Friday, October 12, 2012

Pre-teen guitar challenge

Sorry for the lack of updates, I'm in the wilds of Indonesia but there should be a rash of comment coming when I return home (new Godspeed!). In the meantime here's a conundrum I've been dealing with. My eight year old nephew just got his first guitar after expressing an interest in learning to play which is awesome. As such, for Christmas I'm going to make him a compilation of influential guitarists (with some notes and easy lessons) but as I've started working on it, it is fraught with difficulties. Observe:

1. The music has to be palatable to an eight year old so it's not like I can throw on some Zappa, Sonic Youth or Slayer (or Black Flag for that matter). Not that I would use any of that music, finding music which is interesting from a guitar point of view without being alienating to a young listener is an interesting challenge considering the most challenging stuff he's probably heard is the Foo Fighters.

2. Do I go classic guitar (Hendrix, Clapton, Page) or do I go by pioneers of genre (say your Tom Verlaine's of the world)? Genre seems much more interesting and I could throw in some old blues shit too but my guitar education was the classics until I found my own sounds and interests. Also, genre trips on problem number 1, it's written in a musical dialect which can be difficult out of context.

3. Should I just stack it with guitarists I like? (Homme, Mould, the Mogwai boys etc) then it becomes less an exposure to influential guitarists and becomes a Jonathan-centric mix cd.

Anyway, just something to think about. Whatever happens, it's probably going to have Black Sabbath on it...



  1. 1. If you're going to have Sabbath, you have to have either the VU or Feelies as a counter
    2. For the beginning guitarist it's hard to go wrong with Bo Diddley
    3. Because this is a modern boy, let him know he can still compete with his less guitar-inclined friends- throw either some Tom Morello sci-fi guitar or some Hives from the Black and White Album
    4. Ok, he's 8, he'll want girls soon, right? An Emo ballad he could learn isn't bad thing. Much as I hate the song, Green Day's Good Riddance is a good un to get the girlies when you're in middle school
    5.for the rest, get as dangerous as you'd like- after all, the naughtier the more he'll view it as some kind of occult language, hence the more interesting