Guitarists of Singapore (GOS) - Cheow Jing Xuan




How did you get acquainted with guitar playing?


I first fell in love with the sound of the guitar about 4 years ago when I heard it played at a musical production in school which I was involved in. However, despite having borrowed a friend's old guitar and taking random stabs in the dark at trying to play and sing with a guitar, I was always too flighty to persevere for more than a few days before parking it aside again. Being a singer and keyboardist, I also wanted to focus on brushing up my vocal and keyboard skills before properly picking up the guitar.


It was last year during one of my lowest points when I was filled with a fervour to pick up guitar for real. I excitedly asked a few friends experienced with playing the guitar to help me pick out my ideal guitar. Having a guitar of my own was a huge motivating factor to practise. I started to practise every day; groping around in the dark at first (the learning curve was steep!) but then gradually getting more comfortable with the instrument.


It became my greatest repose for some time, and got me through some really tough times; music was always my medicine. Having gigs also allowed me the opportunity to further hone my skills, and I am thankful for patient and tolerant bandmates who never had complaints about my amateur skills, but were instead extremely encouraging and never failed to spur me on!



I also engaged a guitar teacher for a few months. My teacher Marcus was extremely humble despite being a self-taught guitar virtuoso, and was extremely patient with me. He really inspired me to keep improving. I was also blessed with guitarist friends around me who were nothing short of generous with their tips and who never looked down on me despite my being a rookie!


Describe your first experience playing on a guitar.


My first experience playing the guitar felt ergonomically awkward.


Oddly enough, despite being a pipa (the Chinese lute, also a plucked-string instrument) player, I felt quite uncomfortable with the guitar in my hands, as the fret height, angle of playing, number of strings, proximity of strings and plucking and strumming methods were very different from the pipa!


It took me a long time to adjust to the instrument. But after getting used to the guitar, it became a joy to hold it in my hands.


What is the best thing about being a guitarist?


The best thing about being a guitarist is probably the fact that the instrument is so portable!


Transporting a keyboard around has always been a huge hassle to me, especially since I don't drive. Worse still, the keyboards that are the most "shiok" to play on are never portable!


First guitar: M.Tyler, MTT-OM500 CE, 2015



First song you learned to play on guitar: Cry by Mandy Moore


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