"My story is one that has many twists and turns. I am 27 year old Father, Husband, and Soldier. Family is first and foremost in my life. I have been married for 8 years
and have a 4 year old son. Without my family, I wouldn't survive one day in this world. I have been in the Army for 7 years now and I wouldn't trade my experiences for
anything. I think they have made me who I am. Though, some memories I would just like to forget.
I am currently in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Sam Houston, TX. The transition is a place for soldiers who have been wounded in combat or other duty to heal.
It is a blessing that we have these. It was a long road getting here though. I volunteered for Iraq against my entire families wishes. I felt it was something I had
to do. Everyone takes their freedom for granted. I wanted to earn mine and my family's. It's something I can't explain, but every soldier will tell you the same. I
felt compelled to fight. I left for Iraq in March. My mission was to provide security to convoys from southern Iraq, through Baghdad, to northern Iraq. We were on
the road nonstop. It was a dangerous, but rewarding mission.
We were working to prepare for the next mission when we were hit. Our base was rocketed. I wasn't hit directly, but fell and hurt my back. I was lucky, everyone was.
I thought nothing of it until my back pain became too much. I went to the doctor on base and was transported back to Kuwait for test. There I underwent multiple tests
on my back and anything else they could put me in front of and x-ray machines. I was then flown to Landstuhl, Germany. There I was informed that I had and unusual lump
in my neck. A biopsy was performed and I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.
I couldn't believe it, cancer at 27. I was devastated. I have a beautiful wife and wild son. I didn't know what to expect or believe. I was terrified. Within no time I
was having surgery. Soon after, I underwent radiation treatment. I am currently in remission and doing well. After my surgery, I had nothing to do but sit around and
worry. That's when I saw one of Aaron's videos on youtube. He was very encouraging. Once I started playing I couldn't stop. My wife would get so aggravated at me because
I wouldn't put down the guitar. Somehow, when I'm playing or even listening to music I forget about the pain. I don't worry anymore, I just play.
Music has become my coping mechanism through all of this. I have learned at least 30 to 40 songs now. I'm addicted to the feeling I get from learning a new song. It
doesn't seem like much, but it's a big accomplishment. Music gives me something to look forward to each day I'm here. No, matter what the doctors say or the outcome of
my tests are, I can come back to music. It's great to have a stress reliever that's so easily accessible. I don't think I'll ever stop playing, and hopefully my son
wants to learn.
I want to thank Aaron for taking the time to help others. He may not realize, but he is helping. He has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. Music
will always be with me. It has helped me and maybe it will help you. No matter what or why you play, play because you love it. Thanks again Aaron for showing me the way."
SGT Phillip Hall
If you are interested in sharing how the videos have helped you then send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post those testimonals on this page. Make
sure to include your name, location, and age if you don't mind. Take care and I am looking forward to hearing from all of you.
Recieved March 21, 2009
I just wanted to say thank you for the reply. I also wanted
to thank you for your site. A little about myself: I work for the United
States Border Patrol down in San Diego along the Tijuana, Mexico border. I
moved here from Michigan to serve my country and it has been rough to say
the least. On top of being away from my family and friends, my job is very
stressful. In July, I lost a friend and co-worker who was also a Border Patrol Agent. He was protecting our border near Campo, CA when he was
executed by an illegal alien trying to cross illegally into our great
After this happened it seemed like my whole life was turned upside
down. I needed something to do during my time off to help me relax and try
to feel normal again, so I started playing the guitar. I had no idea of
how to start until I saw your page. Lessons just weren't an option for me
because I work at night and sleep during the day. So because of your site
I am learning to play. Playing the guitar gives me something to look
forward to everyday. In the law enforcement profession it is too easy to
turn to alcoholism or other means to try and "forget" your day. Well
guitar is my drink of choice. So thank you again. You've helped me more
than you could ever know. If there is ever anything I can do for you,
please do not hesitate to let me know. Rock on, brother.
Recieved January 25, 2010
My name is Ryan C. and I wanted to write and thank you. I am from Carmel, Indiana. I did a 6yr stint for the Navy during which I just partied too much and my drinking got out of control. I lost my fiance and the home I built for her because I could not afford it without her income as well. She just up and left me because she couldn't handle the stress of living on our own and going to school.
