My goal is to casually take my guitar off its hook, when friends are over, and start playing a song as if it were the most natural thing to do.
I am playing the guitar – slowly. Not that I’m playing slowly – I’m learning to play at a slow pace (plucking at the guitar for six years), which at this rate will take me another 20 years to master.
If I think about it as a slow, incremental process, then I can continue – otherwise I feel overwhelmed.
I’ve mastered the major chords on the Ionian scale (just learned the name of the scale) and I know a few minor chords as well.
My goal is to make guitar playing an integral part of life.
The Slow Process of Guitar Playing
I grab (try to) my guitar from the wall everyday and start plucking with my pink pick: E, B, G, D, A, E (Every Boy Gets Drugs And Enemas) – my acronym for remembering the strings. The more I touch the guitar, the more comfortable I feel holding it.
But after finding an old Simon and Garfunkel song book (an Easy-Play Speed Music book), I realized the B7 chord was essential to learning 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. It took all four fingers and I had to slide from an Em to the B7 practically on every word – my arm and fingers were throbbing.
There is a logic to learning to play, yet I’ve been trying to play everything at once instead of breaking songs into small playable pieces.
What does B7 Mean?
There is a complicated world of chords that I needed to figure out – specifically the seventh. I had been memorizing finger positions, but not understanding how chords were constructed.
A chord – is made up of three notes with the name coming from the lowest (base) note. Three fingers on three strings: doable.
I Googled “what makes a seventh chord?”
An excellent answer came my way: to form a seventh – you go up seven steps from the root note which in this case is a B (seven fingers not needed).
And I discovered that the space between each note is a step – a full step between whole notes and a half step between sharps or flats. For the guitar, two frets represent a step in music.
I’m getting this.
That actually makes sense and not as mind-boggling as I thought. And as I have tried to do with other skills I’m trying to master – like running and writing – small increments – one step at a time – to run a marathon, write a novel or learn the guitar.