I am pleased to report that I’m still practicing every day. I was in a bit of a quandary as to how to re-learn things – what lessons to take, who to follow, which books to read, or which lessons are best. There’s so much out there that it’s hard to know which information gives me the most accurate or helpful content.
Frankly, some of the material isn’t all that great. In reading several books or articles, I’ve discovered that it’s pretty dry material. Some of the online videos or how-to’s don’t take beginners into account. They move too quickly and don’t break things down so that I can follow them. My hubby suggested I watch favorite guitarists of his like Pat Metheny. That doesn’t help me. For one, I don’t want to play that jazzy/bluesy style, and for another, he plays fast, complicated licks. That’s great, but it’s discouraging because I can’t follow or match that.
I’ve had the most fun with Play Along Music. The lessons are not as basic as I’d like them to be, but I’ve already played bits and pieces of Satisfaction, Another Brick in the Wall, and Smoke on the Water. It’s fun to be able to sort-of duplicate those riffs, but it’s not the basic tutorial that I really wanted.
I kind-of know how to read music. I know what the strings on the guitar are (EBGDAE), and I know what the notes are on a piece of sheet music (FACE for the spaces and EGBDF for the lines). I don’t know what the notes are that go above and below the lines and spaces, and I don’t know where most of the notes are on the fretboard of the guitar. If someone told me to play a certain note, I could play it if it was an open string, but otherwise, no, not at this point.
I realized quickly that my cheap little guitar ($86 for the guitar and amp) isn’t enough. I picked it up mainly to see if I could do it, and I know now that I can. My fingers can make the notes and the chords, and I can make reasonable sounds come out of the beginner guitar. I have discovered that electric guitar is much easier to play than acoustic. The strings are thinner and easier to press and make notes. In fact, I have to un-learn what I originally learned. I learned to press hard to make the notes. Pressing hard on an electric guitar makes the notes sound ‘tinny’. There’s no vibration on the string. A guitar playing buddy of my hubby’s told me to use the lightest touch possible to still make the note. That has helped.
I began shopping around for a better guitar, knowing something nicer will inspire me. I really wanted a Gibson. I’ve played a Gibson, and I know how nice they are, but they are also really expensive. So instead I began looking at Epiphone Guitars. Epiphone is a subsidiary company to Gibson now. They used to be a rival. Epiphone is basically the cheaper version of Gibson. Both companies are based in Nashville.
While on the Epiphone trail, I found a recommendation to GuitarTricks.com. It’s both a website and an app. I think I finally found my lessons and tutorial! It starts at an extremely basic level. The first beginner lessons go through the parts and pieces of the guitar (both acoustic and electric), how to hold it standing or sitting, how to tune it, and how to play it. I haven’t even gotten into making any sounds on the guitar yet, and I’ve already picked up useful information. I was sitting all wrong. Sitting properly makes playing easier, and the guitar sounds better. What a revelation. As a nearly lifelong typist, you would think that would have occurred to me, but sadly it didn’t.
Also while on the Epiphone trail, I found my replacement guitar. My order has been placed, and they are processing it. If all goes as planned, it should come in within a week, and I should be able to pick it up at the local Guitar Center. My new friend is gorgeous.
I can’t wait to meet this guitar. It has mother of pearl inlays on the neck, and it’s a black guitar (black on the back) with a silver burst of custom paint on the front. They say it’s prettier in person than in photos. I also picked up a small Fender amp since the little amp I have doesn’t even sound like it’s working.
Here’s a video of my new friend being played by someone who knows how to use it. It won’t sound this good when I play it, but I can dream.
Image courtesy of epiphone.com
Video courtesy of guitarcenter.com