posted by dave on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 4:03 AM in category guitarded

I really wish I could take credit for the title of this entry. But I can't. I got it from my sister Neisha. It's really quite a clever word though. And it describes me much more effectively than musically challenged. That term being all my brain could come up with.

Anyway, I've got this guitar. It used to belong to SassyGirl, and before she moved away she gave it to me. The theory being that I'd pick it up every now and then. As opposed to what I actually did, which was lean it against a wall for a year.

I guess that after my nephew was killed, that's when I became more interested in the guitar. Cory's friends included a lot of musicians, and between the funeral and the couple of benefit performances I've heard his friends give, I've heard more acoustic guitar playing over the last three months than I'd heard in my entire life before the accident.

Plus, I got some of Cory's guitar picks. And what else do you need besides a guitar and a pick?

That's where the word guitarded becomes relevant.

I think I might be tone deaf or something. I tune that stupid guitar and then, 10 seconds later, it sounds out of tune again. Sometimes I just cannot tell if a tone is higher or lower than the one I'm comparing it to. I have to think that this type of tonal perception would be a handy thing to have, if a person wanted to do anything with a guitar besides scare cats.

I've been plowing forward anyway. I had Neisha loan me some of Cory's old beginner books. Waaaaaay too advanced for me, I soon found out. So I went to this music store in Clarksville and asked the dude for the most basic guitar book he had. He recommended one that came with a companion DVD. I've been messing around with the book and the DVD for a week or so now, and I've only reinforced my opinion that I'm guitarded.

I can't seem to get the strumming right. My downstrokes are okay I suppose. I hit the strings I'm aiming at, and sometimes I hit a bonus string or two. So that's cool, maybe. My upstrokes suck though. I get my pick snagged on the bottom string, and then I kind of jump over the next string or two on the way up.

I asked MusicalYuppieDude about this today. He suggested that I try turning my wrist counter-clockwise as I strum upwards. Then turn it clockwise as I strum downwards. Sounds like a lot of work to me.

But strumming isn't my biggest problem. Nope, my biggest problem is trying to contort the fingers of my left hand into the various claws needed to make the chords that the books tell me to make. I'm pretty sure that I'm doing something wrong at the most basic level. I can't even get close to most of the finger positions diagrammed. And then, even if I do, actually applying pressure to the strings? Ha, very funny.

And then there's that whole counting to four thing. Don't even get me started on that.

comments (2)

One thing I'd recommend, is that you take this guitar to someone who plays guitar and they'll tell you it's not your size. AND, the smaller & less expensive the guitar, the harder it is to keep it in tune. Humidity levels in your house make a difference too. Do you have a good tuner? That really helps. Don't give up though. I remember sitting down with the fiddle the first time. There are no frets! You have to just learn where to put your fingers, and 90% of the time it's wrong. Then came teaching C how to play mandolin, something I didn't know how to play either. My only hope was that the notes were laid out the same. But with a mandolin there are 4 sets of 2 strings VERY close together. I wanted to throw it out a window and myself off a cliff. I could only pick down. It was a bitch trying to learn how to go back & forth and not just down all the time. But I started slow and messed around a little bit every day and finally my left hand started contorting into the weird shapes it was supposed to and my right hand started cooperating as well. You have the gene. I know you do. I KNOW you do. But either way....even if you end up being guitarded, I'm still glad you're testing the waters. Cory would be pleased, even if he is cringing at some of the sounds you make :-P

Practice makes perfect. Keep working at it and it will come along. Don't be timid with it. Hit that thing!

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