I came late to music. I mean I’ve always had an appreciation for it – my favorite bands and songs – but I never really thought about what it takes to actually play it. Worse, in this regard, as an artist, my brain has spent the last (ahem..) 30+ years learning to process and interpret visual signals.
It wasn’t until my mid-30’s, in fact, that I ever had the urge or opportunity to pick-up a real guitar. My journey, I expect, is fairly common. A former Guitar Hero junkie, my acumen at pressing little colored buttons in sync to poorly rendered music videos of some of my favorite songs seemed like a natural primer for graduating into the world of true rock stardom. So I did what any good gamer would do – I spent a boat load of cash on a guitar that looked cool without any research whatsoever.
Guitar, to me, seemed simple. All you need is three chords and the truth, right? Well I learned those three chords and the truth was that I sucked. For a few years I continued to plink around on that guitar – and even bought a few more thinking that it must be the instrument and not me. In the end, I had a new-found appreciation for the talent it takes to play music and a new-found love for the beauty of a finely crafted instrument, but the guitar itself never really stuck.
Enter the Ukulele. I had been hearing about the resurging popularity of Ukes and thought that maybe the interim step between a button-laden plastic axe and a Gibson Firebird Acoustic was a 4-string baby guitar. On a whim, I bought one (again opting for the “cool looking” model) and, to my surprise, it stuck. Within hours of owning it, I had learned two songs; within a few months about a half dozen more. Now, two years into this instrument, I can play more than a dozen songs and have gotten fairly adept at working my way through sheet music and tablature. But more importantly, this tiny little instrument had helped foster a deep appreciation for the history, craftsmanship and tone woods used in Ukuleles. Not only have I become a player, I have become a collector and an enthusiast.