I really didn't know where to go. I was homeless basically and had to move back into my mom's basement, which was a huge ego blow because I had everything together and then it was ripped out from under me. I had never learned to deal with emotions and coping skills because of my background in the service. I turned to drinking to mask the pain.
I had owned a guitar since I was 6 and my uncle and father played in a band for a long time. I come from a very musically literate background. For some reason I just never really picked up the guitar and all the music i listened too, which was country, threw me back into the pits with my ex. It was hard on me, so I kept drinking. I then realized it was no way to live my life and I needed to move on, but all my hobbies and buddies were all drinking related. Then I picked up my Ibanez and started back playing. I found it to be a great relief, but I only knew scales really and how to just pluck around in half steps and chromatics. What I really wanted to do was learn to play guitar WELL. I stumbled upon some of your videos and i found my new addiction.
You have helped me in more ways than one. You helped me find my replacement for alcohol. I have been 7 months sober and jamming away. In a way, you saved my life by keeping me sober and relighting the fire I had always had burning inside of me towards the guitar. I'd never have stuck with it as long as I have if it were not for you and your lessons teaching me to play songs and have something to be proud of instead of just going off on tangents and "riffing away".
For me, you're almost like an intervention from God. Helping me to develop a healthy activity to deal with the struggles of life which would usually make me turn to the bottle. For that I can not thank you enough.
Recieved January 15, 2010
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I appreciate all
of the lessons you've posted online. I have tried learning how to play
an acoustic and an electric guitar on my own, and failed miserably.
Shortly after I arrived in Iraq, I found a flyer for a guitar for sale.
I started thinking about it and realized that this might be my best
chance to learn to play and kill time while I'm at it. I started
searching the internet and ran across your website. I have visited your
site multiple times a day for every day for the past month. Your
beginner videos have given me a great baseline to work with and I've
quickly advanced to the "Intermediate" songs. You have helped me cope
with the stresses of the alternate life style in Iraq, along with the
countless hours of home-sickness. I wanted to extend my appreciation
from Iraq. Keep doing what you're doing, and I know you will help
countless others. Thank you!!!
Michael L.R. Murphy, SrA, USAF
October 30, 2009
My name is Jeremy Dorsett. I am 22 years young and im from Star, NC. I am currently deployed to Iraq for the second time and I have also been to Korea. I joined the army at age 18. Two motnhs into this tour I lost my father. It was very hard for me since he was the toughest man I had ever met and he was my get away. No matter how rough it got for me anywhere I was, he could always level me out. He was my hero and when I lost him I was having a hard time. Especially being over here with the various stresses, rockets, mortars so on and so on. I have always wanted to play the guitar so I bought one and had it shipped here. I have been playing for about a month and some change now and I was really struggling until I started watching your videos. No matter how terrible I was doing it always made me feel better and everything just kinda drifted away in the music. I didn't realize how magical music was til I picked up that guitar. Anyways enough about me, I just wanted to thank you for what you have done thus far keep the hits coming, and to SGT Hall, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, God bless.
October 4, 2009
I am 14 now and have gone through a tough time in my life. Last year on my 13th birthday my best friend that I`ve known since I was only 6 months old and has always taken care of me died in a car wreck on his way home half a mile from our house and his parents house. I started playing the guitar one day because I had heard the song Simple Man and it reminded me of my friend because he was always simple and always told me to be simple. I started learning the song and it was the first time I really learned anything on the guitar but I kept playing it and within a few days, I can play it well now. I couldn't play it at first but then I found your video on YouTube and it helped me understand it completely. I've now watched a couple of your videos and then I found your website, you have really helped me a lot and I plan on sticking with the guitar and trying to get better. You really help beginners and even people who have played awhile and your kind and reply to every comment you get and try to encourage everyone. You really are an inspiration to me just like my friend was. Thanks for all the help and videos.
In The Loving Memory of Tyler Thompson
Chase Frazier - Paris, Texas
October 4, 2009
I have been trying to play guitar for several years now but have not mastered more than a few chord progressions and very badly played simple songs. I had six lessons a few years ago which were rubbish as there were a group of us.
