Saturday 10 March 2012

Guitar love and other stories

I hear and feel good music around me. It gets me all charged up and invigorated. The feeling is intense. Every catchy rhythm catches my ear ; the stimulus travels the course of my arms, reaches my fingers, gets them agitated until they relax on sensing the cool strings of my guitar. Steel strings. My fingers run across the frets lightly. It's a lovely feeling.

I have never felt so passionate about anything else. It's my nineteenth year. Three years ago, my beautiful Squier was gifted to me by my mother on my birthday. I fell in love with it. Head over heels. The first seed of this obsession that was sown that day, hasn't faded yet. Joined classes to get my basics right, but they stopped mattering soon; I was way ahead of my teacher, avidity for learning more songs overpowering me, making me impatient.

The classes stopped; they did so owing to reasons, of course, but my zeal to keep guitar-ing didn't end with them. YouTube. Google. Thank you. You helped me to a great extent. And of course other guitar enthusiasts who fortunately for me, have turned out to be my close friends!

But I realised. It wasn't just about the songs or making covers of original numbers, recording them using a pathetic mic attached to a headphone and uploading them on YouTube. It's about getting the basics right. It does matter. I try to play by ear as far as possible but sometimes it doesn't work. I am forced to blindly follow guitar tutorials on YouTube, that are helpful but what's the point in playing chords that are unknown to me and are merely reduced to various finger positions on the fretboard?

A confession - I'm no pro. I'm still a novice though close buddies and family may encourage me by heaping praises on my skills. I'm not satisfied. I was never satisfied. Maybe I should give myself more time. Three years is barely a duration to sum myself up as a guitarist.

It bothered me. Yes, the fact that my fundamentals in Western music were weak. I didn't know to read music. I was an ignoramus when it came to staff notations and all that jazz. It's only when it began giving me a complex that I decided to rejoin classes, this time, under the guidance of a new teacher.

The scene has changed, of course. I can read music. Somewhat. I know what C D E F G A and B looks like. I know my scales. I know what  triads, arpeggios, accidentals , key and time signature are . I know what Bass and Treble clefs look like. Wow. I didn't know what they were six months ago.

Another confession. I don't practice regularly. Mostly, I end up going through the pieces an hour before class begins. Is it just laziness? Or lack of sufficient interest? I don't know. Maybe it's a combination of both. It's my problem. My teacher is a great chap. An epitome of patience. He hasn't lost his cool at me. Ever. That makes me feel worse.

'Obsession' is not the accurate word to describe my love for strings. It's just this emotion that has remained constant since the past three years, untouched by my mood swings, anger, heart break or disappointment. My guitar gives me the assurance of possessing a talent (that is still getting nurtured). In simpler words, it has played a great role in boosting my self-esteem. It's there at the end of the day to comfort me and give my fingers, a much deserved treat.

I'm not such a fabulous guitarist, though I make myself sound like one, with a blog being titled 'Akoustik' and 'Obsessive guitarist' or 'lover of strings' being added to the description field of every social networking site. There is a multitude of mind blowing guitarists living in my city; several hundreds in the state of Maharashtra, several million in the country and innumerable in this world. I am just a barely visible member of the bandwagon belonging to my city.

I'm unable to compose lyrics. I have tried though, the result being a mediocre song about a broken heart. I probably need to sit somewhere  in solitude, clear my head and let the words flow. I find it difficult to improvise my own tunes. I probably need to close my eyes and let the tune flow into my head. Somehow I can never bring myself to do that. What is it that stops me?

I hear and feel good music. Sudden elation. Stimulation. Frustration. Impatience. I wish I could be as good as the creators of this good music. I wish I could meet more individuals who would understand my sudden craving to jam in the middle of the night; that sudden impulse to grab my guitar at 2 A.M in the morning just to reproduce a vague melody, stuck at the back of my head. How does a band come together? How come music aficionados find each other? How do they 'click'?

That sudden urge to jump on a stage and deliver a WOW performance gets to me sometimes. But sometimes the despondency of not matching up to great guitar-ing standards overwhelms me.

Making music. Am I doing it for myself or for others? Maybe if I keep myself in the limelight, it would do me a lot better. Maybe if I forget myself and just keep my guitar in the limelight, it would do me better.


  1. Really get what you mean, Anjali! Its such a nice thing that you've got someone to train you, though.
    Personally I think guitar is an instrument of the heart more than formal training, so the good news is: so long as you feel it, you're good! What do you think?

  2. Right you are! Still I'd hate to be ignorant so I like the fact someone is teaching me! :)