How you can help

All G4V lessons and guitars are provided to the Veterans free of charge. Demand for the G4V program continues to rise and though virtually all resources go directly into programming and guitars, we sadly cannot help every qualified applicant because funding is limited. Together, we can bring more lessons and guitars to our Vets with donations of money, guitars and related gear. By donating $200 you can send one Veteran through the G4V program and enable us to continue sharing the healing power of music with deserving heroes across the country. You can donate through our PayPal site.

If you prefer, you may send a check payable to: Guitars for Vets, PO Box 617 Milwaukee, WI, 53201 or contact us at 1-855-G4V-HERO/ 1-855-448-4376 for more information. Guitars for Vets is incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and your gifts are tax deductible.

On behalf of all of us at Guitars for Vets we thank you for making such a positive difference in the lives of many!

Thousands of our war Veterans are afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, more soldiers have committed suicide since the Vietnam War than have died in actual battle. But many are finding hope in an unlikely place: behind the wood and strings of an acoustic guitar. The healing power of music helps soldiers cope. That’s why we provide veterans with guitars and a forum to learn how to play. But we can't do it without your help. Please read on to learn more out about the program and how you can help those who served rediscover their joy through the power of music.

Alan Harrison
E6 Boatswains Mate 1st Class
United States Navy

Founding Fathers

Our Story

In 2007, Patrick Nettesheim, a Milwaukee guitar instructor was introduced to Vietnam-era Marine, Dan Van Buskirk. For years Dan wanted to learn to play guitar but felt the lasting effects of combat, in the form of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), would make it difficult for him to succeed. After only a few months of working with Patrick, Dan discovered that the strong spirit that helped him throughout his time in Vietnam was all he needed to play music. Together, the men realized that guitar lessons were both opportunities for self-expression and positive human interaction. Dan and Patrick shared what they learned with Veterans at The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center and Guitars for Vets was born.

Guitars For Vets has fulfilled over 30,000 lessons and distributed over 3,000 guitars free to military veterans.

Our Program

Guitars for Vets is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2007. We currently operate more than 80 chapters in 40 states with the assistance of over 200 volunteers nationwide. Over the past seven years, our organization has refined a guitar instruction program aimed at providing Veterans struggling with physical injuries, PTSD and other emotional distress a unique supportive program. G4V pursues its mission to share the healing power of music by providing free guitar instruction, a new acoustic guitar and a guitar accessory kit in a structured program run by volunteers, primarily through the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and community-based medical centers.

The weekly guitar lessons provided by our volunteers are individualized and designed to help students learn at their own pace. Monthly group sessions are organized at each chapter to provide Veterans a communal atmosphere to talk and continue to play music with peers who have shared similar experiences. In G4V group sessions, the connection created between individuals who are both warriors AND guitar players serves as a catalyst for positive human interaction. Veterans who regularly attend group sessions build confidence to further pursue creative self-expression and engagement within their communities. Some G4V graduates and group session attendees even go on to perform at local fundraisers and teach guitar lessons in their local G4V chapter.

To date, G4V has administered over 30,000 guitar lessons and distributed over 3,000 guitars to Veterans. Over the years, we have observed the many ways that our program is enhancing the lives of warriors suffering with mental, physical and emotional distress. We are very excited to now have clinical trial data supporting our belief in the power of our program. Outcomes from our recently completed pilot study showed remarkable improvements in PTSD symptoms. A copy of the study results can be viewed here: Guitars for Vets: Evaluating psychological outcome of a novel music therapy.

Our Ambassadors

Tommy Emmanuel
"I am so honored to be involved with G4V... the guitar is a friend to us always - ready whenever we are, never impatient, never asking too much. Pick one up and the relationship will be there forever. Together, we can help so many vets get the joy back in their lives through the power of music."
Tony Polecastro
"I’m honored to bring awareness of G4V to our growing community of 150,000+ acoustic guitar geeks who share the same values as G4V: It’s not about mastering the instrument, it’s about the healing power of music & human connection, constant progress and fun. We’re excited to support G4V through the Acoustic Life Festival, monthly donations via and direct monetary and guitar donations from individuals in our community."
-Tony Polecastro

