Thursday, May 14, 2009


I bought another stringed instrument. An electric base guitar. Which I thought my wife might like to play around with, being that the banjo I have been torturing is too high and twangy for her liking. She wasn’t interested, but I am. I got it at a scratch and dent sale, puttied a gash in the body and picked up an amp. The amp wasn’t the right amp and yesterday I had an adventure of sorts finding another one. Ran into a character at a guitar shop in Independence whose solution to bifocals was to wear two pair of glasses at a time. Turns out we had a mutual acquaintance which inspired this fellow to take the amp from 50 to 40 bucks. Which I bought. I am not a guitar player, or a banjo player. Like golf, these are things that I never gave a moments thought for 40+ years (I’m 46 now), but which, having discovered, perhaps by process of elimination, I now find tremendously rewarding and enjoyable. Part of it is being past the point in life where I take my self so seriously. I will never be a good golfer or banjo player or base player which means I am completely free to be a bad one. Which means I can discover the pleasures of these activities organically. Which is what I am now doing with the base. What a cool thing it is. Just to pluck a low low string and feel it vibrate. To play with the different sounds and the different combinations of sound. I feel as close to a child in a woods for the first time as I have in a long time. It’s nice to talk to people and be perfectly comfortable saying I am trying to learn something, as opposed to having some self consciousness about what their expectations are, or what my expectations are. My new motto for middle age is: if it worth doing it’s worth doing badly. Not to malign doing things well, but just to free myself up to try things I don’t have to worry about mastering. Which means I can just play.

4 comments:

jen said...

You have quite an interesting blog. I like several things about it - the quotes on the sidebar - your invitation to readers in your profile. I also like the name!

The Vivian Swift book is so rich...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I see we're both fans of Robert Frost's Banjo!

John Hayes said...

Hi Randy:

Gosh, I love the electric bass, tho I don't play much at this point-- too busy with other musical projects. Hope you have a good time with it; they're a lot of fun, & they can teach a lot about how music is put together.

Linda Pendleton said...

Hi Randy,
I love your thought.."I will never be a good golfer or banjo player or base player which means I am completely free to be a bad one."

It is great being free to do what we want without any expectation from ourselves.

John J. Franks IV said...

Extremely well put sir!
Everyone can succeed at failure!
Of course failure or success is in the eye of the beer holder :)
I have always believed in that,
if you put your mind to it, you can fail at anything successfully!