Playing the guitar: Amy Macdonald on what inspired her to pick up a guitar

Amy Macdonald tells us what inspired her to pick up a guitar - and about the rewards of sticking with it

Travis made me pick up the guitar. I saw them at T in the Park when I was 12 and I was, like, wow! My dad played the guitar and had two in the house so, after the festival, I ran out and bought a Travis chord book and worked my way through their back catalogue.

It was easy for me to go from there to writing my own songs, because the great thing about Travis, like some of the best songs ever written, is they use simple chords and chord patterns. I was able to grasp the guitar basics and chords that work well. Most songs follow the same pattern and contain E, A, G and C. If you are learning, I would try playing Everybody Hurts by REM or Wonderwall by Oasis.

I wasn't patient enough to get tuition. When you learn on your own you can go in your own time and at your own pace. I could read music because I learned the violin and the keyboard at school. Playing other instruments also gave me an understanding of rhythm. Friends of mine who are learning the guitar can play the chords but they can't strum and get a rhythm going.

I love the guitar. It was the first instrument I had a passion for, really wanted to learn and enjoyed playing. My favourite is the Gibson J200 - it sounds lovely and is smooth to play.

I think it's great that there are more female guitarists in the industry, but male-led guitar bands like Travis, the Libertines and the Killers were more my inspiration. It's great to have influences, and the cool thing about the guitar is that no matter what music you're into, there will be a guitar part in it. So take inspiration from bands and guitarists, but try to create your own unique sound.

· Amy's new single Poison Prince is out on May 19

The GuardianTramp

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