If you’re reading this I presume you play the guitar. Or used to or want to. If you’re all fired up about learning to understand this amazing instrument, read no further, you have no need to. But if you stopped playing for any reason or love to play but hardly get the time or got disillusioned then I might have something to say to you.
Why did you first pick up the guitar? What inspired you? Was it seeing someone on television or at a live show or a friend perhaps?
Do you remember how it felt to strum your first chord? To string a few chords together and surprise yourself because you actually sounded like someone who could play a bit?
If you ever want to be more than a guy strumming some tunes at a party you will reach a point where you will feel overwhelmed by the instruction available now to learn the guitar. Fuck everything else – put your hand on the magazine lying closest to you. Pick a new lick, any lick. Learn it. There, you’re a better guitarist than you were 15 minutes ago. You may never play it again but that lick is now a part of your subconscious and may one day show up as an idea of your own. Remain a guitar player.
The voices will call to you, come rest a while, what is the purpose of it all anyway? Go, have that beer, but remain a guitar player.
Dues will pile up and won’t always be paid. Days will drag along or fly by. You will get older. Remain a guitar player.
Family will demand your time. Deadlines will force your hand. Months will go by since you picked up the instrument. That’s okay, remain a guitar player.
You will stare at your guitar, not knowing where to begin, where to pick up the pieces. Have faith, remain a guitar player.
People might never appreciate your music. Trash will be recycled and get airtime. Shit happens, remain a guitar player.
Every now and then you will see someone younger, more talented than you, tearing it up. You will wish you could play like him but you don’t need to – look inwards, there is a calm place that only you can express. Remain a guitar player.
You might never have all the gear you want. You might only ever have one lousy acoustic and nothing else. As long as that thing can still make sound, remain a guitar player.
If you write songs, frustration will be a frequent visitor. There will be days you feel you don’t know how to play. That’s okay, it it will pass. Remain a guitar player.
You can’t play by ear. So what? Remain a guitar player.
You might never become good enough to express how you feel effectively on six strings. You will find yourself borrowing on cliches. That’s just fine, everyone learns by imitation. Remain a guitar player.
If you ever become any good on the instrument there will always be people who dump on your playing. You might even get called a poser. A wannabe. Control what you can. Remain a guitar player.
Things might happen. A fractured finger, tendinitis. Other things which you have no control over which make it impossible to play for months, maybe years. Life is long and its never to late to pick up the instrument again. Remain a guitar player.
You may find yourself sitting stage side spent after a show wondering if its all worth it. It is. Remain a guitar player.
You may get sick of your guitar and not want to touch it for weeks. That’s all right. Remain a guitar player.
You may never work through a challenging DVD or master that lick you’ve been working on for months. Still you tried. Remain a guitar player.
Purists may never take you seriously if you have a 9-5 job. You’re doing what you can and kudos to you for not giving up on the dream. Remain a guitar player.
Some one will always be better than you, whether you know it or not. But no one will be you. Remain a guitar player.
Ultimately its only about emotion. What your playing can convey. One note may be all you need. Remain a guitar player.
Remain a guitar player. Through all of this. You may not know it yet but ultimately you play for yourself. When all the judgement, ambition, goals and frustration are set aside it is just you playing an instrument – both of you alone but connected through sound in space and time. An instrument that will not lie to you, will not leave you, will be there on bad days as well as good and ultimately demand nothing from you but commitment. All the other stuff is in your head. The guitar will always be your friend. Even if you can only play three chords. Who knows if you’re true to yourself and play with heart you might write a great song one day but then again you will probably not, still you might inspire a child hearing the guitar for the first time to pick up the instrument. Neither is greater in the grand scheme of things. There is no one best guitarist in the world. There is no ‘top of the mountain’. Keep playing. Keep learning. A little, a lot, it doesn’t matter. Remain a guitar player.