Last night I had an amazing guitar lesson. I arrived at Tony Guitar’s place on time and was welcomed inside quite graciously by a very cheerful man. I entered into his studio and could hear Tony Guitar’s son (?), Chris Piano, playing some remarkable jazz piano in an adjacent room. After getting myself settled, Tony Guitar and I talked a bit about what I was hoping to accomplish, my musical tastes, and my current skill level on the guit.
Bit by bit, he worked through my knowledge base trying to get a good grasp of exactly where I was in my playing. And then we got to work.
We covered a lot of material for this first class. It was mostly basic stuff, but right out of the gate it’s obvious that this content will greatly improve my playing. By far the most hilariously awesome moment of the lesson occurred as he worked to desegregate chords and scales from their labels. I’ll try to explain
a G major scale goes a like this:
G A B C D E F# G
an E minor scale goes like this:
E F# G A B C D E
Same notes. Just a different order. So Tony Guitar wanted me to separate the requirement in my head that a G scale be only played over a G chord. In fact, you could play it over an Eminor scale without any dissonance. Likewise there are other scales that can be played over each other. An Am pentatonic can be played over an E or a D. It’s just knowing where and how different notes can be applied.
To demonstrate this, Tony Guitar asked me to play an Am pentatonic while he shifted the underlying chords.
I started picking up and down the scale.
At first, he started playing some basic 12 bar blues in Am. Then he shifted to C major. Then he shifted to a true minor which was much darker and more foreboding. Finally, he said “keep playing that scale and listen to what I do now. You’re going to hate this.”
And just like that, we were playing Disco. I don’t know what chords he was using, or the strum pattern, or the groove… but it was Disco and it was hilarious. Point taken Tony Guitar. Point taken.
I got home and practiced for a few hours. I feel totally motivated and I’m extremely excited and thankful to have found this instructor.
READER PARTICIPATION! WOO!
Now it’s your turn to help!
One of my assignments was to amass 20-25 MP3’s of guitar songs that I’m interested in learning. “I have a very distinct plan of what I’m going to teach you,” Tony Guitar decreed, “but I can teach you these things with any collection of songs that you supply.” The rules are simple: I must like the song. I must not already know how to play the song. Problem is, usually when I hear a song I really really like, I learn how to play it – maybe not to perfection… but I get the gist of it. And I’d rather approach this task with a wealth of new funky songs that scream awesome. So if you have any recommendations for great guitar songs that I should include in this bunch, I’d appreciate it. Any genre is acceptable except country. That last rule is my own.