Saturday, June 14, 2008

Me 'N' My Gee-Tar ...

For years, I've wanted to learn how to play the guitar. It's one of my carryover New Year's resolutions. Like cellular rollover minutes, but different.

Last week, I was poking around an antique store which is really partly an antique store and partly a "stuff" store. And I spied a guitar that was hard to miss because of its color: pink. Not all pink, mind you, but pink is involved. I strummed the strings and it sounded reasonably in tune. The price was crazy cheap and included a case. (A nylon case, not a hard case, but I like the nylon case idea better.) And to top it all off, it was 20% off.

So I didn't buy it.

Why? I dunno. Because I'm a dork, that's why.

But I thought about my Barbie Dream Guitar this week, thinking I should buy it because 1) it's so cheap that even if I lose interest in the whole guitar-playing idea in a week or two, I'd hardly be out any money, and because 2) it's pink!

Pink is far from my favorite color, but this baby was just too kitchsy to pass up. Even though I passed it up.

So today, I took a walk to the antique/stuff store and told myself that if the guitar was still there, it would be mine.

And there it was, right where it was last week. And I noticed that it was missing a string, but I didn't care.

The sales lady wrote up a receipt and when all was said and done, I paid just over $27. We slipped it into its case, I slung it over my shoulder, and instantly felt about 1,000% cooler. How many uncool people walk around with guitars on their backs? Um, none.

When I arrived home with my BDG, I IMed L.A. Dave and he wanted a picture immediately, so I fired up my laptop with the built-in camera, snapped a couple of shots, and sent one off to him. This one (note the excellent – and completely unintentional – use of chiaroscuro):

I had described the guitar to L.A. Dave, pre-picture, and he wrote, "It sounds flamboyant," which is the word that was hanging in the air when he suggested that I name it.

"Flamboyant" made me think of Hank Azaria in The Birdcage so I decided to name my guitar Agador.

I also IMed New John (who plays guitar) about my purchase and he pointed me toward the first chords I need to learn and then asked me what song I'd like to learn to play first, which was a terribly good question and one which I couldn't answer immediately, but then I had a flash.

One of the next songs I'd like to try in the studio is "You Believe in Me" by Jeffrey Gaines. It's a pretty simple song, or so it seems, so I've decided that that should be the first song I learn to play because it would be fun to sing it, but it would be awesome to sing it and play it.

I think Agador and I will be very happy together. Inside a pocket on the case is a guitar strap, which set me to thinking that I should get extra campy and BeDazzle it with "Agador."

Right after I buy a BeDazzler. Which will be never.

For campy I am not.

But musical I am. So I'm excited to learn how to play.

It's pink!


Blogger Dave said...

"Living Dead Girl" ...

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Hey, can I use this on the JGcafe site? It would be perfect for the Guitar Stories page.


11:41 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I hope you learn to play guitar. It's something I regret I didn't do in my youth. I could have been a rock star! LOL.

Anyway, have to admit it does look like something from The Birdcage...

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

So are you, as the pic suggests, a lefty?

Purists say you should learn to play the guitar right handed even if you're left handed. The producer of my album - and a great guitar player - is left handed but plays the guitar, as he says. "The way it should be."

Your guitar looks like it has no cutaway (although it's hard to see the bottom half of the body) so it can be strung as a lefty or a righty.

This will be your biggest decision before you learn a single chord.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Once you decide which way your guitar neck points,
this is a great site:

10:50 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hey, Dave: Since you're the third person to mention the orientation of the guitar, in that picture, my left hand is on the frets. A picture taken with my laptop automatically produces a reverse image.

So, yes, I'm right-handed and yes, the guitar can be strung either way. For me, though, the neck points to the left.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Good! Life is hard for lefties!

Enjoy your pink instrument. Email me if you have any questions. The site I sent you is a really good intro to basic chords.

Start by getting yourself a new set of strings (D'Addario are good. Light gauge phosphor/bronze will do fine on that guitar.)

You may want to buy a cheap little tuner. A guitar doesn't just have to be in tune within itself but tuned to the right pitch. A digital tuner helps a lot.

A great site for all this is

1:51 PM  
Blogger Random Esquire said...

I love that you call it your Barbie Dream Guitar. That's perfect.

You look like a natural with a guitar in your hands.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thanks, Random.

I gotta say, I do love holding it and playing around with it. It already feels like an extension of my hands, not some foreign object I need to get to know.

1:31 AM  

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