Given the fact that I spent most of three days in the back of a van or freezing my ass off in a windswept field in Ohio, I didn’t get to practice much this past week. Knowing that I had ground to make up, and wanting to avoid the old, familiar shame of being in a music lesson unprepared, I spent a couple of hours working the first three fingers of my left hand numb to the bone yesterday and today.
My teacher was kind, and I actually did make it all the way through “Peaceful Easy Feeling” with only a few hiccups. His words were encouraging, and I didn’t feel like I was wasting his time—or mine. So we moved on to the next song, “Boys Better”, and I continued to fumble around the quick G-D-A change, unable to keep up. I’ve got the rhythm but the change is still too fast. We then moved on to the chorus, which is a counterpoint to the verse—all power chords instead of the clean, proper chords I’ve been learning. So I got my first lesson in “Smoke On The Water” and “Iron Man”, and put that knowledge to good use as we worked on the song.
And, playing it through slowly, for the first time, I felt like I could actually learn this damned thing.
On the way out I had the nice fellows behind the counter look at the action on the strings; my teacher was amazed at how high they were (thereby forcing me to work much harder to play it). I felt mighty sheepish handing over my beginner’s Fender to guys selling guitars worth more than my Jeep, but the man who worked on it smiled at me as he turned the key in the truss rod. “No, we’re not going to be mean, because when you’re ready to buy a better guitar, we want you to buy it from us.”
There’s a bit of inspiration in those words; I’d like to be worthy of a handmade guitar someday.