What would be a good choice for a first guitar if I’ve never played before, classical or acoustic?

By Alan Chenkin, Still has guitars and plays when it suits him.
A first guitar, like a first car, does not have to be new. Most first guitars were “beaters” that got a lot of use and had many hands on them. You may do things to your first guitar that put a lot of stress on it, and you may not want to do that to an expensive Axe.
My first place to look would be Craigslist, to find a nice axe between $100 – $500. preferably with a case and a stand, if it has one. Look for a name brand, and bring a friend who knows guitars with you, to check it out. Consider getting a Jumbo acoustic (it’s bigger) or an acoustic – electric. Name brands are not always best, and brand-new guitars that are very cheap may not be good starters. Also get to a music store, or Amazon, and get a guitar tuner. It will save you hours of tuning attempts and broken strings.


If you have a solid-body electric guitar, this tuner would be best: Korg GA1 Guitar and Bass Tuner
This is a good beginner package:
The Seagull carries a higher price tag, but is considered a good starter guitar:
Note these are both acoustic electric guitars, and can be played with or without an amp.
My first guitar was a Fender Stratocaster knock-off, nicknamed the “Joe Baatz” guitar, after it’s first owner.
It looked something like this:
It had a hard case and mirror finish, except where it was worn off from playing. Eric Clapton has a Black Fender Stratocaster named “Blackie”.  Bruce Springsteen has a Fender Esquire/Telecaster (modified) guitar that he still performs with.  Actor Jeff Bridges has a collection of 50 + guitars.  BB King, the late Blues Legend, had a Gibson ES335 named “Lucille”.  When you play, your guitar is your musical partner and takes on an almost mystical persona.
Practice every day, jam when you can, and keep 10 -30 songs (sheet music or tabs, including Happy birthday and some Christmas songs) with you, to play popular recognizable music for your friends.

If you are unsure about learning to play the guitar in a short period of time, please read my Quora answer on the topic: “What is an effective way to learn guitar quickly?”

Break a leg, and carry a spare set of strings!
Thanks for reading my blog – feel free to share!
Edited from my answer in Quora.


Should Tesla build a Supercar?

OK, we need to lighten the load on Elon Musk; the Tesla is already (In my humble opinion) a Supercar. Before he got into the business, most electric cars were based on Golf Carts. Does he need to build a car in permanent insanity/super-ludicrous mode?
I, for one, would love to see it – BUT – It would be even more exciting if some sharp race car drivers (see Why Bill Nye thinks NASCAR should go electric) start putting really hot Tesla-based supercars on the track.
Just in case you are not sure the Tesla is in supercar territory, read 10 Supercars the Tesla P100D Could Embarrass at the Track from Cheatsheet.
Even a few well funded car enthusiasts could start taking a basic Tesla frame and start pumping out high-performance cars with features, software, and more that can give the Maybachs and their ilk a serious electric competitor. Or maybe one of the supercar companies can put their ego’s on pause and use a Tesla as their chassis. Now that would be hot, and Tesla would most likely embrace a partner making the foray into really high end cars.
Here is an article from Business Insider: Why Tesla’s newest release isn’t really a hypercar – and they call out Tesla to build a “Proper” supercar.
Let me call it what it is – These talking heads and critics are armchair wimps that don’t have the proper vision to build the supercar they are asking for. They want Elon Musk and the Tesla team to do all the heavy lifting, so they can compare it to Bugattis and Maseratis.
So there is my opinion – If I had some serious petty cash laying around, I would be funding the Tesla/Chenkin supercar , and laugh all the way to the bank as the competitors and talking heads rant about how it can’t be done, watching my tail-lights fade as I calmly leave them in the dust.

[1] If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world – Bill Nye | Aeon Ideas

Disclosure:  I own some Tesla Stock.
Originally published on Quora: https://www.quora.com/How-likely-is-it-for-Tesla-to-expand-into-the-supercars-market/answer/Alan-Chenkin

Update:  Tesla is no building a world class “Supercar” – the Tesla Roadster!

Here is the version I can comfortably afford:

Hot Wheels HW Space / Tesla Roadster with Starman
Hot Wheels HW Space / Tesla Roadster with Starman, available from Amazon Toys!

(Note: SpaceX blasted a roadster into outer space on one the maiden voyage of the Falcon Heavy Rocket.  STARMAN <not a real human being> is the pilot).  For the current celestial location of STARMAN, click on

Where is Starman? Track Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster in Space!

A word on Disc Brakes

About a year ago I had some issues with my front brakes.  They were not doing an adequate job stopping my car, causing me to compensate by leaving a longer  following distance – and driving very defensively.  After an inspection by my mechanic, he determined that a brake job might be a good idea, even though it seemed the brakes were not that worn.  (For my mechanic friends, the calipers were not “frozen” or sticking).

After some research on the internet, I realized that the factory brakes were the lowest acceptable stopping power for my vehicle, and that I had alternatives instead of just putting new Original Equipment Manufaturers (OEM) brakes in the car.

Auto Mechanic - Brake Systems (Mechanics and Hydraulics)

Auto Mechanic – Brake Systems (Mechanics and Hydraulics) – Amazon

Racing technology has given us Drilled and slotted rotors, and ceramic brake pads.  This is superior stopping power!  Ceramic pads don’t give off black dust and last longer than regular brake pads.  Drilled and slotted rotors dissipate heat faster than inexpensive steel rotors, so there is no “fade” or reduction in stopping power.

