Playing Guitar the Easy Way and Guitar Photos
Posted by Shofar
Interest in my guitar post (My Takamine Guitars, June 7, 2012), prompted me to follow up with this post about my guitars and guitar playing. It may be a surprise to some of you when I say that ANYONE can learn to play my style of playing the guitar, (also the ukulele and keyboard). My way is an EASY way to play, especially if you like to sing, and if you like music. For me, it has been a DETERMINATION to learn an EASY way without going the route of paying for arduous music training, taking lessons, and feeling pressured by teachers to perform. I can ONLY play for fun and without stressing!
From top to bottom: ‘Lawsuit’ Takamine F310S, Takamine C132S Classical,
Epiphone EC25 Espana Folk guitar.
DESIRE! YOU GOTTA HAVE DESIRE!
You’ve heard the saying, “You can do anything you set your mind to do!” This may have some truth to it, but being a Christian, I believe that “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). God will take our desires and give us the ability to use His gifts for His glory. I think a DESIRE to play music to accompany yourself will determine the level of enjoyment and success you can experience. My EASY method works only if you SING along with your playing. As a matter of fact, nearly everyone who plays with this method will usually sing along with their instrument!
With my background in teaching in early childhood education and elementary school, I HAD TO SING with my students; music was an important part of the curriculum. My whole teaching career was spent in Christian schools where I played solo for class devotion, school assemblies, and programs. I found out early on that I could sing better and on pitch when I had music accompaniment. It seemed that the students enjoyed singing more, too, when I played my ukulele or guitar.
Through the years I took piano and even a few guitar lessons, but every form of music training eluded me and I was a dismal drop out. I lacked discipline to learn and never could persevere at developing the skills for reading the simplest music. The way I learned music was like this: I chose songs that I wanted to learn or needed to learn and listened to them over and over. I trained my ear to learn the melody, recognize pitch, rhythm, and especially to hear chord changes. I began to learn and play chord progressions, basically with only the I, IV, V7 chords with a minor chord or two. I have taught a couple of friends how to play by ear starting with these chords, and in a key that was comfortable to sing in. Do you know that you can actually play all of your favorite songs in the one key that fits your vocal range? My own grand daughters were thrilled when they learned that they had their own key to play and sing in!
Anyway, some years after I began playing this way, I took a guitar class for teachers thinking that I was ready to learn a little more than what I already knew. Would you believe that the instructor taught nearly all of her songs in the key of D which I already was familiar with! I was able to show her how to play in other keys with the use of a kapo. I used to think that it was a ‘crutch’ and I was ‘cheating’ using a kapo, but found out it was used by even professional musicians! I still use a kapo for playing in the key of F, but since I bought the steel string Martin Takamine I can play bar chords easier with the narrow neck.
After learning which chords are played in a particular key, I then went on to learn how to play chord progressions in other major keys. That to me, is good enough to get by when playing with children, in schools, churches, nursing homes, in women’s fellowship and anyplace else my playing would be welcomed. Where I may lack in chords, I made up in alternating bass strings and plucking patterns, which has come with practice.
So, the easy way to play music, I believe, is by learning to ‘play by ear’ and by using ‘fake sheets’ with lyrics and accompanying chords. The advantage in being a musician who plays by ear is that you don’t need to depend on sheet music; you don’t even need to read music. And you can play chords on other instruments like the ukulele and piano! For example, if you were at a birthday party, you could plop down at the host’s piano and play ‘Happy Birthday’ by simply using chord progressions. How simple can that be?! A couple of piano teachers on You Tube said that they began to learn to ‘play by ear’ because even with years of formal music training, they could not play simple songs without sheet music. A lot of professional musicians play their instruments ‘by ear’.
These days my Takamine C132S and ‘Martin Taka’F310S are what I enjoy playing for my own devotions, for church and outreaches like nursing homes. My grand daughters are using the Epiphone,but I’m looking for a smaller model for them since it is a full body instrument for an 11 and 14 year old. For my ukulele group, I play a small, classic Martin ukulele. We use fake sheets, but there are a few of us who can ‘play by ear’.
That is the long and short of my guitar stories. If anyone has an easier way to learn to play the guitar, or can tell me how to move on to another level, do let me in on it!
Note added 4-4-13: Read about converted Takamine and lawsuit Takamine guitars:
About ShofarRetired Teacher/Administrator, Christian missionary. Enjoy playing ukulele and guitar, oil painting, swimming and snorkeling, travel photography. Author of 'Sounding the Shofar-Exhortations for the End Times' eBook published Jan. 2012 available at Amazon.com or find it in Side Bar 'From Journal and Shofar eBook.'
Posted on October 10, 2012, in About Me And My Family, Created to Praise God and tagged Anyone can learn to play music, Chord Progressions, Desire and Success, DPchallenge, Easy Way to Play Guitar, Enjoying Music, Epiphone EC25 Espana, Fake Sheets, Playing Guitar By Ear, Playing Music for Fun, Takamine C132S, Takamine F310S, Teacher who sings and plays guitar, Using a kapo. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.