Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Anyone can play guitar

I started playing guitar in February 2008. I spent the first week of my self tuition trying desperately to pick out the chords for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, and my guitar sounding nothing like it. I check and rechecked what the internet was telling me to play, and that my fingers were on the right strings and in the right frets, but to no avail. That first strummed C chord sounded nothing like the tuneful opening bar performed by David Gilmour. It also didn’t sound completely tuneless either. When I strummed it did sound like a viable chord. Just not the right viable chord. After a week of this I grew bored and began to put together chords that sounded half reasonable, and strum my genius compositions.

The reason I picked up a guitar up in the first place was because of dissatisfaction with the game Guitar Hero. Not displeased with the game itself, how could you be it’s a brilliant game, and getting better all the time with the recent introduction of the new Beatles element. How could anyone not want that Paul McCartney Hofner violin bass controller. My ire was raised instead by the fact that, whilst enjoying pressing the coloured buttons on my plastic Gibson Les Paul, I couldn’t help thing that being able to bring a plectrum down on real steel strings would be so much more rewarding.

This theory would, of course have been correct, if the information provided to aspiring guitarists about where to put your fingers wasn’t utterly erroneous.

It was around this time, about five weeks into my guitar odyssey, that I decided to revisit the little manual that had come with the electronic guitar tuner. It was this point a stark revelation made itself known. The tuner doesn’t know which string your playing. A green light telling you your string is in tune, needs to be correlated with another light which tells you you have tuned the right note to the right string. Some brief reconfiguration, and Wish You Were Here was soon ‘owned’.

By owned I obviously mean rattily and cack-handedly strummed, with exactly the wrong degree of fret-buzz, string muting and a complete disregard for the rules of timing, rhythm and music in general.


Ishouldbeworking said...

I understood the first paragraph of that.

Bright Ambassador said...

I'm sticking with Guitar Hero (who wouldn't want to use the 'Test Your Metal feature on Guitar Hero: Metallica?) but I'm considering the drums.

Mondo said...

Have you tried Floyd's Breathe yet lovely for a bit of acoustic strumming or electric and chorus effect.

The first tunes I learnt (July 82) were Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes riff, and When I'm Sixty Four - which is a bit of a bugger for a first-learn.

Suzy Norman said...

Russ Shipton's learn to play guitar series is book I used to learn to play. Blowing in the Wind and Catch the Wind remain to this day the only 2 tunes I can play from start to finish. It also came with a guitar tuning floppy record (remember those non vinyl records free with mags?). To this day I can tune a guitar by ear alone.
Not a bad intro to the guitar (if you like folky protest songs, which I do).

lauragc said...

Well that's the first hurdle over come, and you've faired far better than I ever will. Shortly after I was born, my Dad bought a guitar for me, I believe he dreamt of having an exceptionally talented daughter. I did not live up to that dream. I still cannot see over the top of the guitar seemingly made for giants and I can't even work Guitar Hero.

The Cat said...

Have you read Will Hodgkinson's "Guitar Man"? I can recommend it. I have two guitars and can't play either, mainoly because I have no free time to get lessons.