Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Playing Guitar

In the weeks before Christmas, the Bean begged us for a guitar.  So, being the best parents EVER, we got her one.  Her enthusiasm to learn to play the instrument was infectious, so I went out to buy one myself so that we could leasrn together.  That's waht we've been doing.

I am amzed by how the Bean is getting parts of playing the guitar so much easier than me.  She's better at reading the music and, more importantly, knowing where the notes she's reading are on the fretboard.  She just gets things quicker than me.  Some may think this is frustrating for me, and sometimes it is, but on the whole I marvel at the process.  I love watching her fingers dance across the fingerboard as she playes her favourite songs.

As for myself, I really enjoy playing, even though I find learning the instrument to be quite a challenge.  I find the guitar completely engrossing with the time flying by while I play.  The Bean and I are taking weekly lessons and when we learn something new, I think we'll never get it.  I am always amazed, though, that by the end of a week of practicing we improve substantially.

In addition to the playing and practicing I also love the guitars themselves.  I went shopping for mine (a Simon and Patrick dreadnaught) with my friend Maestro Joe, who plays in a band here in Ottawa.  He provided invaluable advice and played the guitars in my price range so I could determine which sounded the best to my ear.  I was amazed how, even to my untrained ear, each instrument had its own "voice".  For this reason, I can see how people can slide down the slippery slope of collecting guitars - you want to own them all for their unique sounds.  Mine can best be described as woody sounding and, as is befitting a dreadnaught, loud.  It also has plenty of sustain, with each note I play sounding like it will go on forever.  My daughter's guitar, by comparison is a half-size and has a much more crisp sound and, despite its size, is also plenty loud.

But guitars don't just make music, they also have a tactile and visual appeal.  Exotic and domestic tonewoods with figured grain and all smoothly finished.  Some are adorned with inlay on the body of the guitar as well as on the fretboard and headstock.  The rosette around the soundhole and the purfling and bindings can be works of art unto themselves.  Mine is fairly plain, but I love fondling it and looking at it and even smelling its woodiness.

Owning and playing guitar is one of the most relaxing activities I can think of - a perfect way to unwind.  I love guitars and


  1. Our son begged us to play guitar, so we got him started back in December. He's losing interest, but honestly, I think it's more to do with it being hard for him. (He's 7 and has small hands. It's a 3/4 guitar, but still a stretch for his hands to get the right strings) I love the guitar, but I can't make any sense of what he's learning! Just don't have the ear or fingers for it LOL


    1. It's hard to know when is an appropriate age to start them. Some guitrists we know suggested we start her on a ukelele - a much smaller instrument with only four strings. But, we hemmed and hawed and actually got her a half-size guitar, which seems to be fine for her. Maybe reverting to a uke for a while would give your son something more achievable and hold his interest until his hands grow large enough to better manage the 3/4 you got him.

  2. I've wanted to take guitar lessons forever. I just haven't ever had it in the budget. One of these days I'll get around to it, though.

    I'm so glad you and your daughter are having fun with it together!

    1. I can recommend it - it is soothing and surpisingly doable. I had zero musical experience, but am impressed how far a ittle instruction and practice bring you.