Some of the lovely letters I get from people who are helped by the web site!
I get quite a few thank you emails, and I really appreciate knowing that the site is helping so many people from all corners of this spinning rock we inhabit :) Good vibes and all that. And sometimes people send in letters that are really touching, so some of those I am going to share here for you. Makes me feel good and shows you some of the people that you help with your donations. Although some of them help too by making donations themselves!
Many people ask me why I want to keep the web site free for those that can't afford to donate. These are some of the many reasons why!
From Gil - April 2009
I just wanted to really thank you for all the help you gave me and my friend.
Since I don't really have any money to send you a donation, I hope this little story will be enough.
About a year ago I saw a kid, who was about my age, playing on a guitar outside his house.
So we started talking and I asked him where he learned to play, and he sent me to your site.
So I bought a guitar, and me and that kid became good friends and we would go to each other a lot to practice together, learning mainly from your site.
We both even saved up enough money and got electric guitars (Fender strat Lonestar for me^^). We also found a drummer and a bassist, and put up a little band.
We even had a couple of gigs with me on rhythm guitar and singing, and him on lead guitar.
Well, you probably heard a lot of stories like this one.
But me and my friend playing together in a band is special in my eyes, especially because of the fact that I'm Jewish and he is Muslim.
And even with the recent war that took place lately, we are still best friends and keep jamming together and have our little "lesson meetings" with your site.
So, I just wanted to thank you very much for allowing this to happen.
from Kit - May 2009
It's been about 2 years since I've sent you an E-mail, and this is only the 2nd one I've ever sent, but I can assure you that isn't an indication of how much time I spend on your site...
Ill keep the E-mail quite short because I know you are an extremely busy person, but I just wanted to thank you again (as I did a couple years ago), whenever someone asks me how I became such a balanced and talented player so fast, I can't help but refer to you...
I know your obviously realize you help thousands, possibly millions of people learn guitar, but I wanted you to know as to what degree you are helping some people, your site (you) has literally taken me from a total beginner, from wondering how I should hold my pick, to a professional recording, traveling, touring musician, I have only been playing for two years, but with the lessons on your site, most people put me in the 5 year experience category.
I will keep this short as promised, I just wanted to send a sincere thanks, I have donated to your site several times, tho no amount of money I could send could pay for what I've gotten from your site, thank you so much, the world truly is a better place with you in it....
And of course I can't send this E-mail without letting you check out the fruits of YOUR labor, my band's myspace is www.myspace.com/dayminus7
Also, I know your very worldly and interested in political issues, and I'm sure you probably have watched this video, but if you haven't, you should definitely check out "The Obama Deception" just type that into Youtube, if you a fan of A Taxi to the Dark Side and the Zeitgeist movies I'm sure you will find some of this interesting/scary.
Thank you so much for everything Justin, and don't ever take for granted how much you are actually helping people, I wish you the best in all that you wish to pursue.
from K - April 2008
A huge thank you and abundant blessings, I first came across you on youtube to learn Silent Night, and so enjoyed, so recently went back to your site and was so surprised at what you have done with it, you are incredible, and what a generous wonderful person, you restore faith in humanity!
Living in California, USA, I am a 56 year old single woman who has been very ill and am currently disabled, just recently started playing the guitar again after 35 years dormancy. I have struggled and struggled on my own to get anywhere with it, as I can't afford any guitar lessons with my limited income right now. The guitar is helping to heal me with the good "vibes" it creates, and has brought me out of a severe depression the illness brought on, my health is improving with the brain stimulation and happiness and challenge the guitar gives me.
I have been able to put together a real practice plan, from information on your website, and using mostly your lessons and video, finally I am getting some progress! I wanted you to know what blessings you have sent out for someone like me, and how much you are appreciated as a wonderful human being so rare these days, in my part of the world anyway. I wish I could donate financially to you, at this time all I can do is send out prayers and beautiful "energy" your way,
just to let you know, you make a difference in people's lives!
from C.D - Jan 2010
I discovered your website by an absolute whim last summer while watching a television show. I was 18 at the time and had never previously picked up playing an instrument even though I had been told all throughout my life I had quite the natural aptitude for being a musician. I was in a deep depression at the time and helped self medicate by listening to records all day long. I spent many hours daydreaming what it would be like to be able to play a guitar and gain a deeper understanding for what music is. Then your absolutely wonderful website popped into my life and I changed. I went out that summer and bought myself my first guitar. I would spend everyday watching your videos and then practicing what I learned. It's been 8 months since and my playing has taken off. I'm in complete amazement with myself and what you have done for me. Now, I'm in college and my dream is to somehow transfer to the IMCP. Learning and instrument has helped me find myself and what I want to do in life during a period where I was so completely lost. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
from D.K - March 2009
I didn't have the opportunity to thank you properly when I sent in my donation. I'll try to keep this brief; although, I'm a writer, so being brief is asking a lot of myself. ;-)
I first tried to learn the guitar back when I was 9 years old. I really wanted to play, badly -- and I did -- badly. Actually, I just couldn't do it. I took lessons for many months, but my fingers were too chubby to play the chords. Also, I have Spina Bifida, which makes my hand coordination not so good. I finally just gave up, much to the disappointment of my parents, and myself.
