[I'm learning to play the guitar by going through Rocksmith for 30 days and seeing how far it gets me. Here's where I started.]
Guitar prices run the gamut. I bought mine years ago for the price of a burger and fries. The coworker that’d sold it to me--I used to work at a music instrument retailer--had been in a Beatles cover band for a decade, and he’d been collecting guitars for at least a decade before that. He had dozens of them, all shapes, sizes, and retail values, just laying around his apartment. So when he sold a cheap one to me, it didn’t hurt his feelings to get lunch out of the deal.
The guitar is a Fullerton. It’s modeled after a classic guitar body shape, the Fender Stratocaster. There weren’t many Fullerton guitars made, but that doesn’t mean it’s valuable. The product bombed. Didn’t even take off, really. Fullerton's lifetime sales numbers might've hovered just above the zero mark. And that was that. I'd probably doubled by coworkers’ Fullerton sales when I’d bought it off him with a fast-food basket.
This guitar hadn’t gotten any love since--how long had it been?--since 2008, maybe. But it’s getting a whole lot more love than it’s used to right about now. There’s dust under the strings and along the entire neck. There are smudgy fingerprints over its entire black, glossy face, though most of them appear to be my daughter’s.
I was going to skip the Rocksmith video lessons about how to attach the guitar strap, how to hold the guitar while standing up, and (!) how to hold the guitar while sitting down. But, then I thought to myself, Did I pay for this, or did I pay for this? Turns out, I’d paid for it, so I was going to get every possible dollar of value squeezed out of Rocksmith.
My strap was strapped, and I felt more comfortable standing than sitting, so I went into Picking 101, feet planted. I had a general idea about how to hold a pick, sure, but Rocksmith is a solid, patient teacher, every step of the way. I got to wail up and down on the guitar strings a few times, too, just to alleviate any shyness I might’ve had with strumming. It felt good. I felt good. It didn’t sound like anything in particular, but I no longer felt like I had to tiptoe around the guitar. No, I wouldn't be smashing it onstage or baseball swinging it through a speaker anytime soon, but I wasn’t utterly frightened of it anymore either.