Okay, I got the guitar. It’s tuned to the appropriate notes. I even have a pick to play with. Now what?
Seriously. What do I do next?
A friend recommends a website: http://www.justinguitar.com
There’s a bunch of short videos for beginners. Guitar anatomy, body posture, how to read chords, getting in tune, etc. It’s all hosted by a professional teacher who has over 500 hours of guitar lesson videos. It’s completely free and based on donations. Amazing!
Apparently there is a lot of extra stuff you need when you want to play guitar. Apparently hair barrettes don’t make appropriate picks. Also, guitars that are in tune sound better. This is all news to me.
So, I find a local music shop and ask for help. He shows me a crazy awesome electronic tuner with an amazing display that costs $30. I say that’s a bit expensive, so he shows me the same option with a less amazing display that’s only $15. It clips on the head of the guitar and analyzes the frequency of vibrations. Super easy to use. I take that and a bag of medium thickness Fender picks.
Is there a better place to get cheap stuff and have a weird experience than Craigslist? I don’t think so. Did a very limited amount of research about beginner guitars before I found one I liked. It’s a mahogany wood Washburn D100. Some dude was selling a brand new one for $85 with a case. After a few emails, he asked to meet in his neighborhood at a place I had never heard of called John’s Market. I say cool; John’s Market seems like an upscale, natural food store. On the way there, I pass a bunch of cool, safe-looking places like cafes and hip restaurants before finally arriving at John’s Market. It’s a shady liquor store. Like the type of shady liquor store where you have to leave your backpacks and purses at the counter. The type of shady liquor store where a white girl should not pull money out of the ATM. A shady liquor store with an unlit loose gravel parking lot.
So I find myself here, alone, in this unlit parking lot with a pocket full of money. As the sun begins to go down, I wonder how the hell I am going to look at this guitar, which I know nothing about. How should it sound? How should it look? What the fuck am I doing here. Why didn’t I just go to a store? Against my better judgement, I walk up to his red Grand Prix (as previously discussed in our emails (should have been my first clue.)) I am completely relieved to see a young, smallish college student who is probably just looking to get beer money. I pretend like I know what I’m talking about for about 60 seconds before I blow through all the guitar knowledge I currently possess. I’m not in the mood to haggle, so I hand over the $85 and run quickly to my car before anyone realizes how out of place I really am.
Learning to play guitar was on the original list of things I wanted to do. I even had a guitar long long ago. I’ve known several amazing musicians over the years and don’t know why I never took advantage of the opportunity to learn. Well, I guess it’s never too late. I know that I am not really going to learn guitar to play guitar in 30 days, but I do have goals.
1. Buy a guitar.
3. Play this song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTgg3Z7JwTE