Through a unique combination of playing guitar and an adoration for nature, Ted Weaver thrives


Ted Weaver

Here is Ted Weaver with his aforementioned collection of sick guitars.

Junior Ted Weaver and his sister were perusing the aisles of a Goodwill a few years back when they discovered a Dinosaur Jr. band t-shirt. 

“I was like, ‘[What] the heck is Dinosaur Jr?’” Ted said, upon seeing the obscure shirt.

A couple of clicks on the keyboard later, Ted discovered the talents of this band, inspiring an idea to shred on a guitar of his own. 

“I went and I looked up Dinosaur Jr. on YouTube, and it showed me a couple of songs,” Ted said. “I was like, ‘This is kind of good.’ I slowly started listening to them and got really invested and started watching interviews and videos about their lead guitarist, J Mascis. I just thought it was a really cool story; it’s really inspirational.”  

Ted has always found deep gratification in music, so he wanted to push it to the next level beyond just simply listening to it. With just a bit of boredom and a couple of lonely strings beside him, his journey officially started.

“It’s really funny because I was just bored one day,” Ted said. “I was watching this guy on YouTube play piano and thought ‘Wow, that looks really cool. I really want to play piano,’ but we didn’t have a piano. All we had was my dad’s guitar that he neglected for ten years or so. I was like, ‘You know, might as well try it [and have] something to do.’ I just picked it up, started learning, and have been going at it ever since.”

Ted brought it upon himself to feel out the notes and chords on his own time to become a sufficient, self-made guitarist. Additionally, to get down techniques beyond just the basics, Ted sought out guidance from some family members and professionals. 

“I started off teaching myself,” Ted explained, “which in my opinion, is the best way to do things and really immerse yourself into it and learn. But I also have an older cousin named Ross who is around three years older than me. He’s a really excellent, talented guitar player and has been playing way longer than me. He showed me some stuff, which was really helpful. I’ve also done some guitar lessons as well and learned from that too.”

Since eighth grade, Ted’s skills have exponentially progressed. He practices frequently and has a solid foundation in his own music preferences, which creates a perfect storm of sound.

“Typically, I play guitar every day—I love guitar,” Ted said. “It’s a great way for me to come home from school and wind down and play something so I can disconnect from things. I’m really into rock music and indie rock. I promise I’m not that one kid that’s like, ‘Oh, I’m indie.’ I just like all [forms of] rock—that’s just the music I gravitate towards more.”

Because his passion has never dwindled, Ted has accumulated three guitars in his musical arsenal. One of the guitars is a classic Yamaha acoustic, which is his go-to instrument to rip on. He also has a sparkly Gretsch electric guitar and a J Mascis Jazzmaster guitar. One might think that three guitars is two too many, but Ted says otherwise—musicians just need multiple mediums in order to cultivate an authentic sound and sense of who they are. 

I think that they both connect to each other in a way of beauty and tranquility, if you will.

As he leans into his authenticity, Ted has started to produce his very own music. Through low-key rhythms and tunes, he amplifies his voice within these subtle strums. He’s no lyricist, but composing his own jams provides him with an outlet for artistic self-expression.

“A great way to start [playing guitar] is to learn the songs you love,” Ted said. “I just kind of grabbed a handful of songs and learned them, but now I’m mostly making my own stuff up. Rhythm is just what I really love.”

It’s clear that Ted wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his guitars and music. However, he views this primarily as a hobby in his life. He actually hopes to find a career within nature and the horticultural world.

“I’d probably like to get a horticulture degree,” Ted said. “I would like a four-year horticulture program or some sort of college. [The horticulture programs] focus on farming, but more for urban areas to bring fresh produce to cities instead of crappy, pesticide-filled, GMO produce. There’s a [horticultural program] in Brooklyn, New York and one here in Grand Rapids that has this internship that you can get into. All you need is prior growing experience. I think that’s something I’d be really interested in.”

Ted’s love for nature started at his roots—literally and figuratively. His entire family has always relished the outdoors and has shown him what there is to love about the natural world. Living in Michigan has further propelled his environmental interest, as it is basically composed entirely of woodlands and wildlife. Ted and his family take advantage of the many hiking trails and outdoor experiences offered within the mitten state.

“My whole family, and more specifically my mom, [started my interest in nature],” Ted said. “She’s a big plant lady and loves her plants. Our house is just filled with plants; it’s her thing, and she’s really knowledgeable about it. So growing up, [nature] has been all around me.”

In his weekly whereabouts, Ted tries to find the time to just be part of nature as another living being because nothing can quite calm the mind like the sway of the trees, the sun shining, and the effervescent greens. Overall, tending to nature in the simplest of ways is enough to satisfy Ted.

“I go outside a lot,” Ted said. “[I’ve gone out] a little less lately just because of school, work, and because the weather hasn’t been too kind recently. But when I do go outside, I like to go to this beautiful place called Peace Park in Ada. I also have my own garden out on our balcony and grow a few tomato plants and some chamomile and whatnot. I also have my own plants in my room [that] I take care of.”

This passion Ted has for the great outdoors also stems from a deep concern for the future of our planet. Other than just loving what nature has to offer, he wants to heal and raise awareness for the mother of the natural world.

“Take a look at the longevity of our species as a human,” Ted said. “For instance, the Amazon Rainforest burned down and lost a large percentage of its tree population. Just think about the ecosystem and our environment and how that’s the life force of the earth. And without that, we’re just doomed.”

Regarding both of his passions as a whole, they interconnect in a way that creates small, poetic anecdotes in Ted’s daily pursuits. Although the guitar and nature seemingly have nothing to do with each other, a look just below the surface reveals the complexities of how these intertwined passions interact.

“I think that they both connect to each other in a way of beauty and tranquillity, if you will,” Ted said. “When I look around outside, I notice the stillness of things or the quiet, slow wisping of leaves and just the little things that seem to happen so effortlessly. With guitar, I look at it in a similar way. The bright or low sounds of the chords, maybe the motions of the whole process of playing, [and] the tune and melody just put me at ease.”

Ultimately, everything in this universe connects in one way or another, so Ted’s musical side and environmentalist side both find a fitting place in his being. Whether he ends up in a band or helping communities reinstate care for the environment, Ted is bound to his avocations through his undying love for whatever he does. 

“Both [music and nature] come together in a way of happiness and pleasure,” Ted said. “I love both equally as much. For instance, when I go out for a walk in nature, or even just admiring the way things are or how they grow, it fascinates me and urges me to learn more out of a deep interest and love for the hobby. The same goes with guitar—it brings me peace and happiness. Whenever I sit down and play, it sort of just takes me away to a whole other space where I’m just enveloped in the joy of it.”