Gently weeps at the prospect of me playing it, that is. Yep, folks; I purchased myself a guitar. I should probably apologise to music generally now — it might save time later.
It’s been a long, long time since I was learning a musical instrument. How long? The year was 1987… yep, that long ago. I was a student at Armidale High School, and I had some interest in learning music. To a certain extent that was because the alternative stream was art, and, if you’ve ever seen one of my scribbles, you’ll be aware of how particularly untalented I am in that particular area. So music it was.
Now, to understand my situation at this time, you’ve got to know that I was a small, scrawny kid (as distinct from the tall(ish) scrawny adult I’ve become). Very small. I’d started school early, because I was a little bright — or a little annoying and not wanted underfoot, I’m not entirely sure which — but that meant I was always one of the youngest and smallest in my classes, at least until I switched continents and slowly drifted back a year thanks to the difference between Australian and UK school timetables. But I’m getting off the point here.
Unfortunately for me, when it came time to assign instruments in the school band, I was also late in the picking process — something to do with many of the other kids having been learning instruments other than the recorder for some years by then — so I got what was “left over” in the instrument pile.
Which was a tuba. I’m sure that somebody, somewhere, got some chuckles at the sight of my scrawny form trying (and often failing) to lift a tuba.
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that I didn’t last that long with the tuba, and that was (more or less) the end of my musical career to date.
At least until today, when I picked up my Christmas present for last year from my lovely wife; a Washburn D-10SCE guitar.
So why decide to pick up an instrument after so long? A couple of reasons (and a few folk to blame). A couple of months ago, I attended my high school reunion (not for Armidale High, but Duval; a long story there that I won’t tell right now), and ended up chatting happily for an afternoon with a group of middle aged blokes, many of whom had excellent musical talent (and taste). I didn’t, and it made me aware that it was something still buzzing around in the “incomplete ambitions” part of my brain.
Plus, I figured, music was something I was bad at back then, but not entirely for reasons within my control. Whereas now I’m an adult; I can pick the instrument of my choosing, apply adult discipline to actually learning, and pick up a skill well outside my current skill set. So when my beloved wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I surprised her by saying “a guitar”. It’s taken a while to pick one up; partly due to other commitments, and partly due to wanting to do the due diligence and research. Thanks to everyone who gave me advice, by the way — hugely appreciated!
So, I’ve started learning, slowly and (because this is a steel string guitar) somewhat painfully.
And I suck. I really, really suck.
But that’s OK! Because it’s early days, and, unless either I’m a total moron and this guitar thing should be stupidly easy, I should suck. It’s a matter of patient learning, a little bit of self discovery, and hopefully not too many bleeding fingertips.
At least I can lift it this time.