Sunday, 23 April 2006

We have the technology

At that shop where we gave the guitar away for fixing they also had this beginners guitar book that came with a DVD and a CD. At $17 or so there wasn't much to think about so I got it.
Before I go on to discuss this book, I just want to mention the difference between this particular shop and the shop where I actually bought the guitar. When I made the purchase I was quite annoyed with the salespeople all trying to stir me towards stuff that I knew to suck, they knew to suck (and they even acknowledged it when pressed hard enough), which probably happens to be stuff they make more money on. The repairs shop, on the other hand, featured two sales people who were different: They were passionate. They spent time with me explaining stuff, and also showing off the various versions of the Fender Stratocoaster they had at the shop, as well as pointing out the differences between the Fenders and the Ibanezes and much more. It was a delight to listen to them, even if it didn't really matter to me, because it's just a delight to see people who are passionate about a good cause (music) do their best to benefit the not as knowledgeable amongst us. I know which shop I will go to from now on.

Anyway, back to the book. The book itself is nothing special: It features some 80 songs or so for the beginner, and the main problem with it is that most of the songs are church shit (as in I didn't know what they were but Jo's says it's those "songs of praise"). The familiar stuff is "oh when the saints go marching in" and "star and stranglers banner" (or whatever the American anthem is called). I'll put it this way: There's no Led Zep stuff in there (while the internet lessons I've done so far definitely did feature interesting music - Van Morrison, for example).
However, this big deficiency (for it is a deficiency if shit boring material gets me to drop playing altogether) is negated by the DVD that comes along with it. As a guitar teaching tool, this DVD is nothing but amazing!
On the frame you see three things: A close-up of the hand playing the guitar; a map of the chords/notes being played; and the notes themselves. Each of them changes as the music goes along with indicators and stuff to show you exactly what is happening. It's amazing! You really can manage this without going to official lessons.
This series of books has sequels, including a "guitar solos" book. The teaser for that book on the DVD looks quite appetizing, although it would probably take a few years (if ever) till I get there.

As a side effect of all this, Jo has to suffer through continuous sessions of Led Zeppeling. On the latest one she watched Jimmy Page do "Whole Lotta Love" with me and helped me analyze what he does with his guitar while we watched the Led Zep live DVD she got me for my last birthday.
I will tell you right now that while I would like to play like him, I do not intend to smoke and do the other stuff he does during the shows.

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