Guitars for Vets, Inc. (G4V) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to enhance
the lives of wounded Veterans by providing them with free guitars and music instruction.
Through self-expression and the healing power of music, it is our intent to restore the
feelings of joy and purpose that can be lost after suffering trauma.
In 2007 Patrick Nettesheim, a Milwaukee-area guitar instructor, was introduced to
Vietnam Era Marine, Dan Van Buskirk. Dan wanted to play guitar, but felt that the
effects of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) had left him with the inability to coordinate the
hands and the mind. What Dan soon discovered was that the same strong heart and
spirit that got him through Vietnam was all that he needed to make music and learn
guitar. The lessons that Patrick and Dan shared together were enlightening for them
both. Patrick’s success as a teacher was not simply about his ability to play guitar, it had
much more to do with the teacher/student bond – Patience, Acceptance, Gratitude and
Empathy, or being on the same P.A.G.E., as Patrick describes it. When these human
qualities are in place, valuable learning begins. “The guitar is a catalyst for positive
human interaction”, Patrick explains. “It is mediation in motion.”
After a few months in lessons, Dan suggested the two of them bring this modality to the
Veterans at the VAMC in Milwaukee. The idea was born, and Patrick coined the name
and slogan: GUITARS FOR VETS – The healing power of music in the hands of heroes.
Since 2007, Guitars for Vets has provided over 3,500 new guitars and 35,000 lessons to
our Nation’s Veterans. More than 100 chapters have been established in over 40 states
and more than 400 volunteers assure the mission is successful.
Our primary focus is using the healing power of music to aid our veterans. Whether we
agree or disagree with the decision to go to war, one thing is for certain: These are men
and women who bravely fight for and honorably represent our country. As a
consequence of war, many of our soldiers come home with physical and emotional
injuries. They need our support.
Guitars for Vets provides ten free private lessons to military Veterans; all qualifying
Veterans are referred to the program by their VA case worker. Lessons, taught by one
of more than 400 volunteer instructors are given primarily at VA facilities, where we
provide a loaner guitar and accessories. Individual lessons are supplemented by group
sessions that provide an additional forum for the Vets to talk and play music with like-minded
individuals, many of whom have had the same experiences, emotions and
traumas. These music sessions provide a communal atmosphere which fosters
teamwork and camaraderie; in many cases, joy returns to their lives.
Upon graduation, the Veteran is awarded a guitar, gig bag, picks, strap, tuner, stand,
method book, capo and a certificate of completion. The testimonials throughout the
website, www.guitarsforvets.org capture what it has meant to some of the Vets
participating in our program.
CONTACT – email@example.com
Phone – 855-G4V-HERO