I started playing guitar a few years ago and it was really more on a whim than something I intended to do. As such, I was rather unprepared for the process, having forgotten everything my brother had taught me a few months before that. I had been waiting for forever for someone to drop from the sky and help me re-learn my lost knowledge when I randomly watched this show about the Jonas Brothers (yeah, I did listen to them. Still do actually, and it’s okay, you can judge me), and Joe was talking about how he picked up a guitar book and learned the thing in three days. Amazing, right?
My first reaction was, yeah, he’s a person with an inherent musical gift, so it should have been easy for him; it doesn’t mean that I can just go ahead and do the same thing. So I continued sitting on it, waiting for a sign, until I watched another random show (I watch lot’s of TV, by the way) and I saw a disabled guy playing guitar with his feet. Whaaaaaaat? Surely if he can play with his feet, an inspired, younger me said, my able-bodied self can at least try to learn it playing with my hands. And that’s how the journey started.
My brother was still in college at the time and I still didn’t have anyone to teach me. If I can at least remember the chords, I thought to myself, I should have some ground to start on, and then I’ll figure it out as I go. And in the age we live in, with the internet almost readily available anywhere you are, it took literally nothing to punch the words ‘learn guitar’ into a google search and sift through the results that came up. As you would expect, there were millions of them, and I began feeling overwhelmed almost instantly. Still, I was determined, so I saved the basic major and minor chords, borrowed the church’s guitar, dived in head first. It’s time to rock and roll.
I snapped a string literally on the first day, and with the guitar being being a classic scarlet Fender Stratocaster, I thought it meant my short-lived career of a rock star was over, but after a night of panicking (and almost selling my soul to the devil to get the money to pay for it), I realised that even though it would be different, I could still carry on learning with five strings. Found out a month later that a set of new strings is only about a hundred bucks, so that would have been Lucifer’s easiest deal ever. Anyways, I continued learning what I could through the internet, but things only really started to make sense when I went to the local library and started reading on music theory. That’s when I can say, I could finally call myself a musician. A rock star? Not quite yet.
Weeks became months and months became years, and I learned as much as I could through a variety of sources; other musicians who I’d see playing live from concerts or otherwise, the ridiculous amount of music I listen to and by playing along to as many genres as I could, and also occasionally visiting the internet and watching YouTube videos. I avoided the internet, though, when I could, for a number of reasons. The main one being it can be very discouraging to see how far people have gone, and then you look at your three-chord playing self and wonder, ‘What am I even doing with my life?’ The volume of things you’ll find on the internet, again, is very overwhelming and it makes it hard to decide where to start and who’s knowledge to trust. So it can be a tricky domain to maneuver, but if used right, you man never need anything else your entire musical journey, even though I still do encourage having at least some sort of a mentor to offer even just advice, if nothing else.
Anyways, what’s the whole point of this? Well, I don’t consider myself to have made it yet, but I have come a long way, and it’s always been a dream to help as many people as I can to get to where I am, and where I want to be as well. That’s what the Soundhole Sessions are. Sharing my guitar journey so far with all of you, and hoping that someone will pick something that will make the world of difference in their playing. Time will always be a limiting factor, but if used wisely, we can get somewhere.
So there you have it. Again, time will limit how much content I can work on and produce in a month, but hopefully, I’ll have something new for you every thirty days, and you’ll be able to make your dream of playing guitar a reality.
Let’s do this!