How to Guitar Playing Part 5: History of the Guitar

The guitar has been described as a six-stringed instrument. Although use of the instrument can be traced back several hundred years, Its invention and early design are shrouded in secrecy.

There is some hope to uncovering their mystery, however. Early cave paintings have been unearthed which show men strumming what looks to be an Ibanez, although other scholars interpret it to be a Strat.

The earliest scientists have concluded that guitars were originally made from an extinct species of tree, giving it a unique, smooth tone that you can't really get anymore.

Somewhere around 1400 BC, the great guitar wars began. The wars left many dead, but none were without guilt. Given time, man has learned to respect and restrain his use of guitars.

For Today's Lesson:

Try playing the guitar with different parts of your body: 

Your hands

Your ears

Your eyes

See which one you are most comfortable with.

How To Play The Guitar: Volume VI - Starting a Band

Do you have any friends that know how to play an instrument? Think back.

You remember someone. You’ve forgotten their exact features. It’s as if their face lies at the bottom of a clear water stream – it morphs and changes. What was their name? David? Mark?

You remember that he used to play guitar, just like you, now. People loved him, and they loved the way he played guitar. He looked so good, holding that guitar. What color was it?

You remember talking with him. You remember him laughing. His smile shines through all of the temporal obfuscation, but what about his face?

One day you had gotten off of work early, and he picked you up. You loved riding in his Cadillac - his long, dirty blonde hair blowing in the wind.

You remember asking him a question.

“What do you plan to do with your life?”

“Well, the band looks like it’s going to get picked up for a record deal. But I’m not interested in that.”

“No? why not”

“Listen, I’m going away for a while.”

                Your heart sunk. You always knew he would leave. You knew this couldn’t last.

                “I’m going somewhere that no one can find me. Not even you.”

                “Will you ever come back?”

“Yes, but until then, you will only have vague memories. You’ll remember my smile. You’ll remember how I played guitar.”

You remember the conversation so perfectly. You reach for more memories, but only find a cold void.

You’re sweating, and need to splash some cold water on your face. Looking in the mirror, you notice your features have changed. They’re not yours, but they seem familiar.

For this weeks exercise:

Think about all the people who you have hurt. Think about what you need to ignore just to sleep at night.

How To Play The Guitar: Installment Five: Your First Gig

Playing guitar in front of people can be a difficult and stressful experience, especially when you’ve never played before. Try to think of the guitar as a scalpel, and the audience is your body. Just imagine that! Wow, huh?

Never doubt yourself. It’s best to just get out there and do it. Steve Vai once said: “I never booked a show in my life. I just promoted, and let the universe do the rest.”

Try to place an ad where it will be highly visible. Write the name of your band on small pieces of paper – hundreds of them. Tie the small pieces of paper around the legs of pigeons. Occasionally a child will snatch one of the pigeons out of the sky to eat it. After the child has devoured the carcass, he will give the legs to his parents as trophies. Now your show info will be right in front of their face!

For This Week’s Exercise: Unwind all of your strings and take them off of the guitar. Hold the guitar in your hands, but don’t play it. Just think about how the guitar is like you, now. Think about all the people in your life who have robbed you of your strings. You used to sound so beautiful, but now…

Look at the guitar

In your hands

Where did the music go?

How To Play Guitars Installment IV: The Parts of a Guitar

The Neck: The neck is the most important part of the guitar because it holds all of the notes. Without the neck, you wouldn’t have any place to put your fingers. You could hold the top of the guitar and maybe pull on the strings to created tension, but then what are you doing really?

The Tip: The most sensitive part of the guitar. This part of the guitar is also known as the “top part” or “mantelpiece.” It is where the strings are tied down and beaten to produce the wailing tone of the guitar.

The Strings: These are what make the sound of the guitar. Really they’re the whole reason for the guitar existing.

The Jack Input Hole: Acoustic guitars don't have one of these, and personally I fell like that's one of their biggest problems. The hole is where the electricity goes.

The back: There's not a lot on the back usually. There are some screws that hold a small panel, but I don't know what's inside.

Those are all the parts of the guitar that I can remember.

For this week's exercise:

Practice your hammer-ons and pull-offs without touching the guitar. Imagine the guitar in your hands. Imagine it's a good guitar, like a Squire. You could never afford a guitar when you were younger. All you had was a small electric piano with four missing keys. You begged your parents for one, and they just looked at you, with their long eyes. You rememer living in a small dark room for years. It was cool in that room, like the inside of a moonbeam. Remember your parents. Remember their long eyes, for this week's exercise.

How To Play a Guitar apt. III: Misdirection

The greatest guitar masters all know the most important rule of shredding: not letting the audience see you do it.  

