Thursday, February 19, 2004

Guitar Attempts and the Case for Caselessness

I actually got out my guitar tonight for the first time in ages, and I even put it in standard tuning (it's usually in DADGAD or Taro Patch). I've never really figured out anything about playing backup, unfortunately, but that just means I need to start. So I put on some They Might Be Giants songs and started trying to figure out how to play chords with some of the less harmonically-scary ones, like Lucky Ball & Chain, and Four of Two, which I spent the most time on. Yes, I was using tab off the web. I'm still a wuss when it comes to deducing harmonies on my own. (After years of thinking I was learning to play by ear, I realized that I was only really learning to play Irish tunes by ear. Oh well. Always more challenges to keep life interesting.)

The thing about playing guitar is that I don't usually worry too much about getting my fingers in the right place, and I don't even think I'd have too much trouble with the picking side of it, if only I knew *what* to do to make it sound good. It's so different from playing melodies on the mandolin. I keep feeling like I can only do simplistic little strummy things, but I can't see what's beyond that to work on, even though I know there must be something more. Very frustrating. I'm going to have to start listening more closely to guitar parts of songs. I also realized that it can be pretty tricky to try to sing at the same time, even when keeping the guitar part simple. Of course, my main problem with that is self-consciousness. What I need is to have my housemates (all five of them) just go away for a few weeks so I can make a lot of noise and get used to it. Probably not going to happen, though, so I'll just deal with it.

Meanwhile, I'm going back to my usual strategy when I need/want to practice something. The guitar is not allowed back in its case at all until further notice. Keeping it out makes it much more likely that I'll pick it up and play it, even if it's just in little bits, so I'll get a lot more practice, even if it is a bit less convenient to have a guitar laying around the room.

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