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Thread: Help me choose one riff/song

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Help me choose one riff/song

    Little known fact: I can play guitar. I'm not particularly good but I have maybe a dozen or so chords memorized and can play well enough for the purposes of group sing-alongs if sheet music is available. But I haven't 'practiced' or improved for decades. Usually if I pick up a guitar these days it might be to play at a Christmas gathering or sitting around a campfire with a group of intoxicated friends, but I've never been much of a picker.

    I'm tired of the accusation, though, that I'm a 'jack of all trades and master of none' or that I 'have many knives but none that are sharp' and intend to correct this deficiency... at least where guitar playing is concerned. I intend to take one song, learn it/memorize it through and through, and be able to play it on demand and generally impress those who surround me.

    The question is which song to choose? I have no interest in learning something that Yngwie Malmsteen or any other virtuoso guitar feat that would take months of preliminary skill building to even begin to approach. I'm not looking to emulate Eddie VanHalen playing 'Eruption'. What I do wish to accomplish is choose a song that features an immediately recognizable riff that most will enjoy listening to, and should be simple enough to learn/memorize with just a few weeks of diligence. For example I've considered learning either 'Back in the Black' or 'Sweet Home Alabama'.

    The floor is open for suggestions for one GOOD song for me to learn by heart.

    (I expect most of you know me well enough not to make suggestions like 'dude, you should learn "He is Risen: Our Salvation" they play it all the time at our church')
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Good campfire singing songs:

    Dust in the Wind
    Every Rose Has Its Thorn
    Sweet Caroline
    Brown Eyed Girl
    Fire and Rain
    Vincent
    Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head
    Anything by The Eagles or Jason Mraz

    I don't play the guitar, but I think those are fairly common songs that a lot of not serious musicians have often played in my presence. I'd pick something that most people across multiple generations would know the lyrics to. The first four probably fall into that category - not as sure about the others since I have a tendency to know random song lyrics from generations that pre-dated me, and Jason Mraz may be a little too modern for some of the older generations to know well.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Sweet Caroline is definitely a winner.

    Something easy like Margaritaville or Why Don't We Get Drunk?

    And of course some Steve Miller like The Joker.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Chattanooga Choo Choo
    by Glenn Miller

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t8G2E92qXk

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Wicked Game by Chris Isaak. Check out the official video on YouTube (NSFW).
    Habitual Offender

  6. #6
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    I would make the effort to learn more songs, and then jam with others. Are you playing an acoustic guitar, electric, or both?
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by Richmond Jake View post
    (NSFW).

    What's NSFW about it? It has such beautiful views of clouds!

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Are you playing an acoustic guitar, electric, or both?
    yes
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    My recommendation is to learn something that you will be at least remotely comfortable singing. I’ve found that people are less interested to hear you play if you are not able to at least sing a bit. Some songs are easier to sing than others. Riffs are cool but there is no reason to focus on riff heavy songs if your interest is in playing an entire song. Many songs are just a few chords. Maybe something like Tangerine by Zeppelin or Melissa by the Allman Brothers. A slightly more involved but still easy song that everyone loves is Wild World by Cat Stevens. Green Plastic Watering Can by Radiohead is super simple. One of my favorite all time songs which is slightly more complicated but an amazing acoustic song that always impresses people is I will follow you into the dark by Death Cab.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    My recommendation is to learn something that you will be at least remotely comfortable singing. I’ve found that people are less interested to hear you play if you are not able to at least sing a bit. Some songs are easier to sing than others. Riffs are cool but there is no reason to focus on riff heavy songs if your interest is in playing an entire song. Many songs are just a few chords. Maybe something like Tangerine by Zeppelin or Melissa by the Allman Brothers. A slightly more involved but still easy song that everyone loves is Wild World by Cat Stevens. Green Plastic Watering Can by Radiohead is super simple. One of my favorite all time songs which is slightly more complicated but an amazing acoustic song that always impresses people is I will follow you into the dark by Death Cab.
    These are practical considerations. Hmmm, I'm a marginally better singer than guitar player. I'm also liking the 'Wild World' suggestion.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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