Two lessons ago, Charlie gave me an arrangement of Amazing Grace to practice. To be more precise, I only needed to work on the first half of the arrangement. It wasn’t terribly challenging to get the mechanics down, and by the time I returned for my most recent lesson, I could play Amazing Grace like, well, a mechanic. Charlie gently pointed out that I could stand to work on making the melody stand out over the harmony, which was a good point. I needed to work on playing it like a musician.

Along with some other stuff, Charlie assigned the remainder of Amazing Grace for me to work on for my next lesson. The second half of the arrangement uses a barre chord (F played as a barred E) in a couple of places.

I hate barre chords.

Okay, I like barre chords. I just hate not being able to play them well yet. It doesn’t take a brain scientist to understand the power and versatility that come with the ability to play barre chords. And I want to be one of those guitarists that can play up and down the neck. Besides–the F barre chord sounds a whole lot better than the wussy-sounding F played on the top four strings. The F barre chord has that nice strong root on the 6th string for when you need a good bass note. I definitely like barre chords.

I’d just like to skip the pain and the endless practice it takes to be able to play them.

I’ve been working on this for a week, and I can’t even come close to grabbing a barre chord accurately yet. And once I get my fingers down on the fretboard, I rarely can get all six strings to ring true on the first try. Not to mention that my left thumb is half numb from the death grip I’ve been using on the neck of my guitar.

As you’ve no-doubt concluded, patience is not one of my strong suits. There are moments when I’d consider paying a pretty high price if it would allow me to be an accomplished guitarist right now

And I’m 48 years old. You’d think I’d know better by now.

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