Well, I am officially working on one of the items I wanted to accomplish before I turn 30. I bought a guitar and am in the process of trying to learn how to play. My concern of course is that I just give up and never really pursue it, but I have mentioned it way too many times and finally just went for it. Maybe it is a 1/3-Life Crisis, but it's something I thought of doing as a kid, so, I doubt it.
While, I think an acoustic guitar has a more, portable factor to it, and I personally like the sound of an acoustic better, I decided to look at electric guitars, primarily to give my neighbors peace. With the electric guitar I can plug in headphones and be the only one to hear my awfulness.
Of course, I didn't want to drop the cash on a really nice axe, just in case I don't pursue it as heavily as I would like to, and also, I don't have the cash to be dropping on a nice guitar. So, I did my research and found a very reasonably priced electric guitar made by Fender. It is called a Starcaster by Fender, and actually comes in a kit with an amp, all the necessary equipment, and an instructional DVD. A true starter guitar.
Well, I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for, and I realize that this isn't going to be the purest sounding instrument; I just need it to be sufficient. So, I did my research, went to several different websites and read user reviews, and for the most part the reviews were phenomenal. Many reviews were from people who play, and bought this cheaper version for someone they know who is starting out. They admit it is just a guitar for beginners, but that it was terrific for beginners and novices. Any negative reviews, seemed to be from people who had know idea what they were talking about. I was sold, and it having the Fender name on it made me feel even more comfortable.
After I unboxed everything and set it up, I popped in the DVD and things were immediately clear that I have a leg up on a lot of beginners in the fact that I am not musically challenged or clueless. For 8 years during middle and high school, I played saxophone in band. I can read music, I am not tone deaf, and I have general understanding of playing music. I was able to manually tune the guitar before I hooked it up to the auto-tuning device, and I was impressed at how close I actually was to having it in tune. Just wanted to gloat a little there.
With the guitar in tune, the next step is to learn some basic chords (using the instructional DVD still). The hardest part, as I knew it would be, is getting my fingers on the right strings in the right fret. I had some practice when I was younger, when my buddy Curtis first started playing bass guitar. I'd always to try play, and he'd help me out a little, but I never really got that good at it. Also, having played saxophone for so many years where the finger alignments are essentially setup vertically and ergonomically for the hand, the guitar has my fingers (seemingly) placed every which way. It didn't take long playing the simple power chords for my hand and fingers to start cramping up. I decided I was good for day 1, and the DVD even mentioned it at that time that my hand might start getting sore and to take a break. Before I quit though, I was able to jump from chord to chord, somewhat smoothly, so I am taking my first lesson to be a success.
But that was the easy part. I'll try to keep you posted on how my self lessons are going.