Hi there, folks. I have some exciting news to share: Last Thursday night, I bought myself a guitar!
Though it may seem like an impulse purchase, I have dreamed of learning how to play the guitar for ages. Many years my Christmas or birthday wish lists have included “blue acoustic guitar.” And every time I watched someone playing a guitar, blue or not, I pined away.
When I saw my friend (and former sorority “big sis”) Abby’s Facebook status a few weeks ago that said she was going to begin taking guitar lessons, it just reignited that flame. I hopped on the Guitar Center website and began searching through all the brands and models—some I had lusted after before and others that were new to me. I had decided that it was time to stop wishing, to stop saying, ‘oh, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar’ and just do it. There’s no time like the present, right? It was time to make my own dream come true.
So on Thursday night, that’s just what I did. I convinced my brother Patrick to come with me to my local Guitar Center for moral support but even still I was a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. When the employee helping me placed a contender in my hand, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I didn’t know any chords to play or even which strings were which notes! But my Ibanez acoustic-electric guitar (with transparent blue sunburst) looked good and felt good, and I had read glowing reviews online. Ultimately, it won out over the also beautiful Epiphone Hummingbird (with the heritage cherry sunburst design) and, tucked inside a new cushioned case, the Ibanez came home with me.
This past weekend I started fiddling around with my new instrument. After looking up which string is which note, I successfully tuned my guitar! Then I watched a few tutorials on YouTube and learned to play a very basic version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”—albeit, very slowly. One step at a time…
It is bittersweet that my older brother Jeremy isn't around to help me through this learning process. He was a natural talent when it came to making music. He would create funny songs about me and my stuffed animal while strumming on his acoustic guitar and I remember there were many nights he would stay up late playing on his electric—until my mother came up to his room and told him to stop because the younger kids were trying to sleep! If he were here, I know he would have me jamming in no time. But his memory serves as a source of motivation to keep at it even when it gets tough, as I know it will! Sure, I sing and read music and used to play the oboe, but the guitar is a whole other animal.
As I am still very new to this whole guitar thing, any and all tips are welcome from those veteran guitarists out there! I'd love to hear your thoughts-- what most helped you when you were starting out? Am I crazy to think I can learn without taking formal lessons?
Photo taken by Patrick. He wanted to make sure I gave him proper credit. :) Thanks bro!