Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hard Things Made Easy #1

I've never played Guitar Hero or any of those type of games but i'm all for them if they introduce guitar music to a whole new generation. Hopefully it will inspire a few more Green Days and Nirvana's and save us all from bland Simon Cowell influenced pop which bores me to tears. We went through that in the late 80s and i don't want ever want to go back to the days of Take That and Backstreet Boys dominating things.
What games like Guitar Hero don't do, is teach you how to play the chords needed to bang out a tune on a guitar. You may be able to play Sweet Child O' Mine perfectly on the X Box, but you are never going to be able to match Slash without years of practice. Frustrating i know. When i first got a guitar i wanted to turn the amp up to 10 and thrash out the riff to Holiday In Cambodia. Not so much playing ethnicky jazz to parade my snazz, more a bloody racket which had the parents shouting up the stairs to tell me to turn that noise down.
I had a very good teacher who would spend most of the time going through how to make an E Chord, then an A chord and finish off with a well known song that had those chords in and it is amazing how many songs are comprised of just a few chords. Every time you get your head around a chord, you add thousands of songs to your repertoire. I know perfectly good musicians who get by just knowing the main 5 chords E, A, G, C and D. The whole punk movement was built upon musicians who only knew these five so within a few weeks of practising, the moving between the chords is the trickiest bit, you have the tools to play along to pretty much anything by The Ramones, Clash, Sex Pistols or Green Day.
Many people are happy to stay at that level and strum along to their favourite songs, while others move on to add further chords to their arsenal.
What most people are keen to learn are the face melting guitar solo's which are the raison d'être of Guitar Hero. I don't know a quick and cheerful way to learn these apart from using sites like Ultimate Guitar Tabs to start with to find the Tabs which show you diagrams of where your fingers go and what strings to play.
My advice for anyone making the leap from Guitar Hero to a real guitar is to start with learning those 5 common chords and you will be on a par with many famous musicians who have made much of moving around within this range of chords.
Right then, hold down that E string at the 8th fret and 1..2..3..4...So you been to school for a year or two and you know you've seen it all.


Anonymous said...


"right then" - sometimes your englishness is mood altering funny...


Falling on a bruise said...

I don't know what your equivalent is but it's the English way of saying 'so now let's put it into practise'.

Nog said...

Nothing good comes of that fratty video game...

Angele Martin said...

Learning guitar scales is important, even if you think it almost as boring as learning chords. The problem with many new guitarists who have just started learning is that they want to go too far too soon. That is the road to disaster, as many failed guitarists will tell you. Have you ever seen these piano players learning how to play, when they are going up and down the octaves playing their scales? Well, they are putting money in the bank because it will help them later when they have to play certain note combination without thinking. If you are going to be a good lead guitarist, or a solo guitarist of any description in any genre, you too will have to spend time learning your guitar scales.