I’ve been taking lessons from Charlie now for over six months, and it’s really been paying off. Charlie introduces me to new concepts and skills at a good pace and provides me with interesting music to learn. All that provides ample motivation to practice my guitar playing every day. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not ready for the coffee house circuit yet, but there’s no question I’ve made significant progress since I began.
My enjoyment of guitar playing has grown right along with my skills–so much so that I’m beginning to seek out more music to play. Not that Charlie doesn’t give me plenty to work on between lessons, but playing for the sheer fun of it is important, too. It’s challenging, though to find guitar music that (a) I’d be able to play (with some practice), and (b) I’d like to play.
Most of what’s in the guitar songbooks I’ve seen is either too simple, too hard, or just plain crappy. Very little of it is arranged for fingerstyle guitar. Often the music is just the melody with some guitar chord notation, and the arrangement sounds incomplete and nothing like what the original artist played. Granted, I’m not going to be playing any authentic James Taylor arrangements quite yet, but it’s possible for fingerstyle arrangements to be interesting yet accessible to relative beginners like me.
Of course, the internet is chock full of guitar music, too–and most of it is crappy, as well. Internet guitar tabs abound, but they generally suffer from the same issues as the guitar songbooks. One place where I’ve found a couple of interesting things to play is FreeHand Music, where you can preview sheet music arrangements for an extensive list of songs. If you find an arrangement you like, you can purchase and download it. I don’t always find arrangements I like, but at least there’s plenty to look at.
YouTube is another interesting resource for guitar music, usually presented in the form of a lesson. For example, I found this one for Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven (a nice, playable arrangement, IMHO), although it’s not complete–most of the “lessons” on YouTube are for a few riffs, and many are teasers for online guitar lessons that you can purchase. YouTube is full of guitar players, too–check out FretKillr, for example.
Generally, the guitar music you can find for free on the web isn’t worth a whole lot, and even the stuff you pay for (whether on the web or in songbooks) varies in quality. I’m willing to pay for good arrangements, but finding them can be hard.
Do you have a favorite source for guitar music? Leave a comment and share it with me!