March 18 2019 16:25:08
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Guitar
PersonalThis is something I probably should have posted up here a while ago... I decided to buy a guitar! I kinda got fed up with having programming as both a hobby and a profession (well, not fed up as such... but you know, variety is nice), so I figured learning the guitar would be a good distraction, and I wasn't wrong.

I bought an Ibanez RG370DX. It cost me 270GBP ($400), which is as much as my new server cost! It's pretty nice to play, though the locking tremolo makes it a pain to change tuning. I've had the guitar for about a month now - I'm still pretty bad at playing it, though not nearly as bad as when I first started (I couldn't even hit a chord without taking about 30 seconds to position my fingers).

There's a great sense of achievement when you manage to play a song that you know. I can play "Doesn't Remind Me - Audioslave" and "Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes" (both badly ;)) at the moment along with various other chords and scales.

To make sure I don't annoy people with my playing, I got a Behringer UCG102 USB Guitar Link. It lets me plug my guitar straight into my MacBook Air and I can play away and record with any piece of audio software. I find that Garageband is by far the best - it lets me add effects, choose from different amplifiers and add other computer-generated instruments, all without having to rerecord the track!

If anyone else out there wants to learn an instrument but is too worried about being bad at it, seriously... just do it. Yes, you'll suck when you start out, but so does everyone! Practise makes perfect. It's amazing how muscle memory works, I can go to bed not being able to play something without thinking about where my hand is. The next morning, it instinctively comes to me. The more you do the same thing over and over, the easier it becomes.

Playing an instrument is great fun if you don't take it too seriously. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated at yourself for not being able to play something immediately (I know this from playing the recorder and the violin). Just relax and keep at it, you'll eventually get it.
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