It’s story time with TheBuddha!

That’s right… I’m gonna tell you a story! It’s not one about guitar history, a special guitar, or anything similar. No, this is one that I think needs to be told, ’cause the site has impacted quite a few people.

What do I mean by that?

Well, of those that I can disclose, this site has resulted in three people picking up the guitar to learn to play it. This site has resulted in five people who have picked the guitar back up and are now making an effort to learn to play it – because they’d given up before. This site, and some threads that I frequent or post, have also resulted in somewhere close to a dozen people who are now practicing and sharing their work.

And that’s just guitar.

And that’s just this one site.

Imagine if we all wrote about the things we’re passionate about, not just the guitar? Don’t tell me that you don’t have time to do that. I know how you spend your time! I know, ’cause I’ve been peaking in your windows!

Either way, it’s damned difficult to play a guitar well. It looks easy, but it’s not. Your fingers won’t want to behave and it’ll take a decade before you’re any good.

As near as I can tell, from personal observation – which is actually weighted to say the opposite – the vast majority of people who attempt to learn to play guitar end up quitting. As I run through my memory, I’d even go so far as to say that the vast majority quit within the first six months and finally admit they quit within the first year.

Keep in mind that my observations should be completely different. My observations are, as I said, weighted in favor of the opposite direction. After all, I’m a guitarist – and that means I’m more likely to meet people who have kept up with their learning. I’m also a good guitarist, which means people are more reluctant to tell me that they tried and quit. Ego makes it hard to admit those things.

So, I’d assume that I only learn about a small percentage of those who quit. Yet, they are the overwhelming majority of stories that I hear from people. It’s not easy. It requires dedication and effort. It requires discipline. It requires keeping your spirit up, even when you don’t think you’re getting any better and you can think of 1,000 things you’d rather be doing than practice those dumb scales over and over again.

For those of you readers who don’t play, there’s a reason I refer to what we do as “work.” There’s lots of reasons, including approaching it like a professional, but the primary reason is that we labor to get good. I don’t think there’s a single one of us that wouldn’t love a magic pill that’d make us instantaneously good – without the need to learn and practice.

Even after all these years and all this experience, I still practice every single day – with insanely few exceptions. Frankly, I’d be unable to present a good argument if you pointed out that my guitar playing was fiscally unwise, an objectively bad use of my time, and a mentally unhealthy obsession.

Today, I have practiced for two hours and I’ll rehearse (note that I keep those things mostly mentally separate) for another two hours. That’s an average day. That’s my schedule. That’s stupid.

My guitar student? She’s even worse. She’s practicing, on average, six hours a day – and then playing for another two or three hours per day. She already come downstairs and has been in my studio for an hour. She’s already asked a half-dozen questions. She’s already strung two guitars, giving one a complete cleaning and pulling out a light and mirror to inspect it.

I’m pretty sure a psychologist would point out the insanity of this and I’d be hard-pressed to argue with them. It’s not entirely unlike an addiction and we work obsessively hard to get good. It’s not easy and I can absolutely see why people would give up. Most people do…

So, I’m going to tell you a story – probably ’cause I want people to enjoy my addiction with me!

You’ve read about Django Reinhardt playing with just two fingers and a thumb and how he was set on fire by a malicious wagon and cellulose. Well, this is the story of a guy we’re going to call Mike.
Continue reading “It’s story time with TheBuddha!”

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