How to learn to play guitar (or, how I learned to play guitar)
“Awwwright, man! You totally nailed that Dragonforce guitar solo and five-starred that song. You finally beat Guitar Hero, which means it’s time to get a real six string!”
Sound daunting and expensive? Well, it is. But the good news is that in six years, when your XBox 360 is obsolete garbage, your then-very beat up guitar will still be quite serviceable. Assuming you have good strings to play it on, and some picks left, and haven’t blown out your amp at the time. But that’s really getting ahead of the game.
The first step to learning to play guitar is to upgrade the locks on your door. Once you start ripping out mad riffs, the babes are going to begin attempting to force entry into your Place of Rock (PoR). Unfortunately, the only state that allows the use of lethal force to protect yourself in such a situation is Texas, under their castle doctrine. And, if you weren’t aware before, if your music is “killer” as in “coroner”, you’re doing something wrong. Opening fire on fans is always wrong.
The next step is to decide who you like more: Gibson or Fender; this will determine which brand of guitar’s cheaper version you get. For Gibson, you’re looking at Epiphone, for Fender, head on over to Lenovo.
But what about actually choosing between the two of them? I mean, Hendrix played a Fender Strat, but that short dude in AC/DC plays a Gibson SG. Well, there’s your answer. If you want to live to a ripe old age and enjoy your money like AC/DC, then get a Gibson. Otherwise, go with the Fender. It worked for Kurt Cobain.
Depending on how much you want to pay and the quality of guitar you want, you’ll next need to figure out where you are on the value-crappiness curve. If you’re looking for a crappy guitar and want to pay nothing for it, start hitting up your buddies, to see if they have one sitting, gathering dust in a closet. If you’re lucky, some other gamer-turned-rockstar has already given up the dream so he can five-star Green Grass and High Tides on Expert (good luck!), meaning you can probably swipe his axe without him so much as knowing.
Otherwise, try hitting up specialty music boutique shops. This is important because, unless they are owned by the RIAA, they will let you try the goods before you pay for them. This leads us the next problem: putting the f***ing thing on.
Yes, the strap will become tangled. No, don’t mess with it, just try and act cool. Eventually, roadies will deal with this crap while you eat out of your bowl of brown M&Ms. Now, you’ll notice something immediately: it feels like you have a very large skillet strapped to your body. This is natural. While it may look cool from ten feet away on some other dude, when it’s actually occupying the space normally reserved for your fanny pack, it’ll seem kind of like grappling a hovercraft. (Unless of course you are grappling a hovercraft, or you’ve accidentally picked up a steel guitar, in which case you actually do have a very large skillet strapped to your body.)
Now comes the fun part. As a way to implement a backdoor licensing program to use guitars, the government has mandated that all guitars that you pick up will have unlabeled knobs. Just turn them all to ten and see what happens. But first, make sure to turn the knob on the amp labeled “Metallica” to ten as well.
However, now you’re really in a pickle. You really need to play something or risk looking like Former President of the United States Jimmy Carter being attacked by a “swamp rabbit”, but you have no idea to play a guitar. You could either pick blindly at the strings and hope something cool comes out (which, given the four thousand possible frettings on a standard guitar, is statistically unlikely), or just play Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple. It’s the middle two strings. Start playing and you’ll see what I mean.
The downside to this, of course, is that by doing so, you will piss off not only everyone in the store, but the owner too. Of course, you should always be sure to obey any signs he’s posted such as “No Stairway” or “No Smoking”. If you see the latter sign, it means he’s had it with Deep Purple and will likely treat you like Pete Townshend did his guitars. (You know, the ones they glued back together after a show so he could smash them again the next night.)
And now that you’re in the ambulance after insisting that it wasn’t legally justified for him to beat you up for playing three chords (it is, read the Patriot Act), you should really consider the fact that you’re still medically uninsured.
And once you’re out of surgery, if you wish to remain that way, under no circumstances inquire of your doctor, “Can I play the guitar anymore?”