Friday, September 17, 2010

Geetar Hank!

So while Hank was on his 6-month house arrest (briefly explained here), he decided to learn to play guitar.

It's my fault. I was teaching myself to play, learning Rush songs and those of lesser bands.

Hank didn't have anything else to do. Couldn't go out, couldn't drink. I bet that hurt, given that it's been the bedrock of his existence for much of his life. So he got himself an acoustic and a chord book and started watching MTV because that's where the rock stars go. He was gonna be one, you know, because that's where the money and girls are and because he had music in his soul, like Hendrix and Van Halen.

But first...he had no music background. I had to teach him the basic strum pattern everyone seems to learn first. For the rest of his house/jail time, that one pattern is all I heard. Since he couldn't read music, he played the chord book, so I'd hear him strum an F Major barre chord (first fret)....then there was a long pause while he rearranged his fingers to play an F Major barre chord (8th fret)....another pause...another F chord (minor, diminished, augmented, whatever)...pause...chord...all night long. He never seemed to get any better.

Keep in mind that a chord book's not a music book, it's an aid that shows the different fingerings for a variety of chords. A basic book will show you hundreds. I've got one that claims 5,000! Ask any guitar probie what it's like trying to remember just the basic "beginner" chord forms, then imagine Hank just going page by page through his book, making noise instead of music.

I wonder if he ever got better.

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