This blog has been quiet for an age so I’ve decided to refresh it a bit. Whatever I mean by ‘refresh’ remains to be seen, but amazingly it still gets a few visitors!
I’ve been playing a lot more guitar these days; partly prompted by a performance I’m giving soon. Fortunately, I’m only doing one song for some people (who shall remain nameless), as the prospect of standing up in front of 20+ people and giving them an hour of my time bothers me a bit. Odd really, as I could probably keep going for ages in a less formal setting.
Someone I know slightly said, ‘You remind me of Nick Drake.’ I’m nothing like him, apart from a bit of performance anxiety. I also use fewer exotic tunings than he did. Mind you, he was hugely talented and deserves to be more widely heard.
Guitars are really beautiful and satisfying to play… assuming you have a good one. I’ve spent years thumping away on poorly made mass produced models, but now I have a decent instrument which is a constant source of pleasure.
There is something almost sensual about shutting out the world and sitting down for a long practise session. It’s quite a meditative experience… and anyway, it’s fun!
There’s a downside to all this though: playing guitar hurts your fingers. Eventually the tyro guitarist develops hard pads on his fingertips, but before this you experience a lot of discomfort. A mate of mine recently called this, ‘the bleeding stage.’
I think it was Shakespeare who said, ‘All the world’s a bleedin’ stage.’ This isn’t well known, so keep it to yourself.
Good (guitar) wood brings responsibility though. It’s not enough to pick one up and play it every day. You have to nurture it like a big expensive baby. Guitars pick up dirt and grease from your fingers, which has to be cleaned off. Strings need replacing about once a month (assuming you play regularly), and your guitar sometimes needs a good rub-down with a soft cloth… and maybe a dollop of specialised cleaner.
As if that’s not enough, your big (expensive: about the price of a second-hand car) baby guitar needs to live in a case, or else it’s liable to loose a lot of moisture. It’s wood, after all. I won’t go into the finer details of all this because I’m still learning about them myself, but it’s a far cry from the way I treated my first steel strung instrument: chucking it in the back of the car and dropping it at regular intervals!
Anyway, there’s a point to this ramble. If you don’t play an instrument, have you thought of taking one up? It’s worth the effort, and it’s better than watching the telly or sitting in a traffic jam.