My intermediate guitar class started Monday last week, so I've now had two more lessons.
There's 13 people in the class, 6 from my beginners class, 6 from the thursday night beginners, and one "yeah I play bass in a band and have been figuring guitar out so thought I'd come along for some pointers".
Week one we started on the 12 bar blues in A. 12 bar blues is apparently the foundation of blues (obviously), country, rock, and pretty much half of all popular music. It looks and sounds simple, but I'm struggling a little... not with the fingering, more with the being able to strum only two strings and get an equal sound from both without hitting any other strings... that bit's hard. We also had a look at the cool version of the turnaround, which includes the "James Brown Chord" (E9). The cool turnaround is hard, but after a week and a half of practice I'm starting to get it, mostly, if I do it slow. There's technique stuff to it that is new and requires slightly nimble fingers... I'm getting there.
This week we spent more time on the turnaround, a bit of time reviewing the 12 bar blues, and were introduced to A minor pentatonic scale. Knowing pentatonic scales is apparently the key to being able to play solos. Find the key the song is in, and play random notes from the according scale, start and finish phrases on the lead note, and you will sound like you are an ace lead guitarist improvising like a fiend! Apparently. The teacher got us to play A minor chords with the classic rock strum, and demonstrated this, and he did indeed sound like an ace lead guitarist improvising like a fiend. He then played the same chords, and got us to improv on the scale, and it sounded like a hideous ghastly cacophony. However, when I blocked out everyone else, and tested his theory by just playing the scale with funky timing, it actually sounded good, if a little boring.
He gave us Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison) to start learning, although he gave that to my beginner class last term, so we're ahead of the curve, huzzah! To be fair, he only gave everyone the chords-only version, so the rest of the class can get acquainted with that before we all move on to learning the recognisable riff. Because it's a 3 chord wonder, and I'm well bored of playing it I hunted chordie.com for the riff notation and started learning that tonight... it's kind of hard, and when I looked at it between the end of beginners and the start of intermediate, I thought phhhfffft too hard, but now he's explained the technique, it's not nearly as hard as I thought, and in an hour of practice tonight I managed to get a recognisable (if slow) version. WOOT!
I am getting slowly better, although I'm probably towards the bottom of the class in ability, but I love it. I am completely in love with playing my guitar, and spending even half an hour each evening playing stuff stops all the noise in my head and helps me unwind a little, and when I actually manage to play something perfectly, I feel this massive sense of pure accomplishment, that I am not finding anywhere else in my life at the moment.
Finally, this is such a geeky thing to be joyous about, but when I started learning, I'd play for 10 minutes and my fingertips would HURT, for a while they were just super sensitive, all the time, then the skin kept peeling off the tips of my fingers, then finally I noticed that I could play for a good hour and they didn't really hurt, and I noticed that I have calluses on my fingertips. Tonight, after playing for an hour or so, I noticed that I have black lines... on one finger at least... I HAVE GUITAR PLAYER FINGERTIPS!!!
My guitar needs a name. I'm usually good at deciding names for things, but I haven't named her yet... I'm thinking maybe Lola...