After mastering some basic chord shapes and some single-string runs, our guitar students strummed along with a Bob Seger song last week.
This week, they'll get a little grungy.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit," the single that launched Nirvana to superstardom and prompted millions of aspiring guitar players to don flannel shirts and Chuck Taylors, is the final video lesson in our series.
We started our series of online guitar lessons, with help from the folks at GuitarInstructor.com and Hal Leonard Corp., in order to help beginners get over the starts and stops and generally frustrating feelings that come with learning a new instrument.
Originally, we envisioned a contest where we'd see solicit videos or have a mini-concert to see which "shredder" made the most progress. Our panelists, however, turned out to be a bit self-conscious about their prowess -- or lack thereof -- so we shelved the idea of a recital.
Learning to play an instrument is a difficult endeavor. We appreciate the way our students have shared some of their trials and triumphs with us and hope that they've enjoyed the experience, too.
Before Doug Boduch starts the Nirvana lesson, we'll look back at what our panelists thought of playing "Against the Wind."
Next week, we'll get the last installment from our panelists and let them know about prizes.
I've been seeing "Forrest Gump" running through the desert with a beard and torn up Nikes in my sleep. All the while, Doug Boduch is force feeding me Bob Seger riffs at what seems like the speed of light. Run Forrest, run.
I had said in the past that I needed more practice with the chords from an earlier lesson. And it came back to bite me, big time, with this lesson. Hands down the hardest thing I've ever had to do on a guitar is trying to learn a song I am not that familiar with and play it in real time. I butchered it. Bob Seger has never made the play list of "songs I sing in the shower." But with time and effort, I'm getting it together. But if I had to perform this in a contest, I'd get an F-plus at best right now.
I thought the last lesson was the last one, but I was wrong. This one started out pretty good for me learning the new chords but then using them in the song was hard. I had never heard the song before even though my Dad said it is a really popular song. I must be listening to a different radio station, because I never heard it.
Even though I could play the chords, I had a hard time using them in the song. This was another video I had to watch over and over again and will probably have to watch some more to be able to play the song. I did get the ending down pretty well where it switches between the G and C/G chords, but that's about it. I think I will be practicing this one some more.
MIKE AND (teenage son) MICKEY
Bob Seger's "Against the Wind" was a good song to work on these basic chord progressions for Mickey and me. I would have preferred "Night Moves," but appreciate keeping things rated G or PG-rated for the teens here. It was extremely helpful to see the diagrams under the video, which is something Mickey had mentioned in the previous lessons.
We also think that this song is helped a lot by the piano backing, so we might have to ask Mickey's brother Henry (the family piano player) to sit in next time. One thing nobody wants here is for us to sing, although we might be able to scream like Cobain on the Nirvana lesson.
I feel that I've done what I set out to do -- I'm now playing songs. Sure, they can be a challenge, but, unlike two months ago, I don't get frustrated with the guitar and put it down after vie minutes. No, instead, I keep trying, using everything I've learned in the lessons. It's getting more and more fun, and I'm trying to tackle more and more songs.
Yes, the online lessons provided some good stuff as far as material like this month's Bob Seger song, but I find that I want more. This week I got after Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" (not a hard song ... just odd tuning), AC/DC's "You Shook Me" (gotta love those power chords) and The Police's "Message in a Bottle" (hard ... that one will take a while).