[I'm learning to play the guitar by committing to 30 Days of Rocksmith. Here's how it started.]
Know what my new car has 10 more cubic feet of than my old car? Space. It’s not much. It’s not like I moved from a subcompact to an SUV. But, with that additional 10 cubic feet of space, my wife found a way to pack firewood and kindling to family camp this year. That was on top of the tent, my five-year-old’s bike, dueling coolers, and enough kitchen utensils to equip a food truck. No, I didn’t have a bike rack, so my daughter’s bicycle was in the cab with us. It was less fun than you think.
If it was up to me, it would’ve been hot dogs every night. But with my wife’s level of planning, there was a Taco Night at camp. There was an Italian Night, too. There was enough bacon and eggs to carry me through two weeks’ worth of breakfasts, never mind the fact we’d only have four mornings there. I put up with having an overpacked three-hour drive to family camp because I indeed get eggs and bacon every day of the week there. Goodbye, oatmeal. See you when I get back.
But now, there’s going to be one more thing I want to pack to next year’s family camp. A guitar. While Rocksmith requires an electric guitar, of course, I’ve also managed to pick up an acoustic guitar somewhere in my travels. It’s had a broken string for years now. That should be no surprise. It’s not like I’m up on guitar maintenance yet. But I noticed Rocksmith has a section on the basic care and feeding of your guitar equipment. I’ll be checking that out in due time.
For now, my electric guitar still has all six strings intact, so I took them into the Chords 101 class. I’d promised I’d get into chords ASAP. Trying to play chords was scaring me the most during the Learn a Song sessions. I’d just see the note patterns coast by, asking for two or three fingers on two or three simultaneous strings, and I’d just freeze. I’d pick maybe one note out of the chord and play that, but that’s not a chord.
It’s baffling how simple the Chords 101 lesson is. I nailed 95 percent of it on the first try. The part I’m not telling you, however, is that I skipped over Legato 101 to get to chords. Legato 101 is the introduction to hammer-ons and pull-offs I’d talked about on day five. That was the day before yesterday. I compared Legato to a boss fight in Dark Souls. I was doing that poorly against it. It’s still sitting at zero percent. I’ll go back. Eventually. But it’s baffling how easy some lessons are structured (e.g. Chords 101) versus others that are no joke (e.g. Legato 101).
As far as the 101 courses are concerned, I still have Tremolo, Palm Mutes, and Harmonics to go through. And Legato, of course. But forget Legato for now. Legato is a jerk. Knew him in high school. Didn’t like him then; don’t like him now.
But every single one of these lessons will come into play, next time the wife packs the family into the family car to go to family camp for some time to hang out with family friends. I wouldn’t mind being able to break out an acoustic guitar around the campfire, though. Sing a tune. I’m not sure how well “Pour Some Sugar On Me” translates around s’mores and Taco Night—not to mention being played on an acoustic—but I’m willing to give it a shot. Now if I could just find 10 more cubic feet of space in my car, I’ll be ready to rock the campground scene.