NaBloPoMo: Music (Well, guitars) [ties]

I was in eighth grade when I got my first guitar.  I didn't know what I was getting into, but it just felt right somehow to ask for an electric set for my Bar Mitzvah present from my dad.  He bought it from a friend of mine.  It was an Epiphone Les Paul Special, the cheapest guitar in the product line.  That night, I learned "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix and played it constantly over the next few weeks.  I was awful at it, and I appreciate my parents' patience with my learning process.

Eight years, four guitars (acoustic, electric, another acoustic, and another electric.  I only kept the last two, though), uncountable amplifiers (well, more like 6), and LOTS of lessons later, I'm a passable musician with enough skills to play in a wide variety of scenes.  That really doesn't interest me, though.  What does interest me is the way the guitar feels in my hands when I pick it up off the wall, its weight and the balance with which it hangs off my shoulders by the strap.  The vibrations through the body and neck still give me chills, and honestly there are moments when sitting still and plucking a single note over and over is enough to please me.

As readers are beginning to realize, I am easily made wide-eyed about small but significant aspects of my life.  I think my relationship with the guitar is an archetype for this sort of experience.  Every now and then I spend several hours simply touching the guitars, polishing them and inspecting them, tuning them and changing the strings, never actually playing them.  Like anything in life, if you treat a guitar well, it will treat you well in return.

An instrument is a conduit to another dimension, a set of feelings and sensations not accessible through non-musical means.  It can facilitate friendships, long nights spent playing and learning and creating, and it can foster romances, spreading feelings unknown to that point, or providing a connection upon which to base affection and embraces.  Learning how to play the guitar is the most rewarding, frustrating, and affirming experience in the world.  I will never stop learning, because there is no end to what you can know and do with those six strings.


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A blog about social change, written from Brooklyn, New York. Currently looking for contributors.