Monday, March 23, 2009

How I learned guitar

When I was in in 7th Grade, my grandfather bought me a guitar. It was an inexpensive guitar but it was great to learn on. I got some chord charts
and started to learn music theory.

One amazing thing is that so many songs can be sung and accompanied on a guitar with just three chords. The chord chart also show some other chords that can be thrown in.

Of course, there are songs that deviate from the standard three chords, but they are easy after the basic structure is learned.

Every generation needs a very simple song to start playing. My generation had Louie, Louie.

Maybe I can get some suggestions as to what is an easy popular song to start with so one feels good about what they are doing.

After learning, I used to seek out some friends and we would play some songs imagining we were in a rock and roll band. Secret Agent Man was a good one to start with.

Later when I was a Junior in High School, I used to lead the songs any church group that I went to. This was the real acid test since you have to perform. I got feedback that I was pretty good.
(Sometimes I would also lead songs with the piano, it was harder)

Then, the ultimate. I was in a Rock and Roll band when I was in college. We called ourselves, "John 3:16" I was the lead guitarist. I also sang some lead and back-up vocals. I also played bass on a few tunes when our bassplayer played his flute.

We had a few concerts in churches and in a coffee house called, "The Catacombs"
We even had some original tunes like, "Man can't live on bread alone"

Later, I did some solo concerts. Sometimes I would ad lib on stage making things up as I went along. That was fun. My solo concert was actually me leading some songs and then performing some of my original material.

There I was in the Army with the Chaplain. We were out in the woods, in the cold and I was playing the guitar with the troops.

I even was guest guitarist and speaker at a prayer breakfast at Ft Dix, NJ.

Now days, I sing Karaoke in public and my geetar playing is at home, but it wasn't too long ago that I was in Baghdad, Iraq, up on stage with the band singing and playing guitar, bass and piano. Then, I was in Nurnberg, Germany at an Irish Pub and the guitarist let me come up on stage and jam and sing away. Even more recently, I took a chair in the book store and sang a few.

I recommend guitar playing to anyone, but at least consider the autoharp . My elementary school teacher used one to help us elementary kids sing our kids songs like "Roll on Columbia"

Now days, you can buy a key board that will play a chord continuously at the touch of a key.

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