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Share your wins, get unstuck, or see how others use the TAC Method to create a fulfilling guitar life!

  • Played a house party gig, kinda.

    Posted by paul0r on December 21, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    A good friend invited my wife and I to an early Holiday party at his home, and he asked me to play. I made a song list and treated it like a real gig. I think I played eight or nine songs, including at least one request that wasn’t listed and one original. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music, so I’m counting this as my first (almost) real gig. Had a ball and played well. Open mic experience really helped too. Happy Holidays to TACers everywhere!

    paul0r replied 2 years, 3 months ago 8 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Loraine

    December 21, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    What a very cool experience @paul0r ! You should be very proud and happy.

  • jumpinjeff

    December 22, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Way good @paul0r , I am not surprised that everyone enjoyed your music. I enjoyed listening to you even years ago. How were you on the inside as this was happening? Were you the focus of attention or was stuff going on around à la lounge playing? Did you have songsheets or were you rote and ready? 12 string? Details, looking for the details😊

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  jumpinjeff.
    • paul0r

      December 22, 2021 at 9:54 pm

      Hey Jeff, nice to hear from you. On the inside, I was pretty calm and decided to start even though there was activity in the adjoining kitchen. Listeners drifted in and were attentive. I had a list taped to my guitar but otherwise did all from memory with nary a brain fart. The songs I chose were from my ‘Most Confident’ List. I was tempted to use the 12-string, but decided that bringing 2 instruments was a bit much, and I hate to use a capo on the 12er. Highlight was doing Tom Rush’s “Remember Song”, which most of us could relate to. I highly recommend the experience.

  • albert_d

    December 25, 2021 at 9:36 am

    Great feeling and fantastic win. Sharing music is great

  • stevieblues

    December 25, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    That was a great win paul0r! Merry Christmas 🎄

  • the-old-coach

    December 27, 2021 at 7:09 pm


    This is a GREAT story! Very inspiring to many, many of us following in your footsteps- me for sure. What you have done is one of my MAIN goals! Cool stuff!

    How were you able to get all of those parts– of all of those songs– to the point where you could play them easily just from memory????

    I have been rasslin’ with how to best “memorize” a song—- for months and months—- to be able to do something like what you have accomplished here. If it’s a thousand reps, so be it. If there are addn’l hints- please share if you can.


    Mark J

  • Mychael

    December 27, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Way to lean into it Paul! I used to play bass guitar in a band a gigged a few times a month. Loved it and the more I did it the the easier it became to perform in front of people but a solo! Way cool!

    Like Mark J., I am having difficulty remembering entire songs both instrumentally on guitar and lyrically.

    Any pointers is appreciated.


  • the-old-coach

    December 28, 2021 at 11:06 am

    So as far as playing a song– or several songs– just off memory, I’ve been wandering/wondering– is there kind-of “a point” where you just remember the general theme of the song, maybe most of the melody, maybe the chorus and maybe some of the verse(s), a few chords……. and then the details just “kick in” so to speak?

    Like there’s no way a person could just out of the blue— in just talking to you– recite every word, or know every chord in order, of say 4-5 songs in a row…….. but if a melody and/or a few chords are added- does it kind-of “all just come back to you” somehow?…. sort-of “on the fly”?

    Does the music just sort-of “pick you up”, and carry you thru?

    And to be able to anticipate and “hear” the NEXT few chords or bass-walks or percussive parts or whatever it is— as it’s all just “rushing back”?- (I would LOVE to be able to do that!).

    Kind-of hard to put into words- yes. I hope you- (all)- get my “jist”. I’m thinking this is what happens- the brain just sort-of gets “caught-up” in the music, and that– by itself– helps those thousands of bits of memory come flowing back.

    Paul and many others– My opinion— what you have done is one of the most inspirational things EVER for those of us a little behind you on the guitar journey! THAT is what we all want to be able to do!

    Much thank you for sharing– more help appreciated.