Many years later (about 12 years ago) I tried to pick it up again, using an electric this time. I tried all the software and online programs I could find, but again I failed. I couldn't afford a real teacher, and wasn't sure that I wanted to humiliate myself in front of another frustrated teacher. The guitar went back into the bag and gathered dust.
Two years ago, then at age 41, a friend of mine mentioned that he was learning the guitar. We started meeting once a week to practice. Somewhere along the line, we found your web site. It was amazing! Since that day, it has helped both of us in countless ways. It has surely helped me the most. I love your YouTube videos that go through individual songs note by note. You do a wonderful job with them! The first song I ever learned was Wish You Were Here. My friend is a big Pink Floyd fan, so naturally, that's where we started.
Again, I cannot possibly tell you how much joy you've brought into my life with your lessons. I know that sounds a bit grandiose, but it's true. When you have a disability, it's kind of nice to even the scales a little bit with a unique "ability" that you can be proud. That's just a part of what playing guitar has done for me. I'm still not to the point where I want other people to hear me -- not sure if I ever will. But I do so enjoy just practicing and playing for the heck of it. I do hope that you are able to keep your site going. You're providing an invaluable (free) service to people all over the world.
I hope you'll forgive me for going on like this, but I've wanted to share my story (and appreciation) with you for a very long time. I hope to support you further as I'm able. It only seems fair. Thanks again, Justin!
from B.G - November 2008
I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks for what you're doing. I'm the proud father of a 5 year old boy who loves music. I decided to finally learn to play about 3 years ago, shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer. It originally gave me a chance to unwind after long days during his treatment.( he has been in remission for 2 years now) I have always loved all kinds of music and still can't figure out what made me wait so long to buy a guitar. anyway I messed around for a while trying to learn tabs a few chords here and there but nothing worth discussing. I recently discovered your site and was elated when you offered lessons for free. as his medical problems have left me a little light in the wallet. so here is my point my son will often listen to me play or attempt to play and is beginning to learn a little himself. you cant imagine the look on his face when he hears something familiar like sweet home alabama a song i couldn't get to sound right until seeing you do it in a video. what you have given me and my son is lasting memories and good fun and helping me to develop his interest in music.
The fact that you provide lessons for free for whatever reason is a wonderful gift you give to the world. that may sound a little cheesy however the world could use a few more people like yourself. I look forward to the day when I will donate to your site as i believe it to be a great cause. may be my son will be watching your lessons someday ( when he has a little better attention span) after 3 years of being a beginner lost in search for self help so to speak I feel like I won't be there for long and look forward enjoying more quality time spent with my son and the guitar. so to you I say thanks and hold your head a little higher today be proud because you put a smile on the face of a child who loves music.
from C.W - November 2008
I have found your lessons so very helpful. I have some issues that make it very hard to slow down my thoughts and focus on a single thing at a time. I am also very shy and find it hard to get out. I had a very nice Washburn acoustic given to me as gift about 19 yrs ago and I tried to learn on my own for about 6 months, got frustrated and put it in a closet until about 3 months ago. I found your site at a friends request because his system was down. I got curious and looked around.
Your method of teaching is so easy to follow that I dusted of the guitar, tuned it, and tried a few chords. Now I do Every rose all the way through. I know several scales by heart and even understand why they work. The before mentioned friend is in a band and is now giving me lessons. I even played Every Rose on stage and only missed my chord changes a couple of times! I told you this little story because playing has changed my life. I can focus on the music and not get any intruding or racing thoughts. This gives me relief and has made my life so much better. I just wanted to let you know that you played a big part, even if it coincidental, in changing someones life through music for the better.
If you took the time to read this I appreciate it very much. There is no need to respond as I can imagine you get pretty busy. Again, thank you very much.
from A.R - Feb 2008
just wanted to drop you a line and Thank You! for be a genuine "Human Being." I'm 51 and I live in Maryland, USA. I haven't played guitar since I lost my career and mind in 2001. I've recently pulled myself up by my boot straps as they say. I pulled out my guitars, dusted off the studio and have jumped head first into my first LOVE, Music. I found myself extremely rusty and broke, unable to take lessons. I found you on YouTube and well, your Awesome man. I love your lessons, sensibility and your great sense of humor.
Only wish I could hang out with you and send you money in support of your awesome website but, I just don't have it right now. With no job and a daughter in college , what I have must be used for my children at this time. I hope you understand. I promise you my friend, when/if I get back on my feet financially I will help support this site with whatever donations I can afford. I have put the word out though and will continue to praise your site. I know I could have used your site and no one would have ever known. But then I wouldn't be a genuine "Human Being." like yourself. My father always taught us to try to be a solution, not a problem. So, I felt compelled to write you. It's people like yourself that truly make this planet Earth worth living on.