My guitar in black-and-white (kind of elicits a feeling of sadness and evokes the memories of my youth)

Here’s a shot of my decrepit guitar taken last June 14, 2009. The front, which from this angle, appears to be still intact (albeit rusty), but a view from its side and back [not shown here] will reveal the damage done due to negligence and mishandling over years of cleaning my bedroom. The perpetrator, no other than our household helper, didn’t care much to mind that what she’s picking up propped against the wall was a thing of beauty. A childhood possession I’d held dearly in my hands for more than 5 years of local and foreign rock influence (playing mostly Eraserheads’ and Oasis’ songs). A self-taught musician, my beloved string instrument included a book which contained all the chords I had memorized by heart—but only chords that are mostly used—was long gone ’cause I’d lent it to my college classmate but never got it back since.

My love affair with my guitar started on my birthday back in ’94. I was a 4th-year graduating high school student. I was gifted with a very modern-looking acoustic guitar with a curved back (not common to see during that time). I used to bring it to school so that I could still learn even when I’m not at home, by getting my classmates and friends to teach me the basics. Once I was able to understand where to place my fingers on each string for each chord, slowly but surely I was strumming the ever-so-popular D-A-G-A chords particularly from one “Line to Heaven” song by Introvoyz. Since I was still using a guitar pick that time, and referring the chords of popular music from song hits, I slowed down the learning curve by playing the Em-C chords of Yano’s “Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo.” I stepped up a notch with each day’s progression strumming True Faith’s “Muntik nang Maabot ang Langit,” “Wag na lang Kaya,” and later graduated from beginner to amateur by playing Nirvana’s “About a Girl” and “Polly,” and The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” A few weeks was all it took. Afterwards I was able to jam with my high school classmates and barkada before school in classroom, during breaks at the gymnasium, and even after class in the CAT office—pretty much all over campus. Ang daming usong Eraserheads na kanta nun from their Circus album! Every time we would get together, E-heads’ “Sem-break,” “Magasin,” “Alapaap,” “Kailan,” and “With a Smile” were usually played and sung until there’s no more energy/will left to play and sing (in other words nagkatamaran na, hehe).

Enter college. Though I was never able to bring my guitar to my college campus; home was a different story. I was playing the guitar almost every single day whenever I got back from school. Still a mighty fan of Eraserheads with their Cutterpillow album released I managed to play most songs from that album. My stay-at-home summer vacation in ’96 was totally worth it since that was the time I was able to develop more my guitar prowess. Still self-taught, pero marunong na ako kumapa ng chords of songs I like to play “by ear” and was eventually able to tune well the guitar by myself. In time, I even discovered how to play a little bit of bass and slow lead (also by ear). Songs like Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova,” “She’s Electric,” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger”; Third Eye Blind’s “How’s It Gonna Be” and “Jumper,” to name a few songs I was nailing. I was playing all these favorite hits, but what was different was that I was playing it all alone in my room.

After college ended, my time with my guitar diminished completely until it was almost permanently stuck inside the guitar case which seemed like forever; waiting for the time she will be held in my arms again. It didn’t happen. Gone are those days now.

It’s been a long, long while since I have played her. Fifteen years [as of this author’s original writing] she’s been with me and I practically discarded and prematurely ended my relationship with her, not knowing that she was already in a fragile and frail state. And to see what she had endured for over the years, I couldn’t help but think of all the wonderful memories the sight of my guitar represents and still evokes: a love affair with music.

Shot of my guitar in full color. The current state of my acoustic guitar with a gradient white-to-blue glossy finish, now tainted with a yellowish film)

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