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With no intentions of ever playing for an audience, much less professionally, at the tender age of sixteen I took up classical guitar.

While attending my son’s childhood, I neglected my musical studies for several years.  But once we’d made the transcontinental relocation in 2001, as I was unpacking — still, some months later — I unboxed all my sheet music and rediscovered my collection of J.S.Bach’s compositions for lute,…

… and experienced a delicious rush of excitement.

I pulled my ’71 Ryoji Matsuoka from her case, tuned her up, and worked on making my fingers remember how to move.

After a few minutes/minuets, my left fingertips felt like raw hamburger.  The calluses were long gone.  Running scales and arpeggios for a couple of minutes a day, for a couple of weeks, gave me a fresh, new set of calluses.  I was back in business, after a fashion.

But — oh, the strings.   The Matsuoka definitely needed new strings.

It’s only within the past year or so that I’ve been able to practice guitar within earshot of the family, as I’m still kinda shy about my skills with the guitar.  Despite that, I’ve been forcing myself to ignore whether anyone else is in the house whenever I pick up the Matsuoka or the spruce-top no-name.

And, not so long ago, I realized how playing for myself is akin to, well, masturbation,…

… it’s something I do for my own pleasure, free of performance pressure or a need to satisfy anyone other than myself.  If anyone else witnesses it, they’re usually kind enough to be embarrassed for me.

Hence it’s something best done behind closed doors, until I can improve my technique and cut down on the string noise.

– Ryl