In the midst of a lengthy conversation over dinner and several bottles of wine I got into a bit of a chat about guitar playing with our friend Geoff.
Being a relative folky (though, i think that’s a bit of a misnomer), i don’t typically venture into those sorts of discussion. Any non-rocker has surely been put in that position – one side of the conversation is about sick speed riffs and crazy gear, leaving you and your acoustic by the wayside.
Over the years I’ve learned to hold my own in those conversations – especially after my lengthy hunt for a perfect acoustic. It doesn’t matter, because Geoff is mostly of the jam-band persuasion – i don’t know that i’ve ever seen him play an electric guitar. So, in this instance i was actually fairly evenly matched (though that’s also a misnomer, since Geoff was a guitar wiz when i was just learning to read sheet music).
In any event, i was whinging about how i need to wear my wrist braces more often because all of my recent keyboard practice is making my hands and wrists a touch sore for guitar playing – a bad sign in the short term and the long term. Geoff, rightfully skeptical of my sometimes exaggerated conversational gambits, asked, “Well, just how much do you play guitar?”
I was stymied. Last summer i know it wasn’t very much because i was counting the hours. That was before i met my beautiful Breedlove, which i truly never get tired of playing. Since i received it this May i feel like i’ve hardly put it down.
I ventured a guess: “If i play at all, i play for two or three hours at a time.”
Geoff clearly thought i was exaggerating, if ever so slightly. Not a surprise, since we had just been talking about my many hours of keyboard rehearsal, and before that about our nightly Netflix habit. On those two accounts i seemed quite sure, so my estimate must be high?
The whole point of this ramble is that i’ve been paying attention since our dinner, and i actually play that much or more. It’s usually one of the first things i do when i get home, and one of the last before bed if i don’t fall asleep watching a movie. It’s probably what i do the most other than sleep and work. This weekend i very nearly put in ten hours.
You’d think that with all that time logged that i would be able to shred with the best of them, but i spend all that time alone, and most of it singing – not an environment to unlead my inner speed demon. And, if maybe i’m now playing more than i ever have before, i’m finally feeling the impact.
The other night at the keyboard i mused that songs always seem to take forever when you’re learning them – a mid-tempo five-minute version of a pop song can seem like an eternity when you’re the one suffering under its weight. I feel like that at the piano all the time, but i can’t remember the last time i felt that way playing guitar, other than maybe while trying to slowly count out the timing of a ridiculous solo.
The short of that incredibly long story? Well, for one, i wasn’t lying to Geoff. More to the point, this whole train of thought made me realize that i finally feel confident when saying “i play guitar” – no disclaimers, no exceptions. Ironic that this came almost half-a-decade after the first time i felt confident saying that i was a singer, since sometimes that’s doubtful, but i’ve arrived, nonetheless.