I didn’t expect to be impressed by Liam Gallagher’s musical ability. He’s the parka wearing tambourine man with the purring Mancunian growl and there’s a reason his bro Noel got all the credit for their vast catalogue of Oasis hits back in the day. He is far from renowned for his guitar playing but there I was – the wannabe – skinny-jeaned up, sat poised on the edge of a desk chair in a spare room at a house of a bloke I’d just met, Rich, my guitar teacher, staring intently at a screen on which our Liam, was climbing out of a car in the middle of the countryside with his guitar. He finds a suitably rock n roll looking tree under which he plants his derrière and lo and behold, he plays. This is how the music video for Songbird, one of the band’s later tracks, begins and it is the starting point for my future career on stage playing in front of millions at stadiums worldwide.
And jest of course I do, because, judging from my stuttering start – when the video ends, Rich runs me through the chords Liam was playing repeatedly throughout the track (G and E minor in case you’re interested) – I’ve a hell of a long way to go before I can consider myself good enough to hold even an audience of tone deaf and mentally questionable cats let alone actual people with fully functional faculties. But we all have to start somewhere right?
Those first awkward arrangements of my fingers on the fretboard were ten days ago. Since then, with as little as ten minutes of practice each day, I can play Songbird to a vaguely respectable level of competency and I’m sure the girl living in the flat below probably hates me for it – it’s one chord change every four bars of four so it’s a tad repetitive and no doubt hugely annoying, especially if you don’t know which song you’re hearing. Hard cheese lady, hard cheese.
Strumming underway, the next technique I’ve been set ‘homework’ to get my aching fingertips around is plucking, known as playing arpeggio style, and I’m putting this to the test by trying to play REM’s Everybody Hurts. Playing this way is more genteel than strumming.
I ended up spending more than double I intended to on my acoustic number in the end but I’m not regretting it in the slightest. It’s great fun and a good way of unwinding. One day I’ll post a video of me playing on here – that’s my promise to you – but not now, not yet. In the meantime, here’s the late-Nick Drake, an epicly talented guitar player who is perfect for listening to in the morning over a cup of coffee with the sunshine streaming in through the windows. Enjoy.