The Police released Synchronicity the album with the hit song “Every Breath You Take” in 1983. Soon the MTV came out with such a huge following. When I watched that hugely successful MTV, I plead to myself, “Andy Summer (the lead guitarist)’s riff in that song is the coolest thing I have ever heard in my life”, I have to learn to play that. And I did.
But sadly, I only learn that little riff before I got distracted by something else and moved on without learning the whole song.
Then I would attempt another new catchy song but again the cycle repeats itself. There will always be another song on the radio, in a concert or a new album I bring home. At the end, I will always have with me the chorus of a song I can wow my friends, the verse of another, the riff of yet another and a solo of another. I even tried to play some smooth jazz progressions….. in parts!.
For years. I’ve gathered so many parts but I couldn’t properly play one full song properly.
That is the sad part of my playing life.
When my ‘enlightenment’ came, (See About Me for that story) I took almost a year to learn to play what I call my FIRST SONG again. The song was “Amazing Grace”. It was a simple song, one that connects to me and one that can be branded MY SONG. Though it was a simple song, it brought joy that I can play it well. Today I could strum it, pick it and even sing it fully. I could even play the chord melody of it. I finally could play my first song on guitar properly and with much enjoyment.
Have you ever been like me? Know a lot but not any one song fully.
Well from my journey of fancy licks to just a solid O’song brings me to share with you 3 tips how to pick the first song you play on your guitar.
#1. Find a Song that is simple enough for you to master
Something that you know how to hold the chords to. A song with not more than 4 or 5 simple chords. You should rule out jazz songs with all those 6th, 9th and dominant chords for now.
Start with a simple song. A simple blues song maybe.
I have to admit it was Victor Wooten’s rendition of Amazing Grace on his bass guitar that sold it for me that it doesn’t need a complicated song to play good guitar.
I decided to make that song, Amazing Grace the first 3 chord song, I learn and master and have fun playing properly in its entirety.
#2. Find a Song that connects with you.
The story behind the song Amazing Grace speaks to me. It’s about the composer’s life as a minister. He wrote it when his life was in total wreck and yet trusting God and acknowledging Him to be still his Amazing Grace. I can relate to that. In my many times of trials, this song speaks to me. Therefore it fits as the song to pick for me as the song musically and lyrically really connects with me.
Pick yours! (Don’t be in a hurry to choose) You may want to listen to a lot of songs and ask yourself which song touches you the most. Check the song not just musically but lyrically too. Sometimes it may just be a song you learn in your childhood. It maybe your wedding song or the first song you heard on your first date with your spouse. Maybe its a simple blues song by your favorite bluesman that made you cry the first time you heard it. It can be any song as long as its personal to you
#3 Find a Song that others can tell it’s your song.
The song is part of the brand call YOU. It has to be your song and if your life has the first soundtrack, what would it be. Don’t worry, your soundtrack will change through time as you learn more songs but your first song is always going to be special.
It’ll go down in history as the story of your first song will be told over and over again in future conversations or set lists of your life.
Once you have worked out what your first song is, then go learn to play the whole song thoroughly. Seriously don’t go to search “easy songs to play on the guitar” and learn so many mediocrely but nothing really well. Learn this one song masterly.
Imagine one day when you know one song and could play just that song for others that others is going to call it your song, how worthwhile will all the effort put in feel?
So hope these 3 tips will help you choose your first song to play on your guitar.
Drop me a comment and I’m totally curious ….. so what is your first song? And how did you choose it?