2018 marks the 20th anniversary of BluegrassGuitar.com, and this presents an opportunity to take stock and look back on where we started and what we've done. This is perhaps more important to me than to our visitors, but so much has changed since the site was launched that I think it bears some reflection.
The year was 1998, I was just finishing my 24th year with my employer when an opportunity to retire early appeared. I was 51 and this was the third early retirement program that the company had offered since I joined them. More significantly, it was the first early out that I was eligible for.
One of my friends had taken advantage of an early out eight years earlier when he was 50. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that stuck with me. This guy was a wedding photographer on the side, and the early retirement gave him the opportunity to turn this hobby into a full time job. The early retirement program I was offered (along with hundreds of other employees) was a sweet deal, and I knew that I wouldn't be happy if I stayed on, so I took the offer.
I had been programming computers since 1971, and one of the projects I was working on when I retired was an web-based information system, so one of my goals at retirement was to brush up on my technical skills and learn more about the Internet. There weren't very many music-related sites in those days, and no sites about the guitar's role in Bluegrass. I had been playing guitar since I was ten years old, and Folk and Bluegrass music were my main interests. So, I decided to create a site for Bluegrass guitar and use this as a learning tool for web programming.
In those days the Internet was in its infancy. We measured baud rates in kilobytes per second and dial-up web access was the rule. Broadband access was limited and expensive. Cell phones were just phones. Email and texting out of the office? You needed a Blackberry. Wi-Fi? Nope; it was all hard wired. Because of the technology limitations at that time, BluegrassGuitar.com started as a text-based resource. As time has passed and technology has improved, and there are many other options available today. There are also more business model options for sites offering help to visitors wanting to learn the guitar, and many of these rely on monthly subscriptions.
I have resisted chasing the latest craze on this site. The only exception is in the area of publishing tabs. We have tried to be at the leading edge of that process, first with the Scorch plug-in and most recently with Sibelius Cloud. If I were starting the website today, I would probably choose a different approach. That said, the information on the site is free, and a new approach might require us to change to a subscription basis. I don't want to do that, so the site will remain as is for now.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I'm delighted that you have come to BluegrassGuitar.com to learn more about the guitar's history, role and techniques used in Bluegrass music. Remember, you can help us keep this site operating by purchasing items we offer through Amazon, SheetMusicPlus and the Purple Platform.
Enjoy your musical journey!