Guitar Zero: Played It 'Til My Fingers Bled...

No, this song is NOT about the year of Woodstock and the Moon Landing.

It was the


winter of


2010. Robert told me to come up with five songs I wanted to learn how to play (on guitar, in case you weren't keeping up). The Wife, seeking to maximize the parental utility of my music lessons, had several suggestions. After some initial tension, I was able to effectively convince her that tablatures for children's songs are actually pretty widely available, and insisting my Actual Professional Musician instructor sit down and work with me on "The Wheels on the Bus" probably wasn't the most effective use of either of our time. This moral victory did kind of leave me in the lurch, however, since I was now forced to come up with some actual selections of my own. Luckily, there was an accident on the Southwest Freeway on the way to my lesson, so I was able to jot these down:

  • The Beatles, "Blackbird": I used to sing this a cappella to my oldest daughter, meaning guitar accompaniment could only enhance Daddy's lameness with the new kids.
  • Robert Earl Keen, "Gringo Honeymoon": Even if the guitar part proves difficult, at least with REK I know I'll never mangle the vocals.
  • Led Zeppelin, "Bron-Yr-Aur": Off of Physical Graffiti. I like the idea of noodling around with this. Plus, it appears to be one of the few things Zep came up without ripping off someone else.
  • Bruce Springsteen, "Atlantic City": Still one of my favorite Boss tunes, though I might need to mess with the lyrics ("Everything flies" instead of "everything dies," for example).
  • Steve Earle, "Copperhead Road": Honestly, there were a lot of contenders for the final slot. I also considered "Pinball Song" by Slobberbone (too much finger picking) and Townes Van Zandt's "Tecumseh Valley," which is possibly not the best subject matter for young daughters. A Vietnam vet who grows drugs on his bootlegging father's old stomping grounds, on the other hand...

Naturally, the lesson came to an end way too soon, and I forgot to give Robert the list. Hopefully he'll read this and be prepared with reasons why these are completely inappropriate for a guy who still has trouble fat-fingering his way between a G and a D chord. Otherwise, things are progressing fairly well for a whopping two lessons. The tips of my fingers hurt like a bitch, but I'm finally moving beyond the "strum - wait three seconds to find the next chord - strum - repeat" stage. A shared musical background with your instructor doesn't hurt, with the net result being me fascinating my twin daughters/annoying the piss out of my wife with the opening riff to "Folsom Prison Blues" for the last three days. The Missus won't be happy when we move on to Slayer, I bet.

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