Commentary

Playing guitar helps Buchholz pitch

Updated: May 25, 2010, 3:51 PM ET
By Louise K. Cornetta | ESPNBoston.com

Editor's note: This Q&A with Clay Buchholz was conducted in October.

Finding Clay Buchholz inside the Red Sox clubhouse is easy, he's the one always sitting with a guitar. What is he working on? Does guitar actually help him with baseball? Do we have another Bronson Arroyo rock star emerging?

How long have you been playing guitar?

Clay Buchholz: Started my sophomore year in college. So about six years now.

How did you learn?

CB: Basically the school that I was at was so small that there was nothing around to do. My roommate that I grew up with from high school on, he played. So one day, nobody was around in our dorm room and I picked it up and started looking on the Internet. It started from there. I self-taught myself. I learned to play by ear.

You always have a computer up, what's that for?

CB: It's tablatures. What that means is it's six lines and then it has a number on each line which represents the fret and which string to play. That's how guys tap out songs that they want to play. They get on the Internet and just tap it out for other people to look at and try and learn those songs. It's a different way of learning songs.

What kind of guitar is it?

CB: I have five guitars. My favorite is the Gibson acoustic guitar my fiancée got me for Christmas. I like that one a lot. I have one at her house in L.A. that I like a lot too.

Do you bring it on the road?

CB: A couple road trips I have. When we went to Texas, I had family there, so I didn't have time to play. But road trips we go on where it will be just me and my fiancée in the room, yeah, I'll bring it and mess around with it.

Do you serenade your fiancée then?

CB: Well, I try. It's not too hard. She's a hopeless romantic.

What are you working on?

CB: I have a lot of respect for people that write songs. I've tried to sit down with a couple of my friends and write songs. It's something that I think is really hard to do. I've never gotten by writing more than the first word of a song that I've tried to write myself. Guitar is a leisure thing. Something I try and do in my spare time.

What kind of music do you like?

CB: I was raised on rock. Seventies and '80s rock that my dad listened to. Being from Texas, they have a new sort of label of Texas-country, kind of a Southern rock. I listen to that and rock and roll a lot. Songs that I can hear a guitar in, if I like it, I try and learn it. Metallica are fun songs to play. I like all Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, AC/DC ... you name a song with a good guitar in it and I'll try and learn it.

How does playing guitar help you prepare for a start?

CB: It will take your mind off of thinking about something. I'll sit down and mess with the guitar and my mind clears. So in a way, it does. Mentally, it helps you prep a little bit. If you like it and can do it, playing guitar will mentally help you prep some.

Would you rather be a rock star or baseball player?

CB: I'm going to say baseball player. It's more of a schedule. I have a couple friends who are in bands and it's pretty hectic. Bands from back home, one of the big bands there is called the Red Airplanes. They're sort of a gospel band. They went to the same high school as me, but graduated a year before me. I talked to them a couple of times. Life is sort of play a gig, go back on the road to the next place to play another gig, not a lot of sleep. We have the better deal.

What teammates are also closet rock stars?

CB: There are a couple of guys getting into playing guitar like [Jon] Lester, [Josh] Beckett who are learning. There are a lot of music enthusiasts here who maybe you wouldn't think would be. Lester, he's getting into it, Josh and then Dusty Brown who just came up from Pawtucket. He's a guitar guy too. So a couple guys.

Would you ever play publicly?

CB: That's something I haven't dipped my toes into yet. I'm sort of shy when it comes to singing in front of people I don't know. I guess the fear of messing up and getting laughed at. If I was good enough, I wouldn't mind, but I don't think I'm there yet.

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