It Don’t Come Easy

I’ve been “playing” the mandolin for about seven weeks now and the experience has given me an even greater appreciation for professional musicians than I already had.

I’ve been in awe of many musicians in my life, most of whom are guitarists that I’ve seen perform in person.  Richard Thompson, Jerry Garcia, Dave Rawlings, Robert Fripp, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn come immediately to mind.  Trying to train my brain to accomplish two things at the same time is really hard for me.  It definitely “don’t come easy”.  Sorry, I just have that song stuck in my head.

I’m trying to learn chords and force my left hand to get to the right spots while strumming a regular rhythm with my right hand.  My brain is definitely not wired for this.  And to think that so many musicians can actually sing while playing makes it all the more incredible to me.

One thing that I had no idea about, going in, was that it kind of hurts to play.  No, I’m not talking about your ears!  Those damn strings are tough on the fingertips.  I’ve been trying to practice at least a little bit every day to help build up the calluses.  My calluses have built up quite a bit but it still hurts.  I wonder how long it takes before you don’t feel it anymore?

It’s been great fun for me so far and it’s something that I look forward to doing everyday.  I’m interested to see how far I can take this without taking lessons from a pro.  Lucky for me, Jim has been a huge help and keeps pushing me and challenging me with new things.

A special mention needs to be made of the Missus(it’s fun calling her that), who clearly has the patience of a saint and never complains when I practice. I go to the other side of the house but still, it can’t be fun to listen to.

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues and you know it don’t come easy.



One thought on “It Don’t Come Easy

  1. No pain, no gain! Keep practicing at least every other day for an hour or so and in a couple more months your fingertips won’t feel it much at all while you are playing, but when you play for 3 or 4 hours nonstop you are still going to feel it the next day- no getting around that. Might want to do some research on lighter gauge strings for your next replacement set, that change can help to fret chords easier and reduce fingertip soreness, but you may sacrifice some of the punch you get from heavier gauge strings. Here’s a good read on the topic:


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