Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Every Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter #6

This week begins with trailbreaker John Harwood:
Another week of not all that much play time. Managed to fit in 4 hours between two play sessions (37.75 hrs total now), all in Rock Band on bass.

Mostly played Queen on Bass Hard and also a little bit of Werewolves of London and Every Breath You Take. I find those two songs and I Want It All to be very very satisfying to play and really enjoy the rhythms on those.

Attempted to work on I Want it All and Every Breath You Take on Expert Bass, but even at 60% speed in practice, they were pretty frustrating. Still not quite comfortable on the frets to pull those off. Even on easy-ish songs like that, when you get to expert, you start seeing quite a few little flourishes, runs and occasional jumping from fret 2 to 10 and such.

That's no longer a complete deal breaker for me, but it's not all that easy.

Also worth noting that slides are no longer an issue at all. The ending of I Want it All has a very fun slide from fret 3 to 15 on the 6th string that was just fine. Finger got a little warm, but it wasn't painful at all and was very satisfying and fun to do. The couple of times that I actually nailed it gave me a really nice rush.

Need to get back to working on my chords again so those aren't quite so much of a brick wall, but at the moment it's a matter of being torn between what I should be doing (chords) and what I want to be doing (bass) and lately I'm more wanting to play for fun now that I've found something I can hang with pretty well.

Next, from Expedition Leader David Gloier, in reference to last week's column:
I don't know if you and John have discovered this yet, but the best thing you can do is just LISTEN to music. Start identifying the guitar parts during a song and learning it's interplay with the rest of the instruments. It really helps. I told you about just playing the chord shapes without messing with the right hand, but it works just as well the other way. Mute the strings with your fret hand (just deadened them with the hand, don't press hard enough to fret), and just strum the rhythm of a song you're listening to with the right. Nothing matters but being in rhythm with the song you're listening to. At some point the hands will figure out how to work in unison. I've gotten to the point where I can see in my mind exactly what the guitarist's hands are going on the guitar. I can't always play it, but I can see it in my head. It really helps.

Also, your problem finding the interior strings will solve itself with more practice. Don't worry about the misses. The best piece of advice I got early on really helped the right hand, it was "Play the guitar like you're mad at it." Essentially, stop pussyfooting around it and just play. You won't break it and you learn that sloppy can sound just as good sometimes.

David didn't provide an update this week, for entirely positive reasons that will go undisclosed, but he should be back next week.

Total playing time (through today): 14:30 (1:30 last week)
I didn't think knee surgery was going to slow me down, but it did (although David noted that I should have been playing plenty of guitar while I was on codeine-based pain pills, because Keith Richards and others seemed to do just fine in that state).

In spite of myself, though, I'm getting better. My accuracy has gone into the 90% range on several songs by The Clash that I particularly enjoy playing (note: just buy all the Pro guitar upgrades for The Clash immediately). And my left hand is getting somewhat not-embarrassing in terms of how well is moves. My right hand, though, is still fumbling around with the wrong string on far too many occasions. And in spite of David's reassurances, it's driving me crazy.

Now that I've gotten into the second major set of tutorials, I'm now needing to "walk" my fingers in regular patterns between strings, and I immediately recognize the notes as ones being used in a jillion popular songs (I think the lessons is "thirds", if I remember correctly). It's encouraging to hear something and connect it with a song that you enjoy (it was a Camera Obscura song, even).

Slow going, but I'm hoping to play more this week, now that I'm off crutches.

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