“I plan to use the site primarily to share guitar progression observations, a few cool photos, a little audio
and to introduce some aspects of Japan that many people might not be familiar with.”

In The Beginning
Some moons ago as a result of a sudden decision to learn guitar, I started a personal journal online to document my guitar journey.

This ‘sudden’ decision was one that had been in the making since childhood. However, meeting new friends in Kyoto who were already highly capable guitarists prompted me to finally become serious about giving the guitar a serious go.

The Original Plan
I was about to fly back to the US for a few months and wanted to challenge myself to see what I could accomplish with a guitar while away from Japan. One of my motivations was my desire to play guitar with my friends when I returned to Kyoto.

Even before returning to the US and purchasing a guitar, I began sharing notes about my early research online and about my visits to the many guitar shops of Kyoto as I tried to figure out how I was going to get started.

I included a good amount of commentary about Japan since it is where I was living part-time (and for this year at least, almost full-time), while still keeping most of the posts guitar and music oriented.

Once I started practicing in the US, I attempted to document every minute I was playing and I kept detailed notes about every study resource I was experimenting with.

I soon found I was spending more time writing and slavishly detailing every moment of my practice time than I was spending actually practicing. That is largely presented now as an excuse for the microscopic progression I experienced during the few hours in total that I did practice.

I have many more excuses to toss in the hat for my lack of progress, including a scary back injury that put me flat on my back for several months. In the end though, none of my excuses are very good ones, and it could be said fairly that I failed in my short-term goal.

Though my initial progression was indeed miniscule, I did accomplish one simple feat; I didn’t given up.

From the Ashes of ‘Near Defeat’
It is important to document one’s practice regimen of course, and there might be some guitarists that enjoy perusing lists of minutiae from another guitarist’s practice routines, but the simple truth is that my main goal with a guitar is to learn how to play the darn thing well enough that I can begin using it as a composition tool. My mission is certainly not to teach the world how to play guitar (something I cannot even do myself yet).

I discovered in my failure that a website about me learning how to play guitar, that takes up so much time that it hinders my ability to learn how to play guitar, might not be such a good idea.

If there is some value in sharing the process I am going through, I think the most informative or entertaining posts I was writing were the general guitar topic explorations and research commentaries that might be relevant to new and progressing guitarists, along with a few stories of my personal experiences in Japan mixed in.

Those types of posts are relatively easy and fun for me to write and don’t require hours of chart creation or lengthy practice summaries that attempt to document and explain every single decision I am making as it relates to my guitar studies and practice time. On the original site, I was even trying to write mini reviews of all the online teaching resources I came across.

I will still share some practice overviews for those who might be curious. I need to document such things for myself anyway, but those posts will be brief.

The important stuff and all the guitar activities I am involved with will be evident here, but now I am going to write mostly for fun and to fuel my enthusiasm for progress. I plan to use the site primarily to share guitar progression observations, a few cool photos, a little audio and to introduce some aspects of Japan that many people might not be familiar with.

I will keep some of the original posts in this new incarnation of the site to provide a back story and so there is a base to continue from.

A lot of very interesting things are going on now in my guitar life as I attempt to get back on the horse. I hope my stories are of interest to other progressing guitarists.

What I Have Learned So Far
There are certainly millions of ways to approach the guitar, but if I have only 1 bit of wisdom to share about learning guitar at this point, it would be this…

  • Allow yourself to love playing. (even when you are terrible)

I am sure I will elaborate on this in the future, but the main point of it for me is that I find it critically important to focus on the pleasure of practicing RIGHT NOW, not only on the perceived greater pleasure I might experience once I have developed some level of proficiency.

‘Ganbarou’ to you and I both.

First Kyoto Guitarist Japanese Word of the Day
Ganbarou (がんばろう) – Let’s do our best. :-)

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