I started back to regular lessons in September and it’s going really well. I’m learning so much and it’s amazing how much I can play. I have a whole collection of songs I know!
I started this journey on February 9th. I think I’ll consider it ‘done’ on February 9 of 2010 (even though I’ll continue learning, for life)
I’ve been taking lessons sporadically this summer. Right now, I’m on a one month hiatus from my lessons – I’ll resume September 21st. Still practising, though.
I’ve learned several new songs in the past four months:
‘Early’ by Greg Brown
‘I’ve Just Seen a Face’ by the Beatles
‘Me and Bobby McGee’ by Kris Kristofferson
The two songs I’m currently working on are:
‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young
‘You Ain’t Going’ Nowhere’ by Bob Dylan
And I have some great, guitar-related news: During the winter, I put an Alverez MC90 Classical Guitar on layaway and faithfully made payments on it every week. I brought my new ‘baby’ home in May and I love it! It has an amazing sound. :-)
Fingerpicking was difficult at first, but I’m getting better with practice. I figured out most of the bass runs for ‘Hobo’s Lullaby’ on my own. Teacher had to correct one of them, but I was really close. In Lesson 4, I officially ‘graduated’ from the ‘Blue Eyes’ and ‘Gold Watch and Chain’ songs, though I need to keep them fresh. In Lesson 5, Teacher ask me to play ‘Blue Eyes’ and I was stumbling a bit, not having practised.
In Lesson 5, she introduced a new song by the Beatles! I was very excited about this one because it uses the ‘hammer on’ technique and new chords, C and Em. The song is ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face.’
I have a lot to work on, but I’m not going to have another lesson until mid-May, so I have a lot of time.
Lesson 3 was last week. In my lesson, I attempted to sing and play the song, ‘I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes’ by the Carter Family. I gave it a good try but the melody was way off. Teacher was amused.
This week, I’ve been practising the correct tune, using a recording I got off of iTunes as reference. It’s hard to relearn something once you get into a rut, but it’s coming along! Next week, I’m bringing along an electronic recorder, so I can record the songs. It will be handy to be able to play along with the recording.
We reviewed the boom-chucka strumming pattern I learned in Lesson 2. This week, I’ve been practising boom-chucka with the song ‘Gold Watch and Chain’. That’s been going pretty well, though I’m not quite up to singing and playing at the same time.
In Lesson 3, Teacher introduced a new song ‘Hobo’s Lullaby’ and finger picking. The chords are all familiar, but finger picking is challenging for me. I’m not even close to singing and playing on that song, but I did download a nice recording from iTunes.
My second guitar lesson was last Monday. I was a bit nervous about it, but it went really well. I played the song I’ve been working on and in my nervousness, I accidentally played it in 3/4 time instead of 4/4 time! Teacher wasn’t overly concerned, merely surprised that I even knew what 3/4 time is.
I also demonstrated the bass runs that I had figured out on my own (transitions between chords). She said they were melodically correct, but they were not placed where she would have put them. She taught me her version and I’ll be working on that for next week.
I learned a new song in my 2nd lesson, another Carter Family favourite: Gold Watch and chain. This song uses A, D and a new chord (which I’m already familiar with) G.
This time, she taught me ALL the bass runs. I surprised her by figuring out the run between D and G very instinctively. She say that I’m the first student to ever do that.
We also went over a new strumming technique, which I struggled with a bit. So far, I’ve been using the ‘boom-chuck’ pattern, hit a bass note, strum once. She taught me ‘boom-chucka’ which is a bass note followed by two strums, down, then up.
Work for next lesson: continue to practice ‘Blue Eyes’, this time with singing. Same with ‘Gold Watch.’ Master the new strumming pattern.
I’m still practising nearly every day, usually for a half-hour, sometimes more. I feel like I’m making a lot of progress and the bi-weekly lessons are working well for me.
I practised every day this week. I’ve been working on three chords, A, E and D. I’ve also been learning a song, “I’m Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes” by the Carson Family. It’s an old-style country tune from the 1930s.
My teacher taught me a bass transition between A and D. I’ve mastered this and also figured out the other transitions, between D and E, E and A. I’ve been using a metronome to measure my pace in the song. I still haven’t tried singing and playing together.
I’m starting to learn D minor, A minor, E minor, G and C. D minor and G are quite a stretch for my fingers.
My fingers are getting tougher, more calloused. I’m finding that I can play longer without pain.
After doing some searching on Craig’s List, I started researching a few teachers in my area. During my googling, I ran across a teacher who doesn’t advertise on CL, but she sounded amazing, so I contacted her and yes, she was able to fit me into her schedule.
I had my first lesson yesterday and it was really good. I had already taught myself the D, A and E chords, so we worked on a song: ‘I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes’ by the Carter Family (old country standard).
I learned to combine bass tones with the chords and even do runs between chords. My transitions are sloppy, but I’ll get it with practice.
Just one lesson and I feel like I’m making more progress than I did with months of practising on my own! Next lesson is in two weeks.
On Saturday, I bought a set of guitar strings and an electronic tuner at a downtown store. On the subway ride home, I discovered that the strings were steel; I needed classical. So I turned around and headed back to exchange them.
Guitar strings are not terribly expensive. They were all around $14 (Canadian $) no matter how high or low end.
I restrung the guitar myself. It wasn’t easy, but I imagine the first time is the most difficult.
Some thoughts: There are as many methods to restring a guitar as there are snowflakes. Second, none of them make any sense until you actually start to do it. Just do it. YouTube is a good resource if you’re a visual sort of person. I followed the directions on a website.
-This website: http://tinyurl.com/dkf6we .
-Block out at least two hours so you won’t feel rushed.
-Spread a blanket on the floor to create a scratch-free workspace.
-Start the process sitting on the floor, then…
-...when you start to tighten the strings, sit in a chair with the guitar upright on the floor (saves your back).
-Make sure the strings winding on the correct side of the peg (the side with the most room, usually toward centre).
-A basic electronic tuner is worth the investment.
Now that I have a working guitar, the next step is finding affordable lessons!
I bought a guitar and, predictably, it ended up gathering dust.
New start: The guitar needs to be restrung (the old strings were crap anyways and one is broken) and I need lessons. Time to head to Long and McQuade to get started…
I found the most wonderful book – it’s a big book of songs (1200!), mostly folksy, country, traditional, but lots of fun stuff that I recognise and the songs include the chords. It’s easy sing-along stuff, and I’m finally playing my guitar regularly. Exciting!