Fretting

After several months of planning and budgeting, I brought home an acoustic guitar on Friday.

I grew up playing music, having asked my parents for piano lessons at the age of 6. After studying piano and music theory for a dozen years or so, I started getting pretty interested in guitar —probably due to the fact that I was listening to so much metal at the time— and started plinking away at an old acoustic guitar that my dad had lying around.

I taught myself some chords and songs, and even got decent enough to jam with some friends. And then, one day, I just… stopped.

I don’t know why. It’s been over a decade since I seriously touched an instrument, but I still consider myself a musician at heart.

So, I decided to bring music back into my life. I did the homework, and ordered a Taylor “Big Baby” acoustic guitar at my local music store. I also signed up for an online class at Guitareo to help me unlearn whatever bad habits I might have picked up while teaching myself. While we’re only at strumming practice, it’s been really helpful so far!

Why did I choose guitar over my first instrument, the piano? There are a few reasons:

  • Practically speaking, it’s a lot easier to find room for an acoustic guitar than a piano in a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Financially, it’s also significantly more affordable. You can get a great starter acoustic guitar for about $250.
  • It’s a lot easier to bring your acoustic guitar to a friend’s place or the park than it is to bring a piano (but I guess there are some options).
  • After having surgery to reattach a severed tendon in my pinky about a year and a half ago, my left hand is lacking in strength and dexterity — something that a guitar will develop more effectively than a piano.

That said, I would love to bring a piano back into my life at some point.

Here are three things I learned since picking up the guitar:

  1. It’s so much easier to find decent tablature online than I expected. Back when I was learning in high school (pre-internet), you either had to buy it in-store or in a guitar magazine, or figure a song out by ear.
  2. Don’t forget to budget for accessories. While I’m trying to avoid going overboard with gear purchases (yeah, I’m one of those people when it comes to hobbies), I did still pick up a guitar stand, a capo, a spare set of strings, a re-stringing tool, and a guitar humidifier. Oh, and some picks.
  3. Developing callouses on your fretting hand’s fingertips sucks. I’ve been trying to play for 30-60 minutes a day since bringing home the guitar, and while my fingers are getting there, it’s going to be tender for a few more days. Just gotta push through and keep practicing.

Years later, I’m surprised that I’m still able to play little licks from old favourites. Getting back into it hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought, which is really encouraging. My fingers still fumble going through chord changes, but I think that practicing daily will get me there.

More tk. Until then, rock on. \m/

Angelo Stavrow

Montreal, Canada
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Tinkerer with a strong interest for development, of both the personal and software persuasion; easily defeated with spatulas. Equal measures enthusiasm and concern for tech's effect on the world. He/him.