Josh Nielsen

just a simple kind of man


Music is my passion. Music is life.

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.

-William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, 1697

Since I started playing guitar when I was a teenager, I have written some of my own original music. Below are some of my songs I have recorded.

The Backbeat

So here’s a little of the back story of my music experience.

I first picked up a guitar when I was 15 years old, back in 1998. I didn’t know how to play it, but I loved it and wanted to learn how to play it.

Having developed a little bit of a musical background from playing the trumpet for three years in junior high school, I wanted to further my knowledge and skills as a musician, so I decided to learn how to play guitar.

I didn’t have a job at the time, and my family was poor, so I couldn’t find a way to pay for guitar lessons. But that was no problem because I had a strong desire to play, so I taught myself how to play.

Back then, YouTube and other video websites didn’t exist, so there was no way to learn how to play songs by watching “How To Play…” videos, and there were no computer programs or phone apps (smartphones didn’t even exist back then, and hardly anybody even had a “clamshell” or flip phone) to learn how to play guitar. But there were a few websites that had text files of guitar tablature.

I wanted to learn how to play some Metallica and Nirvana songs, so I would listen to cassettes and CDs – that’s right, way before MP3 files, before Spotify, Pandora, and other music streaming services were even  an idea, I had music on cassettes and CDs. So I would listen to them, rewinding and replaying them several times, to learn by ear how to play the songs, along with the help of the guitar tablature text files that I would download from the internet.

Before learning how to play guitar, I learned basic music theory and learned how to play the trumpet by taking a band class for three years in junior high school, and I took band for one year in high school. After my sophomore year however, I lost interest in the trumpet and playing with the school band, so I traded in my trumpet to a local music shop for a bigger guitar amplifier, because up until that point I had just been using a small practice amp.

Even though I lost interest in band class, I never lost interest in music. I took an AP Music Theory class during my senior year of high school and I learned quite a bit more music theory.

One of the other students in the class became friends with me, and we started hanging out and playing guitar together. We decided to start a band together when I had come up with tunes for a few songs, and he wrote some lyrics for my guitar music. We found a bass player and a drummer and we began practicing in the basement of a Baptist church.

Soon after forming a band, we started playing some local shows. We did a couple “battle of the bands” at a local skating rink, we played at a teen/young-adult dance club, we played outside of a music store, and we played at a football field at the drummer’s high school.

After about 6 months of playing together, certain band members became too busy and we stopped practicing together as a band.

I didn’t lose interest in guitar and I definitely didn’t give up on my love of music, so I continued playing and writing my own songs.

Before I moved out of my mom’s house, I didn’t have many financial responsibilities and I had quite a bit of free time, so I purchased some music recording equipment and I recorded several songs that I wrote. I also bought a bass guitar and learned how to play it as a secondary instrument.

Since growing up, becoming a father, getting a full-time job, and investing more quality time in my marriage, I don’t have much time to record or write new songs these days. But I still write down and record guitar riffs whenever I have cool new ideas for songs, and I still enjoy playing whenever I get a chance. I also recently bought a ukelele and have learned how to play it a little bit.

I have recorded some video clips of myself playing guitar, bass, and ukelele just for fun. They are on the “Jammin Josh” playlist on my YouTube channel.