As a youngster I used to jam with my brother. He would play electric guitar and I would thump the drums to the best of my ability. I loved those days and all my life have had a desire to learn to play the guitar, but life got in the way. I bought a guitar once years ago when I had four youngsters still at home, I got as far as letting it drop on my wrist and scarring myself for years, but finally yes finally at the age of 58 I found my way to the door of a great guy. A cool dude, intelligent, charming, full of encouragement and most of all patience!! He also bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother.
All my music teachers at school were terrifying, literally sometimes making me stand and shake. They never smiled, never made things fun. I shant bother to name them, but anyone who went to Selkirk or Hawick High will know who I am talking about. Thank God those days are done and dusted.
The following is an insight into my first two lessons.
LEARNING THE GUITAR AT 58
First lesson, Thursday 5th June.
I arrive amazingly on time at an interesting rural development of what would have been farm cottages I guess. My instructor, Don, greets me at the door. I have just passed his fancy motor, a real wee beastie. Obviously a guy who likes a bit of style and why not?
He apologises for cocking up the arrangements as he has a young Harry Potter look alike sitting in his study. He is here for a lesson too, so I sit in and try to learn. It is an amazing instrument the guitar and I sit spell bound as the youngster plays his chords and Don joins in with breathtaking dexterity and panache.
He uses a background accompaniment which is set up on his computer for a wee session on the electric guitar. He’s a Beatles fan. Oh Dear!! Never mind, they did write some good stuff.
My first struggle, when I eventually bid farewell to young Dan and take the chair is where exactly to sit the guitar. Big boobs become a problem. I am given a plectrum and we learn Chord D. or rather I learn cord D. I also get shown how to tune. My fingers hurt from holding the strings, I am slightly bewildered but delighted the guitar journey has begun. And I know my choice of tutor is right.
JUNE 9TH Lesson No. 2
Having been at Dunbar yesterday, I was all for doing very little tonight. That was until the text came through.”I have a space this evening. 7p.m. can you do?” Oh Gawd, just when I had the pavlova all lined up with cream and raspberries and I have made such a cock up of tuning the guitar that I feel a right plonker, but I go anyway.
Takes me half an hour to get
there. I am greeted with a smile and a
warm welcome. Don is easy to be around ,
which is half the battle no matter what you are teaching. We get the tuning thing sorted out. Fine.
Then on to cords. He’s given me
idiot proof stickers, which is fine by me.
We have a little book for notes on homework and a sheet of music. “I’m leaving on a jet plane...” Yes I know that feeling. Good, I am really enjoying this. I also get shown a new cord. So now I have
A, D. and E. And the two finger hopping
(blues) from 2nd to 4th fret yeah, man, look out Keith Richards! Well maybe not!