Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why I stink at playing "guitar"

So I play a lot of cigar box guitars and have one store-bought guitar that I play regularly. People often seem to marvel at how well I can play, especially when they note that I "only" have five strings. And they always find it funny when I say that I'm a horrible guitarist.

Me and my Axe. I call her Katie.
The truth is that I am a terrible "guitarist". But I'm a mediocre banjo player that discovered a great tuning for guitar for the lazy musician who doesn't want to learn new things. All because I like a little guy called Keith Richards maybe you've heard of him.

Because of my Tourettes I always found it hard to play instruments in anything resembling the proper way and add to that some ADHD that made it hard for me to sit through a lesson. So that means I learned most of my music chops the unconventional method of buying whatever instruments seemed easy and playing horribly on them until something worked. I tried bass and guitar, piano, mandolin, but something finally clicked with me playing the banjo.

Well after years of playing the banjo socially, mainly at talent shows and stuff, I wanted something that sounded better playing the rock and blues songs that I liked to play on it. People liked the "novelty" of hearing twangy hard rock but I found I was looking for something more like the sound of the guitar.  So I went out and bought one.

After struggling with trying to learn even basic chords on standard guitar tuning. I immediately started looking around the internet looking for simpler tunings. And then I saw a video of Keith Richards playing for the Rolling Stones on a guitar that only had five strings. FIVE!!! Just as many strings as a guitar. And when I looked up the tuning I was shocked to find it was exactly the same tuning as my banjo. So when I changed the tuning immediately and found that (having no traditional guitar training) I was actually playing a lot of the songs I knew within minutes!

So there you have it. I still really don't know how to play guitar and have no intention of really learning. I believe playing music should be fun and easy and I'm lazy and stuck in my ways. I love playing and wish more people picked up the tuning and played it. But will I ever call myself a "guitarist"? Nope. I'm just a banjo player that learned how to cheat.

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