Lots of stage acts have incorporated distraction devices such as pyrotechnics to lead the audiences' eyes away from the guitarist's fingers. Studies have shown that the human eye is naturally more interested in fire than it is in musical scales. 

Yngwie Malmsteen once said "I trained my fingers to be so fast that no one could see them moving, and I grew my hair so long that no one could see which frets I was touching."

For today's finger session, look at your guitar's 3rd and 4th fret. Just look at them. Really, really look at them. Think about your past self. 

How To Play The Guitar: Pt 2 - Of Withered Apples

Now that you have a safe space to play guitar, it is time to practice your first exercise. One helpful exercise is:

Try to bend your fingers as far back as you possibly can. This will help keep your wrist limber. Try not to break your hand, but don’t try NOT to break your hand either. Remember: what doesn’t hurt you makes you stronger.

Eddie Van Halen once said: “They said the smoking gave me cancer, but I also used to put my metal picks in my mouth. That might have had something to do with it.”

Being careful is good, but it can hinder creativity. So go ahead and bend your palm back as far as you can before you continue playing. Some of the greatest guitar masters can bend their hand all the way back without even trying. This is called “Floppy Guitar Hand", and it is a sign of true guitar mastery.

How To Play Guitar Pt. 1

Before you play the guitar, you must be centered with yourself. A good way to begin playing guitar is to set up a room just for the instrument. A chair is necessary. If you don’t have a room to dedicate just to guitar playing, think about moving to a larger space, or building a room. Be sure when building a room for guitar playing to look for a good contractor. If they do not have any online reviews, they should come with at least three references. When checking for references be sure that the contractor includes a few that are not family members. Make sure that he also has all of the necessary permits so that you will not be fined for an addition to your home that is not up to code.

Being a Real Person

                When asked to define “being”, Martin Heidegger wrote “Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the world ‘being’? Not at all. So it is fitting that we should raise anew the question of the meaning of being.” Which is fine, but you won’t need to consider any of that for most of your life. Especially if you want people to like you.

                Most of your time as a human will be spent looking into your phone, looking at other people looking at their phones. It’s all very fun, but time consuming. Human beings will usually take short breaks to eat or defecate. One of the most popular places to do this is a coffee shop. There, people gather to ignore each other in real life while trading the use of a toilet, a machine designed to make it easy to defecate while checking your phone.

                Occasionally, a person will read a book at a coffee shop. A book is a series of pages with text printed on each page, which is usually made of wood pulp. The longer you stare into the book, the smarter you are considered to be. The book can also serve as a more civilized deterrent towards people who may want to engage with you. A normal train of thought for a human who has finished a book is: “Look at all of these people, not interacting with each other, and not looking at books. I pity them.” He will then close the book and exit the coffee shop, leaving behind his old book and his old life.

                Obviously being a human can become confusing at times. Being human is in itself often an ethical dilemma. There are a number of moral paradoxes associated with it. Consider the trolley problem, for instance. Consider it for a very long time. After having considered the trolley problem, consult a therapist to begin restructuring your life.

Cannibalism Litigation: A How To

Occasionally, people will be worried that someone else may have tried to eat them. Most cannibals won’t normally eat a whole person as that would be inconsiderate. One quick way for you to know that you have been eaten is to check your body for missing pieces. Usually, large bite-sized chunks are not missing from your body unless there has been some sort of foul play.

                If pieces are found to be missing, one helpful thing to consider could be: “Do I know anyone who has a taste for human flesh?” If so, consult them first, but be sure not to let them eat any more of you. If they have done it once there is a high chance of a repeat offense. If confronted about it directly, they may lie. Keep an eye out for red flags. One way to tell that they are lying is to keep an eye on their mouth. If they appear to be salivating as you talk about your tender, juicy body meat, call an attorney. Be sure to look for one who specializes in cannibalism cases. Check their references to make sure that they are not just trying to lure unsuspecting victims into their layer to feast upon the sweet body-meat (after they have collected their counseling fee of course).

                Once you have confirmed that you have indeed been eaten, identified the suspect, and consulted an attorney who is not trying to double cross you in order to devour your flesh, it is time to go to court.

Remember: Look Tasty! You’ll want to look good for the judge and jury. Make sure to dress so that you look good enough to have been eaten, but not so tasty that any cannibals present in the courtroom will try and grab a quick bite during recess. For your safety, dress in layers.

                Good luck! Be sure to have your attorney ask for damages, as well as the equivalent amount of flesh from the offending party. It is customary to eat all of it while in the courtroom during the post-trial “gnashing period”. In the future, try to be choosier with the company you keep. Remember: A friend with your flesh in his mouth is no friend at all.

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