The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15596   Message #140770
Posted By: Michael K.
25-Nov-99 - 07:13 PM
Thread Name: Ragtime Guitar
Subject: RE: Ragtime Guitar
Micca, Thanks for the perspective. So did you ever get past the - ''I have a lot of difficulty with the period of time while learning when you are so bad that you sound awful'' - period?

Years ago when I was a young pup, I was shown some very basic fingerpicking patterns using alternating bass. I learned them very quickly, but eventually got away from guitar playing.

A couple of years ago when I decided to get back into it, I did a stupid thing. I mean who goes and shops for a good (and expensive) acoustic steel string guitar without being able to play it? (I couldn't even make a clean sounding E chord at the time), and without having any callouses on one's fingers? All I had on the brain at the time was M A R T I N.....so I had other people in the store play a new reissue HD28-VR and they all gave me the nod...so I bought it. I spent the next two months practising my ass off, and undergoing the pain of redeveloping callouses. I sounded awful....BUT I knew deep down, that I'd get past this point if I stuck with it because I knew what I had once sounded like with a guitar and figured if I could do it once I could do it again.

Ironically my playing didn't seem to be improving during the first couple of months, but the callouses were happening all right. I came to a painful realization that it was the guitar not me....so I took it back to the store where I'd purchased it, ate humble pie and felt like an idiot and told the boss, "I just cannot play the neck on this guitar....I need something I can play."

I must have spent 3 hours there that day playing everything they had in the store, and nothing felt right. Finally at the end, I was about to leave and the owner said "Hang on. I got something in the back that just came in you should try." I had never heard of this company at the time but didn't care. I only wanted something that felt playable. I started playing this guitar and suddenly everything that I had become frustrated over, for the past few months was as clear as a bell on this instrument and it was effortless to play. I traded the Martin and bought the instrument and I've loved it ever since. In fact I use it to work out everything on, and then port the tunes over to some of my other guitars - but it continues to be the main woodshedding axe for me.

That guitar? A Collings OM3H. (Everyone I've shown and let it play it seems to want to mug me for it. (grin))

This was kind of an exceptional situation because the usual axiom is ''ts the player; not the instrument.'' In this case it WAS the instrument that was holding me back.

I have since learned to get around comfortably on Martins and V-necks...but I don't recommend them to someone starting out. Low profile or "soft V" is easier on the wrists and fingers.

(Sorry for the babbling.)