Playing Guitar and thoughts on being mentally a guitar player without Playing

How Can I Start this Chapter, when all I ever wanted to do was play Guitar?

Well a hemiplegic makes a poor finger-picker.
One cannot play mental guitar for ever, when one once was a pretty high quality picker.
Several of my friends (and some of them are former guitar students of mine), have tried to help me pursue the axe in some form.  I just don’t seem to be able to figure out how to hold it with one arm. Where to place the other limp limb?
It is pretty bizarre ; my brain can image the finger movement, with no problem. But that side of the body just won’t listen!
I can still think about the right Thumb alternating like a mini-bass player.
I still can play my scales cerebrally.
Not to mention the top of the first page of Micky Baker’s Jazz Method Book. You know, the inside first page with all the inversions that starts with G Major with a third in the bass, and your left pinky on the second string.

Dave Van Ronk used to teach with some inscrutable personal tablature, with an X when all the the three fingers of the right hand played together (Thumb, index, and ring). And his tab had NO LINES just letter with either a line through it or one above or below it. Based on the concept of so called high note or low note or one in the middle.
Reverend  Gary Davis would just play it for you, and if you kept messing up he would simplify it “on the fly.”
Barry Galbraith had a huge collection of transcriptions, which he would use a wet copier (maybe made by 3M) to whip out a copy for you, and then finger it, according to your level at the time.

Anyway I had a ball. I would sit on my bed and try to read the chicken scratch.
But that was cool, it forced me to develop my  ear.

I became a great ear player, since I only learned to read music when I went back to college and studied  for a music degree.
Finally I received a BA in Music composition at Hunter College CUNY, when I was  25.

It was great to teach guitar as a living and study harmony at the same time.

I had some terrific teachers at Hunter and most of them were also composers as well.  They loved to compose! It  sure was contagious.

January 19, 2013
I have not played guitar in almost Nine years (this is unbelievable to me).

However recently I have dug out some of  my previous work as a teacher and musician. I found a few files of early demos. Also I have started to reformat my fingerpicking instruction book from the 1980s. It was created in MS word with crude guitar tablature that really looked awful.

The past few months I have come up with a makeshift technique to convert the tablature from Guitar Pro into .jpg or .gif. to embed them into an HTML formatted version of the book.

I also have an old tape of me playing the examples and was able to move the cassette versions of the taped examples into .mp3 format.

I am using an outdated version of MS Photo editor (from originally from the extra options included with MS Word 2000. Then I take a screen dump using the “print screen” key on the keyboard ), and paste that into either paint or (Paint.NET v3.5.10 ) to create the image files with the correct chord symbols.

All these parts are being combined into a HTML document using a basic text editor . I also use Araneae 5 (from to create the media links and to preview in several browsers (especially SeaMonkey).

In 2014 it was placed on my web site


About Andy Polon

Long time professional guitarist. Currently a computer techie. I came of age in the 1960s. (Successfully avoided being drafted for the Vietnam War). Raised in a "left of center" cultural household. I was very lucky in that Manhattan was a true melting pot. Lost my use of my right hand and arm in late 2003, due to a TBI Still love singing and older songs.
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