Saturday, April 14, 2007

Guitar Opinion

I love guitars. And I have this fantasy of owning a large guitar collection someday. Complete with different kinds of effects pad and gadgets, guitar straps, picks, and, of course, different kinds of guitars: acoustic, electric, jazz, classical, folk, etc… different kinds, brands and models. And it would be nice to have vintage models, too. Ahhh… if only…

Anyway, in my opinion, the guitar is the best musical instrument there is. And I believe all people can play it, all it takes is perseverance, dedication and love for it. It’s also the best instrument to start with (only in my opinion… some say it’s the keyboard), since if you know how to play the guitar, it would be easy to start studying how to play other instruments, too. After some time of guitar playing, learning the basics of bass playing would be easy. Then, with increased sense of rhythm and timing due to playing the guitar, the playing of basics of the drums would follow. Anyway, it is not always true – it’s still up to you. And besides, no matter what the instrument, it requires constant practice and study to master it; from basics, to variations, and then mastery.

Playing the guitar is both easy and hard (You’ll understand this statement when you start to play). It’s nice of someone can teach you (better still, to have lessons), but you can also study it on your own. Like me. I just self-practiced and self-taught myself. Just have yourself a guitar and a chord chart, and then practice the chords. Sooner or later, you’ll be able to play your first song. As I said, it only takes perseverance, dedication and love for playing the guitar. By and by, the basics of guitar playing – chord shifting, strumming, timing and plucking – will be “programmed” in your mind.

Then learn some lead. For starters, one should learn how to read lied sheets or tabs, to learn to play the pieces made by others – usually downloaded from the internet – in playing particular lead situations in songs, and to gain some ideas about lead playing. Octaves, chromatics, pentatonic, major and minor scales, slides, bend, pull-off, hammer, triplets, tap, mute, and the other “principles” of lead should be learned. And as one get himself familiarize with the principles, techniques and scales, one can make his own guitar fills and ad libs.
In using a guitar effect, I guess, distortions are the best to start from… not only because it is cool, but, mainly, also to mask your mistakes. Honestly, the hearers may not notice the mistakes when you play with distortion – just be quick to bend, slide, or whatever to make the lead flow right. (Especially in strumming a chord with some heavy distortion, it is rare of the hearers to notice you struck the wrong chord). But try other effects, and clean, too, by and by. Experiment, practice and study the effects. And also try playing lead, acoustic style. Playing lead with the acoustic is not at all inferior compared to playing with an electric, and in some cases better still, especially if one masters the classical or Latin styles.

In playing lead, fast fingers are not necessary – but very convenient. Often, it is not about how fast your fingers but the proper usage and progression of the notes – plus the phrasing and proper use of guitar scale/technique, whether, it is jazz, disco, classical, basic rock-pop, or others. Learning to play “grooves” in the guitar is necessary, too, I guess, though it’s mostly the bass guitar’s job.

Learn also to play or “jam” with others. Learn band principles and techniques, communication, and teamwork. No matter how good you are, if you cannot work with the band, you cannot play effectively.
The guitar is a very fascinating instrument. Playing the basics, and then some, nor even if you “mastered” it, it does no stop there. It is best to continue practicing and learning new things. Playing the guitar is definitely rewarding.

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