Guitarist Wayne Riker gets San Diego Music Academy Lifetime Achievement Award

Riker has played, taught guitar for over 50 years
Posted at 6:40 AM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 10:34:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - After 50 years playing and teaching guitar, Wayne Riker will get one of the highest honors of the San Diego music scene.

On Tuesday night, Riker will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 San Diego Music Awards.

"Quite surprised, quite honored because there's so many equally deserving musicians here in San Diego, " he said.

The ceremony is at the House of Blues on Fifth Ave. downtown, and the event features numerous awards for local singers and musicians.

For Riker, the honor is as much for his playing career as for his work to spread the music to the next generation.

"I've played on all the different professional stages, taken my lumps and had my moments here and there," said Riker.

Riker started playing guitar as a teenager, taking lessons from a friend in New York. It's been a 50-year love affair since.

In his time, he's been in 50 different bands, playing at clubs around the country. He's also put out nine CDs -- three as individual works and six others with other musicians.

Beyond the music, he's made teaching guitar a passion and a mission.

Riker has written nine instructional manuals on guitar playing. He also has been a guest columnist for Guitar Player Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine and Premier Guitar Magazine.

He also estimates that he's taught between 8,000 and 10,000 students, either individually or in classes and at camps.

For Riker, it's more important to teach them the "right way" to play, than just how to play.

"That really gives me the most joy, to know that I've lit candles for the generations coming up," he said.

Riker added, "I never did drugs, was always on time, always passed the auditions I had to pass. You gotta have good social skills, be thick-skinned and, most of all, be 110 percent prepared, 110 percent enthusiastic."

He stresses to his students that those same lessons apply to life.

As for what the Lifetime Achievement Award means, Riker said, with a laugh: "It means I'm closer in age to 70 than 60."

And it's not the end -- Riker plans to release one more CD this April and will teach at a guitar camp in San Marcos this June.