Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

I teach guitar in my spare time, and in that time I learn along with my students. More than music, I learn what my students think of music, and what they hope to achieve by learning it. Some want to learn cause its 'cool', and its great to impress girls with (And I strongly agree, it is). Some learn cause they want to be 'rockers' and want to be in a band. Also the music they want to learn as well is quite varied. One of my students wants to learn all the latest stuff being played on the radio and television, so that whenever he does play for people, he knows its all updated stuff; while some want to learn songs they haven't even heard before, but know that they are popular numbers, just so they're 'with it'. Whatever songs they do want to learn, it all means I've got to be on my toes constantly learning all the new stuff too. But there are some songs that all new guitarists must learn as their 'first full song' so that in the beginning when people ask, they know how to play at least one song decently. I have compiled a list of songs that are usually 'Guitar Firsts' or just generally known by all guitarists who love modern music.

1.Nothing Else Matters by Metallica - I start with this because honestly, who doesn't? The seemingly simple song begins just by playing the the E, G,B,e- and I think everyone felt a sense of accomplishment after plucking those strings over and over again. It was really fun to ask people to play the bit after that, and see the lost expression on their faces (myself included).

2. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple - By smoke on the water you all know I really just mean JHAN JHAN JHAN! JHAN JHAN JHAAANAN! Noone, it seems, even wanted to know past that. Knowing how to play arguably the worlds most recognizable riff for real, cemented your reputation as a rockstar in a way that even guitar hero could not.

3. Zombie by The Cranberries - I have to admit I learnt how to play this song before I even heard it! But this has become a staple song for budding bands to jam to.

4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday - Another one for the current youth (ages 11-14). Greenday already having multiple generations of listeners can add the youngest one as another feather to their furry cap.

5. The Mission Impossible Theme - The only non-band song on my list (unless your counting limp bizkit's awesome version). I remember how my friend Anish would pluck this away to glory back in the day, to my other friends horrible sounding lead guitar, while I would thrash my out of tune drum kit, creating musical chaos much to our satisfaction. Ah, good times.

6. Hotel California by The Eagles - I had to add this to the list even though it is a slightly harder song to play, but only because every basic guitarist after learning most of his/her barre chords would learn to play this song. If you are a guitarist and you do not know how to play this, all I can say is shame on you, man. If you have recently learnt it, all I can say is "Brother/Sister, you have arrived".

Well those were the most deserving in my opinion, if anyone knows any real no-brainers feel free to add to this list. Other notable mentions were Californication by RHCP, Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down and the lesser played 7 Nation Army by The White Stripes. For me personally the first song/riff/cool-thing-to-impress-people-with I learnt was the second part of Fade to Black by Metallica.

Anyway, there you go, thats all.

P.S.- Reviewing my post, I realize that saying JHAN JHAN in your mind while reading, sounds nothing like Smoke on the Water. Also I'm extremely thrilled with the colours I just added.

3 responses to "Guitar Firsts"

  1. Hey
    Great post. First song I learnt was Doesn't Remind Me by Audioslave. It's the easiest interchangable chords E and A.
    That is until a certain Asshole friend reminds you that the studio version also throws in the G chord which leaves most beginners in a spaz attack and finger cramps. Very attractive.
    Also yes, the colors you added were very cool!


  2. to be fair, the G isn't really there in the studio recording. the middle two strings are strummed open between the 2 chords, and that gives the sound of a G chord.

    also, to be fair again, 'jhaan' does actually sound like smoke on the water. so don't beat yourself up there. well, don't think about it anyway.


  3. awesome post. i know nada about guitar playing, but this list was pretty much what my cousin brother started out with when he was into playing the guitar. then, of course, he moved to techno. which is a different, longer and uglier story.
    ps - the colours ARE very awesomeness.


The All of us.

The All of us.