Sunday, January 3, 2010

Learning Guitar, Day 2

So I picked up my guitar today, along with a tuner, strings, case, and a few picks. I read a good habit to get into is to tune your guitar each time you plan to use it, so the first thing I did when I got home was to try out my new tuner. I guess the microphone in it isn't as strong as I expected, but I got it to work. One thing I kept messing up was which tuning knob adjusted what string. Also, the strings made a crazy popping noise sometimes, but I guess that's normal. Eventually I got the instrument in tune, and boy did it sound good!

I messed around with it for a bit before trying some of the beginner chords, like C, D, E, etc. One site I looked at recommended starting by learning G major, C major, and D major, but the site I am now mostly following ( recommended D major, A major, and E major. I liked this site because along with each lesson was a high quality video, with plenty of details to go around.

I started with the D major chord. The first thing I noticed what how much my fingers hurt. I read somewhere it would take anywhere from 10-14 days to build up the calluses needed for them not to hurt. I guess I'll live with it. I had a little trouble getting the chord to sound correctly, but eventually got it and practiced it for a little while.

I followed up with the A major, then the E major. A was very cramped and hard to get right, but I got it down. E seemed alright, but a lot of the time the B string (5th string) sounded dead or buzzed. I found the problem to be my index finger, and I found that if I move it up slightly the problem goes away. This may mean touching the D string (3rd string), but that's ok. The ring finger is holding that down on a later fret anyway.

I practiced each for around 15 minutes (on and off). One thing I found helpful was using a webcam to match the shot of the end of the fretboard in the videos. I then pulled up a picture from the video of what the chord should look like, and compared them side-by-side to diagnose problems.

After about a two hour break, I came back and practiced these (trying to ignore the constant pain in my fingers) and found I had them memorized, and could play them clearly most of the time. Not bad for my first day. I am still a little fuzzy on the names, but I'm getting there.

The next exercise in that lesson plan was to try switching between chords, and to see how many you can do in a minute. I decided not to try that today with the state of my fingers. I will try that on the next few days though, as a way to see my progress.

I'm so excited to have a guitar now! I can't wait to be able to play a song or two. Maybe tomorrow?

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