If you want to play the guitar, it may be a good idea to get some lessons. But this is not an article about how to learn the guitar or how to teach yourself. It’s not an advice article on when, where, and why to learn guitar.
Rather, this is a series of thought experiments intended to explore what would happen if you tried playing a 3 string guitar (a guitar with three strings like a classical guitar). Each experiment is followed by screenshots and even a joke.
This article is meant as an exercise in visioning, not design; so your ideas might be different than mine: it’s up to you whether you want them and what kind of results you want.
So let’s start with the first experiment:
The Benefits of Playing a 3 String Guitar Are Many
The guitar is a hard instrument to master. It’s also one of the most popular and most loved instruments in the world. There’s obviously an obvious reason why it’s so popular, but what exactly is it?
The short answer would be “it’s a great way of playing an instrument that sounds good, is fun and can be played by anyone.” The long answer is that it’s a great way to play many instruments, which makes it more versatile than any other method. It can play any stringed instrument – including violins and cellos – and each has its own unique sound.
If you’re thinking “oh, I’m pretty bad at guitar playing! I’ll never get better!” think again (and hey, maybe you will). Playing guitar isn’t about being good – it’s about having fun and learning something new every time you pick up your guitar (even if you don’t like the sound of the first few notes). When you’re playing your instrument live, people are going to listen to what you do. Someone could sit down at the piano next to you or play next to you at a party or concert, but they aren’t going to pay attention if they can’t hear what you’re doing. The same thing goes for watching sports (pitching) or playing video games (playing football). If they can see what your hands are doing while you’re doing it, then they’ll pay attention to how well you do it. Playing guitar isn’t like performing in front of an audience – there’s no audience for this kind of music so there’s no need for applause. You just make music with your hands with nobody else watching except for yourself… That’s why we call this kind of music “playing” rather than “performing.”
In order to really master this crazy-sounding instrument: the most important thing is not just knowing how to play but feeling comfortable with yourself around others when playing; making sure that everything sounds good when everyone hears; being able to follow someone else’s lead without getting lost in between songs; making sure that whatever other musicians are doing feels natural as opposed to out-of-tune; and doing all this while having a lot of fun doing it!
If these things sound hard or crazy they probably are… but if not , then even if it sounds hard at first , after a while everything will sound so good that it will work quickly and easily. Everything sounds better when playing in front of an audience or with other players or fans (like a band) because if you can’t keep learning your part, then the whole song will end up sounding pretty awful.
The Challenges Are Few
Playing a 3 string guitar is easy. You have a guitar and strings. You put the strings on the guitar and you start playing.
But there are challenges with the process: You have to practice, practice, practice. You have to learn how to hold your instrument well enough in your hands so that it doesn’t fall off when you’re playing. And then you have to learn how to keep it stable enough so that it doesn’t fall off when you’re playing. And then you have to learn how to hold the strings in tune so they sound great when they’re being played; and how to play them perfectly so they sound great even when you’re not playing them perfectly (which is what happens during rehearsal).
There are other challenges: To succeed, of course, you need a high level of talent and skill, but nobody can do this alone — that’s why groups need other people: there are always people who want something better than what is already out there. And there are always people who want people who do this better than what is already out there — which is why companies need other people too: groups need others for management and coordination, for strategic planning and for marketing (or whatever else).
Learning to Play a 3 String Guitar is Easy and Fun
A few years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine (we are both musicians) and we were discussing the importance of learning to play a 3 string guitar. He said, “You have to actually play the instrument, not just listen to it.” This is a very important distinction.
Learning to play a 3 string guitar is like learning how to ride a tricycle. You can’t just listen to it and expect it all to be easy. Start with sitting on your couch and slowly moving through it. Try out different techniques at different speeds and angles and positions. Pay attention where you are applying your focus so that you can fine tune and apply the same techniques again when you’re on stage.
Playing a 3 String Guitar Looks Different From What People Expect
So, if you are like most people and you have never played a 3 string guitar, don’t worry about it; just get out there and practice, practice, practice. It’s not just that music is hard; it’s also hard to understand what makes good music good music (if you don’t already do this yourself). And that’s more difficult than learning how to play a 3 string guitar well — at least for me anyway. But I think I’ve made my point: the thing about playing a 3 string guitar (or any musical instrument really) is that if you actually want to do it right, it’s easy to do wrong (probably because people who don’t know how to play well usually know how to play badly).
People who are good with their hands are much better than people who aren’t — but we all do our best with our own hands and most of us would be happy with much less skill than we actually have. So why waste time practicing scales when everyone else just gets in their car and goes on an adventure?
Here is something else: playing a 3 string guitar is different from playing any other instrument in one very important way: instead of being like riding a bicycle or riding in a boat or riding on roller coasters (where there isn’t necessarily much difference), here there are many differences; from the fact that you have three strings instead of four on your instrument vs one-and-a-half strings vs two-and-a-half strings, to the fact that your mouthpiece isn’t always aligned exactly where your finger wants it and sometimes needs some adjustment (which creates quite some noise), and so on.
It’s true that when I was younger I insisted on using my middle finger for everything — which was fine for piano but abysmally frustrating for everything else. But eventually I got tired of doing things wrong all the time, so I started using my two middle fingers more often — which was much better — but now they’re getting used less often too because they’re starting to get sore after long hours of not using them enough while playing three strings without moving around much at all (otherwise they’d
Playing a 3 String Guitar Sounds Amazing
It’s easy to think of it as a one-dimensional activity, like swinging on a swing set or taking on a bike ride. But really, it is much more than that. It is not just the act itself that is interesting: it is the way in which you learn to play and play well. It’s not just about playing well — there are many aspects to learning how to play well: picking techniques, gauging dynamics and so on.
And we can look at these aspects in terms of a playing style or technique: for example I usually use an open tuning (EADGBE) as my main tuning for playing guitar (I have played this way for over 20 years) because it feels good; but if I want to go somewhere different I might switch to a “fuzzy 5th or 6th string” tuning (GEDGBE) so that the fingers don’t get too tired and I can achieve better intonation while still keeping my sound simple.
I think that knowing how to do things (play well) will always be important, but also knowing how they relate to each other (playing style or technique) will often be more important than how they relate directly to each other (ease of playing). So here are some books written by guitarists who know what they are talking about:
Playing a 3 string guitar is like riding a tricycle because it’s easy, almost always successful, and looks different from what people expect. The added bonus is that it sounds amazing.