So the norm..... Like a song on the radio, look up tabs and do one of two things......
Decide that I cannot play the song because it has barred chords ...or....
Watch a Youtube video with someone trying to teach the song.
Well I have never been able to play any songs until today. Your videos are truly amazing and sooooooo helpful. They also sound just like they should which is more than can be said for some videos. You also have a massive collection of songs for me to try!!!
So in three hours of finding your site I can now sort of play....Knocking on Heavens Doors... and Realize.... These are two songs that I have tried to play various times and given up on.
Once again many thanks for taking the time to do this.....
October 3, 2009
I'm Dale S. I first picked up a guitar about two years ago. My inspiration was my brother who played a little. Three years before I picked up my first guitar, he passed away. He was always a big help to me growing up and I wanted a way to remember him. I had little success over the last two years with the guitar because of my limited sight. It was close to impossible for me to read tabs or music at all. I had all but given up on the guitar, letting it sit and gather dust. Then someone told me about your lessons and site. I listened to a few videos and the way you explain everything it allows me to pick up on playing without having to read the tabs. At the start of this year, I moved to Amarillo to try my hand at living on my own and I have started lessons at Amarillo College. Your videos are helping keep me motivated through the monotony of learning the basics. My eye sight will slowly get worse through the years and will someday I will be completely blind. Through further study of your videos I am confident I can become a great musician some day. Thank you for all your help.
Received May 6th, 2009
I found gally042 (Aaron) on youtube.com. I've found his videos are the best. He thinks about what you would be thinking as you watch and learn each note and chord. I have been playing since I was fourteen (44 now) and I have always had a guitar in my home but had only learned the basic 3 chord jams. I have four kids (3 boys and 1 girl).
My oldest son is now fourteen and I took him to see the 2009 Nickelback tour with Saving Able and Seether here in Jacksonville. Wow what a show, we loved the music and began picking the guitar so to learn some of the songs. My son watched gally042 and within a week of watching and leaning from his videos he now plays the song Photograph and many other song perfectly. Aaron Gallagher, you have got my whole family wanting to learn guitar, and my wife says you're cute. You now have me shopping for guitar equipment for this Christmas. It is so cool to have my son play along with me on the guitar. I cannot believe how good he plays. I never had youtube as a teacher, but if I did I'd probably would have stayed in my garage band and played guitar as my career. Aaron, I thank you so very much for taking the time out of your life to do what you do. I've never meet you, but I will always remember who taught my kids how to play guitar. Please keep up the great videos. My garage now ROCKS!
Update: I was very excited to tell the kids that a gally042! sent us a response from their favorite Youtube guitarist. We subscribe to your channel on YouTube and on my Apple TV in our living room, with a 42' inch Plasma you are always on. It is so funny that every time I come home from work the kids are learning and watching your videos. They even skipped watching American Idol (LOL), just to finish the lesson and to get it right. I've told many of friends about how easy it was to get my kids playing the guitar that they are getting their kids into doing it. It is just an awesome thing to do with the whole family.
David T. – Jacksonville, FL
Recieved February 13th, 2009
My father has always tried to get me to pick up a guitar and play with him. When I was little I had a miniature Martin that I banged away on as my father played on-stage in Nashville or at local gatherings. We even sang George Straight's "Heartland" song as a duet like in the opening credits of the movie Pure Country. Needless to say that was a big hit in Nashville.
Two years ago my father nearly died. He made several trips to the emergency room, but kept getting worse. He couldn't breathe and his entire body seemed to be failing him. Upon a lucky referral my dad got the help he needed and was diagnosed with a severe case of emphysema coupled with black lung. It had been a mismatch of medicines that truly almost killed him, and the aftermath has left him a shell of himself. His love of playing and singing remains, but his ability is gone.
This Christmas season my uncle passed away unexpectedly. As one of my father's last living siblings, they had been close. After the burial, my remaining uncle approached me and asked me to follow him to his truck. From behind the seat, he pulled a guitar. He explained to me that my late uncle had left the instrument to me under one condition; that I make my father teach me to play and get him singing again. You see, he believed it would help strengthen his lungs and help him all around grow healthier.
