While my guitar gently weeps – as I’m trying to wrap my fingers around those strings

By John Toth

I always admired musicians because I wanted to be one, but never put in the time and effort to actually master an instrument, except for the triangle.

My daughter gave me a guitar for Christmas last year. She actually bought it and I paid her back, but that saved me the trouble of going out and buying it myself.

I also had her buy a DVD and an electronic tuner. For a while I was doing well, going through the lessons and practicing daily, getting my fingertips on my left hand used to the strings.

Then, nothing. I haven’t picked up the guitar in months. This is the way the musician cycle of my life has progressed. Some people are meant to be musicians, and the rest of us are meant to enjoy their talent.

In 1979 I actually made the best stab at taking this guitar playing to a higher level. I was single, had plenty of free time, and met up with some guys who played in a band. I sat in on their rehearsals and at times strummed along, although never very well.

Then I got married, had kids and got a dog that ate a big portion of the guitar. It was cheap, anyway. I went without one for many years, and never really missed it much.

One day I thought to myself, why not resume my guitar learning, since now I can get on the Internet or buy an instructional DVD to continue teaching myself. In 1979 we didn’t have such fancy gadgets.

And when dear daughter asked what I would like for Christmas last year, I jumped on the chance to restart my guitar studies. So, I gave her some money and waited for the surprise.

The problem with practicing is that the guitar makes a lot of noise, and for those who have to listen to it, it sounds just like a bunch of – noise.

Then they start making comments about how awful it sounds. It’s supposed to sound awful. I need to get those fingers around the strings without touching those next to them, and it takes a lot of effort.

I have to give credit to those crazy musicians who jump around the stage and sing while never missing a chord change. They make it look so easy. They started out as I did, although not as many times. They were meant to entertain. I was meant to strum a few chords and then watch You Tube and wonder how they do all that.

I met a woman a few months ago who started learning to play the harp at age 55, and now plays at her church all the time. The harp is like a big, awkward guitar, isn’t it?

I’m turning 55 shortly, and that would be a good way to celebrate this special birthday – continue a task I started 30 years ago. I may just do it. If I do, you can bet that I’ll update you periodically in this column.