Monday 26 May 2014

Camp and 10,000 hours

When I'm at the current remote site that I'm working at, if I'm not building junky bikes out of parts I find in the rubbish bin and riding them around then I am playing guitar.  Usually, sitting with the lads have a quiet beer. It's during these times random songs tend to jump into my head. Yeah, I should be working on my staples, but once a song get right into my head it's hard to let it go. On a general evening playing I'll get requests, so I look up chords and improvise a fingerstyle arrangement, and discover that some songs work really well.

The first is a great song that I've loved for years, but never took it on. Now I have taken it on. The Tab is nearly finished, my playing is starting to smooth out, Heart of Gold by Neil Young. I've kept it pretty low down on the guitar instead of the big full Em7 and D for the theme riff, just kinda brings the tone down a little bit. Enjoying this one, it's a keeper. It fell into my standard bass-two-slap-four fingerstyle, with hand down low against the fact all three of these did...hey, the style is working for me at the moment!

Get Back - The Beatles. We all know it, we all respect it. I've never attempted it. Why? Who knows. This is still conceptual, there are a few signature riffs I need to add, no tab started, let's chuck it out there hey? :

This one, just appeared on the guitar from nowhere. One of the lads said, "Are you playing What a Feeling by Irene Cara?", and, embarrassed, I replied, "Umm, yes, but you recognised it!" I remembered Naudo has a cover of this song on youtube, and had a listen later. I think I am developing Naudo skills, just nowhere near as intricate and brilliant. But this was such an easy song to do at a basic level I may as well finish it, and let's face it, it's good fun 80's:

Speaking of Naudo skills, once again I was asked by someone who hadn't heard me play before - "how long have you been playing?" My standard answer is "36 years* so I should be better!" But it got me thinking, how many hours have I spent playing the guitar? The widely quoted "10,000 hours of practise to become an expert at anything" was interesting. From these three tunes, each of which I spent between 1 and 2 hours playing to get to this starting but reasonable level, I felt that I'm actually getting pretty good at fingerstyle arranging and playing. But had I done 10,000hrs in my guitar life?

I did a very quick and probably quite inaccurate summary of my guitar life, which looked a little like this:

Age   Point in life       Average Time   Hours
7-10  School lessons      4 hrs/week     832
11-14 Some lessons        2 hrs/week     416
15-18 Playing Electric    5 hrs/week     1040
19-22 University          3 hrs/week     624
23-27 Start Working life  1 hr/week      260         
28-31 Onto steel string   3 hrs/week     468
32-34 Song writing phase  5 hrs/week     780
35-38 Youtube Covers      6 hrs/week     1248
39-43 Nylon Fingerstyle   4 hrs/week     1040
Total:  36 years                        6708 hours

This number was quite pleasing. I haven't done 10,000 hours, but I'm doing okay. I am reminded that when I first discovered Naudo I was 37, and he was 47. It's been 6 years and I'm still way off his talent, but I've come a long way, and it feels good :)


* Current age subtract 7, which in 2014 is 36 years.