Saturday, December 01, 2012

Lesson Number 1

Many many years ago, instead of being an increasingly codgerish nearly fifty, I was an almost sprightly nearly ten. Hard to believe but, there you go.

The pre-pubescent me was a bit a of what my darling sister refers to as a "weird kid". My hobby of choice was glueing plastic things together according to instructions contained within boxes produced by Airfix (remember them?) and then painting them really badly. The very idea of speaking to people was anathema. It was all a bit, well, anal I suppose. I prided myself on knowing things like the "A6M2b" serial number for a particular model of Mitsubishi Zero fighter aeroplane from the second world war.

In a rash attempt to get me to be a bit more outgoing, it was deemed by the parental powers that be that I should learn a musical instrument. I was permitted to choose which instrument I'd like to try and, having watched the Millbrooker-Sis struggle with bashing the piano keys under the tender tutelage of Miss Hunt (see "Auntie Joan's Story" for more Miss Hunt info), I chose to try having guitar lessons.

Being at Catholic school, it was almost inevitable that us nine year olds should be taught to strum Kumbaya on exceedingly inexpensive 3/4 size plywood nylon-strung "classical" guitars.  Badly.  By a nun.

The nun in question was Sister Joseph, who might or might not still be with us. I understand nuns to be a notoriously long-lived species, so I'll guess she is still bimbling around Bath's convent.

I lasted around half a dozen lessons before I was drawn to one side at the end of one lunchtime session and advised that perhaps I should not come to guitar lessons any more because I was probably "mal-coordinated". Thank you, Sister Joseph - my confidence levels  have just about recovered. I assume, that a similar message was passed on to mum and dad; although I was never privy to it.

Let us pass swiftly over the intervening thirty seven years to when I next picked up a guitar with the serious intent of trying to play the damned thing. That was three years back and the self-teaching has got me so far, but no further.

And so Wednesday just gone saw Mrs The Milbrooker kindly acting as chauffeuse and taking me into the wilds of Efford wherein dwells one Mike Baugh, whom I had found by wandering around the interweb.

Mike and I had a good old chinwag about what I was trying to achieve and how he might be able to help (or not) - that worked; I return to get my first lesson proper on Monday.

Now, if I may, I'll get a bit circular in this tale telling. Cast your mind back to the top of the story and the young boy who was seriously into knowing serial numbers of WWII aeroplanes......

These days I often allow myself lots of time gazing at what Mrs The Millbrooker terms "Music Porn". Drooling over pictures of lovely instruments that I can't afford but are nice and shiny and oh-so desirable. Like this Carvin:

It just so happens that such instruments often have lots of numbers and letters to identify them (the delightful Breedlove "Spring C25/RB", a snip at $10,669 / £6,500, for example), which keeps the anal side of my temperament happy. You  might also note that, had I stuck to Airfix kits as a hobby, my potential outlay of the old hard-earned might well have been considerably lower.

An object of desire for some long months now (and I am saving hard to get one) is a Godin A6 Ultra - mmmmm, beautiful. And a tad less eye-wateringly expensive than the Breedlove I mentioned above.

And what should be standing in the corner of Mike Baugh's tutoring room? Not quite an A6 Ultra - but its nylon strung equivalent a Godin Multiac. And who was allowed a quick plink upon it? Oh yes . . .

Go on - tell me that's not a thing of beauty. The guitar's quite attractive as well, innit?

The savings currently stand at fourpence ha'penny and a couple of buttons. All donations gratefully accepted.

Photos shamelessly nicked from
Airfix kit:
Sister Ruth Michael playing guitar: St Petersburg Symphony Press (no link found)
Carvin Guitar:
Godin guitar shots by Mrs The Millbrooker

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