Picking away at the strings on his deep red stained, electric guitar, David Paine struggles to talk over the echo of the amplifier. David’s skill and familiarity with the instrument come from hours of practice a day. In a mere four years, he has gone from listening to classic rock on the radio to not only being able to play along with any song, but also create his own music. As someone that plays the guitar, I have watched in awe and somewhat horror as he has far surpassed my talents all within his first year. His top three bands are all heavy metal – Opeth, Alcest, and Ulver. When I asked him to describe his taste in music, David jokingly responded that his taste was “better than yours.” He went further to say that music needs an aspect of both talent and sincerity. David says he is a much bigger fan and a better listener because of the instrument, and he thinks more critically of the songs he hears.
David dedicated two months of his freshman year to building a blue Les Paul guitar using both the internet and trial and error. He said that this process, although difficult, gave him a better fundamental understanding of how the instrument can emit different sounds through the way it is shaped. David is currently building a semi-hollow Fender Stratocaster. Although he does have an instructor, he thinks of himself as self-taught and learns a majority of songs either online or by ear.
When asked how he would use guitar in his future, David explained, “guitar is just my easiest voice for writing music, which is ultimately what I’d like to do.” He hopes to double major in music in college and maybe even get a masters degree later. David was inspired by a summer program at Berklee College of Music, where he not only played guitar in a group setting but was able to learn from famous players like jazz guitarist Tuck Andress. He admits that expressing himself comes naturally through music, and both listening and writing are outlets for his emotions.
David plays in the Upper School Rock Band at Belmont Hill, but his musical influence at the school stretches farther; he has gained a degree of notoriety for his unique taste, yet his musicianship far supersedes any judgment or disparity of opinion. Those who have heard him talk about music know what I mean; those who have heard him play know even better.