Electrify Mr. Cloonan's Guitar Club

Welcome to my Jefferson MS Guitar Club Go Fund Me page. My name is Jim Cloonan and I am a middle school Special Education Teacher in Long Beach, CA.  I also sponsor the guitar club. My goal for this page is to raise enough money to buy five high quality/low cost electric guitars, practice amps, and a few accessories that will keep the guitars in playable shape, hopefully for the next 10 years.

Background
This is the second year of our club. This year’s members overwhelmingly want to rock, and play electric guitar. Our access to guitars is limited.  Currently, the only way that I have been able to obtain guitars is when I track them down on Craigslist and spend my own money.  The club began with  a  few acoustic guitars that belong to the school district. Unfortunately, these are loaners , and can be recalled if they are needed elsewhere. I would like to make sure that if this happens, we still have guitars to play.

 
Why Play Guitar?
I can still remember discovering music in Middle School: Staying up all night with friends listening to the radio, and saving my allowance for weeks to buy a coveted album. My first album was Deep Purple, Made in Japan. From there I found The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. After that, it wasn’t enough to listen to the music, I needed a Les Paul and a Marshall stack so I could rock the world.
Research shows that we don’t crank up the volume to hear the music, we do it to feel the music. When you pick up a guitar, you feel the music; the heft of the guitar, the vibration of the strings, the pressure on your fingers, the pick in your hand. You still hear the music, but it isn’t coming from speakers anymore, it emanates from your hands, from your soul. When you realize that, you're hooked forever. Often when students find our guitar club and tell me they want to learn to play the guitar, I ask them why? The top two answers are,  “I don’t know,” and “Cause.” Later the real reasons start to come out; They want to be cool, they want a safe space, they want to impress girls, or it just looked fun. It doesn’t matter why they walk in, we want them to stay and learn to play.  Pretty soon, the students wander in at lunch to play and learn, in addition to attending club sessions.  The more instruments I have available, the more students I can serve. 
There are many reasons for kids to play an instrument, but some are not obvious. Improved self-esteem, self –confidence are benefits, and a sense of community are a few, but playing an instrument can also lead to improved brain function and greater academic success. For more information about the benefits of playing an instrument, please click and read the NAMM Foundation’s brochure.

 Download the NAMM Foundation Brochure "Why Learn to Play Music." 

Guitars
Last year I quickly noticed that if one of my personal guitars was on the rack and not in my hands, someone was asking to play it. With a little research, I found that one of the biggest reasons why new guitar players give up is the lack of a quality instrument. High/bad action, intonation issues or poor tone quality and sound will to frustration that causes students to quit playing. When polled, the students wanted better guitars, electric if possible. After a year of trying to work with Taylor Guitars and the San Diego Music Foundation, which led nowhere, I decided I would buy guitars. I buy MIM Fender Stratocasters when I find them on Craigslist, but still, that is at least $300 each. I can’t keep doing this. I found All in One Guitars and their Wolf brand through a random video on Youtube. Turns out they are in LA, so I went to see them. The owner, Jin, and I  came to an agreement that would allow me to buy some guitars for the club at a reasonable price. Besides selling nice guitars, Jin is an incredible guitar tech.. The work he puts into each guitar before it leaves the shop is amazing. I was truly impressed when I watched him do the final set-up on a guitar about to leave the shop. I bought one while I was there to check them out. Great quality and really good sound for a low cost quality guitar. Now I would like to buy more. This is where you come in. Your help will put good guitars in the hands of students, letting them find their own way into the world of guitars and music. I would llike to thank you in advance, for them and myself, for helping to make music come alive for my students.



Check out All In One Guitars' website 

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Goal
My goal is to raise $2000. This will allow me to buy at least five guitars, gig bags, practice amps, straps, cables and stands. Stands are really important in a Middle School Classroom. I have a deal in place with Allinoneguitars to buy the guitars. Hopefully he will work with me on the rest. If not, I will scour Craigslist for cheap practice amps and gear. I would love to have this project completed by Christmas, but I will leave it open as long as we are being funded and buying guitars.

Breakdown of Costs
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Epilogue
25 years after the dream, I finally did get the Les Paul I was longing for. It is beautiful, plays like a dream, has "that" tone, but most importantly, "...it goes to 11." The Marshall stack is another story. I've been eyeing one that has been languishing on Craigslist, even at a very good price. But really, it's too big and loud for me now, unless I plan on playing the Rose Bowl, or channeling Jimi Hendrix and playing the Star Spangled Banner at this year's 8th grade graduation ceremony. That might be an idea worth looking at.


  • Andrew Cloonan 
    • $120 
    • 34 mos
  • Michael Burke 
    • $20 
    • 35 mos
  • Mary Shandrow 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
  • Mark Shandrow 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Martha Damian 
    • $50 
    • 35 mos
See all

Organizer

Jim Cloonan 
Organizer
Long Beach, CA
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