Before you can play the guitar… (part 5)

Need to catch up on parts 1 to 4? (click here)

I suppose I have to apologize for the title of this piece, “before you can play the guitar”, because I did “play the guitar” (technically speaking) at this point in our odyssey. I dimmed my bedroom lights to set the mood for my long awaited acoustic debut. It was to be a very intimate set, since the audience (consisting of one husband) had been banished to the living room.

After propping myself into position with pillows and finding the perfect balance of the guitar on my lap, I let loose. This abandon lasted all of 10 seconds, more than enough time to discover the importance of the tiny battery powered box that Mr. Pawn Shop had thrown in to sweeten the deal. Only, my second hand tuner didn’t seem to be able to make up its mind. My E string was flat on the first pluck, then sharp, then flat, then the little needle on the tuner started swaying, casually and unhurried, from one extreme to the other. I turned it off and on, and even replaced the batteries, but nothing helped. It eventually gave up on decision making altogether, and wouldn’t even commit on which note I was playing.

So the tuner was a dud. No problem. My musical background includes sitting through countless 7:30am high school band practices with flute in hand. Tuning up in a room full of groggy teenagers can’t help but give you an ear, if not for perfect pitch, then at least for knowing when you’re way off. So I cleared my mind, Jedi style, and got in tune with vibrations of the universe. Pluck. Flat? Sure. Why not. I turned the key a full turn. Still flat? I kept turning. The note was slowly tightening into something familiar and–


The string snapped with the adrenalin loaded pop of a balloon! It caught me totally by surprise. Like the time my husband drove a golf ball through our kitchen window (from the inside!), you never believe these things will happen to you until you’re sitting there shaking from the shock of it. All I wanted to do was play the guitar, so much for that. Who cares about tune when you don’t even have all the strings!

I burst out crying. What with the birthday crisis, the pawn shop wheeling and dealing, and the simple, brutal disappointment of a disappointment, I couldn’t help it. It was definitely time to make use of that audience in the living room. I dragged myself off the bed and trudged, in pure glorious misery, down the hall, sobbing all the way.

“What’s wrong?” asked my husband when he saw my red face come round the corner.

“I think I got ripped off,” I wailed.

He sighed and held out his arms. I ran headfirst into his hug and clung tight, sniffling.

“It’s too soon to know that,” he said.

Stay tuned for part 6!


One Response to Before you can play the guitar… (part 5)

  1. Thérèse says:

    Aw, dude.

    It’s OK. You’re meant to replace your strings every month anyway (depending on how often you play), and you may have bought the guitar with crappy strings on. Think of it this way: you can now choose strings that suit you best.

    (There are firmer, harder strings and softer, easier to play strings. I prefer the softer ones. They don’t require as heavy calluses to play longer without hurting your fingers.)

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