17 Dec 2016

I was posting more regular guitar videos earlier in the year as I tried to improve, but then I started taking actual guitar lessons, so I stopped for two reasons: I had a motivator to practice (which was why I was doing them originally), and because for a while I became a much worse guitarist as my teacher tried to undo my bad habits and build me back up.

But, after four months or so of lessons, I’m really pleased with how I’m progressing, so I thought I’d share this little take on the intro to Hideaway, as originally performed by John Mayal and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Claptop (They were covering Freddie King, but it’s the Claptop version I’m covering here):

It’s only really the first 12 bars I’ve learned, but I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made over the last third of a year, particularly (as a friend already commented to me) my picking technique, which has come a long way.

Not having any bandmates, I’ve had to make do with filling in for them myself when practicing, and so I’ve gone the way of using a combination of computer generated drums and a looper pedal. The looper pedal just lets me record bits and play over them, probably best demonstrated by KT Tunstall when she does Black Horse and the Cherry Tree live, which I remember being amazed by when I first saw, and still a great performance today. The drums come from GarageBand on the Mac, which has a bunch of algorithmic drummers that can create backing drums for a wide range of play styles and beats. Put the drums together with a looper, you have a nice backing track.

The main joy though of learning guitar has been learning to go off the beaten track. I’m starting to learn not just to play songs, but why songs are the way they are: understanding the scales that make up a solo and the patterns than make up a blues rhythm, etc. Allowing me not to just try play songs I love, but just mess around and explore. It definitely is a liberating experience to use the looper to just lay down a rhythm and noodle over it for a while and see where your playing can take you.