I re-took up the guitar a couple of years ago. The usual admonition in such situations is…
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
What I’ve come to understand that old dogs are way past mere, “tricks.”
As noted in the recent post Manchild with Guitar, I’ve taken up the guitar again after about 45 years. I’m now pleased to report that I know more about what I’m doing with it than I did when I was 13 going on Eric Clapton.
I am really benefiting from the wealth of guitar instructional material now available, in book-form, on DVDs, CDs and on the web. I’m also taking lessons, which is something I couldn’t afford when a youngster.
But the work I put in as a lanky teenager of sad disposition has also really helped my current learning curve a lot. All the common open chords came back quickly, and the changes one to another. I knew one pentatonic box, without knowing what to do with it. But now after learning the other four up the fretboard, I’m thankful for the little bit of a base my younger self bequeathed me.
I’ve found that I’m not quite as tone-deaf as I assumed, and that helps as I now learn to jam along with blues tracks in different keys using one useful book-CD combination I’ve come across. I still haven’t recovered the little bit of fingerpicking skill I managed back then, but I’ll be coming back to that too eventually.
Although I was a pretty bad and limited guitar player back then, and remain so largely today, I now see avenues of practice and enthusiasm where I can improve more than I thought possible.
At 58, where do I want to go with playing a guitar? Firstly, I want to pick up my electric guitar, plug it into the amp, turn it up loud and begin to rock. Secondly, and more to the point, I want to learn to improvise, playing lead over a chord structure. My fantasy is to get to the level where I could play a small set for my family and friends, and they’d be duly impressed… (and not feeling, oh my god, he wants to play the guitar for us again)… don’t know if I’ll ever get there.