Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wild Rover

The guitar playing is sloppy, the rhythm is bad and the singing would send a dog scurrying for cover but considering I'm a complete beginner I'm pretty excited by it.   It took me a few takes to get through even this single verse and chorus so it's still a work in progress but I really wanted to get this working for St. Patrick's day. 

 I used these chords and lyrics. A big thanks to FlynnerFolkSongs for his great tutorial on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Learning Guitar at 50: #1

Setting out to learn something new is always interesting.  It challenges you in ways you can't begin to predict before you start.  Inevitably things you thought would be hard turn out to be easy and things you thought would be easy are harder than they look.  This is a post about the preconceived notions I held prior to starting my journey to learn guitar and my take on things now.

Notions #1:  There would be plenty of internet resources to learn guitar.

Reality:  There is so much information out there it's absolutely insane.  But if you simply search for 'Easy guitar songs' or some such thing you're going to get swamped with stuff of wildly differing quality and much of it geared toward players with a couple of months or more of experience.   

What you really want is a structured method of learning the basics.  Luckily there are options here as well.  The program I discovered and am using is the beginner's series hosted at
The lessons are comprised of YouTube videos and accompanying web pages that cover everything your need to get started.  The lessons are run on a honor-system so no upfront payment is required. There are accompanying materials you can purchase as well.  I recently purchased Justin's Beginner Songbook and am having a great time with it.  There are videos for some of the songs on the web but having the chord progressions and lyrics written out is a big help.

Notion #2:  The hard part would be learning the chords.

The basic chords certainly require work to get a handle on but they're not that hard.  It turns out that the hard part is putting all the individual pieces together.  Music is a flow that doesn't wait for your old nervous system to communicate with your creaky joints.  In the end, it's not the stretchy hand positions that are the problem it fluid movement from one position to another.  The good news it's still a lot of fun to make poorly flowing and unmelodious music.  

Notion #3:  If you just practice you'll get results.

This is mostly a true notion.  I'm sure there are certain hurdles ahead of me that may challenge this notion but so far it has been true.  What I have learned so far though is that even with a lot of practice progress is slow enough that you can't often observe it directly.  I like to think of it as watching a watch.   We all wish progress would be like the quick sweep of the second hand but in reality it's more like the slow progress of the hour hand.   You can't see it but if you track its progress you'll see it always advances.

Notion #4:  It would be work

Maybe I'm just lucky but the time I spend practicing never feels like work.   I certainly dedicate a lot of time to practice but it's not a chore.  I do it because it's fun.  It's not uncommon that I 'finish' practice and put on some music only to be so inspired by the playing that I have to pick up the guitar again to practice some more.  I someone had told me it would be this way I would not have believed them.

Monday, March 05, 2012

New Guitar Day

I've been learning to play on a borrowed instrument so this is my first guitar.  I'm pretty excited actually.

It's a Seagull Entourage Mini-Jumbo, manufactured in Canada,  It sounds great and feels awesome.

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism