One of my regrets in life is that I’m not musically inclined. I hope one of these days, when I get the time, to take out that acoustic guitar (which I got from my oldest sister) I have in my closet somewhere and learn how to play it. One of my problems in learning to play is that I’m left-handed, and even after restringing the guitar, I find it hard to think backwards as I try to mimic guitar chords in an instructional book. And unlike Aerosmith’s lead guitarist Joe Perry (a natural left-hander who plays right-handed) I can’t play right-handed. I’m not looking to become a professional musician, but rather just being able to play it and make some music. Even if I were to discover a latent talent and become good, I doubt I’d ever quit my day job.
I enjoy listening to the guitar and watching others play. One of my favorite CDs at college was one of Armenian guitar music. During a fine arts series there was a classical guitarist named Sharon Isbin. And though I’m not a Van Halen fan, I find myself amazed at how easy Edward Van Halen makes it seem to play the guitar.
And then there are other “guitar” players.
I watched a guitar contest on Youtube and could only take about 29 seconds before I shut the screen off and felt like boiling my eyes. It was, so…words escape me. It reminds me of how Stephen King hosted a writer’s contest and talked about how there were some entries that were, “…frankly, abysmal.” They were so bad, that he didn’t post them because he felt it would be distasteful to shoot a cripple.
Such was the feeling for me as I watched this file of a man competing in the 2007 Air Guitar World Championship in Oulu, Finland, near the Arctic Circle. He jammed out on guitar—well, not really. He was pretending to play a guitar, his right holding an imaginary pick and his left hand holding down imaginary chords. Yes, he was the overall winner for the second year in a row, but seeing him play an imaginary guitar was just too much.
Irony of ironies, for the two-time winner, Japan’s Ochi Yosuke received a custom-made Flying Finn electric guitar worth more than $4,000. a man who wins a contest for pretending to play the guitar receives a real guitar. Of course, being in this contest and being able to dazzle the crowd with your air guitar capabilities doesn’t mean you can actually play the instrument: one of the reported favorites for the title was American Andrew “William Ocean” Litz, who can’t play the guitar. He finished 11th.