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Founder's Corner

Ray Nelson


A new Facebook Page has been established so I can communicate with all GnG'rs. Past - Present - Future.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Celebrating Teachers Day.

On National Teacher Day, May 7, 2013, as founder of the Guitars Not Guns® Music Program I would like to take time to honor our great guitar teachers in communities across the USA and Canada. I acknowledge the crucial role our teachers play in making sure every student receives quality instruction in learning to play guitar.

Teachers change lives of students who feel they have no life and no future to into wonderful success stories. They provide a path for youth that leads them from being self-destructive to “look at me” I can do something great. Teachers motivate and encourage students to be the best they can be. They are not only teachers they are mentors.

As founder of the Guitars Not Guns® Music Program I would like to thank all teachers that have served in classrooms across the country and Canada. You have served in a cause that has helped children have hope that they now have a chance at a better life through music.


More people die in the USA from gun violence than have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Below are some stats from just this past year.

Latest data

27 people were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School (including 20 children) in Newtown, CT.

A gunman opened fire in an Oregon shopping mall killing 2. There have been 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999, when 13 people were killed.

December 11, 2012. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.

September 27, 2012. Five were shot to death by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, MN. Three others were wounded. Engeldinger went on a rampage after losing his job, ultimately killing himself.

August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page opened fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Four others were injured, and Page killed himself.

July 20, 2012. During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater.

May 29, 2012. Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, WA, killing 5 and himself after a citywide manhunt.

April 6, 2012. Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, shot 5 black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in racially motivated shooting spree. Three died.

April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA. The shooting was the sixth-deadliest school massacre in the US and the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

February 27, 2012. Three students were killed by Thomas “TJ” Lane, another student, in a rampage at Chardon High School in Chardon, OH. Three others were injured.

The Guitars Not Guns® Music Program continues to offer an alternative to gun violence through our music program in classrooms across the USA and in Canada. As I see it, now that the attention nationwide is back on gun violence it's time for all of us to reach out to communities and offer our program to every young person we can.

Thanks everyone for your continued support.

Ray Nelson

Ray Nelson on KPIX TV (2005)

Thanksgiving 2011 - a letter from Ray Nelson

We Give Thanks for all of the blessings we have received.

Thinking back on the ages and stages of Guitars Not Guns® always brings us back to the wonderful people who have consistently given up some of their own personal time, energy, and sometimes money, to bring this program to our special kids. Were it not for our volunteers we would still be at Stage One – teaching guitar in a room given to us by Santa Clara County Social Services.

Boom! Stage Two took us to starting classes in other cities and counties around the San Francisco Bay Area. Then came Stage Three - New Mexico! Wow! Introducing the program to other states was a major step towards our growth: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma. Volunteers in every state have made a difference in the lives of children that we, personally, could not have touched. Never did we envision a Stage Four, but, the folks in Toronto made us an international organization – and we are working on some Central American countries as well as the United Kingdom. How cool is that!

The latest milestone for Guitars Not Guns® was to receive a Certificate of Congressional Recognition in June, 2011, in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community.

We still have volunteer teachers who have been there from the very beginning and we are so grateful to them for believing in the program and giving of their hearts. As our special children go on to other stages in their lives, we are confident that they will keep warm memories of their experiences with us and show their gratitude by sharing their skills with others.

Thanks to everyone.

Ray Nelson

Article by Candice Dyer, September 2010 issue of Georgia Trend Magazine

For a quick answer call 770-861-2443 or send an e-mail to: ray@guitarsnotguns.org

You Can Help

If you are just learning about our organization and are looking for something to do that would make you proud, I would like to invite you to become a part of the "GNG Team". Just click on the Help menu button above.

We are NOT anti-guns, we are anti-gun violence. It's okay with me if you own a gun.

Best Wishes,
Ray Nelson

My guitar sculptures

Join me on Facebook

Very powerful imagery for a very powerful charity. To put a guitar in a kids hands is an amazing feeling. To do it for a kid that otherwise has limited options in life is just beyond words. GnG does just this - with the help of musicians, equipment manufacturers and other people in the entertainment industry, they are actually having a positive effect on young lives. I encourage anyone who can help, to do just that. A guitar can save lives."

- Billy Morrison
(Camp Freddy)