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16 June 2005 @ 06:09 pm

I decided it was about darned time I learned to actually play guitar, so I bought me a couple of thumb picks and this swell instructional DVD Essential Exercises for Fingerstyle Guitar Taught by Peter Huttlinger. I reckon if I can manage to practice even a little bit every day, I might just make it to the “advanced beginner” stage before I die…

I’ve been working on it about a week now, and I’m to the point where if I really concentrate I can almost manage the first stage of the first pattern (thumb, fifth string; first finger, third string; thumb, fourth string; second finger, second string; rinse; repeat…) for, oh, ten or fifteen seconds at a stretch before it falls apart … unless I try to play it too fast, in which case it falls apart immediately. Slow and methodical does the trick. I hope soon to be able to move on to the next stages of this pattern (same strings, same order, but: b) thumb and first finger only; c) thumb and second finger only; and d) thumb and third finger only). After that, who knows? The sky’s the limit, eh?

(The other good thing about this little exercise is that it's bound to build up my callouses again. I know I’m way out of shape, but it's hard to hold a C chord on my guitar for any length of time—much harder than playing a number of different chords, which at least puts different levels of pressure on different finger-tips at different angles and allows brief “recovery” moments while changing chords.)

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Laura Wetzler: Kabbalah Music—Songs of the Jewish Mystics
Patrick Nielsen Haydenpnh on June 16th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
I can't do any of that crazy formal fingerstyle stuff. Good on you for pushing the envelope.
Stephen Leighsleigh on June 17th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
Damn it, Fred, you're already a bitch to follow in a music circle. Now you're going to get better??? Stop it. Stop it now! :-)

(Actually, as pnh said, good on ya!)
Peter Hentgesjbru on June 17th, 2005 12:01 am (UTC)
Cool! One of the things I've been cheered by lately is that, hey, I'm likely to live at least as long as have already, so I have some time to pick up skills I'd like to.
gomeza on June 17th, 2005 12:30 am (UTC)
I am already well impressed by your ability to move and galvanize a room with your music making. And now you want to get _better_??

Well, damn. I only hope I get a chance to hear you play again some day before either one of us shuffles off this mortal coil.
Mizz Laura Jeanmizzlaurajean on June 17th, 2005 04:05 am (UTC)
I'm such a girl. All this time I thought you already knew how to play guitar.
Becca Leatherschirosinger on June 17th, 2005 05:35 am (UTC)
Welcome to the dark side.....
markiv1111 on June 17th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
Finger style
Fred, the exercise you're currently doing is the same thing I tried to show you about 20 years ago. And when I had your thumb hit two different strings in the same pattern, you said, "But-- that's too often!" I'm glad you're getting to it, though, in any event. I've got a few things I can show you, too, if you're interested -- though I have no reason to doubt your new textbook's efficacy.

kip_wkip_w on June 17th, 2005 05:29 pm (UTC)
I was visiting some friends from the theatre department here, and one of them has Donkey Konga, so I now want to get the game and the hardware so I can play that at home. It's wonderfully insane, the sort of musical video game I was trying to think of (to invent) in the early 80s. You pick a song and drum where you're supposed to on the provided bongos. When you mentioned patterns, that's what it made me think of. Some fun.