So I have (finally) completed my 20% project! I was so hesitant to play in front of the camera because I did not meet my goal of actually being able to play a full song. I think that I bit off a little more than I could chew with this one! With so much going on during the semester, I just could not dedicate enough time to playing, so I couldn't reach my goal. On another hand, though, I was able to progress with my skills! I was able to learn new chords for the song, practice switching between chords, and play a different type of strumming pattern. I haven't actually played my guitar in over a year, due to the fact that I would not change my own guitar strings. Through this project, I pretty much had to force myself to change them (success!). I am glad that I did this, because I had nearly forgotten how lovely it is to play. It's almost cathartic - I am able to just relax and release and it's honestly one of the best feelings in the world! So although I did not meet my goal, I made some really good progress and picked up my guitar again from a long absence. I will definitely continue playing, and hopefully one day I will actually be able to play an entire song :).
So this is my final week of my 20% project. As I said in the video, I've been major procrastinating on doing this final video because I am just not where I wanted to be with my guitar skills and let's be real, I'm shy about this kind of stuff! But I finally (manned up) and did my final video, which is me playing a progression of the chords that I learned. I was unable to actually play the song I wanted, but I made some good progress with learning! So, without further ado, here is my last video!
P.S. I look extremely intense in this video because I'm concentrating...hard.
I am thoroughly enjoying playing the guitar again! I forgot how soothing it felt to just sit and play. I make it a priority to practice outside, because we have such nice weather here, that it's a shame to sit indoors all of the time. So the combination of sitting outside in the sunshine and plucking away at my guitar strings equals total relaxation.
For my 20% project this week, I focused on learning the chords and strumming pattern for the song "Play Crack the Sky" by Brand New. I hope you enjoy my video (sorry, I'm a bit awkward when I'm on film...my TPA 4 video can attest to that!).
This past week I decided to focus on technique. In order to meet my goal of being able to play "Play Crack the Sky," I am going to need to be able to change between different chords quickly. I have come to realize that I need a lot of work in doing this, as my hands just are not trained to strum and change to a different chord smoothly (my brain is like "AH WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!").
Firstly, I just like to mess around and play whatever I can manage to play. It is totally soothing for me to just sit and play, no strings attached (:D). I've realized that I am much better at playing when I don't have to worry about following a specific pattern - I like to do my own thang.
As I said before though, in order to play a song, I need to get some technique down. Thanks to the handy dandy app GuitarBots, I am slowly on my way to learning some proper technique. This app starts off with the basics - strings and frets. It has the player practice switching back and forth between open strings, and then move on to playing both open strings as well as playing "fretted" strings (meaning you put your finger on a string in a specific fret to make a new sound...in the simplest of terms). This is a fun app that I found extremely motivating - the only problem is that it's one of those apps that you have to pay for more play once you run out of a given number of plays. So for now, I'm out of plays...lame!
This is the home screen. As you can see, I've completed the "Strings" and "Frets" section. There are 5 pages of different levels that you can do, and you can see that there are different modes (basics, advanced, expert) as well as challenges and songs that you can choose to play! The nice thing is that you can play the levels as many times as you want, so that you can master the skill :)
Changing them strings...
So for this week, I changed the strings on my guitar. My strings were extremely old and just didn’t sound too great. Through my research, I learned that guitar strings should be changed:
1. When they are rusty/discolored
2. When the guitar seems to not stay tuned
3. When the sound is dull
I haven’t changed the strings in a few years, so I decided it was probably time... Below is the video of me changing them all on my own (the last time my strings were changed, I had a friend do it :D)!
I used two different YouTube videos to assist me. They are located at the very bottom of this blog.
Also, my dog, Dawbee, was like "what the heck are you doing?!" So he kept walking around me :)
PS: The song I used in the video is "Warning" by Incubus!
First, a little research...
Lesson number one: Guitar Center is a trap. Let me tell you why... when you go in there for one thing, you buy 50 things. It’s like Target... With that being said, my Guitar Center trip was a success in that I bought what I needed, but a failure in that I bought MORE than I needed. Whoops...
During my trip, I bought three different types of guitar picks. In my research on justinguitar.com, I found that beginners will be better off using thin picks. I ended up purchasing Fender thin picks (red), Fender medium picks (silver), and Dunlop picks (orange). The Dunlop picks were specifically mentioned on justinguitar.
I also purchased a guitar tuner, which I will need specifically when I change my guitar strings. I will need to be able to get my guitar completely tuned before I start playing. The easiest way to tune is with the tuner... when it comes to being able to tune by ear, that takes a ton of practice. Perhaps one day, I will be able to do this. In 5 weeks, probably not...but I can dream, right?
My next purchase was a capo, which is used to play songs in a different key, using the same chord shapes (justinguitar.com).
In order to change my guitar string, I needed to actually buy strings..which I did! The strings that I got, which are called Elixir strings, supposedly last 3-5 times longer than other strings. They were a bit more expensive than all of the other strings, but the homie at Guitar Center said that these are definitely worth it...
My brother-in-law plays the guitar, and he gave me the “Guitar Case Chord Book.” It contains guitar chords (obviously) and gives detailed charts of where your fingers go for each chord (which finger goes where, etc.). Thanks bro!
So, my next step will be to actually change the guitar strings. I’m a bit nervous about doing this, because I’m kind of afraid that I’m going to either lose one of the pegs that I have to take out, or I’m going to mess up the guitar... A video of me changing the strings will be in the next post... wish me luck (I made that green for St. Patrick's Day :D)!
For my 20% project, I have decided to learn to play the song “Play Crack the Sky” by Brand New. I started learning the guitar a few years ago, but never got far enough to actually play any songs in their entirety. Just strumming random chords on the guitar is extremely calming to me, so being able to play an entire song will be extremely exciting to me! Learning how to play this song will be a process: I will need to first learn how to:
In thinking about playing guitar, I came up with the following inquiry questions that I believe will help me be successful:
Let the rock n’ roll commence!
I have two ideas for my 20% project. Any comments/ideas/suggestions would be great!