damon (vstraylight) wrote,
damon
vstraylight

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Guitar Journal

Well, it's been a while since I wrote about these guitar lessons I've been taking.  I was in Mexico and then Guitar Hero 3 came out and sucked me in so the guitar did not get practiced as much as I'd like for a couple of weeks.  I've been fixing that of late.  I try to have the guitar in hand when I'm sitting around listening to music or watching Tv.  I've been focusing on scales instead of the pieces I'm learning.  Though I played the Bach some since it's a pretty sounding scale exercise.

That must have been paying off because at Thursday's lesson he paid me a few compliments on my progress which was awesome.  He said that my tone has really improved, my finger dexterity is coming along well, and my left hand position is really good.  Apparently, I'm arching my fingers appropriately which was awesome to hear since that's one of the things I am always correcting myself on while practicing.

I really can't say enough good things about taking lessons.  The regular feedback, techniques, and guidance are priceless.  Being older and looking back on my previous musical career, I can see why I was good at the Horn.  I do have a natural musical aptitude, but the regular weekly private lessons for 9 years were the thing that really mattered.  Sam is my sixth private music teacher, and he's really good.  I can't imagine succeeding at teaching myself to play guitar, and I'm thoroughly impressed by people that do.  I just don't have the patience to go through the trial and error to get there.  Especially when there are people who have been playing for 10+ years that will teach you what they know.

One weird thing is that when we were working on scale patterns, he told me to just down pick everything and focus on the left hand.  So, I just ignored my right hand and did the pattern.  He looked at me and asked if I meant to alternate pick that.  I hadn't.  I just ignored that hand and it did the right thing.  That's always a nice accomplishment.  What is really odd though is that I have a really hard time strumming and alternate picking on Guitar Hero.  You'd think I'd be able to alt pick since that is a lot like actual picking and you don't even have to worry about jumping between six strings while doing it.

So Thursday Sam made the comments on my progress and started me learning hammer-ons and pull-offs by learning "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zepplin.  This week, I'm just supposed to focus on the hammer-ons and chords.  Next week we start learning to strum.  This is a lot of new stuff to think about.  He said the hammer-ons and pull-offs are crucial for when we get to soloing.  Chord changes are hard and I don't have the finger positions imprinted yet, but G and D are coming along.  I figure in a couple of weeks I'll just be able to throw down those 2 chords.

I'm looking at getting an electric guitar.  I went to Guitar Center, picked up a few, and played the Bach and a scale.  Wow, it is soooo much easier to play an electric.  Now I understand why Sam is always asking me when I'm going to get an electric.  I'd love to get an American Stratocaster, but I don't think it's in the cards right now.  I've got a couple of messages out on Craigslist, and we'll see what comes of that.  He also said that i'm going to want a nylon string acoustic to really explore classical music.  We're going to wait on that and focus on left hand technique and leave the right hand finger picking styles for later.  This is another great thing about having a teacher.  He told me to email him ads and he'll look them over and tell me what to ask and look for.

I'm pleased with the guitar.  I'm making progress and almost feel like I'm actually playing the instrument.  I'm really looking forward to the *click* moment where I start playing whole lines of music like they are thoughts flowing from my brain.  My goals from last post are still in my mind, but I think my goal dates are too aggressive.  I want to take some time out of the next lesson to create some goals to work towards.  I like the focus that gives me.
Tags: guitar
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