What little things separate a hack guitarist from a decent one and how does one make the transition?
When I see an amature guitarist play, the ones who stand out are the ones who add little bass runs in between chords or they might throw in a little lick here and there. They're not just playing the guitar part to a song, they're playing the whole song. They take a song that was recorded by a full band and make it sound complete on a single guitar. I want to be able to do that, or at least get as close as I am able to.
I've been a guitar owner for about 20 years now. As is required by law, the first ten years were spent learning Van Halen intros while high. I've since grown up somewhat and now I strum chords on my acoustic. I can play chords just fine, I know about the 12 bar blues and I, IV, V, I know a scale or two (though I'm unable to utilize them when I play), if I have the chords or some tablature I can fake my way through a lot of songs. But my playing is so amateurish. I might play a little intro and then start roboticly strumming the chords. It doesn't... flow.
First off, The Answer is "take lessons and practice a lot." Life is busy and unpredictable, and while I'm not opposed to lessons, my experience with them has not been good. Young Berklee grads who think everybody wants to play Korn songs. \m/. If I took lessons I would need the right sort of teacher. Where do I find them? (Metrowest / Boston)
Specific questions that can be answered:
What are the little tricks I can learn that will help me sound less like a robot when I play? (example: When you switch from C to G, this little run will make it sound really cool...)
Where do I learn said tricks? Any good books that go beyond the basics without focusing too much on just teaching scales? Every book on scales I've ever seen teaches them without teaching you why
you should learn them or how
you can use them, other than in your totally awesome solo, dude.
Free on-line resources that do not suck. Good lord, there are a lot of bad guitar sites out there. I want sites that have interesting and clear articles, preferably with MP3 examples. A couple good ones that I am aware of are Guitarnoise.com
Tab and chord sites that are not Olga mirrors, tab search engines, etc. What I'm looking for here is someone who has posted their own transcriptions of well knows songs. whotabs.net
, Ron's Folk Chords
Without hopping a train to memphis or going to prison for shooting the man who stole my old lady, how does a nerdy white boy from the 'burbs learn about the blues?
How does a 30-something hack find other 30-something hacks to play with? I don't want to play clubs, I don't want to show off, I don't want to tour, I don't want to start a band in the styles of Slayer and Pantera, I don't need to stay in to do homework, I can afford to buy strings when I need to. As far as I can tell, I'm the only one.
I'm interested in mostly focusing on playing an acoustic. Rock, pop, modern folk (Eddie From Ohio, Moxie Fruvous, Dar Williams, etc...), kids songs, blues, etc. My knowledge of rock ended around the time Pearl Jam hit the scene, so any recommendations of modern bands/artists that might be inspirational would be welcome.
Again, I don't want to dazzle anyone with my chops, I just want to be able to lead the group in a drunken Beatles sing-along or play Old McDonald
for my kid's preschool.
Wow. Sorry about the length of this post. Next week I'll ask how to get to the point in under 10,000 words.