To Everything, There is a Season

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…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…

When I decided to learn to play the guitar again, I more or less figured this was a solo effort, spawned from some hidden desire to re-live my youth. That may be correct, but it appears I’m certainly not the only one doing it. My first plan of action was to peruse the web, looking for a decent online course that I could take at my own pace. Most of what I found was pretty disappointing. There are some masters of the instrument out there, who can play far beyond any abilities I’ll ever possess, but they can’t teach worth a damn. I tried just checking out guitar tabs, but having not played for so many years, I just wasn’t up to begin with something that abstract. Then in one search I found a video called 4 Note solo. I already have a pretty decent understanding of the 12 bar blues, so I was curious as to what you could do with 4 notes in a solo. ?When I got to the link, I realized it was published by Griff Hamlin.

The name rang a bell because I went on a guitar music scrounging trip a few years ago on the Internet and spent several days looking for various guitarists and styles. Somewhere, I had found about a dozen of his songs. It was either at the original MP3.com website or http://guitar9.com. In any case, I went back to my MP3 collection and listened to what he played. Not bad. Then I checked out one of his websites where he was hawking his course “Blues Guitar Unleashed” and watched some sample lessons. I understood what he was trying to do and from my own background thought he was doing a really good job of explaining what it is you are learning. The course was around $135, so I bought it.

After purchasing it, I received an email inviting me to join a bulletin board forum he runs in conjunction with the course (and some other courses he also has authored). I signed up and lurked about the board for a little over a month, while waiting to get the remodeling done on my computer room-to-music room conversion and start the course in earnest. From what I have seen from the activity so far in the forum, there are indeed quite a few “Old Farts With Guitars,” guys like me that either gave it up early on in life or who have found themselves without a houseful of kids and obligations that eat all their free time. At first glance, I would say the average age is somewhere near 50 years.

I’ve had the course for about two months and have worked my way through the first DVD and have started working a bit on the second one. So far I’m very impressed with what is being taught and more so by how it is taught. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m coming along and what I think as I progress through the rest of Blues Guitar Unleashed.

I’m sure that when the book of Ecclesiastes was written, had the blues been invented yet, there would have been mention of a time to rock on.

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