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 I started playing in 1975, I guess I should say I learned some chords and picked by ear some but not a lot.

Last year I started taking lessons and got bit by the bluegrass bug and I'm (along with the help of a great teacher, Tim) trying to learn flatpicking.

It's slow going at age 51 but it's fun enough to keep on going. Goodness knows it would have been a lot easier 35 years ago but I work through the hand cramps and forge ahead.


Tim and I are working our way through Steve Kaufmans Bluegrass Guitar solos 1.

As I go deeper in the book I'm getting use to the fingering and rythem but still have miles to go.

A few weeks ago Dan Miller came through town and had a workshop on accuracy and tone.

It was the first time I played a solo in front of anyone, it wasn't pretty . I crashed and burned but I got so much out of it.

Anyway, I'm in it for the long haul.

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That is a great story, for sure. It encourages me to push ahead. Thanks, Kenny!
Good story Kenny. I started 50 yrs too late as well, get the cramps too, but won't give up.

I've been playing with and in front of people for three years and I crash and burn every session. It doesn't hurt anything but my pride and that's been so well-squashed it doesn't matter anymore. I simply get back on track as soon as I can and finish with a smile.


I'm averse to gear talk, but when I played a Taylor, my hand cramped, too. Now I play a Martin with a modified-V neck.....no more hand problems.

"It's slow going at age 51 but it's fun enough to keep on going."

I gave "self taught" 55 years.  Didn't work out as well as I hoped.  I start lessons next Tuesday.

I'll be paying some attention to this forum.



You and me both will be paying attention to this forum Martin.

Good luck with the lessons!

I played a lot back in the late 60's and up to about '75, so I was much younger but my hand cramped too after playing lots of barr chords. Like hard exercise, it got better. I stopped playing completely and picked it back up again after 35 years and started playing acoustic fingerstyle. The hand cramps returned but I'm sure in time they will get better again. I'm 57 now and I don't think age has anything to do with it, other than I can't spend the whole day in the bedroom playing like I did then. There is the wife, and the job, and...so If I play for 1 hour a day, I'm doing great. Just keep playing! Everybody! There will be a time when the young one's jaw's will drop to the floor because 'the old man is really smokin'.

"There will be a time when the young one's jaw's will drop to the floor because 'the old man is really smokin'."


I like the way you think Steve!

Hi I think it's great what you r doing...keep it up....I agree it's fun and when you first begin to learn you appreciate your efforts...the music is terrific.....I'm older than you and just started taking lessons in May...I saw a Flatpicking contest in 2008 at at a bluegrass festival in maine...the people who played were awesome....from north/south carolina;virginia/ and maine....and other states....but what they could do was unbelievable!I was hooked...I came home and started to want to play fingerpickin' music....I too wish I started at 10/12 years old...but hey thats ok I'm doing it now....so keep it up and share.... johnny mac


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