Well, I went and did it! A couple weeks ago I bought my first electric guitar! Its nothing fancy. It was part of a $300 kit that contained a Fender Squier Strat guitar, a case for the guitar, a small amp, several picks, a guitar tuner, an extra set of strings, and an instruction book.
Learning to play a musical instrument is a very new experience for me. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I've never played a musical instrument or taken any classes. I've been going through the book trying to master the basic notes on the strings. So far, I've gotten the first 2 of 3 notes down on the first string and I've just about got the 3rd note down. I have a long way to go before I'm even remotely capable at this thing, but that's OK. I have plenty of time. I"m in no hurry. My friend Dave has been giving me some good suggestions, web site links, etc. to get me going. (Keep 'em coming Dave!)
The way I'm approaching the learning of guitar is kind of how I learned to type many years ago. When I was learning to type, things started off pretty dull. First you have to learn where to position your fingers on the typewriter (that tells you how long ago it was!), then you start with a single finger hitting the same letter over and over and over until your finger 'remembers' where to go without you having to think about it or look at the keyboard. Then you progress to doing 2 letters at a time, then 3 and so on, until before you know it, your fingers are moving by themselves and hitting all the right keys. The way I see it, learning to play guitar is the same thing. First you have to learn where to position your fingers, then you start doing the same note over and over and over again until your fingers start to remember it on their own. Then you progress to two notes, then three and so on, until you suddenly are playing the guitar. It's funny when you are learning a new skill. You keep struggling and struggling on and on for a while until suddenly you realize that somewhere back there you started knowing what you were doing. It seems like you never really notice when that point of competency passes, it just does. I expect that this is how the guitar will progress. Someday I'll just suddenly find that my fingers are playing it.
Why did I go and suddenly decide to take up a musical instrument 36 years into my life? In short, I needed a new challenge. My main skill in life in computer programming. Over the years, I've conquered the challenge of programming. It's all easy for me now. I do it almost with out thinking. The same goes for typing. I've been doing it so long that it is easy. I'm at the point now where I type so fast that I tend to write 'books' whenever I write blog entries or send emails (as you've no doubt noticed from my long blog entries). I just sit here and type out whatever I'm thinking and I can practically type as fast as I think, so it's like I'm just having a conversation... I've never played a musical instrument before, but I've always been interested in the guitar. I spend my days doing programming that doesn't stimulate my mind much. I wanted to learn the guitar as a way of passing the time at night doing something constructive. Many people just come home from work and sit in front of the 'idiot box' and vegetate for the rest of the night. Not me. I'm the kind of person who craves knowledge. I always like to be learning something and tackling the guitar is a good way to challenge myself.