WANT TO GO?
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
At Charlie West Blues Fest
WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park
WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-349-1439 or www.charliewestbluesfest.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For Kenny Wayne Shepherd, having the one special guitar just wasn't enough. He had an identical copy made. Shepherd remembers his first guitars were little plastic toys with nylon strings. His grandmother got them for him when he was 3 or 4. Shepherd said they weren't much good for anything except figuring out a few notes.
The 34-year-old's first real guitar came as a Christmas present from his parents when he was about 7 years old.
"It was a really cheap guitar," he said. "It was a hundred dollar Yamaha wannabe Stratocaster with only one pick up and a volume knob. It was nothing special."
Shepherd, who headlines Saturday night at the Charlie West Blues Fest, said he couldn't blame them. He's a dad now, too.
"Most parents aren't going to go out and spend a bunch of money on an instrument not knowing how serious their kid is about playing."
Cheap special or not, that Yamaha was his main guitar for a few years, until everybody saw that the then teenage guitarist had a bright future ahead of him playing the blues.
"I kept that guitar until my parents realized it wasn't just a phase I was going through," he said.
He got a better guitar, but having a better guitar doesn't mean having the right guitar. Shepherd said a lot of guitarists turn finding the perfect guitar, that guitar that fits them like a glove, into almost a mythic quest. He was no different.
Shepherd said found his mythic guitar when he was about 17. At the time, he was in Los Angeles playing showcases for music industry people and trying to catch a break.