Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One More Step Outside My Guitar Comfort Zone

In a 1991 interview with Guitar World’s Alan Paul, Albert King indicated “I rehearsed to myself for five years before I played with another soul.” Running across this quote motivated me to step outside my comfort zone yet again; this time it was to begin jamming with others.

I started my guitar journey over two years ago and my mantra has been “not ready yet, keep rehearsing to myself.” So, how did reading this quote motivate me to rehearse with others instead of doing the full five years of self rehearsal like Albert King?

Albert King created a distinctive style that has influenced legions of guitarists including Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Although he was inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson he forged his own path. One example of that is he was left-handed but played a right hand Flying V turned upside-down. That meant his bends are pulling where others are pushing since the the low E string is on the bottom. I decided I was inspired by Albert King to go out and forge my own path too. What I was most daunted by at my stage of developement was playing with other guitarists until I'm "ready." Seemed Albert was telling me to get over it and get with it so I did.

I’m playing a couple times each week now with a work buddy. He’s a seasoned guitar player so has the mentoring role but he gets the benefit of added practice so it’s a good tradeoff. It was daunting at first for sure. After the first couple of sessions though I really wished I had started doing this a lot sooner! Turns out I can become “ready” quicker by getting out there and interacting with other players. It is really accelerating my learning.

If you’ve read any of my posts I’m pretty consistent in the call to arms; I mean axes. This is a great hobby to start in middle age (or any age). Take my advice, forge your own path but keep in mind that you may want to start jamming with others sooner than when you think you are “ready.” You’ll be glad you did!

BTW, here's a great video of Stevie Ray Vaughan in session with one of his main influences, Albert King.

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