If you want to make music – you can. But if you want to be an amateur guitarist, you’re not going to have a huge skill to fall back on. There have been a few songs like I’m Sorry (which I just learned at the local public library. I’ve played it at least five times in the last couple of months.) There have been a few really amazing songs, but you can’t go out and get them all or even the big hits. They all seem to be a bit generic and uninteresting to me. Even the most basic riff can be covered, but it’s not like writing a song that just covers a riff you already know from somebody else will impress anyone. You’re going to have to actually go out and learn the songs with the intention of writing them down as a template, and you need to be able to riff them from memory without being able to write them down.
It’s no secret that most musicians who study guitar become amateur artists. What were some of the more interesting things you saw in your studies of guitar?
There were some very cool, surprising things. Some songs sound like they were written for a jazz band, even though you don’t know what the chords on the second and third of those songs are. You don’t know what key they’re in, or whether it’s a jazz song to begin with. You’re not hearing any notes they play during the improvisation until a few lines in. You don’t even know what kind of electric guitar they’re using at the moment. One of the songs that stood out to me was called My Sister’s Boyfriend. All the words are in a language that sounds completely foreign to you, but you actually begin to understand what they’re saying. And you start to see how they’re using various chord progressions to give you these different textures, or how they’re playing the chord progressions in different ways. There are two different guitar melodies going on at the same time on the instrument, as if these two separate parts came together under pressure to make something good.
I also loved watching and listening to people learn songs or guitar techniques. At the local library I would watch people play the chord changes of songs I’d never heard before, and they’d actually play them correctly. They were playing things that I’d never even heard before, with only the chords and maybe a guitar solo going on at the same time. It gave the song a new tone.
How would you tell someone wanting to learn
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