Thursday, September 6, 2012

E, A, D, G, B, E

...which of course, all guitar freaks will recognize as the open strings of the guitar.

I started my classes day before yesterday. The teacher seems really good, a nice, soft-spoken and very professional young man, with fingers that can coax the most amazing sounds from that instrument. I've been given a set of exercises for this week and I'm trying to do them as diligently as possible. Yesterday I managed about 30 minutes, and today I'm trying to push myself for more ( and therefore it would help if I wasn't pausing to blog, but my fingers hurt so I'm taking a break. Yes, the fingers are capable of typing, not playing right now, go away, will you?)

I was unable to play properly yesterday, everything was getting messed up because I'm so rusty. But miraculously today, I'm able to do the exercises much better - it's just a question of getting the little pink soft tips of these lazy fingers all hard and calloused again. The way it was about, what - 15 years ago?

I don't know. Am I an age-ist? I can't see myself taking guitar lessons in my forties. So I figured I might as well take them in my thirties and attempt to start playing again, and surpass the levels I had attained as a college kid - who used to walk around in baggy pants and an attitude at all the Delhi University fests. In college, I won quite a few prizes at the competitions -but for a combination of singing and playing always - I was never a great guitarist - just played about enough to belt out a decent song. But then of course, the guitar has been hovering in the background for me. I just didn't want it to be that way.

I don't think I'll ever be a great guitarist either - but I do want to be a good one. I just want to be able to pick it up and tinker with it and figure out a new song and sing - without my fingers aching. Without the frustration that comes from not being able to figure out a complex chord, and just giving up.

When I was 15, my parents bought me this small guitar which they had picked up from a Flea Market abroad. It was tinny, and it didn't sound very nice. But it was the first. And it was incredibly frustrating to try and play - the sounds just didn't come out right. And then one day, they did. And it was the most amazing feeling when things sounded like they were supposed to. I was delighted. So over the next few years, I played and got better - until I started work, got married and other things in life took over.

This last guitar that I've got , which I fondly call Bluey. Yes, it's a distinct shade of Blue - I bought it in Bombay a few years back. It's a really nice guitar- a Granada. And the really surprising thing is - I haven't changed the strings on this one, except for one that broke. This guitar is a resilient one - it still produces great sound, despite this lack of string-changing and the overall lack of attention.

Anyway - I just hope I'm able to keep it up. I'm self-taught and therefore my technique is non-existent. It's sort of starting over - hence the lessons from an expert. I did take lessons a few months ago too, but it was to no avail, considering that I never got around to putting in the practice time.

It's really a bit of a no-brainer - but like many things, it's easy to say and not so easy to do - with anything worthwhile ( learning the guitar? writing a book? juggling? seriously, I taught myself to juggle three balls as a bored 7 year old, from a Reader's Digest article on juggling. Could join a circus.) , there's a lot of frustration in the beginning. The trick is to start ...and then not stop. I've started. Now let me see if I can keep it up.

E, A, D, G, B, E...C major scale...Tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone...


  1. Way to go!!!
    Been following ur sabbatical for a while! vicariously loving it. And completely envious! :)
    A book. 3 months of Zumba. and now the guitar!! seriously lady, slow down will ya ;)
    And stop giving the likes of me such a major complex! ;)

  2. Wow Y! Glad that you have started...your blog is inspiring...I remembered how I had started learning Guitar(Repaired an old guitar taking all the way to Koramangala, finding a decent repair shop, paying an unexpected amount for new set of strings and nut.)

    And like your way...E,A,D,G,B,E started.........

    All the Best Y!

  3. Just read your book and loved it ! I am not married, I am not a mother but I found the book a laugh riot :)
    Somehow I am in love with Kiran and her jamai babu-isms :)
    Good luck with the guitar !

  4. Just read your book and loved it ! I am not married, I am not a mother but I found the book a laugh riot :)
    Somehow I am in love with Kiran and her jamai babu-isms :)
    Good luck with the guitar !

  5. You are one persistent girl, Y! Happy playing.

  6. woohoo! I've to learn playing guitar too and before I start m 40s ;)

    just some day I'll also a similar post, and then I'll link back to yours :)

  7. Welldone :) It has been on my mind for very long. Need to take inspiration from you. Btw, read your book and loved it very much.

  8. Of course I recognize those notes that transcend me 20 years back into the past. I had a Hobner with a haunting sound, at least that is what my instructor thought, and have longish fingers ideal for Spanish Guitars (again my instructor's idea). I have had urges to pick up the fragments of my muse for over two decades now. But I seriously fractured the crucial left index finger in a freak accident a few years ago and it has put an end to the old craving. I am glad you have pulled up your musical strings once more; I am happy for you.

    Incidentally, that is a delightful book you've written. Where can I post a review?


Hi there. Go on, say it. Well? WELL?