Missing in action for the past six months, no guitar videos have been recorded, no new posts to my guitar journal have been uploaded, and worst of all, for the better part of at least the last four months, no guitar practice has actually taken place whatsoever.
Have I forsaken the guitar?
No. Are you kidding?
However, life is all about priorities. My first and foremost priority is as a father to my five-year-old son, and anyone who has ever read my first ever post here on my guitar journal will be very much aware that I have been gradually rebuilding my life over the past four to five years, having lost my career, my partner, and effectively any notion of a family as a single unit, after getting made redundant five years ago and my partner at the time consequently ending the relationship, despite the fact we had just had a baby boy.
So, as a father, I soldiered on and concentrated all of my efforts on simply doing the right thing no matter what and just kept on fighting to rebuild my life, my career, and simply concentrate on providing for my son, and ultimately just focused on being the best dad I could be. Thankfully, I managed to ensure that I am always there for my son and our father and son bond has always remained strong, as there is nothing more important to me in the entire world than my son. Luckily, I have a good arrangement worked out with his mum so we enjoy plenty of quality father and son time on a regular basis and all in all, despite life’s previous challenges, life has generally been good!
However, living in an apartment is never entirely ideal when you have kids, due to no garden and generally a lack of space. Now, my son is five and my mission for the past few years has been to rebuild my career and save up the pennies so that I could finally move out of the apartment we’ve been renting and buy my son and I a proper family home of our own: a house with a garden and somewhere that we could really call home, and this is the reason for the complete departure from my sacred guitar practice …I finally bought a house for me and my son!
As you can no doubt imagine, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with arranging a mortgage, dealing with solicitors, packing, moving, unpacking, and generally settling in to our new home!
The ability to finally buy a house also meant that I could move us to a much nicer area and provide an altogether better environment for my son to grow up in, which was also in-keeping with my desire to finally put an end to my daily 80-mile commute to work by moving closer to where I actually work. The result, we have moved from our apartment in Hertfordshire, here in the UK, to a new semi-detached house in a relatively new development on the outskirts of Cambridge. Life is good!
My guitar playing, however, needs a lot of work! Whether it is due to the lack of practice for so many months or due to the fact that this powerful Linkin Park song in drop C# tuning simply requires some pretty fast and heavy duty riffing during its final stages that would have been a stretch no matter what, the fact remains it was quite a feat to get the heavy riffing rhythm work in the final stages of the song actually up to speed and in all honesty I drew blood for the first time in a long time following hours of dedicated practice in my attempt to get these riffs down, leaving a minor trail of blood on my frets where my index finger had riffed beyond the limits of its current conditioning, probably exacerbated not only due to a lack of conditioning thanks to the obvious lack of recent practice, but also by the fact that my ESP sports jumbo frets which felt like riffing on a cheese grater after hours of striving to get these riffs under my belt!
I can’t be mad at my cherished ESP though, I love this beast!
Oddly though, there’s something strangely gratifying about having spilt blood on the fretboard due to your efforts on the guitar and I can’t help thinking that this is also a sign of actually having put in the desired efforts to initiate the necessary physical restructuring, ultimately resulting in the crafting and conditioning of your hands into more worthy instruments for the job! Hopefully, the time I am saving on my commute to work each day, thanks to our relocation, will also mean I can clock up more hours on the guitar now on a regular basis and strive to improve past the entry-level skills of a haphazard beginner!
One of the added benefits of our new home is that we actually have a third bedroom which isn’t really big enough to accommodate a bed for guests, so that room from day one has been designated to be our music studio! The side effect of this is that somehow having a room in our house that is referred to as our music studio genuinely makes me feel like I need to develop my skills to the extent that I can actually be regarded as being ‘musical’ and more rapidly evolve from my beginner status on the guitar, though this is admittedly a work in progress given the lack of practice over the past few months, but now that we have moved in and as evidenced by this post and the video that accompanies it …I am finally ‘One Step Closer’!
– Joel BB