Me and My Guitar

February 7, 2008

I started playing guitar when I was fourteen, and I played all through high school, college, and graduate school.  During my college years, when I was most serious about music, I played in an acoustic trio that performed regularly and generated something of a following.  For years, I thought of myself as a Musician — it was one of my defining identities, if you know what I mean.

But then other identities started to impose themselves on me and on my life:  Husband, Father, Historian for a short while, and then of course, Writer.  Sometimes these days I even think of myself as a Photographer.  I wouldn’t want to give up any of these, but as the Musician within me has been shunted to the side, I’ve found that I miss making music.  Occasionally I go back to my guitar, but I don’t play nearly as well now as I once did.  I used to play for hours every day.  Now I’ll go for months without playing at all.  Is it any wonder that I sound terrible?  I get frustrated, I put the guitar away again, and I go back to missing it.

The other day, a friend of mine — another guitar player; another Musician who is also a Husband and a Father, as well as a Doctor, and, right now, a Guy-Who’s-Building-A-Home — mentioned to me that he had taken his guitar out of its case and put it on a guitar stand where he sees it all the time.  As a result, when he has a minute or two of free time, he picks it up and he plays.

I have a guitar stand, too — a cherished relic from my performing days, very much like my guitar itself.  After talking to my friend, I pulled out the stand, put it in a corner of my office, and put my guitar on it.  That was Monday.  I’ve played every day this week.  I haven’t played a lot; I have too many other things to do.  Besides, I sound like crap and my fingers start to hurt after two or three songs.  I can’t yet claim to be a Musician again.  Not by a long shot.  But I’m playing, and that feels really good.

Today’s music:  Pat Metheny (One Quiet Night)

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2 Responses to “Me and My Guitar”

  1. Brian said

    I do the same thing now that I live in a house big enough to have an office. I set all my instruments and amps, and when I save up enough some recording software for my computer to mix tracks and make songs. I dont play nearly as much as I used to, but its a lot more than I did when in vet school.

  2. davidbcoe said

    I have another friend — actually one of the folks I played with in college — who does tons of home recording. It’s incredible what you can do these days with a computer, good software, and some wires. Good luck with your playing!

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