If you carry precious cargo, like children and pets, consider High Performance Braking sets of ceramic disks and rotors for your car.  I used Power Stop: High performance Brakes.  Make sure you get the right set for your make and model vehicle!

Even if you just want better stopping, and your rotors are still in good shape, consider Performance Ceramic Brake pads.

Drive Safe and Make sure you can stop on a dime!

Update:  Now with 95,000 miles, I just installed a Powerstop disc brake and rotor set for all 4 wheels on my minivan.  Stops on a dime!

The Authors 2004 Nissan Quest, With Powerstop brakes.
Thanks for Reading my Blog on brakes.  May all your stops be straight and powerful! Disclaimer – I am a big fan of Powerstop brakes, and stopping (in general)!

Days are getting shorter – Keep the darkness at bay!

Now that we are losing about a minute of daylight every day (until December 21st, the shortest day of the year), it is important to check our flashlights and stock up on spare batteries!  Think of where you keep a flashlight – In the car (heat kills batteries), in a drawer in the kitchen, and in a hall closet.  
Take a moment to check the light – Does it have a strong, bright beam?  Check the batteries for leakage, and make sure you have spares handy.
Now if you don’t have a flashlight, it is time to consider buying one (or several).  Here is a list of basic lights on Amazon:
My preference are the rechargeable ones, so fewer dead batteries end up in landfills:  Rechargable LED Flashlights 
My favorite Light is the MAGLITE Flashlight, kind of heavy and “old school”, but usually reliable, bright, and sturdy enough to club somebody if you needed to defend yourself. 
If you buy a Maglite, consider NOT using standard D cell batteries; They can leak and jam in the flashlight, making an expensive light very useless and difficult to fix.  Consider using Rechargable Batteries , or  Lithium Batteries. Lithium batteries are lighter and longer lasting than the standard alkaline batteries, and they do not expand or leak – so your batteries will never make your flashlight unusable!
If you need a flashlight for work, I like the Tactical Ballistic Flashlights:
These are lightweight, powerful, and come in many different configurations and styles.  Flashlights make great gifts for the holidays (hint) and will brighten the day of anyone who gets a new light as a gift!
Hoping you see the light,
                    Spare Batteries

Where are the Hero CEO’s?

(Updated September 2020)

Every day, as I scan the newspapers and Internet services, there are new “fallen heroes” peppering the landscape with their behavior that I would have not tolerated in my own children.
Baseball players using enhancing drugs and lying about it. CEO’s making unjust profits as their publicly-held companies falter, Financial advisers padding their incomes at the expense of their trusting clients.  Not to forget a president who lies and his minions manipulate facts to make his false narrative real.

Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric, Available from Amazon Books.

What makes this horrible is that it affects an audience much greater than the misdeed, and something needs to be done.
The next generation is inheriting a mess, and their empirical view may be that grasping for prosperity and the gold ring will only benefit someone who is willing and capable to steal their earnings, their future, and their dreams for personal gain.

How They Blew It: The CEOs and Entrepreneurs Behind Some of the World’s Most Catastrophic Business Failures, Available from Amazon Books

In a publicly held company, the first duty of the management is to the shareholders – to reward their investment and confidence with increased value; raising the stock price, increasing market share and profitability, doing good works that benefit the reputation and status of the company.
Today we see top executives receiving compensation that is greater than the GDP of a third world nation. Executives paid handsomely to leave companies, and a sleight of hand with compensation that masks the true compensation with future stock warrants and “$1” annual paychecks.

The CEO Pay Machine: How it Trashes America and How to Stop it – from Amazon Books

Carl Icahn said that is is cheap to pay $26 million to a CEO who is destroying $1 billion of market share as an incentive to LEAVE the company. I agree, however it feels like a form of blackmail – none of my bosses would have paid me to vacate my desk for poor performance. He also said that he could get top talent to run a company for far less than the fantastic pay packages granted by the compensation committees.
So here are a few ideas; when you look at the role of the CEO as a leader, look at the big picture. Are the paychecks deferred (like a stock option, where the stock is bought at today’s price and the purchase is actually made in the future, AFTER the “recovery”?) making their $1 paycheck a good gamble? And is it tempered with a hefty severance package, ensuring that failure WILL be rewarded?

Too Greedy for Adam Smith: CEO Pay and the Demise of Capitalism – available on Amazon

Keep in mind that I am only talking about compensation. To be a Hero CEO, you have to be a leader. LEADING a company that is doing what is necessary to stay competitive in the present, and show value to the SHAREHOLDERS (remember us?) in the future. Keeping their pay in line with the company’s stature and growth, while minimizing the impact of the economy on their employees, those in the trenches toiling for the companies profits.

Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer – From Amazon Books

Feel free to send me any nominees for Hero CEO’s. but remember, they have to be more than a an illusion or a self-aggrandizing scammer. Our children, and the world, have to see America as the land of opportunity, not the home of corporate greed and avarice towards ones workers and fellow men.

Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity – From Amazon Books
The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Cultures and Create Winning Organizations – From Amazon Books