Saturday, October 11, 2008
posted by dave at 11:04 AM in category guitarded

When I go to the internet and find the chord progression for a song, and it's listed as an easy lesson, or as a beginner's lesson, and it's got a change from a C to a G. And then back again.

Or if there's an F anywhere in the song.

Because that shit's not easy at all.

So fuck you, internet guitar people.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
posted by dave at 8:50 PM in category guitarded

You can go here if you're bored. There are old entries.


Looks like several months of not even touching the guitar did absolutely nothing to help my playing.

Weird, huh?

But now I've got myself a doohickey. An Effects Processor or some such. MusicalYuppieDude gave it to me. It looks like a pretty complicated piece of gadgetry. I'm pretty sure I'd need a pilot's license to fully understand everything it can do, but the main thing that it can do for me is that it can let me play my electric guitar with headphones.

Before, in case you've forgotten, I couldn't play the thing because my amp always had this very loud hum. For a while I had everything shoved into a corner of my basement where the hum was more tolerable, but it really was never acceptable. Plus, I wanted to mess with the guitar in my living room while I watched some guitar-lesson DVDs.

Now I can do that.

And there's a chance, I'm thinking, that I might be able to hook my amp up to the thing as well. Before I can try that I need to get another cable, though.

And then maybe I'll learn how to play. Would that be something?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
posted by dave at 12:24 AM in category guitarded

41241 241241241 41241 241241241
(repeat until fingers bleed)

I'm feeling generous. Over at the journalspace incarnation of this blog, I'm offering a year of pro-access to whoever gets this right.

Sunday, December 30, 2007
posted by dave at 12:03 PM in category guitarded

I didn't write about this before, mainly because I feared that the mounds of colorful panties thrown into my yard by passing groupies would detract from my neighbors' fancy Christmas displays, but I have an electric guitar now.

I've actually had it for over a month. Back before I went to Las Vegas, I went to a music store. I needed to buy a new beginner's book. So, of course, I walked out of that store with a new beginner's book, a new guitar, amp, cord, gig bag, stand, strap, tuner thingy, and a bunch of picks. Good thing the place didn't have a tattoo artist on-staff, or I'd probably have gotten one of those, too. Maybe a demon wailing away on a flaming guitar, or something like that.

Anyway, I bought all this stuff, and right from the start I could tell that something was horribly wrong. The amp would constantly emit a loud buzz - so loud that it would drown out most notes. Every note on the guitar also tended to sound exactly the same, because of having to merge with that damn buzzing.

So I've been nagging my friend MusicalYuppieDude to check out my stuff and see if he can figure out what the problem is. Because he's been busy, raking up panties from his own groupies no doubt, we didn't get together until yesterday afternoon.

I packed up my guitar and my amp and went over to his house. I successfully negotiated the Stairs Of Death and made it into his basement.

The first thing he tried was his own fancy "V" guitar plugged into my el-cheapo amplifier. Everything sounded great. There was no buzzing, just sweet music.

Next, he plugged my guitar into my amp. Same thing, no buzzing. He said it sounded good, and I believed him. I was right there, after all.

The only thing left to try was my cord, so we tried that. Still, no buzzing. Still, just sweet music.

By this time a new theory had started to develop in my head. The new theory being that the buzzing might be caused by the electricity in my house.

So we dicked around for a few more minutes, while I marveled that my guitar and amp were capable of producing distinctly different sounds, depending on which strings I strummed and which chords I formed, and then I brought all of my shit back home. I was excited by the chance to finally be a rock god.

My amp had only been plugged into two different outlets. One in my basement and one in my living room. I started trying different outlets.

One on the other side of the living room? The buzz was there.

One in my office? Buzzzzzz.

My bedroom? Buzzzzz.

I took everything down to my basement, and tried an outlet on the opposite side of the house from where I'd tried before.

No buzz. Just a very slight hum, hinting at the awesome rock fury straining to be unleashed.


So now I have an electric guitar and amp that are actually useful to me, instead of just looking cool. I've only got a few little things to work on:

1. I cannot pick.
2. I cannot strum.
3. I cannot change chords.
4. I cannot count to four.

And then, then once I get those trivial problems solved, I need to figure out what's the deal with notes.

I don't understand how there can be two strings on the guitar that allegedly play an E note. They don't sound even remotely similar to me. One is low, and one is high. But people tell me that they're the same note. I don't understand, and I fear that the rain of panties will never happen until I do understand.

Friday, November 9, 2007
posted by dave at 12:06 AM in category guitarded, ramblings

I just had a very funny thought. Or I guess it was more of a daydream than a thought. In it, I imagined being misunderstood. But that wasn't the funny part. Nope, the funny part was the exact nature of the misunderstanding.

My reticence was thought to be caused by apathy.


Pretty much the funniest thought I've had in a long time.

