Stumbling and Sound…

I went to my guitar lesson this week and plugged into the amp.  As I played I realized that the sound coming out was not even remotely similar to what I hear at home.  This was crunchy and grungy and erm…not quite the me I expected to hear.  I was thrashing without even trying, babe. My guitar teacher reached down and turned a knob, pressed a button, something… bringing me back to familiar ground and sound.

I confess that while I feel I’m picking up the musicality of the instrument fairly well, I am still finding my way around the technology.  For the first time since I made the decision to purchase my semi-hollow body electric rather than the nice sounding but not sexy acoustic I wondered if I was maybe in over my head.

I’m making some good noises with the guitar.  I am really very happy with my progress.  I even “hammer-on” stuff now and again.  Yeah, baby.  The trouble is that I still have to think about what each of the little knobs and buttons and bells and whistles do in this setup.  I am astounded at how one thing turned ever so slightly completely changes everything.

Things are simpler on an acoustic.  You sit, you play.  No electricity involved.  No 9v batteries to change so that your humbuckers stop humming. No grunge buttons pushed by mistake.  You sit, you play, kum ba ya, my Lord, kum ba ya.

I imagine my learning curve would be less steep had I gone with the acoustic.

Then again….there is this moment I recognise in all of this and if everything is metaphor then there is one here as well, yes?

There is this moment where I think about this complicated choice, this sharp learning curve and I see how having this kind of latitude in sound fits me.  It mirrors so well the life I’ve chosen….the life of the artist, the wife of an artist, the mother of the chaos crazed artists in training.  Nothing is certain.  Everything can change in a breath.  We adapt, we push a button, we turn a knob and find a sound that works here.  Half the time we don’t know what will happen…feedback, more often than not, trial and error, it’s all good….or it’s all good-ish at least.  It’s an adventure.

I will learn what each knob does in time.  I hope I remember after I learn it.  It will probably take the rest of my life to figure it out and put it all into practice…then again, metaphorically the lesson is that perhaps really it’s more about seeing this AS my life after all…rather than something I do to fill the time.


3 thoughts on “Stumbling and Sound…

  1. Mrs M,

    Don’t worry so much. Life is a learning curve full of buttons and knobs that we are still trying to figure out which way to turn and how to use them. When adults take up an instrument we aren’t as elastic as kids are and we expect Mozart zen like moments, but in your case maybe its BB King. Hey you only picked this up a few months back and you will figure it out, how you get sounding good is first by sounding bad. The more you do it the better it will be!

  2. I’ve long since abandoned planning my life and learned to fly by the seat of the pants. Planning is a waste of time, you wouldn’t believe the obscure and unlikely things that happen in my life to ensure there was no point in my planning, anyway.

    Just sit back and enjoy it as the story unfolds!



  3. Mrs,

    You have a beautiful way of writing a seemingly simple lesson, and weaving it into something that gives me pause at the keyboard. I sit and think about an appropriate response, and realize that what you wrote was just so eloquent nothing else is needed.

    Perhaps you are right, and we do adapt. We change a button, change our tune, change our minds, and it is in the changing and the constant evolving that we learn how to become. We become something other. We can re-imagine ourselves everyday, and with the buttons, the knobs, and the twists and turns we become something new.

    Thank you for writing, and for somehow always striking a chord (no pun intended) within me.


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