A local guitar hero in the making?

Devon Carter, 14, dreams of one day becoming a rock star.

If the folks at the Fretted Instrument Guild of America (FIGA) are right, Carter has potential.

FIGA recently awarded Carter a $500 grant to continue guitar lessons with his teacher, Leon Christian. The grant will cover five months of lessons.

FIGA is a nonprofit organization that aims to encourage interest in fretted instruments — any instrument with strings such as the banjo, guitar or ukulele.

The organization offers grants to about four students nationwide each year. Students are chosen based on their skill level and their need for a grant.

"They're trying to find people where the money might make a difference between continuing on or dropping it," said Jack LaFond, a grant committee member.

LaFond selected Carter for a grant after receiving a recommendation from another member and visiting Carter to hear him play.

Carter chose a classic rock song and LaFond was impressed.

"I think it's just because I played a good song that he knew," Carter said, modestly.

"I was quite impressed with him. He was a sharp guy," LaFond said. "He's coming along. He's up and coming."

Carter, who began playing two years ago, said he practices for at least one hour every day. He enjoys playing mostly classic rock.

"He did a mix of single notes and chord melody on it and everything. He's got a fair amount of skill on guitar," LaFond said. "I wish he was my son, then I could get him playing banjo."

Carter said he hopes to start a band with friends and join the jazz band at Federal Way High School, where he will be a freshman next year.

He started playing guitar because of his grandfather's encouragement, Carter said.

"He just wanted something for me to do because I didn't really have much to do," he said. "It's challenging. It gives me something to practice every day."

Carter hopes to study music in college and eventually become a professional musician — perhaps a rock star.

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.

For more information about grants for fretted instrument instruction, visit The Fretted Instrument Guild of America Web site at or call Andy Johnson at (360) 532-0896.

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