Learning to play the Acoustic Guitar – my beginning
A little late in life to start, maybe, but I was tired of just wishing I could play guitar, and a friend had encouraged me to start a bucket list of sorts. This was high on the list. After stating that wish to my family every now and then, maybe more frequently than I realized, I think my wife finally got tired of hearing it. For Christmas last year she got me a gift certificate for a guitar from the local music store. Now she is growing tired of hearing the music, some would call it noise, I have been creating. The certificate was for $200. I was a bit skeptical that I could find a decent guitar for that amount. I’m not sure I really needed a “decent “ one since I do not have a lick (pun) musical experience or aptitude.
Shortly after Christmas day I was off to the music store to select my instrument. There was not a huge selection but there was a sale running on a Samick Greg Bennett guitar with a soft case called a gig bag included. At first I was a little put off with calling it a gig bag. I was certainly not going to be playing any gig. My motivation to give this a try was strictly for personal satisfaction and to silence that nagging inner voice that that managed to occasionally become an outer voice saying “I wish I could play guitar”. The owner of the music store assured me this was a good beginner guitar, it sounded nice and was easy to play. He explained that the strings being closer to the frets made it such. I took his word for it and the few chords he played sounded good to me. I did a little online research and found out that Samick is a large South Korean manufacturer of guitars and that this actually was a “decent” guitar…for a beginner.
At home, sitting on the couch, guitar in hand, strumming and plucking the strings to make some noise…now what? Lessons? Teach myself? I found that there are a number of online sites offering video lessons and a wealth of information for a newbie. I’ve used some of this but since I live in a remote area and am too cheap to pay for satellite internet , the only broadband available to me, online video lessons were out of the question with slow dial up. My neighbor happens to play guitar and sing in some of the local pubs. I’ve heard her a few times and thought she was pretty good. One day an article about her and her music appeared in the local paper. Some of the highlights from her musical experience included time in Vegas, a Grammy nomination and…..she offers lessons. Several months before I received my guitar, we spoke and informally arranged to start some lessons on a guitar that I was to borrow from her. That plan was only half serious, just one step away from only a wish, but I thought I would eventually follow through. Receiving the gift sealed the deal and I started lessons in January of this year. The cadence has been one half hour lesson a week at a rate of $20 per, which seems to be pretty standard in this area.
My goal is to be able to play a song in about 6 months. I have mentally prepared myself to expect slow progress and not to expect too much at first, even though I still have a strong desire to make some good sounds come out of that thing. Before the first lesson I tried to play some of the chords from a chart that came with the guitar. It quickly became apparent to me that this was going to be a challenge. I couldn’t get my fingers to go in the proper positions, pressing the strings and spanning the frets. When I tried to strum and listen to the sound produced by the twanging and muted strings I felt like Forest Gump playing guitar. After a few minutes of pressing the strings the tips of my fingers began to sting. Learning to play this thing was going to take a while.
……More to come