I gladly accepted my uncle's dying wish, and began the following day with lessons from my father. All was going well and my dad, unable to resist, had even sang a few songs in showing me chords progressions and strumming patterns. I cannot describe to you how my father lights up when he holds a guitar and how obvious it is that he misses the stage. Those nights, in the kitchen with me, he is back there for a moment.
However, the lessons were short lived for I had to return to school, nearly three hours away. Of course I brought my guitar to practice and my father attempts to teach me over the phone, but it is too hard to continue. So in searching for a way to keep playing I discovered your site. You enable me to keep working on new material and I can tell I am rapidly getting better.
So thank you, Aaron. It means more to me than you can imagine that I get good at guitar fast, and your lessons are more than helpful.
Received February 9th, 2009
Dear Aaron G,
Hi, my name is Carl S from Fairfax VA. I am just about to turn 16 in March. Six years ago (March of 03), I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and then relapsed on New Years Eve 2004. I have been cancer free since June of 07. During those four years (2003-2007), I remember a guy with a guitar coming to the hospital and playing for all the kids. He could not play that well but we all had a smile on our faces because the guitar was the epitome of being cool.
Ever since then I've wanted to learn how to play guitar and with your lessons my dream has become a reality. Now I'm trying to get the hospital to let me be that "cool" guy who puts a smile on everyone's face just because he has a guitar. Hopefully I can play better then then the last one did lol. Also, I am going to try out to play for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's major fund raising event in my area. Lastly, I would just like to thank you and may God bless you. You truly are a great man who everyone I believe should strive to be like.
All the Best,
Recieved January 22nd, 2009
My name is Gemma and I am from North Wales in the UK. I have been on your website as I am interested in learning to play the guitar. I was looking around and found the "testimonials" page. I was moved by Sergeant Phillip Halls story, not only did he go through the traumatic experience of war but also the trauma of such a formidable disease. He certainly is a true hero and inspiration for his nation and for his family.
I myself can sympathize with him as I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March 2007. I was 23. We all just muddle through life not realizing how fragile our lives are. You hear of people getting cancer all the time but you never think it is going to be you. You truly realize the meanings of such sayings as "life is too short" "live life to the fullest. You learn how amazing your family and friends are and even strangers who wish you good will. It means a lot when you are fighting so hard. It is the little things that may seem insignificant to others that get you through the worst times of your life. It must be amazing to know that your website is helping people through adversity.
I am pleased to say I am now in remission and doing well! I'm back in college now and enjoying life. I thought seeing as though I was knocking on heaven's door, (yes iv'e been a good girl lol) and fortunately for me nobody was home. I thought it was a good time to do the things I've always wanted to do, hence me trying (badly) to learn the guitar! Also my 9 year old goddaughter wants to learn so we can learn together although I have a funny feeling she is going to end up teaching me! LOL. Thank you so much for the site! I know we will be able to learn using it.
Recieved January 19th, 2009
I'm definitely a beginning guitar player, and after taking just a few lessons in my home town, I decided that route wasn't for me. No one would just teach me what I wanted to play. I just wanted to play songs I liked. I stumbled upon youtube and found Aaron (gally042) and his website, www.freeandeasyguitar.com. I was delighted that someone was willing to show people how to play their favorite songs in a manner where people can actually LEARN how to play it---and for FREE! Aaron has so many lessons, I think I've marked all of them as favorites and am learning them one at a time!
Most recently, I learned how to play The Fray's, "Look After You," from Aaron's lesson and had the awesome opportunity to [attempt to] play a little of it for THE FRAY themselves!
They were doing a pre-show meet and greet, and a 3 song performance. Afterwards, we got to say hi and take pictures. Since I only know how to play 2 songs on the guitar, both of them being Fray songs, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share it with them. It was definitely a memorable experience. They were in a little bit of a rush and their management was trying to hurry them along, but they were so nice that they asked me to play for them. They pulled out a stool for me, crowded around so I wouldn't feel too nervous, and bopped their heads to my horribly out of tune guitar, but they knew what song it was! They were so supportive and nice and even clapped and gave me hi-fives. Super nice guys.
