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Project gives musicians 1 week, 1 guitar to write and record original song

For the past 10 years, some musicians have found inspiration through The Acoustic Guitar Project, where the goal is to write and record a song in one week.

BOULDER, Colo. — Songwriters can go through a painstaking process to get notes on paper. It can take weeks, months or years for a song to make it to the public. 

Dave Adams wanted to change that. And he's not even a musician. 

"I'm not a songwriter," Adams, who works in advertising, said. "I love thinking about the creative process and how to inspire people." 

Ten years ago, he took his love for original songs and turned it into The Acoustic Guitar Project. The idea is pretty simple. Adams gets a guitar to a musician, and they have to write and record a song on it in one week. No digital editing. 

"It eliminates who's got the best instrument, because everyone’s using the same guitar," Adams said. "I think this is appealing to musicians because it gives them the opportunity to not worry about the digital element of creating. It really allows them to focus on the process of songwriting." 

So far, 1,200 songs have been written since Adams started the project 10 years ago. Guitars have been sent to more than 50 cities and 20 countries. Each city gets its own guitar, which is passed around to musicians, and then signed when they have completed their song. Musicians also record a short video explaining their weeklong songwriting adventure.

"They're honest about their experience and they're honest about what their song means," Adams said.

The Denver area has its own guitar. Boulder musician Thom LaFond is the first to record with it in 2023. 

"It's really cool to be part of a music scene that’s willing to do something like this--just hang out with a guitar for a week and write a song with it," LaFond said. 

> Watch: Thom LaFond performs original song from The Acoustic Guitar Project

LaFond is used to writing his own music, and also music for his band Banshee Tree. He is used to a little more production than The Acoustic Guitar Project allows. But he said the process taught him he always has time for songwriting--even when he is busy traveling for shows.

"What I can take away from this is I can fit ideas and projects into my life when there seems like there’s no space," LaFond said. 

He said he plans on recording the song he put together for The Acoustic Guitar Project with more than a tiny zoom recorder. It might even show up in one of his shows someday.

"Any concept that promotes original music has a special place in my heart," LaFond said.


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