“While my guitar gently weeps…”
…because it sits dusty and unplayed! I have a confession. I haven’t touched my guitar since I swore during Art Month in April I would play regularly. I also haven’t sewn, or drawn, or finger-painted, or knit, or danced salsa, or any of the other art things I really wanted to keep doing. I just haven’t had time.
Or is that just an excuse? I could make time for all of those things, but then my life would be pretty full (and my friends and family can attest to the business of my life already). A lot of this year has been about finding a balance in my life. Some of the time I was overwhelmed and off-kilter. Some of the time I was unchallenged and bored. Finding that perfect place where I am fulfilled but not too hectic is my goal. And accepting that I can’t do everything is a huge part of that. My mother would be proud of me for trying to learn that lesson (although I still fall off the wagon at times).
And I swear I will pick up the guitar again, so it can stop weeping in the corner. I just need to find the balance. Actually, I’m inspired right now…
Wow, that last photo really shows the dust! Eek! Embarrassing!
I was inspired while learning the double bass with Jason to get back into learning to play my guitar. My first serious boyfriend was a musician and bought me an acoustic guitar. For the last twelve years I have had the guitar, picked it up every few months or years, taught myself to play a few chords, then forgot about it until the next time I decided I wanted to play guitar again. Every time I would build up calluses on my fingertips so it didn’t hurt so much to hold the chords, then something would come up and I wouldn’t play for awhile, and it would hurt when I started to play again. It was always frustrating that I couldn’t get past slowly changing chords and strumming to that pace. Although I think that’s mostly because of my lack of patience and my lack of a method in order to properly train myself to play!
Jason told me a trick while we were discussing my embarrassing history with my guitar. He said to pick a couple of chords and play them over and over again – back and forth – until your fingers hurt. Then keep playing through the hurt until you absolutely can’t play anymore. Continue to do this, until eventually, your fingers won’t hurt as much and changing chords will come more naturally. Then add more chords. This is what I did today for an hour. My fingers definitely are sore – but in a good way!
I also realized Jason’s attempts to make my arm and hand relax more while playing the double bass is something I should be aware of while playing the guitar. Keeping tension in those areas of my body made it harder for me to change chords and less enjoyable. Hopefully this time I will be a little more patient and make time so that muscle memory will kick in and I can actually call myself a guitar player.
Here are a couple of fun facts/legends about guitars that I found on the web (none are from the most reliable sources, but I thought they were fun, so am including them anyways – which does annoy my journalistic sensibilities a little):
- “Many of The Muppets play instruments left handed such as Kermit the Frog (banjo), Janice (guitar), and Floyd Pepper (bass guitar). This is because most of the puppeteers are right handed and control the puppets with their right hands, leaving their left hands for strumming.” (from wikipedia)
- “In 2001 an Englishman named Chris Black married his Stratocaster guitar.” (Squidoo)
- “The smallest guitar in the world is 10 micrometres long with strings 50 nanometres (100 atoms) wide.” (Squidoo)
- “The Fender factory makes around 90,000 strings per day. This is over 20,000 miles a year, enough to circle the world. They also make around 950 guitar necks a day!” (Reptor Productions)
- “Leo Fender was a saxophonist, not a guitarist; the current head of the Corporation is also a saxophonist! ” (WikiAnswers)
- “The oldest iconographic representation of the guitar is a 3,000 year old carving of a Hittite or ancient Anatolian bard playing the instrument.” (WikiAnswers)