Dick Wagner
"As a guitarist, by profession, I can relate to the calming effect a guitar can bring to a troubled mind. I jumped at the opportunity to come on board with Guitars For Vets."
Earl Slick
"Having had a number of close friends return from combat with both physical and emotional scars, I have witnessed the impact from war firsthand and if I can put a smile on their faces even for a minute, it’s all more than worth it. Music is magic."
Ron Keel
"I am proud to be working with G4V. Anything we can do to show our appreciation to these warriors, we have to do it - without their sacrifice, we'd all be singing a different tune. I've worked with a number of Veteran's charities, so when I heard about G4V, I immediately reached out - thanks for letting me participate. Our Veterans rock!"
Jim McCarty
“Regardless of what one thinks of the politics of these wars, these men and women often come back scarred physically and emotionally. I’m more than happy to represent and be part of an organization that tries to help these people rebuild their lives.”
Billy Hallquist
“My work with guitars for vets has been the most rewarding part of my 50 year music career.”
-Billy Hallquist
Billy Hallquist Youtube
Billy J. Kramer
"After a traumatic experience as a young man, my mother brought my guitar to the hospital which helped me greatly in my recovery. Guitars4vets is a wonderful way of taking veterans minds off the situations they have had to cope with both mentally and physically. I feel that the magic of music is one of the greatest forms of therapy. Guitars4vets is an organization that everyone should support."
Joey Molland
"I'm happy to be an Artist Ambassador for Guitars for Vets. The very first rock ‘n’ roll record that I really heard was “Blue Suede Shoes.” I was 11 years old and that’s right out of Memphis. That was the record that actually started me playing the guitar. I went right out when I heard that record and got my brother’s guitar out and started to teach myself to play."
-Joey Molland of Badfinger
Official website of Badfinger
Willy Porter
"I’m happy to support this organization as a show of gratitude for those who have served, but also because I believe in the healing power of music. It is a theory of mine that if we can express through song the burdens that we carry, those same burdens might just transform into wisdom and strength over time."
"We are so grateful to be ambassadors of such a wonderful organization. Guitars For Vets is truly doing the foot work for providing a future that is much more resourceful, obligated, caring, and dedicated to our United States service veterans of past, present and future endeavors. It was a pleasure to help with the opening of a chapter in our hometown and really bring everything full circle!"
Ali Handal
"Music heals. I’m thrilled to work with Guitars for Vets to bring the joy of making music to men and women around the country. What a wonderful way to harness the power of music and community, and to help ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters."
-Ali Handal
Ali Handal Official
Richard Kiser
"As a Veteran and a professional musician who has suffered from PTSD, I am honored to be an Ambassador for Guitars for Vets. Music is a special gift and G4V is a great way to share this gift with the men and women who deserve to experience the joys, benefits and up close friendship of the guitar."
-Richard Kiser
Richard Kiser Official
Sonny Moorman
"Music brings us together -- so let's play."
-Sonny Moorman
Sonny Moorman website
Rene Benton
"As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I had always hoped for the opportunity to bring music and my prior service together, G4V has done that. Veterans can at times deal with a number of issues; music can serve as a transitional tool helping many to segway back into society and in some cases can open up many doors of creativity. I am proud to be a part of an organization whose sole purpose is to help those who served so they can continue to serve others."
-Rene Benton
Rene Benton website

Scott Ian
I think it’s great, especially after I learned more about it when I was initially approached. I didn’t really understand what it was and then I got educated on it and found out even therapeutically what it means for these guys, even just to pick up a guitar and learn how to even play a chord and what it could mean for their psyche.

It’s something I totally believe in because I truly believe music, as cheesy as it sounds, it is really a common bond through everyone on this planet, every culture, everywhere on this planet. Everybody has music. Something that comes from their culture, whatever it may be, but I think music is something that is generally, universally loved on this planet and brings joy to most people. So, if there’s any way I could help bring happiness and certainly help Veterans with guitars, it’s obviously a no brainer.

Lizzy Borden
I think it’s [Guitars For Vets] amazing. I love the fact that a lot of these things– technology and social media connecting all of those things when someone tries to do something, puts an organization together, especially involving music. For a second there, I thought it was going to be a lost art, as far as learning instruments, because all of let’s say North America, where the kids got into Hip Hop and Techno and all of that stuff and it really had nothing to do with playing an instrument. I’m seeing that change now and I’m seeing a lot of people playing. So anything like that is amazing. I think technology is a great way to get awareness through anything like that.

Jason Charles Miller
First of all, I don’t feel worthy. But, it’s very humbling. Music heals me all the time. Being able to to take any negative experience that I’ve had and then writing about it, whether I’m writing a song about it, writing lyrics about it; it gets it out of me. It makes me feel better. It helps me cope and one of the amazing things that I get back is when people send me messages and tell me that something I’ve written or performed is helping them cope. That is the best feeling ever.

Hydro the Hero
I think it’s super important and it’s amazing. It basically shows the power of music and its healing powers and how it can bring things together that can help people in different situations. Music turned into something so huge, it’s a part of people’s lives, it helps people’s lives, it betters people’s lives and for me to be doing something creatively to even be asked to be a part of something that can help people, I’m happy for that. It means a lot to me. I was asked to do it – that’s just crazy on my part! Because my music from young to now, it’s going to be put to help somebody in a situation, help Vets, that’s huge right there. It’s hard to put it into words, so I’m just ecstatic about it.

Granny 4 Barrel - Terry LeRoi aka Granny
My hats off for you doing that [Guitars For Vets] because that’s a good thing you’re doing. Music changes lives. I could be having the worst day of my life, doing something I really don’t want to be doing right now and as soon as I put on one of my favorite tracks, get on YouTube, maybe look up an old, live Judas Priest 1981 show playing Desert Plains, I’m reminded, how cool music is and how much it means to me.
-Granny 4 Barrel - Terry LeRoi aka Granny
Granny 4 Barrel Website
Granny 4 Barrel Interview

James Patrick Morgan
"Most people in our country rarely leave their comfort zone. They enjoy freedom with little to no adversary to hinder daily life. That freedom was not given, it was earned—and must be maintained. The brave men and women of our military pick up the bill for our safety - physically, mentally, and emotionally. If music can provide some semblance of peace, distraction, or even somehow honor these great people for their’s the least I can do. Words cannot describe how lucky I feel to be working with Guitars For Vets."
-James Patrick Morgan
James Patrick Morgan Official
Joe Goodkin
"My time as an instructor for the Guitars for Vets chapter at Jesse Brown VA in Chicago confirmed for me that G4V is building communities in which veterans of all ages and backgrounds can connect through the power of music and share their experiences and stories. I'm beyond proud to continue my involvement in the ambassador capacity and work to bring G4V to as many facilities and individuals as possible."
-Joe Goodkin
Joe Goodkin Official
We currently operate over 80 chapters in more than 40 states with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

Local Chapters

Please CLICK HERE, if you have any questions about the program or you are interested in starting a new chapter.

News & Events
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