Image: I've been using the guitar as a form of escapism throughout lockdown (Credit: James Donnelly, 2021)

If you saw me, you’d probably assume I owned an artisanal coffee shop or played guitar. Whilst I may not own one, I spend a lot of my time in them… Or at least I used to, which has given me more time to do the latter.

One of the biggest things lockdown has lead to is me having a strum in my bedroom, lounge or anywhere in the house I can really.

Playing the guitar has – as I imagine with playing any musical instrument- become a crucial form of escapism during the current situation the world finds itself in.

“Guitar has taken the lead and helped with my daily rhythm to combat my blues”

The first lockdown in March 2020 wasn’t quite so bad. We had the weather on our side, and we could pretend we used to be walkers before any of this began and have some daily exercise.

Now in our third lockdown, it’s not quite the same. It’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s all generally gone a bit English.

On top of that, working from home now can get slightly utterly and completely monotonous at times. Waking up, working, eating and sleeping in the same room needs a bit of punctuation.

That, for me, is where guitar has taken the lead and helped with my daily rhythm to combat my lockdown blues.

I’m not saying you have to spending hours learning, crafting or labouring a certain riff or song you’ve always wanted to play. Overdoing it can be a bit of a momentum-ruiner actually because something you do for fun can make you want to hit your head against the wall if it doesn’t turn out exactly how you wanted it to after hours of working on it.

I just mean having a quiet (or maybe not so quiet) half hour to switch off from the outside world and let your mind focus solely on playing. That might be something you already know and love; something you’ve just come up with or possibly something new if you feel like it. Whatever it is, do it without thinking.

Image: I customised and repainted the green guitar throughout this year (Credit: James Donnelly, 2021)

Something I did without thinking during the first lockdown was customise one of my guitars. I possess the same level of mechanical and technical expertise as my two dogs and while I have been playing the guitar for about seven years now, I hadn’t the first idea about how they’re made.

The main impetus behind what I was doing, other than boredom, was changing the colour. So, whilst I was locked down at my uni house in Nottingham, I started disassembling and sanding down my Stratocaster, passed on to me from my dad.

Despite complications with blisters and some minor paint-dust inhalation, the guitar was ready for paint!

It was at this point my project had to be paused. I soon realised that paint was no longer possible to buy because boredom had made everyone paint things- literally anything (my mother and sister painted some stones for the garden which now permanently live in the shed).

Image: The guitar that my Dad and I finally finished together (Credit: James Donnelly, 2021)

My Dad came to collect me in the middle of May and after many beers one sunny Sunday afternoon, we decided to finish it off. There were some teething issues. As much as my Dad has done some technical things before, his instrument of choice is the keyboard, which definitely isn’t a guitar. Not even in the slightest.

After a few hours of strained fingers and minds we finished it together.

I don’t do emotions very often, I’ll admit- but that’s a memory I look back to whenever I pick up that guitar.

By Adam Baker