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Guitar Hero?

“One of these days, you really should think about getting a real guitar.”

It’s one of the loading screen tips on Guitar Hero, and one that I laughed off when I first saw it. I like to play GH, not a real guitar. But the idea’s been growing on me. And growing.

It probably started when I began really paying attention to guitar work on everything I listen to. I mean everything. That’s why I just had to get a Dragonforce album (thanks to the person who gave that to me for my birthday; if it were vinyl, it would be smooth by now) — they have such amazing guitar parts that they basically are in a genre by themselves. If you want to see what I mean, here’s a youtube video of one of their songs. Watch around time index 3:20 for the dueling guitar solos. It’s beautiful.

So anyways, where was I? (I’ve just spent 20 minutes watching YouTube videos about Dragonforce including this one where the two guitarists, not including the bassist, show you how to play their songs.) Right, and then I noticed something happening. I found that really good guitar parts really have the power to move you. Maybe it’s a manifestation of my teenage, but a good, solid, loud guitar part just … I dunno how to put in to words. It rocks.

So, I’m a teenager, and I love a good guitarist, but I have been sort of tossing that over my shoulder with the argument that it takes more time than I really have and it wouldn’t be any fun learning. Okay, I’m deluding myself here, folks. Dunno if you caught on, but I’m good at it when it’s for my own good.

And now for something completely different: cars. We’ll get back to guitars in a minute. I have a white ’93 Hyundai Excell. Love it to death. She’s no beauty, but she runs well, gets amazing gas mileage, and might as well be made of glass in terms of visibility. But she’s busted her distributor and she’s in the shop getting fixed by the nice mechanic man. So I’ve been playing musical cars with the rest of my family to get around the past couple of days.

Now, normally, I have my MP3 player and a tape adapter in my car to interface between digital and analog. However, none of the other cars in the Berry Armada have such advanced technology as tape decks. They only play CDs. So I’ve been shuffling around for good driving music CDs, like The Matrix Revolutions Soundtrack. Good album. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “If you like this sort of thing, it’s the sort of thing you’ll like.”

But this morning, on my way out, I grabbed a copy of Robert Berry’s Sounds Like Music. And, I’ll admit, it was profound. I hadn’t listened to any of Bob’s stuff in a while, and I found myself awestruck. I’ll admit that I went in to it expecting it to sound like some guy put it together in his study. This is, of course, any number of psychological phenomena that Malcolm Gladwell or Brian Wansink would be glad to tell you. (At this point, I think it’s worth mentioning that I’m running out of tabs on my Firefox bar because I keep opening a new tab every time I have to look something up. God bless 2 gigs of memory.)

But it wasn’t. It sounded good. I even sat there saying to myself, “That’s a drum machine. I’ve seen his study. He didn’t actually do that.” and the other me said, “Yeah? And?” I love it when I’m right. My uncle isn’t a rock star. He doesn’t practice guitar 9 hours a day before going on tour. Now, granted, everything I was hearing was the best of many attempts grafted together, but almost all music is done that way anyways these days. Nothing special about him, compared to professional albums. He could sound just as good as they could.
And that’s when it hit me. If he can be a whole band, why can’t I learn guitar? He learned guitar, and piano, and Java besides. (Bob, if you don’t actually know Java, please don’t call me out on this. I hate it when I’m wrong.) Maybe he makes an album a decade, but that’s more than I’ve ever even tried.

Which is when it hit me: I’ve never even tried. I’ve always written off my sister as the musical one and been happy with that. But no more. I’m going to learn to play guitar (the kind that you plug into an Amp, that takes Amps, and makes real music).

I’m not sure exactly how I’ll manage it, given that I’ve just about tapped myself out of cash to pay for getting my car fixed, I just picked up a Nintendo DS, and a guitar starter kit with amp and gig bag and what not costs in the neighborhood of $200. Plus I’ve got a laptop to buy, and a little thing called college to bother with. But I’m going to do it. By this time next year, I’m going to have a guitar and know at least how to play the Pac-Man noise (Time index 4:30).

Postscript: As you can tell — or should be able to, if you really loved me — from the tone of this piece, I’m excited. I really want to do this. I would compare it to the rush of an impulse buy, except that I’m not buying anything and it isn’t exactly impulse. I think this has been a long time coming. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll see how silly wanting to play guitar is, but I really doubt it. Mostly because that’d make me wrong.

And you all know how I feel about being wrong.

Categories: Real Life
  1. Greg Hunt
    May 16, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Go for it! You’ll rock!

  2. Grandma
    May 16, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    You definitely are not wrong. You’ll learn guitar, and play on your own guitar. It’s not silly at all.

  3. Max
    May 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Originally I had written a really long comment with plenty of hyphenated adjectives (like… spawned-from-the-depths-of-humanity… seriously, I did) but then my power went “BLIP!” and alas, the comment was lost.


    Note the adoring fans.

    … Look, I whipped it up in five seconds, stop complaining.

  4. hobershort
    May 19, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    You just made my day, sir.

  5. Jen
    May 23, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Aw man, I have a guitar just sitting in my closet, with no one playing it. I have a nice (albeit tiny) Marshall amp, too. I need to get rid of both, actually. (Living in a small condo, I can’t afford to have stuff lying around that I don’t use anymore.) I wonder how much shipping would cost? Do you have any interest? Have you already bought a guitar? Anyway, I was just catching up on GNO blogs and saw this, and thought of my guitar, sitting there all lonely.

  6. Jen
    May 23, 2007 at 11:57 am

    BTW, I’d sell it to you for really cheap. Like, the cost of shipping. Just as long as it gets some use!

    Also, Guitar Hero ROCKS. That is all.

  1. May 18, 2007 at 5:24 pm
  2. May 16, 2008 at 3:04 am

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