Sunday, August 19, 2007

DeRamos.org's Daily Chord

For the most part, I'm a self-taught musician. When I was about twelve...well, let's get to the beginning...

When I was about seven years old, at the elementary school I attended, I saw a bulletin board with pictures and names of various musical instruments. The word guitar intrigued me...

Around the same time, I discovered an electric guitar my parents bought years beforehand. I strummed it with my left thumb, and the strings gave me the most painful blister ever (a battle scar...callous?...still remains to this day)...that guitar...

When I was about eight years old, I saw a black Fender Stratocaster with a white pickguard and an all-maple neck. Of course, I didn't know it by those terms, but it did know that guitar sure was pretty. I don't know who was playing that model of guitar; in all likelihood it was some generic pop rocker on television.

When I was nine years old, my brother and I once jammed with tennis rackets to some rock music. I played my tennis racket guitar left-handed.

When I was eleven years old, I was playing the air guitar during a music class at the middle school I attended. While I was playing it (the air) left-handed, I noticed a classmate also playing the air guitar - but right-handed. I freaked. It seemed that I was playing the air guitar wrong (which I wasn't, but an 11 year old pretty much can and will perceive things wrongly).

And so I taught myself to play the air guitar - and the tennis racket guitar - right-handed. While a naive attempt to combat my natural sinister tendencies, it was ultimately a wise choice...in terms of economics (right-handed guitars cost less) and opportunity (more kinds of guitars to play).

Fastforward several years, yadda yadda yadda, I opened a blog called DeRamos.org's Daily Chord. It's an ever-changing testament to all the musical knowledge and experience I've gained over the years. And if I can get my brother to contribute to that blog, the expertise will surely be increased exponentially.

Anyhow, the Daily Chord (not affiliated with the SXSW music news also called the Daily Chord) features tips for beginners, those who are relatively intermediate in their musical ability, and those who are recording their music. Okay, blog entries for the recording category is coming soon. For the time being, we're posting guitar lessons, but I envision tips for other instruments as well.

The entries marked for beginners are chords, and simple chords at that - major, minor, 7th, and suspended chords, as well as power chords, for the most part. I don't really discuss the theory behind those chords. Beginners should just play, and get to that level of comfortably playing, mostly unencumbered by the burden of augmented 2nds, major 3rds, suspended 4ths, perfect 5ths, etc. I do introduce the root-fifth relationship in some power chord entries.

I lay all that math and science for the intermediate entries. Notice that there's no advanced label in the Daily Chord. You'd have to go to a bona fide master of music for that sort of arcane knowledge. I am not that sort of wizard. Besides, progressing to that level would probably require some face-to-face lessons, something that a blog cannot accomodate.

And eventually (probably when we're through with the first cycle of the 12 Keys of Western Music), we'll get to the recording tips...because even beginners can benefit from knowing how to record their own compositions and/or songs they are learning.

We'll return to my memoirs - what happened after I learned to play the right-handed air guitar - at a later date.

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