One year of guitar, end of week 1

Saturday was kind of pathetic. Only got about fifteen minutes in, and that was mostly me figuring out that barre chords are next-to-impossible on my old Epiphone acoustic.

Tonight, one hour + of working on faster chord changes in open chords and learning a couple of songs.

Figured out how to play “Hey Ya” and “I’ve Never Met a Girl Like You Before” (Edwyn Collins). The course I’m using recommends both of those as open-chord songs (with capo on the “Girl Like You”) but I found them easy enough to play as barre chord tunes. Both fun songs. I feel slightly better about life, having figured them out.

My fingers hurt a bit. Not too bad.

One Year of Guitar: Days 1 & 2

I’ve wanted to play guitar forever. I even play a little now. I’ve taken a few lessons and I understand barre chords and can play them somewhat. However, I’ve never taken it all that seriously. The desire is serious enough. I have found myself depressed by the¬†thought “Man, if I’d only kept practicing for the last [insert months], I’d be so much better now” HUNDREDS of times.

I know the value of practice. I’ve played drums both professionally and semi-professionally since I was 11 years old. That’s, uh, well, over three decades. I have practiced drums for thousands and thousands of hours. Somehow, guitar has never taken root. Ironically, I even own some VERY nice guitars, bought mostly because I am also a recording engineer and I wanted to have certain guitars in the studio for certain types of clients.

Also, I am at a kind of awful place in my life, as my mother is dying, and it’s very likely that we’ll be headed down to my home town to spend as much time as possible in the coming months, and I feel a need to have some goals and something to focus on, besides my daughter’s sadness and my own grief.

So, I decided to practice every day for a year, even if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes. On June 25th, I tuned up my old Frankencaster (Esquire body, routed for a neck pickup [Lollar tele installed], with an American Stratocaster neck) and decided to start from the beginning. Towards that end, I am working through the entire course. It’s remedial, yes. I feel like a kid playing straight D chords over and over, but already I’ve learned a few things about thumb placement and that I’ve been squeezing the neck of the guitar too hard forever.

It’s humbling, yes. It’s not boring, though.

What’s my goal? Here are guitar players who I admire: Nels Cline, Doug Grean, Leo Nocentelli, Neil Young, Malcolm Young (no relation), Keith Richards, Pops Staples.

I’d like to be able to play some of those songs. Maybe in a year, I’ll be able to approach some of the guys with whom I’ve played drums all these years and say “Y’know, I play a little guitar, too.”


So far?

25 June: one hour

26 June: 45 minutes