I used to be in a rock n roll band. It was so long ago now, almost twenty-five years since our last live show. At the time it was a lot of fun, writing songs, getting up on stage and playing them. Our band name was Station To Station, my suggestion, though we weren’t a David Bowie cover band, which was a reasonable assumption. The first night we played Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, Chris Murphy from Sloan was in the crowd and asked us that very question.
Playing in that band was rewarding, we had some cool gigs and shared stages with some great bands, but it didn’t last, and very nearly cost me my best friend in the process. It did cost me the closeness of another. In the years since, I’ve only occasionally picked up a guitar (or bass, my usual instrument), but I often have real moments of longing of performing again. I was “ok” at it in my 20s, and I think I could be better at it in my 40s.
My kid, Anya, seems to get a kick out of learning music. We have an electric keyboard she messes around with; I can hear her figuring out the notes to the theme songs from The Owl House and Gravity Falls, and lately she’s expressed interest in guitars, which I can’t help but encourage. Where to start though is so much different from when I was young and strumming away on an oversized Yamaha acoustic my dad bought me.
Around the holidays we had the chance to experiment with two guitars from Loog, a company that specializes in making instruments designed for younger player. We were sent their Loog Pro Acoustic, designed for kids 8+ along with a Loog Pro VI Acoustic for players 12+. For me, picking up the later has been a real joy. The Loog Pro VI Acoustic is far from a toy; while it’s smaller than a standard body acoustic, it feels and plays like a proper one. It’s so light and easy to move around with, I was genuinely surprised just how much I liked playing it. I found myself comfortably laying on my bed with the Loog Pro VI Acoustic, which I would never do with another guitar.
The Loog Pro Acoustic is a different animal entirely, as it comes with just three-strings and is designed to make it easy for a young player to pick up and play a guitar at its most basic. The Loog Pro Acoustic is super-light, and for us older players isn’t entirely intuitive. However, like the rest of the Loog guitar, there’s an app and flashcards that are designed to help newcomers to the instrument get their bearings, learn a few quick chords, and get them playing some simple songs in no time.
Once I got adjusted to the layout for testing purposes, I soon found that Loog Pro Acoustic was indeed a solid way to introduce an aspiring player to the world of guitars. Some may look at the instrument as something akin to a ukulele, but it’s really not. You won’t catch yourself learning Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” or The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” quickly on a ukulele, but with the combination of the Loog Pro Acoustic and its app, anyone will be playing these songs in no time.
In discussing Loog’s with some friends before the guitars arrived, there was a common ask if these were actual instruments or just toys designed to be sort of played. Having spent time with the Loog Pro VI and the Loog Pro Acoustic, I can tell you that both are legitimate. While the Pro Acoustic is certainly more of a beginner, teaching instrument, I’d feel absolutely comfortable walking into an Open Mic night with a Loog Pro VI Acoustic and singing a few songs (if I had a few songs to sing; those will come, I think).
If anything, both these instruments reminded me of how much I enjoy playing the guitar. If you’re looking to introduce an aspiring musician to the joys of an E chord, depending on their age, I think either Loog I’ve talked about are excellent entry points into the world of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.
You can learn more about Loog guitars here.