    And please tell me if I’m all wet on my little thought- I’m just tryin’ to figure out the best way to reach that next level.

    Mark J

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  the-old-coach.
  • paul0r

    December 28, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    First, I have always believed that the best performances come from memory. (Not many pros fuss with a music stand on stage.) Granted many performers use electronic lyric displays that line the floor behind monitor speakers, but few rely on them.

    Second, I have been playing long enough that once a key has been established I can “hear” (maybe that means “guess”) what the next chord in a sequence will be. This means I can usually ignore chord sheets when I am rehearsing and focus on the lyrics. Once you know how the various chords in a family (I mean, key) sound in relation to each other it can be relatively easy to figure out the correct chord in a new song. I think the notion of getting caught up in the music is pretty much about hearing the next chord and shaping it almost automatically. I suspect that many TACers who rely on chord sheets would be surprised at how successful they could be playing by ear. Try something like Wagon Wheel (I think it’s in G) and shift to start on an C chord and see if you can guess the chord sequence.

    Once I have the key and a pretty good sense of the chords I need, I just play the song lots of times. When I trip up on lyrics, I try to make a mental picture that leads from the line I know to the next line. When I feel pretty confident, I will sometimes practice in the dark so I get comfortable working ‘without a net’.

    Finally, I should confess that I started playing and singing a few songs in my twenties; that I learned some music theory from an older sibling long before TAC; and that I will celebrate my eighth TACaversery and my 72nd birthday this next week. Bottom line: play stuff that gives you joy every day.

    • the-old-coach

      December 28, 2021 at 7:14 pm


      Thank you. That is cool stuff right there, indeed.

      Those tidbits of knowledge you have shared come from decades of you playing and figuring-out the best way.

      I’m gonna re-read this- (your)- latest post dozens of times as I fumble thru future practice sessions, trying to apply something here/ something there, to where I’m at. It’s kind-of a new vantage-point maybe.

      You have shared important pieces of the treasure map.

      Indeed, thanks-

      Mark J

  • Marisa

    December 28, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    That is a tremendous win! Thanks for sharing your mental process, as well! 👍🏼🎸✌🏼

  • paul0r

    December 29, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Now in the light of day, a few additional suggestions make sense to me.

    When you pick a song that you want to learn, find a recording (ideally a video) that you like and make your first goal to sing along with it. If the notes are too high or low for you, either pick another song or find another recording that works better. Next you need to figure out what key the recording is in. Options here include checking a chord sheet or tab, or watching the chord shapes used and/or capo settings. (If you are lucky, you can just do what the guitar player is doing.) The short list of chords (keys) to try are the ones easily made on guitar: C, A, G, E and D. If none of these work, see if a capo will make one of these chords match the song. Listen carefully, especially to the last note, which almost always matches the key you want to be playing in.

    When you can pretty much match up your singing with the recording, then you can focus on figuring out the cords. Chances are good you have already begun to recognize chords that show up together: I like to think of these as families, because the relationships are everything. Googling for a chord sheet is easy, but what you get may be really fancy, way too simple, or just flat wrong. Play what you have, strumming along with the recording and expect your playing to match really well. If it sounds wrong, you may need a better chord sheet. Rinse and repeat.

    Now try playing the song without the recording and see if how that works. It’s OK to try other chords, but most of the time the correct ones will sound best. Playing along with a recording can be a serious win, and there’s a good chance what you are playing will start to be automatic because it fits.

    Finally playing and singing is a real challenge. Use the recording to help keep things together and have some fun. When the song starts to live inside your head, you can focus on lyrics and enjoy telling the story.

    If all of this sounds impossible, Fretboard Wizard is a great idea. Even for someone like myself with some serious musical training and experience, the Fretboard Wizard course was a huge help. It amounts to what I would call Practical Music Theory for Guitarists. One of the first lessons is all about figuring out the key of a song, so that’s a great place to take your guitar journey. I really hopes this helps!

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