I own two guitars. One acoustic, one electric. I own an amp and speaker. I own a tuner. I own picks. I display my acoustic guitar on our living room wall. So when someone sees it and asks, “who plays?”, the answer is a bit embarrassing. Because the answer is… well… no one.
I had great aspirations of learning to play about ten years ago. My parents and brother went in together on an acoustic guitar as a Christmas present for me back then. They also got me a few “self teach” books, which I poured over with great interest. One of the books was a “tabs” approach, where you just learned the placement of your fingers to play certain songs, not really learning the larger lessons about music, but at the end of the day, you were producing a sound recognizable as a song.
I continued to tinker around with my guitar, not really progressing much, but having fun with it. I practiced a few songs, mostly Beatles. They were simple to learn and I loved them, so it motivated me to play. By the end of the year, I had memorized a few songs and could proudly state that, yes, I played the guitar.
I had a hard time pushing the strings down with enough pressure to always get the sound I was going for. I lacked the finger strength and wasn’t playing enough to gain it any time soon. I mentioned it to my brother at some point during the year. He thought I might have an easier time with an electric guitar, as the strings are closer to the body and neck, and let me try his guitar. He was right, the electric was easier to play, and it was fun! Hooking up an amp and speaker made playing undoubtedly more fun. So the following Christmas, my parents and brother got me an electric guitar, amp and speaker. I played quite a bit when I initially got it, but after a few years, the newness wore off, life became busier, and eventually the guitar sat unused.
Fast forward to today. Those songs I once knew have faded from memory. I’m not sure what notes the strings are called anymore. I don’t remember any chords. Every so often, I pull the guitar off the wall and strum it a bit. C loves to play it, so we’ve pulled it down more since she’s shown interest. We don’t produce any noises that might be mistaken as “music”, but we have fun with it.
I envision sitting and playing guitar with C one day. I’d love for her to have a solid foundation with musical instruments, right along with one uncle, who plays guitar and bass, and the other, who plays the drums. It seems like a fundamental skill for a kid, ya know? I would love to take our acoustic guitar camping with us and sit around the camp fire, playing simple melodies to paint the night with music. There’s something romantic about the simplicity of it all. No synthesizers, no machines, no autotune, just good ‘ole fashion music.
My new years resolution this year? Learn to play that darn thing. Again. The real way this time.