This is my Yamaha F-310 Acoustic Guitar. Isn’t he a beauty? You can’t really tell from this pic because I had to scale it down quite a bit.
I wrote about how I came to play the guitar in my post, “Soul Harvest” if you are interested in knowing the background. It was a time in my life when I was just divorced, broke, living in a closet I called a room and really alone for the first time in my life. I had always felt lonely, but I was never really, totally alone. It was scary, yet I had my first sense of independence just that I had no money to do anything (requiring money). I learned a lot of free or cheap things to do during that time and going to Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon with a good book was my “special” thing for myself after a week of work. I could sit there all day in a nice comfy chair, and nurse a coffee for as long as I wished. This was my first introduction to this concept of being able to hang out somewhere for practically nothing; as was my first introduction to Borders, a book store chain, that actually allowed people to sit all over the store on couches or on the floor in the isles to read whatever they wanted without the pressure to buy anything. So cool…. Remember this was back in the mid 90’s for me.
Okay, in walks my guitar and guitar lessons. This was my new BF for a good long time. I spent many hours playing, learning, blending with it and the music. I had always loved the sound of guitars. They seem to reach deep down and touch my soul. The music, whatever kind, really stirs me. I love the baritones up to the sopranos, each one touching me differently and in a different place in my body…. I can feel the resonance deep inside myself. I gravitate to long, slow, haunting sounds, much like what I’ve got playing now, which is why I put it up here. The opening stretch of music. I love Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life”… well that’s not guitar, per se, but her voice. Other guitar playing I like is on Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page”, Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”, the pretty sound of “Greensleeves”, Savatage’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo (12/24)”. Anything that is expressive.
I remember the frustration I felt when I could not play the first chord I learned which was the jazz style “G”. That one is one of the hardest to finger. Your pinky has got to fly all the way up to the last string, while your first 2 fingers are squished together, fingering the lower ones. I was crying like you would not believe, but I got it. I learned all the basic chords and taught myself a lot more by downloading tabs for the chords. The minors really touch me. I will say here that if you are a musician, please excuse my musical speech because I have no formal training and don’t read music.
The first song I learned was by ear, AND it was one that I was unfamiliar with. My mentor, Anthony, is a country music lover and wanted us to play “The Convict and the Rose” by Hank Williams. A very easy song as it only has 2 chords, but I had no idea of how it should go. I floundered for a good long time until I eventually I got it. We had a little list of songs we did when we got together which was the nicest time I ever had up to that point. Much to Anthony’s delight I was very comfortable just playing the chords to his lead guitar.
I soon classified myself as a “rhythm guitarist” because I was only interested in learning chords and not the harmony. Partially because I cannot understand sheet music. It’s not that I’ve not tried, I just can’t get it. Not a surprise to me because I am severely mathematically challenged. I just don’t get it. I really liked the idea of playing chords with feeling, or with sort of a melody. I can’t really explain that better. Anthony had friends who played guitars, too, and we all got together a few times. They were all men, so I was inhibited by my shyness as I couldn’t get that “guy thing” out of my head. One of them was very kind and very cute and he even made a CD of his original songs. His musical mastery intimidated me all by itself, but he kindly complimented me when I accompanied him on “Leader of the Band” and “Scarborough Fair”. Every song we played, I wanted to play it slower. I wanted to savor every note, every vibration. I played a version of “Nights and White Satin” much slower than it’s usually done and it sounds beautiful. It was my favorite song to relax to. Oh, got to mention that I loved to be able to sing and play at the same time. Music and words forever blending together to form something beautiful, but words and music are distinct in their own way, much like a marriage. Ever like the words of a song, but not the music or visa versa? Music and words that are done right touch me like nothing else on earth ever could.
After I learned the basics, developmentally I came up against a stone wall. This means that I was playing the same way all the time and could not break out of that groove. I was told by Anthony to just keep practicing and eventually, it would happen, so that is what I did. One day, I did break out of it. I don’t know how it happened, but my hand suddenly did something different and I liked it so I kept doing it. I was elated for awhile, but then, I got entrenched in THAT groove and could not get out. I guess there is nothing wrong with that because the playing still sounds the same, but I got bored with it and anyone would. As with anything else, musical growth is essential or you just stagnate right where you are forever. I stuck with it, though, little by little I played less and less. Then with making wedding plans, then with the birth of our son, the guitar just stayed in the closet to this day. The only time it saw daylight was when I moved my closet to another room to make room for my son’s things.
Ah, now I am seriously thinking about taking it out again. Something I am really hesitating on because of the limited time I have to myself as it is; and I can only take it out when my son is safely gone to sleep in his crib. I know. He will want it even before I get a chance to take it out of the case. I have tolerated him getting into my stuff. I have tolerated him destroying my stuff; but this is one thing that he cannot be allowed to even get into a position to destroy. Despite my feelings, I am really eager to have my son be exposed to it, see what it can do. He is just too young and doesn’t get the concept yet that he needs to take care of his things…. (sigh)
Will close here. I want to say so much more, but a lot of the songs I loved to play escape my memory, but I’ll write more as things unfold here.