As a result of my experience in Corona at BGU Live this year, I’ve discovered a few things both about myself and some observations in general that might be of help to anyone who finds they are experiencing similar fears.
I overanalyze everything and frequently suffer from analysis paralysis. In my remaining years, I need to live a bit more in the moment and a little less worried about what the future holds. This applies to a lot more than just playing guitar.
Not really. Well, yeah, I won, but the mad skills is just click-bait. I just had an awesome experience and in a unique break from my usual self-deprecating, lowered expectations style. I had an incredibly good time on a visit to California a couple of weeks ago.
This gets a bit wordy, so if you’re into light reading, you might want to click away now!
My current interest is in the blues. If you’re playing blues guitar, you may never play a major scale in your life, but you should know what they are if you’re ever going to play in more than one key. The blues is usually based on some variation of a 12 bar pattern that repeats over and over. I’m probably not telling you anything new there.
No doubt about it, I’m not a kid anymore. You know that when people stop referring to you as “wet behind the ears.” I never knew what the meant anyway.
LIfe started out for me with a definite bent towards music. I played accordion for a number of years, until the accordion joined most Americans’ most hated list, right up there with bagpipes. Dick Contino, Myron Floren and Frank Yankovic notwithstanding, the Beatles and the British invasion of the sixties was the death knell for the accordion. Other than John West, playing the Cordovox in Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the sixties were devoid of any accordion heroes. So who was I to fight progress? I switched from being an “accordionist” to being a “keyboard player.” In the mid-sixties, other than Mike Smith, who played a Vox Jaguar for The Dave Clark Five, and Alan Price for The Animals, there weren’t many mainstream rock and roll keyboard players to emulate. My roots with the Natural Music Studios gave me an entré into the world of six stringers, which I immediately loved! I beat my first guitar nearly to death. It was a mid-fifties Fender Esquire, which was given to me by the studio owner so I could learn (and teach) guitar. Along the way, I owned any number of other guitars and basses as I slowly transitioned myself to stringed instruments from the keyboards.
Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been a geek for pretty much all my life. When I was 11 years old (back when dinosaurs roamed the planet), I had a workbench in my bedroom, with soldering iron, a Simpson Volt-Ohm-Milliameter and a Knight-Kit oscilloscope (homebuilt). There was always a twin bed rather than something larger, because I needed the room for all the various junk I used to drag in to fix/cannibalize or otherwise tinker with.
That carried over to my later years as well. I worked as a counterman at an electronic parts house for a year and had to regularly inventory several thousand RCA vacuum tubes.
So, when Radio Shack came out with their first computer, the TRS-80 Model I, I had to have one. I even “lowered” myself to go to Radio Shack to buy one.Read more: Free Software! Yeah, buddy! (Part One)
Before I proceed any further, I want to make sure the person who inspired this post is acknowledged. His name is Griff Hamlin and he has produced several DVD based learn-at-home guitar courses. I’m currently studying his Blues Guitar Unleashed (BGU) course. Let me say that I am very impressed with his course material and I believe it to be worth every penny I paid for it. Griff has my undying respect and admiration for turning his dreams into goals and his goals into reality. Griff, if you’re reading this, thank you, thank you and thank you!
…And a time for every purpose under heaven. When I decided to start playing the guitar again (or should I say “attempt to start playing the guitar again”), I had been entirely out of touch with the music world for years. Let me restate that a little differently. I had not been playing, practicing or in any other manner keeping a skill set alive. My love of music has never wavered over the years. To this date, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 or so albums of music on good old vinyl LP records and another 300 or so on reel-to-reel tape. Now a lot of people have collections larger than this, but I have dragged this entire collection from its starting point in Illinois around 1963, to both coasts of the U.S. and quite a few states in-between. Instead of lightening the load over the years, I’ve kept adding on as I find new caches of material. But I digress…