The Payoff
03/06/2014 9:15 PM

by Jack Pearson 

In my day...guess you’re expecting an old timer’s story...ok...well, here’s one. 

When I was learning to play guitar, my big brother taught me the basic chords, some easy licks and gave me a chart of the fretboard and told me to memorize all the notes on the neck. It really helped me learn where everything was and how I could play in different positions. I started seeing where notes repeated and changed octaves on the neck. For example, I remember seeing where G, C, and D were all over the neck and how they related to the chords and each other. 

As my brother showed me how he played guitar, I also started listening to records and trying to figure out how to play what I was hearing on vinyl. I would listen to each note or one part then pick up the needle and try to put it back in the same spot to hear it again, over and over and over. Then I would try to figure out how to play it on my guitar.

It was a lot of hard work, very time consuming, I scratched up those records and wore out a lot of needles but it sure was worth it. It trained my ear as I learned where the notes were on the guitar. I worked for it and it made me a better musician. 

I would watch TV and hope to see a guitar player play something then I would run to my room and figure it out on my own. It was always great to see someone play and get ideas on how they used their hands. I hope the videos on my site will give you the opportunity I didn’t have back then. To train your ear by listening to what is being played AND to see how the fingers move to create what you’re hearing. 

Whatever you learn it still takes some work before it becomes fun to play; it takes work and thought to improve as a musician. Everyone has to practice, practice, practice and then do it all over again. It’s never ending for me; I still have to work on the fundamentals to keep my hands in shape. All the good musicians I know have to do that...and on any instrument. The gift of music is the payoff and I sure am thankful for it.