Skip to main content

Strum Away

two taylor guitars side by side
For those of you who read along on a regular basis, I greatly appreciate it. Over the years you’ve heard me endlessly talk about Live An Artful Life and usually through my escapades as a working artist and writer. This time will be a little different.
In the mid-1960s when the Beatles were all the rage and I still had the Motown bug bitting at me, I was given a rental guitar and lessons for my birthday. If I’m being honest, and I am, I don’t honestly remember even asking for it, but I must have. Soon after, actually, way too soon if you want the truth, I was then given an ES 125 Gibson archtop with P90 pickups for those that care. Now I say too soon because I had several things taking place that would actually derail my efforts in learning to properly play any instrument. Here goes.

First, my guitar teacher was an old guy that really shouldn’t have been teaching because as I would begin to play he would begin to sleep. It took a while to share this information with my mother. Basically, I was not being taught and that brought the whole thing to a stop, but I still had the guitar. I was all of nine or ten years old. Second, my school buddy Kurt Stine was one of those types that just touched an instrument and would play it well. He took to it very quickly, maybe like I took to drawing. It just came easy.

In any event, we started a band and my vocals rose to the top and Kurt’s playing did too, so my guitar playing took a back seat to the other two guitar players. I still loved it but I wasn’t applying myself to learning. Now I have to say, this is a really important thing. Building a good foundation for creative endeavors is mega important and in my case, between the bad teacher, Kurt’s excellent playing and my dyslexia and other learning challenges, I never gave myself the proper foundation. Instead, I just hacked at it all of my life. That’s right, I still hack away at it. I’m just better at hacking away than I use to be.

I’m pretty sure I’ve owned at least 30 guitars in my lifetime and I just bought another one, and not a cheap one either. But the only advantage of owning a relatively expensive guitar today is that I enjoy even just holding it and well, you have to hold em to play em!

What I’ve come to know at this point in my life is that playing is all for fun. I don’t have to earn a living from playing, but I hope to have a sense of creative accomplishment. I like having expanded horizons. I want to play better than I have and that in itself is enough to give me a sense of joy and contentment.

After accomplishing a reasonable amount of success with my artwork and with writing, I still want to set my sights on accomplishment and playing the guitar offers this. So if you find yourself in search of growth, at any age, chase it. Will there be frustration? Heck, I say 100% chance! But the bigger question is if there will be gratification. I know there will be!

Live an artful life,