Free guitar lessons

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, December 8, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
Free guitar lessons?
What's the catch?
That's probably the snap reaction of anyone anxious for a bargain whose trust has been exploited and cynicism levels heightened by scam artists trolling the Internet.
Carl Payne's offer starting Dec. 21 and continuing each third Wednesday at 5 p.m at Wood Fire Italian restaurant in downtown Dowagiac is not only legitimate, he's also providing a chance to win an acoustic guitar each time.
The Benton Harbor man's restrictions fit comfortably on an index card in type big enough to read: lessons are for beginners only; bring a guitar in playable condition (no broken strings, etc.); the winner chosen at 8 must be present to win; and you do not have to participate in guitar lessons to enter the guitar giveaway; just enter names between 5 and 7 p.m. Payne can be contacted by phone at 269/449-1167 or by e-mail at for more information.
Daily News readers might remember him from a March 2004 article when he spoke at The Museum at Southwestern Michigan College about making cherry, walnut and maple harps for customers scattered from Ohio to California and Canada.
Payne supported himself for seven years as a classical guitarist.
That evening, as the second of four spring lectures, he also demonstrated his dexterity by performing on harp and hammer dulcimer.
He played in a group, Willow, whose members met at SMC during the 2003 Dogwood Fine Arts Festival.
Willow opened June 19, 2004, at the Box Factory in St. Joseph for Sue Richards, who also performed at Goshen College and gave harp workshops.
Payne learned to make mountain dulcimers with a kit and scraps of wood from his shop floor, so he not only makes music, he makes musical instruments.
In his current incarnation, entertaining at the Wood Fire from 6:30 to 9:30 every third Wednesday, he's sort of a one-man band, with guitar, harp, mountain dulcimer, bass guitar and djembe, an African drum.
Host Larry Seurynck “has had some good entertainment,” Payne said. “It's been an honor to play there. It's been a lot of fun for me. It's just a nice place, the perfect gig.”
Given his background, are the giveaway guitars instruments he made himself?
This arrangement will continue “at least through the winter, maybe longer,” Payne said, “until I see how it works out. I play there anyway and will be performing there that night (Dec. 21). I'm just going to get there early. I don't expect a huge amount of people to show, although they could. If we had 30 show up that would be unbelievable. I teach, but never to the public like this. I see this benefiting (other) instructors. If I get a really good turnout and these people are ready to start learning and progressing, I want some students, but I can't handle 30.
Payne said an aunt started his musical journey with basic guitar lessons.