Thursday, April 9, 2009

Discreet rodents

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd

About six months ago, on what was kind of a whim, I bought a guitar. I enjoyed playing it and learning some songs, some chords, and, let's be honest, it just looks cool.

The songs I've tried learning so far are Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Behind Blue Eyes as done by Limp Bizkit, Float On by Modest Mouse, and certain parts of Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi. It's an eclectic mix. I've also got music and played through a few songs by Deathcab for Cutie, Coheed & Cambria, Incubus, The Killers, and Plain White Tee's.

Of those, I've practiced Wish You Were Here far more than any others. It's one of my favorite songs and isn't too complex, so I can play it and it actually sounds like the song (though I still can't play the solo). I think playing guitar has increased my appreciation of music more -- I find myself listening to more things like David Bowie, Pink Floyd (more than just Pulse), The Who, and Led Zeppelin. Another band I'm somewhat surprised to find I like is Modest Mouse.

Years ago when Float On became popular I found some Modest Mouse to listen to and didn't care for it -- it seemed kind of bland and almost obnoxious. Listening to it again recently, while some songs I wasn't fond of, for the most part I quite liked it. Paying closer attention to the vocals and guitar, I noticed that it's not very complex. Isaac Brock (singer/songwriter/founder of Modest Mouse) isn't a great guitarist like Eric Clapton or Jack White. He is good at using effects and finding the right sound for what he wants though. The music isn't complex but it's good. It's not clean sounding but it works. It's not smooth but it's enjoyable.

I think I've been listening to so much Pink Floyd and David Bowie and Led Zeppelin recently that that's what I've been aiming for in my guitar playing--advanced, fast, and complex guitar riffs. I had forgotten that not all music needs to psychadelic or complex. I don't mean I'm going to start listening to The Ramones; three chords for an entire album is pushing it on the simplicity scale. But there's a different world of music out there, one that uses distortion and imperfect notes to make great music. Industrial, grunge, alternative, indie rock, and numerous other genres don't rely on the same techniques Pink Floyd does. And I think I might try exploring them. (I'm already familiar with listening to them; now I'm looking into playing them.)

(I apologize for the name of this post, but I couldn't think of anything.)

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