Or maybe it was the saddest. It's so hard to tell sometimes.


Also, I'm writing a song of sorts. I can't play it for shit, but I'm thinking that if I keep trying for a million years, then maybe I'll get it right once or twice. This is the same theory I'm testing for my love life.

I neither read nor write music. I'll have to describe my song to MusicalYuppieDude, so he can tell me how it would look in musical notation Then I'll post that notation. After I add some variety.

For now, according to this site, it just goes like this

Cmajor, Cmajor-Cmajor, Cmajor, Cmajor, Cmaj7, Cmaj7, Cmaj7, Cmaj7,
Am, Am-Am, Am, Am, Asus2, Asus2, Asus2, Asus2...
Then, it repeats. I need to add more variety. My Grammy will have to wait until then.

The nice thing about these four chords is that I can almost switch between them quickly without dislocating some vital joint or pulling some vital muscle.


I never said this would be interesting.

Sunday, November 4, 2007
posted by dave at 12:31 AM in category guitarded

The other day I said that I felt like I was doing something wrong at the most basic level.

Well, today I decided that I was correct. There are were two things that I was doing which were just incredibly wrong. I am now trying to correct those things, but only time will tell if I'm successful.

First, my left hand should never ever ever ever be used to support the guitar. My left hand's sole purpose is to form chords. If I feel the need to support the end of the guitar with my left hand, then I'm doing something wrong. I'm out of balance somewhere. My left hand needs to be completely unencumbered, so that it can reach all of the strings easily. Supporting the guitar with my left hand is a distraction at best, and a total hindrance at worst. Usually, for me so far, it's been the latter.

Second, strumming should be about 95% elbow action, and only 5% wrist action. This particular problem is a little harder to describe, but I'm still sure that I'm right. It has to do with how and/or if I hit the proper strings when I strum, especially on my upstrokes. I'm working on this, but it's proving to be really tough for me.

It's fun for me to pretend that anyone cares about this crap.

Monday, October 29, 2007
posted by dave at 10:07 PM in category guitarded

I'm such a slacker when it comes to writing entries. This bothers me, but apparently it doesn't bother me enough to motivate me. Sometimes, I do get motivated, but then all this time has passed and nothing I write is contemporary anymore.


Some stuff happened, and now I have a date with NormalGirl. That's the girl from the comic yesterday. I was going to give her a different nickname, but NormalGirl fits my tongue better.

At least I'd like to think so.

That's bad. I shouldn't have written that. Oh, well, can't be helped now. It's not like I have some magic button, labeled backspace perhaps, with which I could erase stuff I've typed.

But my date with the hot girl isn't what I was going to write about. Nope, I was going to write more crap about this guitar and how I'm trying to learn to play make non-deadly noises with it.

I suppose that my strumming has gotten better. At least the upstrokes are better. That whole pointer that MusicalYuppieDude gave me, about turning my wrist when I strum upwards, has worked wonders. I still have a big problem with hitting extra strings when I strum. I can only hope that the frequency of these errors will diminish over time.

I also mentioned before that I may be tone deaf, because I couldn't seem to ever get the blasted contraption in tune. Well, I found this nifty guitar tuner program. It lets me pluck a string into the microphone on my computer, then it tells me how far off, and in which direction, I am from the desired note.

All of my strings were way the fuck off. But now they're not. I can tell this because the computer program tells me so, but I can also tell because of my cats.

See, before, when I'd strum the guitar, three things would happen. First, Happy would come running, hopeful that whatever animal torture ritual I was performing would leave edible body parts strewn around the room. Second, Nugget would haul ass down to the basement, for fear that he was about to become my next victim. Third, Buddy would ignore me, just like he always does when I do something interesting.

But now when I make noise with the guitar, all three cats ignore me.

Seriously, let me try to read a book or take a shit, and Buddy is all over me, but let me move and make noise and actually do something interesting, and he ignores me. What's up with that? Cats are weird.

My ability to count to four while strumming hasn't improved, but my ability to at least stick with a certain rhythm has gotten better. Not getting caught on a string when I strum has helped with that. So I can kinda fake it like I know how to count. So that's cool. Chicks dig guys who can count.

It's really amazing how much more fun and satisfying it is to strum a well-tuned guitar than it is to strum one that's badly out of tune. I estimate, in fact, that it's 833,241 times more fun. That's a lot.

The tips of every finger on my left hand are numb. I'm finding it difficult to type coherent words. This, I also assume, will get better as time progresses.

I've gotten better at making chords, but I still suck badly at changing from one chord to another. You're supposed to change chords between notes. I'm lucky if I can change chords between geologic eras. This has to get better, if only because it couldn't get any worse.

That's about it I guess. I'm getting better, but I'm still guitarded.

Did I mention that I have a date with NormalGirl?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
posted by dave 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.

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