Screw this!

Sep. 6th, 2008 05:44 pm
moiread: (hand on hip • bryce dallas h.)
My brain is learning much faster than my fingers. That's hardly surprising, but it is very frustrating. I can memorize a whole bunch of chords, and I can even push down hard enough to get them to ring clear, but I can't play for long enough to get a decent practice session in because my wussy soft-skinned fingers can't take it. It's going to be weeks before I have proper callouses, and in the meantime I'm basically just stuck being stagnant on the learning end. How am I supposed to get muscle memory going if I can't do the chords over and over and over ad nauseum? How am I supposed to learn an entire song? This is unacceptable! I want more practice time -- more time to just fool around and get things right -- than my fingers can currently take, so as of today I'm going to start taping my fingers and on Monday I'm probably going to go buy some rubber thimbles. I'll still do as much as I can with bare tips, to make sure that the callouses do eventually happen, but I don't like being held back the rest of the time when there are workarounds.

EDIT: Ha. There. Taping my fingers worked. Now I can switch through Am, Em, E and C with ease. ALMOST without looking. I keep fumbling on bringing my index finger back to the second string on the first fret (for Am) after it's been higher and further up the neck (for Em), and so I keep having to peek to make sure I'm tucking it enough, but I am determined to be able to do this sequence with my eyes closed by the time I go to bed tonight.
moiread: (delighted • zooey d.)
Thanks to Tim ([livejournal.com profile] timprov) -- who started this whole thing by outright buying me a guitar in the first place and encouraging me to learn, just in case it wasn't clear who the responsible party actually was -- I have now discovered the incredible joy that is guitar tabs. Consequently I have also discovered that, at my current rate of progress, I can basically start trying songs as early as... Well, now. I just have to be careful that there are a limited number of necessary chords, that I have those chords memorized, and that the changes don't happen too fast. Then it's just practice, practice, and more practice, like it was with any other song on any other instrument. And that, from experience, is something I'm more than comfortable toiling through.

Right now I'm going through tabs for songs by artists whose work I know backwards and forwards, because I need to be familiar with the rhythm and what it's supposed to sound like when you do it right. I printed out a few options, but I think my goal for next weekend will be accomplishing a vague approximation of Dar William's Your Fire, Your Soul. We'll see if I manage to or not! If I can't, I don't mind. Trying will be a good learning experience for me, and goals are good to have. I will get it, even if next weekend is too soon.

Gee-tar.

Sep. 5th, 2008 07:52 pm
moiread: (music • guitar.)
I can now officially change back and forth between four basic chords -- A minor, E minor, E, and C -- while strumming, and I can even do it with only a middling amount of klutzy fumbling. Hooray for me!

Still unreliable on getting chords to consistently ring clear -- I'm not used to holding my fingers in these weird contortions or pushing down so hard with my ring finger, to say nothing of my pinky, so sometimes I don't do it hard enough and I get that irritated buzz on the string -- but now the proportion is mostly clear instead of mostly not, which means I'm getting better. While I still have to look at the fretboard when I switch to make sure I'm getting the right fingers in the right places, I have at least memorized which fingerings are for which chords so that I don't have to look them up in the book anymore before I do them. That's progress too! Even if it's only for four of them.

I can't figure out how to strum properly with my fingers, though, so I am trying to use a pick now. It's just... It still feels unreasonably awkward. Plus the sound suddenly gets way too damn loud and I distinctly do not like it when it is deafening like that. Dunno what the happy medium is. Should I grow out the nails on my right hand for use in strumming? If so, which fingers do I use? All of them (wouldn't that be too many striking points and found funny?), or just my thumb? And how long should I grow the nails*? Or maybe I should just acknowledge that not all of learning to play guitar is going to feel natural, and that I am spoiled by everything else coming easily, so just learn to use a pick and shut up already. Hell, maybe the guitar is supposed to be really loud and it's my perception that's the problem.

If those of you who already play -- I'm mostly looking at Tim ([livejournal.com profile] trimprov), Angus ([livejournal.com profile] ethdem), Jay ([livejournal.com profile] lunarbovine), Anne ([livejournal.com profile] candidia), and Heather ([livejournal.com profile] barcodegurl), here -- could give me some advice on how to go about this, I'd really appreciate it.

(* One of my exes hated using picks, so he went fingering all the way and grew his nails until they were claw-like and a little scary, which I don't particularly want to emulate.)

In awe.

Sep. 2nd, 2008 09:03 pm
moiread: (innocent! • bonnie w.)
I have a guitar. It's pretty and has great tone and it suits me.





Now I just have to learn how to use it.

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