If you read my last guitar blog you know that I had an “enlightening” conversation with a friend about how I’m pretty much doing it all wrong. I mentioned that there was another part of the conversation that I was going to blog separately and here it is.
I’m on the phone with my friend, Tye, and he’s asking me how I’m doing with the guitar. I’m proud as can be as I tell him all the chords I’ve learned so far. My instructional video came with a chord chart. My assumption is that if I learn the 11 chords on the chart I’ll be pretty much set. So I tell him that I’ve already mastered E,D,A,G and C and.
“That’s great, those really are the basic and most important chords. You can already play tons of songs with just those.”
“I’m so excited that I’m making a lot of progress. Next I’m going to start working on M.” I reply.
“What? What did you say was next?”
“M. I’m going to start the M chord next.” I’m speaking a little louder since he can’t seem to understand me.
“Lisa, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The M chord?”
I’m getting a little frustrated with him because he’s supposed to be very good with the guitar and he doesn’t know what I’m saying. I look back in the book to make sure I’m not insane. It’s right there.
“Yes, M- you want me to spell it?”
“Spell it? What do you mean spell it? Chords are just one letter how can you spell it? What do you do with your fingers for this M chord?” Tye is clearly getting as annoyed as I am by this point.
“It’s E-M.” I can’t for the life of me figure out what is so hard about this.
There’s a long pause on Tye’s end of the phone. Then a loud laugh. Tye’s voice softens and I can tell this is where I find out that I am the idiot here. I don’t know much about music but I can read and I know that “Em” is pronounced “M”.
“Lisa, you really have to get a teacher.” This is not sounding good already.
“There is no M chord. Big “E” little “M” means it’s E minor.” Now I’ve known Tye since college and I remember him having his guitar with him all the time. He even minored in it so certainly he has to know the basic chords but I’ve never heard of such thing.
“E what? I already learned E. So, what’s this one now?” I’m getting even more irritated, not at Tye but with myself. How can I possible think I’m ever going to be able to do this on my own when I have no idea what he’s even talking about?
“See, you already learned the five “major” chords. And by that I don’t mean just the important ones. I mean that’s what they’re called. You learned E major, now this is E minor.”
(I would recite my following response but I’d rather keep my blog G rated.)
This was the conversation in which I learned about the not strumming all six strings all the time too. So by the end of the conversation I was pretty beat up and more than a little upset. I haven’t even picked up my guitar since this all happened. I was so disappointed with the whole situation but mostly with myself. I’ve always thought that with enough basic information I could put the pieces together and learn how to play but I’m finding more and more that I probably can’t.
By the time I got off the phone with Tye I had pretty much decided that I was going to just stop torturing myself and give up. It’s been a little while now and I’m starting to settle down again and I’ve decided that by the end of the week I’m going to make friends with my guitar again. I’m pretty sure that I know how to relearn a few of the major chords and I’m going to stop with just them. I’m not going to worry about the others for now. From what I understand I can use just those five to move on and start to learn how to put them together and make a whole song.
So the quest will continue but I’m going to change how I do some of it.
I’m trying to walk a fine line between being too cautious, going too slow and jumping ahead to where I’m not ready. I’m going to allow myself to be a little more aggressive but try to keep in mind that I may be watching the more advanced sections of the learning video but that doesn’t mean I have to be able to do that stuff.
Also, I have a wealth of people around who play guitar. If you’re one of them, watch out because I’m not going to keep refusing to ask for help. I’m going to start making more phone calls, email, text; whatever it takes to get advice and help. I think that will be the hardest part of all. I have never been comfortable asking for help. I don’t want to feel like I’m bothering anyone. This is just going to have to be one more thing I get over because I’m still as determined as ever to learn my guitar and if that’s the only way it’s going to happen then that’s just how it will have to be.