People I have told this story to, have said they wouldn't have had the courage to do this, but I never thought of it like that. I was excited to have learned one of my favorite songs from Aaron, and being able to actually show the artists my appreciation and trying to play one of their songs for them was a highlight for me. I wouldn't have been able to do it without Aaron's help!
So thanks to Aaron and freeandeasyguitar.com for teaching me that I CAN learn how to play the song that I want to on the guitar and also for providing me the skills and confidence to showcase what I learned, during a once in a lifetime opportunity, for an awesome band like The Fray!
Received January 16th, 2009
Hi, my name is Joe and I am 24 years old. Ever since I was in high school in 2002 I've suffered from an anxiety disorder with mild depression. Rather than dealing with my disorder the proper way and getting the help that I needed, I turned to other outlets. In doing so I made some bad mistakes because I was embarrassed about my problems and I didn't feel comfortable telling anyone. I often turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with my anxiety.
For the past 6 years, the only positive outlet I've had was lifting weights and although this helped with my anxiety and depression it did not solve everything. During the past 3 months, I finally decided to get professional help for my disorder and in doing so I decided to find new and healthier outlets to focus my attention. I finally decided to try and pick up the one thing I've always wanted to do. That was learn to play the guitar. Like many beginners I've always had a desire to learn but could never afford a guitar. It didn't help either that I didn't know ANYONE who played the guitar, so you can imagine how intimidating it is entering a Guitar store and not knowing what to look for or even where to look!
Finally after the salesman worked with me and my budget, I made the choice in buying a Yamaha FG700s and I've never looked back. Buying this guitar and finding Aaron on Youtube.com has been one of the best decisions I've ever made besides getting help for my disorder. I am now living the best life I've ever lived and I now know how to play over 20 songs and can sing along to almost half of them. I now stay home on weekends and focus on spending time with my family and my dog, Bella. And of course, I spend countless hours a day with my guitar! I've found a new addiction and this is one that I know I will take with me to my grave.
I just want to say thank you to Aaron for taking the time to help others who are just now discovering the gift of the guitar and helping me to find a better, HEALTHIER way to express myself. Without his tutorials, playing songs like Tears in Heaven or many of the Staind songs I've loved since high school (Aaron Lewis got me through my senior year!) I would have been like one of the many thousands of guitarists who often quit in the first 4 weeks because they get discouraged. I am no longer afraid of playing and instead I grow confident each day I practice and learn a new song on FreeAndEasyGuitar.Com. Not to mention I have not had a drink in 3 weeks!
Thank You and God Bless!
Received January 15th, 2009
Hey, my name is Luke. I currently lost two really good friends in a car crash and two more are in the hospital. Learning to play the guitar, has really helped me get through these tough times. There are times when I just want to break down, but instead now I pick up my guitar and start playing. Aaron has taught me some songs that remind me of my life and when I play certain songs, memories just come into my head of all the good times me and these friends have had. I will never forget them. Everyone, please pray for the recovery of Jessica and Destiny, and pray for Cam and Alex who we lost.
Received January 4th, 2009
My name is Kris J. I am 16 years old and I live in Georgia. When I was 12 years old I worked cutting grass and saved up enough money to buy my first guitar. It was an acoustic and it was the first thing that I had worked that hard for. I still remember the day I got it. I have tried to teach myself guitar and every time I started playing about a week later I would forget about it. About three months ago, I went on YouTube just playing around and found Aaron teaching a lesson and I decided to try to learn a song. I have been practicing every second of everyday since then.
When I'm playing I feel so happy and I can't put it down. When I quit playing it's because I have homework to do or everyone else is asleep. I am practicing more than ever and it's all because of Aaron and his videos. I don't think I will ever stop playing. Music is something that no one can take away from you and it will stay with you all of your life. I would just like to thank Aaron for all that he does. He doesn't do it for money or fame, he just does it to help people because that's what he wants to do. I always think of the saying "What goes around comes around." Well Aaron has a lot of good to come back to him and I'm sure God will send many blessings his way. Once again thank you Aaron and God Bless You.