Saturday, January 4, 2014

Playing the Guitar


Can you do it?

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   Playing the guitar is a fun and exciting way to pass the time. Whether you want to play an electric, acoustic, or any other of the more than 15 types of modern guitars- it will challenge your creative side and be enjoyable.

   Don't get me wrong, it won't always be satisfying and fun, but the rewards of learning to play basic cords and putting them together to make a song, out-weigh the difficulties. You will have bruised fingers, and even ringing in your ears from the efforts of half realized cords. Don't be discouraged, there is no wrong in playing the guitar.

   You can learn to play in a way that is comfortable to your pace, and how you desire. There isn't only one way to play, you can learn how to read music, or play abstract melodies. That is the creative part to the process, finding your voice through an instrument.

   Now some people really aren't very musically inclined, and even though they try hard to learn and practice, they find they don't make music like they wish they would. Others can play nearly instantly when they learn a few chords, but they aren't really that interested in playing. The person that wants to play and is desirous to express themselves is going to go on to be a better guitar player, making interesting sounds that reflect his/her soul.

   With that said, welcome! Hope this post helps you learn about playing the guitar. I will include here my experience playing guitar, history of the guitar, videos, and more. No matter how many people are already playing this popular instrument, there is still new creative sounds to be made. Blessings in your visit.


The Musical World

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   I just want to give a few lines of my experience playing guitar. I come from a musical family, where my mother played guitar, is a song writer, and a singer. My father was a drummer, and he also sang. They would play out in the bar scene when I was young, playing in different bands covering popular songs, and also playing originals. When I was a child, I played the piano, and the keyboard, it wasn't until I was 21 til I started playing the guitar (I'm 34 now), writing songs, and singing. I was taking after my mom and dad.

   I have played in open mics, and even have had a couple of gigs where I played in a band with others. Mostly though, I created songs and sounds from my home, making twelve different albums and designing the cover art to them. Some of these albums were just me playing guitar and singing my own songs, others I played the guitar and keyboard, and also I played harmonica in nearly all of them. OK, so now you know a bit about me.

   Now lets talk about you. Are you from a musical family? Don't worry if you aren't, it doesn't mean you can't be a great musician. See, I fit into the second category in the first section above, where I am semi-talented, but not desirous in playing so much. Don't get me wrong I love to play, but there is other passions I find take more of my time, for instance writing.

   So, go for it, break the mold, and get yourself a guitar. You'll find playing guitar relaxing and meditative, a way to put off your worries and anxiety, even an anti-depressant. Of course you may want to play an electric and play loud music that is really annoying to everyone but yourself? Well, if that's the case just make sure it sounds good to you, and playing the guitar is a positive thing for you.

   Personally I cringe when artist smash their guitars on the stage, I think that isn't right. I have always played an acoustic/electric 6-string guitar, I find the resonant sounds of the echoing wood to be peaceful and enjoyable. You can also plug it into an amp, or a sound effects machine and make all kinds of great electric sounds. The point is, guitar playing should be a positive experience.


Playing in a band or by yourself?
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   Both of these can be fun, and it depends on your personality. Usually there is a leader of the band, this is usually the guitarist or the singer. If you are the leader then the band can complement your songs and the sound will be great, or if you are playing someone else's songs, you can put your touch into the song, and add creative guitar work to their melodies.

   Playing alone is mostly what you will do at first, and some people that's what they prefer. It does take a special group in order for it to be a wonderful experience instead of an headache, musicians aren't the easiest to get along with. After you get decent at playing the guitar, you'll find it's another learning process playing with others altogether. If you can find the right people, you can mesh into a sound that would be impossible alone, and you'll be in amazement at times at the great feeling you get. You'll say, wow, did we do that!

    Playing alone can be rewarding as well, especially if you sing and play harmonica at the same time. Then you are like a one man band, with all kinds of sound ability. Playing in front of people for the first time is nerve wracking, and for some paralyzing, but alone it is down right terrifying at times. Playing with others can be easier in this regard, but when playing alone you get all the accolades. And besides just start with getting a guitar, then learning the basics, the rest will work itself out.


Learning to Play

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   Mostly this article isn't going to be a technical center for learning the guitar, but I will add a video, which you can learn the basics from. Of course there is always more to learn when it comes to music. Most musicians get to a certain technical level and then just go from there with their own creative effort, sorta making it up from there. Once you learn the basics you can make up cords, but when you look into those you'll likely find it is a cord actually. Rule is, if it sounds good to you, then play it.

   There are two main aspects of actually playing the guitar: the strumming, and the pressing the neck for cords. One is done with the right hand and one the left, depends on if your right or left handed. Let's say you are right handed, then you'll play the cords with the left hand, and strum with the left.

   The part of learning to play that was the most frustrating, was the strumming. The cords were difficult to press down, and especially move from one to another, but the strumming made me feel like I wasn't made to play the guitar. Don't be deceived here, the strumming will come with practice, and after awhile you'll be amazed at the rhythms you'll create. The strumming has to become automatic where you can feel the music and respond with subtle changes creating a dynamic sound. When you begin though you'll feel like you are like a dog trying to drive.

   There are 7 major cords: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The minor cords and other cords are just alterations around these. So if you can learn these cords then you will be on your way. Some of these are harder than others to play. To play a chord you press the cords against the fret in the prescribed manner, and strum (strum not stab). The chords I suggest learning first are: A, E, D, and G. These are the most common and the easiest to play. Remember, you can write a song with just two cords!




How Long Does it take to Learn?

   Generally, the process of learning the chords, and how to strum takes about 6 months. That is in 6 months you'll be able to write your first song, or play another's song. For this to happen you'll have to practice nearly everyday.

   I went to a guitar teacher who gave me three lessons, cost me something like $30 each. They ended up being worth it, cause at the time I didn't have you tube, or the internet. I had a few chord books, and my mom's hand made book teaching me most of what I needed, but having a seasoned player to ask the tough questions really helped.

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   If you get an electric guitar, you'll be able to make some far out sounds right away with an effects pedal. This will be fun to mess around with. You can put on some music and play along and pretend you sound good, until the music turns off and it sounds like a cat got ran over.

   Just learn at the pace where you can retain the knowledge, and enjoy the process. If you are a poet already, or writer, you can write some songs to get ready for your first tune.



So Now Your A Musician Huh?

   Just wanted to recap some things, and tell you what a good time I had being here with you. This post is a labor of love, as I can share something I hold dear to me. Music is a powerful force, never underestimate it's power of influence on your soul. Personally I don't listen to rock and roll anymore, and I listen mainly to instrumental and Christian music, like Caroll Roberson. Music is still important to me in a way that's hard to describe. Guess that's why I had to play to express myself.

   I still get the guitar out (I have two now), and play for an hour. It brings peace when I do, but because I'm rusty it brings pain to the tips of my chord fingers. Small price to pay though. Your fingers will get hardened and your soul with get in rhythm with your strumming. At that point nothing will stop you.

   Just keep in mind, you don't need drugs to enjoy playing music or listening to it. I believe Frank Zappa was a sober man, yet strange. And one more thing is always seek the truth in music, that is keep it sincere and realize it's power, and don't sell out. The purity of the art of playing guitar, is the part that is worth the playing. Maybe that will teach you something in life too.


   For now, though,if your a beginner, press on-wards. Get yourself a guitar and tuner, and start learning how to strum and play cords. Then write some poems down, and start making songs. When your done tell me in the comments, and maybe I can listen to your masterpiece. Just don't get mad at me if I'm speechless! Thanks for hanging out, come back and see the updates, and relish the love. God Bless.





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