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Stupid human tricks

July 19, 2011

My friend M. has asked (via email, he’s intimidated by the comments — why don’t you all say hello and make him feel at home?) for a demo of the new guitar. I recorded an intro of me talking about it, but about halfway through, I crossed my legs in a rather unladylike way (with the added bonus of alarming sound effects made by my denim skirt), so in the interest of preserving some shred of dignity (although after the performance you are about to hear, you may argue that I preserved nothing) I had to axe it. So you’re stuck with reading it instead. The new guitar is still a junk guitar, but it’s a better caliber of junk than I was playing before. It has a bigger sound, more sustain, and it’s easier to play. On my old guitar, I can almost never get a bar chord to sound. On this one, I get it about 50% of the time. This is making me feel like a better guitarist.

I’m apparently getting cocky, because I actually attempted to play The New Pornographers’ “These are the Fables” for you. Of the strummed pieces I’ve been working on (as opposed to finger-picked songs like “Blackbird”) it’s one of the most challenging. There are a lot of chord changes, and a lot of bar chords (although it’s actually just the same bar chord over and over again, so I suppose it could be worse). I was hoping to play “Adventures in Solitude” for violet, but I still haven’t figured out the singing part of the second half. I always have it clear in my head when I sit down to play, but when arriving at the section, I find that I have no idea how it goes. I’m not sure how to account for this selective amnesia. “Adventures in Solitude” is actually easier to play than “These are the Fables,” although they share some chord progressions.

In “These are the Fables,” my selective amnesia applies primarily to the words. New Pornographers’ lyrics are hard to remember in general, because they often don’t make a lot of sense. On the plus side, if you start making up the words as you go, there’s a good chance no one will notice. Can you tell where I’m making up the words in this song? How many wrong notes do you hear? When did you stop counting?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2011 8:20 am

    Offered as your next potential tune to learn:

  2. July 20, 2011 8:27 am

    Heh. Just as long as I don’t need a Richard Julian mustache to play it. Although AJ has a packet of stick-on mustaches around here somewhere that might do the trick. Hmm.

  3. July 20, 2011 8:43 am

    I think the mustache is entirely optional. But the tune does make the best of the janky, jangly sound of a cheap guitar.

  4. freshhell permalink
    July 20, 2011 10:24 am

    Since I can’t watch videos at work, I’ll have to check this out when I get home.

  5. July 21, 2011 2:34 am

    For some reason, I was really hoping you’d write about Adventures in Solitude! Apparently, I really want to hear you play it, and you want to play it. That is magical.

  6. July 21, 2011 2:35 am

    PS. Cheap guitars rule. Ask Jonathan Richman.

  7. July 21, 2011 8:24 am

    Violet, I’m still working on it. I’ll get it eventually. And clearly, what Jojo says goes.

  8. July 21, 2011 8:25 am

    And FYI, I’m also working on Richman’s “New England,” but it’s all bar chords, which makes me crabby.

  9. July 22, 2011 1:01 am

    I hear that. I like “They’re Not Tryin on the Dance Floor.” it’s not too hard, and includes the word Sheboygan, so you can’t go wrong.


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