Gut Rumbles

January 29, 2006

work, work, work

I'm about to start a new job. I seriously considered NEVER going back to work, but the idea of spending the rest of my life simply doing what I want to do when I want to do it seemed somehow unamerican to me. I should have my nose pressed firmly to some kind of grindstone to justify my existence. Idle hands are the Devil's playthings.

Besides, I need a job so that I can have my paycheck taxed heavily to provide slimeball politicians with pork money. It's my DUTY to pay for at least one girder and a few rivets on the Bridge to Nowhere.

So, I'm going to start giving beginner guitar lessons at Willy's new storefront music shop. He's got several students already lined up and I just have to teach 'em to play. Piece of cake, right?

I'll let you in on a little secret: it IS a piece of cake if someone really WANTS to learn to play guitar. Having some musical talent helps, but even THAT isn't essential; WANT TO is. You may never be the next Eric Clapton or Leo Kottke, but you CAN learn to play the guitar if you're simply willing to work at it.

A couple of years ago, Recondo 32 told me that his lovely wife, Georgia wanted a decent guitar so that she could learn to play. He asked me to find one for her. I went to see Willy and I chose a beautiful baby-blue Oscar Schmidt that played great and sounded wonderful. It LOOKED feminine, too, with that color.

I had Willy throw in a case and a guitar chord book. I split the total cost with Recondo and he gave Georgia the guitar for her birthday. Georgia immediately christened it "Gwenivere," put it in its case along with the chord book and stuck it under her bed. She evidently believed that if she slept long enough with the guitar under the bed, she would eventually absorb musical fumes right through the mattress and wake up one morning knowing how to play. Actual guitar practice was unnecessary with the Georgia Method.

Of course, actual guitar playing never resulted, either. She says it's all MY fault because I didn't give her enough instruction. I showed her how to make G, C and D chords and told her to practice. She didn't practice. My fault.

If you are not willing to practice at least 30 minutes every day, at least in the beginning, don't whine to me about wanting to learn to play guitar. You don't WANT TO. You expect it to be easy when it ain't and you're not willing to expend the MINIMUM amount of energy it takes to learn. I can't help you.

Making guitar chords is an unnatural act for your hand. You have to TRAIN your fingers to go where they are supposed to go. You have to build up some unused muscles and develop some callouses on your fingers. You have to learn to finger the strings WITHOUT looking at your fingers.

Every bit of that shit takes Time, Patience and Practice. I believe that ANYBODY can do it, because I've known several tin-eared spastics who did. They were so fricking tone-deaf that they couldn't TUNE their guitars, but they still learned to play 'em. They were willing to dedicate the TP&P necessary.

I intend to explain that simple truth to my students on the first day I start. If they've got the WANT TO, I can teach them to play. But if they don't.... I ain't giving any guarantees.

I'll just take their money and run.


That's the perfect job for you. I wish Skeeter were closer, I'd let her take from you. She's taking lessons from some Hispanic dude named Goliath who keeps trying to teach her classical. Classical is great, and she wants to learn it eventually, but right now she's a 13 year old who wants to learn acoustic. She also has a Jap Strat to learn power chords on. Need a practice amp, since I just copped the electric last weekend.

Good luck with the new gig.

Posted by: Velociman on January 29, 2006 11:12 PM

Google ads AND a paying job!


Posted by: Henry Blowfly on January 30, 2006 03:38 AM

Now, THAT is a cool gig, and you don't have to pack up your shit at 2 a.m.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on January 30, 2006 04:32 AM

Congrats!!! Here's hoping for students who will practice and make this enjoyable for you!! I know all about those guitar lessons...both my kids play and one took lessons....been there...desire is everything (well, almost!)...Have fun!! Sounds like a great job! :))

Posted by: Di on January 30, 2006 05:48 AM

Trurth there.
Daughter at 13 decided that she wanted to learn to play BASS guitar. So there's my 4'9" girl-child with a full sized Ibanez(sp) bass and a 250 watt Sony amp learning bass. (Fortunately I was traveling alot then). So she took lessons and practiced. In about three months her instructor told her he had taught her all he could and now she just needed to practice. Summer finished and it was back to school. When she got tired of playing,I traded the set-up to a musician friend for a nice Walther PPK...

Posted by: emdfl on January 30, 2006 06:53 AM

I think you have made a wise decision. You are too young to retire and a life of liesure ain't always that much fun. And the hell of it is the more I don't do a damn thing the more I don't want to do a damn thing. Might even get used to it one of these days.

Posted by: GUYK on January 30, 2006 09:23 AM

may the force be with you, acidman!

Posted by: ryan on January 30, 2006 10:16 AM

.. WORK?!?... man, I'm gonna miss you.... but good for you, killer... you'll be one helluva teacher...

Posted by: Eric on January 30, 2006 02:45 PM
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