Know What I Miss? #socs

Playing the guitar. Ever since my stroke almost nine years ago, I’m unable to hold a pick, and when I go to hit a string, I miss.

An Epiphone Dot model, their version of the Gibson ES-335 (

To be honest, though, I hadn’t been playing much before the stroke, either. I have a gorgeous Epiphone Dot model that I bought to go to the National Guitar Workshop in 2002. I had a fantastic time there, too, and when I came home, it sat in the case in a corner of my home office. It’s now in the back bedroom, along with my other guitars: a Guild Manhattan I bought later that year, a Yamaha acoustic with a cutaway that has a piezoelectric pickup and tone and volume controls, the Ibanez acoustic Mary gave me for my 21st birthday, and a Yamaha 12-string acoustic I bought one afternoon when Mary and I were wandering around the Loop. I have about a dozen sets of strings and hundreds – literally – of guitar picks, including a few that are a cross between a flatpick and a thumbpick that I got, hoping to get back into playing.

I haven’t yet.

At that Guitar Workshop, the instructor told me that I needed to stop wrestling with the guitar and make the music come from someplace other than my hands. Guess it’s a fairly common mistake, and hard to break the habit. I was just starting to get the hang of it, and for some reason, I stopped. Too many other things going on in my life, I guess.

The advantage of starting up again would be I’d need to think like a beginner. The beginner’s mind. Start over again and re-teach myself. Forget Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method and wing it. Forget trying to read the inkblots and let my ear be the guide. I know enough of the theory that I can work things out for myself.

And relax and play. Maybe I wouldn’t be typing with one hand if I just did that. The whole problem was I never took the time for playing.


This week’s prompt was to start and end with a word ending in -ing. How’d I do?

Anyway, this is my entry for Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. She has the rules and the list of other participants at her place.


Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

13 thoughts on “Know What I Miss? #socs”

    1. I think it’s a case of reminding myself that it needn’t be perfect, and that I’m playing first for me and my curiosity about what things sound like. I do that, I’ll get what I want to out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. John, thank you for posting this. It really moved me. I’ve lately been feeling the need to start playing again, and you’ve inspired me to keep going. Tonight might be a good night to re-string the Takamine, and maybe even start resurrecting my old Yamaha 12-string. Maybe trying to save its neck will help save mine.

    I agree with mltrautz — try a beginner’s three-chord-wonder strum, and sing Kumbaya. (OK, I added that last part.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I certainly hope you do start again, if for no other reason than having fun with it.

      I’m doing things backward on this reboot, working with single notes first before trying to do chords. Sounds backward, I know, but I want to spend more time with the scales and fretboard knowledge, if for no other reason than hearing how the scales sound and what goes with them.


  2. I’ve been playing guitar for years, and reading this, I wonder if I never got out of the beginner stage, though I have learned more than three chords 🙂 . I play to accompany my singing in a forgiving and accepting church or at home, for fun. Depending on the song, I sometimes just strum with my fingers, instead of using a pick. I saw a guitar teacher who plays in a band do that, because he has arthritis or something in his thumb… Go for it, John! Have fun with it! I hope you will keep us posted.


    1. JoAnna, I often joke that I haven’t been playing guitar for 30 years, I’ve been playing one year of guitar 30 times over. 🙂 Sounds like we play for the same reasons. The joy is what’s important, as I’m sure you already know.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. John, I don’t know you, but I say: Baby step your way to your goal. Each day will render a moment, if only one, to keep you uplifted. You make the choice. We’ll be here to cheer you on!

    “It’s not the mountain in front of you that defeats you, but the rock in your shoe.” – author unknown



    1. Baby steps is about the best I can do; it’s been about ten years since I’ve played. The book I mentioned is one that I’ve always wanted to work my way through. I’ve had it 20-25 years and have read it over and over (because he’s funny and has an interesting philosophy) but haven’t done too many of the exercises. He takes a different approach to the guitar than other teachers, one that requires some knowledge of the instrument and music. I’m looking forward to it.


  4. I have a couple of guitars that were my dad’s. A Yamaha 12 string and a Guild jazz guitar that’s electric/acoustic. Apparently the Guild is worth some money. Always wanted to learn…


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