As many of you know, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Tim and me. On July 17, my Memere died. On July 26, my great aunt Mary, the last of my grandmother’s sisters, passed away. Just three days later, Tim’s grandfather also ended a long and colorful life. We’ve got a great network of friends and family to lean on, but it’s been an emotional time for both of us.
I’ve found a completely unexpected way to help me cope.
I’m learning to play guitar.
A few months ago, I toyed with the idea of learning to play guitar – after all, there are at least five of them in our house. Tim fully supported that idea. He let me try all his guitars to see which one felt the most comfortable…but nothing quite felt right. I’d like the body on one, but the neck on another. The Telecaster felt the best, and I liked the look…sunburst with a black pick guard. I messed around with it for a few days, but didn’t stick with it.
Then, last Saturday, we went to a music store so Tim could pick up another amp for his studio. I usually wander around and look at all the pretty instruments, pointing out things I like or asking why something’s $9,000. Sometimes I touch things, but I never play them.
Then I saw the Gretsch. Not one of the big hollow bodies my rockabilly favorites play, but a smaller silver guitar that still has a retro vibe. I picked her up and started strumming. Magic. I loved the sound, and she felt right. Heavy, but RIGHT. Just for comparison, I picked up a lovely hollow body Epiphone. Nope. Not mine. But the Gretsch…she wanted to come home with me.
So I bought her. My own guitar.
And I’ve been playing religiously every day since. I’ve got a book my dad gave Tim a few years ago with scales; that’s helping me figure out patterns and giving me an inkling of how to read music. I found a website that explains chords in a way that makes sense to me. And I’m messing around just trying to play songs I like. I’m building dexterity and starting to get callouses. And even though I’m still a total beginner, in a little over a week, I’ve already gotten noticeably better.
Her name: Gretta Marie.
It’s been nice to have something new to focus on. While I’m plinking away at scales, Tim picks up one of his guitars and plays at the same time, so we’re both wandering around the living room making noise together. Maybe in a few months I’ll actually be able to play real songs. Stay tuned.