How to Play The Guitar, An Essay

My Friend Mark Yodice just handed me a sheet of paper with the following essay on it. I don’t know if it’s a joke or not, but it’s hilarious and just about the perfect balance of genius and absurdity.

How To Play Guitar By David Fair

I taught myself to play guitar. It’s incredibly easy when you understand the science of it. The skinny strings play high sounds and the fat strings play low sounds. If you put your finger on a string near the body part of the guitar it makes a higher sound and if you put your finger on the string farther out by the tuning end it makes a lower sound. If you want to play fast move your hand real fast and if you want to play slower move your hand slower.

That’s all there is to it. You can learn the names of notes and how to make chords that other people use, but that’s pretty limiting. Even if you took a few years and learned all the chords you’d still have a limited number of options. If you ignore the chords, your options are infinite and you can master guitar playing in one day.

Traditionally, guitars have a fat string on the top and they get skinnier as they go down. But the thing to remember is it’s your guitar and you can put whatever you want on it. I like to put six different-sized strings on because that gives the most variety, but my brother used to put six strings of the same thickness on so he wouldn’t have so much to worry about. Whatever string he hit would have to be the right one because they were all the same.

Tuning the guitar is kind of a ridiculous notion. I f you have to wind the tuning pegs to just a certain place, that implies that every other place is wrong. But that’s absurd. How could it be wrong? It’s your guitar and you’re the one playing it. It’s completely up to you to decide how it should sound. In fact, I don’t tune by the sound at all. I wind the strings until they all feel about the same tightness.

I highly recommend electric guitars for a couple of reasons. First of all, they don’t depend on the body resonating for the sound, so it doesn’t matter if you paint them. And also, if you put all the knobs on your amplifier on 10 you can get a much higher reaction-to-effort ratio with an electric guitar than you can with acoustic. Just a tiny tap on the string can rattle your windows, and when you slam the strings, with your amp on 10, you can strip the paint off the walls.

The first guitar I bought was Silvertone. Later I bought a Fender Telecaster, but it doesn’t really matter what kind you buy as long as the tuning pegs are on the end of the neck where they belong. A few years back someone came out with a guitar that tunes at the other end. I’ve never tried one. I guess they sound all right, but they look ridiculous and I imagine you’d feel pretty foolish holding one. That would affect your playing. The idea isn’t to feel foolish. The idea is to put a pick in one hand and a guitar in the other and with a tiny movement rule the world

2 thoughts to “How to Play The Guitar, An Essay”

  1. … a higher reaction-to-effort ratio by dialing to 10….lol, love it. who knew it was so simple to remove pesky old wallpaper…. i like the root concept of this musing, forget all the crap you learn and just play ,Miles would say, don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there. as for winding your stings till they feel about right…. do you suppose this is what Mulvey had in mind when he said “Feel is a lot more important than accuracy…
    day one. rock on.

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