Last week, I dusted off my “Oscar Schmidt” acoustic guitar and tried to play some random songs from my memory bank in front of my nieces. I failed miserably and I immediately lost their interest as they became focused on whatever else was entertaining them and I felt rejected, emotionally.
I enjoy listening to the sounds of the guitar. Its a great noise that comes from those strings as they are strummed, plucked and picked. In high school I wanted a bass guitar because it sounded cool and I had some friends that liked to play those funky backbeats. My parents rented one for me as a gift and it came with a small amp. I had fun messing around with it but I never really got anywhere. I even took advantage of a free lesson, but still, I got no where. Then about a year later, mom and dad tried it again. They rented an electric guitar for me to satisfy my interest once again. I cheated and played guitar solos on my cd player in the background in my bedroom and pretended I was playing. I ended up fooling my mother, but that wasn’t any fun. I lost patience and the guitar and amp was returned to the music shop.
College came. Various room mates and friends in the dorms had guitars. Electric and Acoustic. As much as I enjoyed hearing the guys jam away, and believe me they were impressive, I just didn’t have the time, patience and skill to jump right in and start playing with all the pedals and knobs, etc. However, when I listened to this one guy with a beard during my second year in college, I suddenly found a way to do this. He was reading tablature from a Smashing Pumpkins song, I think. Its a way of notating music. But tablature made it more simple for me to grasp. It lays out the frets and strings in a more elementary sort of way. At that point my interest in music was soaring anyway. I was experimenting with a lot of bands and hanging out with all kinds of friends that showed me a thing or two with the acoustic guitar. I find that going back to the roots of music with that kind of instrument and those kinds of easy guitar tabs made my experience a lot easier.
I would occasionally pick up my roommate’s, “Hotsauce” was his nickname, acoustic guitar and start jamming based on trial and error. I would hear the sounds on the cd player or sit and observe others, like the bearded man from earlier, and just go by feel and sound. But, of course, the tabs helped a lot when I returned home from college. My parents finally BOUGHT me an Oscar Schmidt guitar. I found myself enjoying it a lot more and growing much more patient with it. All through the late nineties and early naughties, I played frequently. I was able to mess around with the styles of bands like Monster Magnet, Type O Negative, Pink Floyd, Jewel, Mazzy Star and Smashing Pumpkins. But then it really started to collect dust, until I met my wife. I tried to impress her but my efforts weren’t so great because I started to rust out a little. My lack of practicing showed, unfortunately. But lately, since my encounter with the nieces, I decided to try and master a couple of songs and spend more time with it.
Sure I love to listen to music, write about music, go to concerts and review them. But I wish to bring back the acoustic instrument back into my life. I seem to know so much about music and who my favorite guitarists are and I love to write poems that are very much musical. So why cant I get back up on the musical horse and start riding again? That is one of my goals this year. To become connected with the music on a deeper level. Who knows maybe I’ll even post a video of me playing in the future. We’ll see. Later.
Time for some Tom and Jerry……..