Faith and Jane. Photographer: Chimobi Onwualu

I was 10 years old; I had just listened to country music for the first time, Kenny Rogers’ Lucile cracking on the sound system in the car, and so my love for the stringed beauty began. By 18 years of age, I had purchased my first acoustic guitar, brown\ black and silky to the touch, determined to play, I strummed all day and night long to no particular beat or rhythm, just the joy of having it and wanting to know her better, I named her Jane.

I soon realized that I had to make beauty of the sounds each time I strummed, YouTube tutorials, guitar tab sites, and even my guitar teacher all threw around words like; Strum, pick, fret, chords, strings, beat, progression, I was blank. After studying the theory of playing for about 6 months, and learning all her strings, I still hadn’t the faintest idea of what I was doing, it was then it dawned on me that it would take longer than I had thought to play perfectly.

Blisters on the tips of my fingers, bending your wrist and manipulating your fingers into acting independently of themselves so as to get into positions and shapes they normally couldn’t get in. A, C, D, E, the only chords I could play, then  D and B were my arch enemies, and when I finally learnt them, I realized there were a host of others I didn’t even know existed; E7, Bm, A7, Am, Em what is this? I soon got tired of pushing myself to learn only to be disappointed each time I played, so I quit, I abandoned jane, I wouldn’t touch her or even look at her for good two years, still I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of her. Then I looked at the tips of my fingers and smiled as I saw the dents and healed blisters from her strings, I picked her up and started playing again. Sure I am nowhere near perfect, I have a lot of learning and long nights of practice to get to where I want be with Jane, more blisters, and frustrations ahead, but it will all be worth it when I pick her up, strum her and she sounds just like I want her to or have always imagined, when I can cover Kenny Rogers’ Lucile with Jane.