Taylor Swift and Transcending Rocksmith

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this on the blog, but I do bring it up on The Recurring Bosscast a lot. I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I own all of her albums, loudly sing her songs when she comes on the radio and am not ashamed to admit my fandom for her music. A few days after starting Rocksmith, I set myself a personal goal that I would one day learn how to play one of her songs. However, two things got in the way of that goal:

1) Most of her songs require a capo, which I don’t own. This is a relatively easy fix.

2) I just started learning how to play guitar and everything about it was hard.

Though I spend less and less time with the game and am probably nowhere near finishing it, the lessons I’ve learned from it are invaluable. It’s helped me build a basic understanding of strumming and chord formation, the muscle memory to execute, and the confidence that I can keep getting better if I work at it. I don’t think I’m ready to take centre stage at any public venue, I’m already better than I ever thought I could be at this, which is really gratifying.

Just because I’m playing the game less doesn’t mean my guitar is collecting dust, either. I actively make time to play it almost every day, whether it’s for a few minutes or for an extended solo jam session. I’ll either practice songs I’ve learned through the game, chords.techniques in isolation, or use my existing skill-set to learn something new. To my surprise, I’ve been able to learn a lot of rock songs through just a handful of chords and techniques. There was a stretch where I was seemingly learning one new song without the game every day for a week, which was awesome.

But back to Taylor Swift. For awhile, it seemed like every song I was interested in required a capo. Apparently, it’s common knowledge that she uses one a lot. However, I eventually stumbled upon her song 22, which can be played capo-free. A quick YouTube search matched me with the guide below and I was off to the races.

Watching one of these guides would have been useless to me before. Without a baseline knowledge and experience with chord formation or strumming, I couldn’t have followed these instructions on my own. My hands would have contorted into painful positions and hurt like crazy. However, now that I have guitar experience under my belt, I was able to learn all three chords very quickly and am now fine-tuning my approach.

Seasoned guitar veterans may scoff at this song being any sort of milestone, as it’s just three chords over and over. But those are three brand new chords to me that I couldn’t have executed or even comprehended just a few months ago.

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