playable as the strings were very high. I bought a Harmony guitar from a pawn shop for $5 and it wasn't really much better. I then bought a Nick Lucas guitar book that drove me insane. I could not figure out how anyone could stretch his hands that far. I learned chords and country songs from the kid down the street. My fingers would actually bleed at times and finally my parents thought they should buy me a playable guitar before I permanently injured myself. It was a thin bodied blond Guild with one pick up. I traded that in for a Guild X500 while in high school. I wish I still had that guitar. After high school I joined the US Army and was stationed in Germany. Upon my discharge I stayed in Europe for about 5 more years and traveled all over Europe with several bands. After returning to the US I joined the Judy Lynn Show in Las Vegas. We played all over the US, but most of the time in Las Vegas at the Flamingo or at Harrah's in Reno or Lake Tahoe. It was great fun. Tanya Tucker got her start with our band. I think at the time she was 15 years old. After getting married my wife thought I should end my life on the road. I worked for Federal Express for many years and retired in 1996. While with Fed Ex I still played weekends. I am completely self taught. My mom was a great piano player and she played a ton of great old standards. I had a good ear and was able to learn the songs and play with her. She always wanted me to learn correctly and study the guitar. I wish now that I had listened to her. I did get good enough to play 2 jazz concerts with Joe Beck while he was in Portland years ago. I was very sorry to hear of his passing. He was a great guy. One of my best friends is John Standefer. He is the 2003 USA Finger Style Champion. I have always played with my fingers and thumb. I don't like picks. I had people say I should use a pick. Tell that to Kevin Eubanks. Music has always been played a major role in my life and still does.

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