This of course applies to any type of impromptu singalong at any time of year.
Like many of you, I suspect, my guitar got a fair bit of action over the festive holiday period.
“Get your guitar out”. “ Bring your guitar along” was the cry from family and friends.
All well and good. I played a few of the songs from my repertoire and people joined in if they knew the words or looked up the lyrics on their phones.
Those of you who’ve listened to my AVoYPs will know I lean towards Bob Dylan/early Beatles/Eagles type songs. Great stuff of course but not everyone’s cup of tea (especially the younger generation) and not particularly ‘singalong’. Inevitably you then get “can you play this……can you play that……”.
I’ve got American Pie (not all the lyrics ) and Summer of ‘69 up my sleeve but that’s about it. My attempts at Blues licks/riffs played to a backing track are of course for my ears only and not even in the equation .
Some songs you can look up on your phone and have a go at. Others are too difficult to play on the spot. But your confidence takes a nose dive. You are amongst family and friends of course so it doesn’t matter. But still……
Then the karaoke goes up on the tv screen……
Learn songs, learn songs, learn songs (thanks Richard) is an oft repeated mantra on this site. The 1,4,5 progression helps but trying to work it out for songs you don’t know while others are belting out the lyrics two verses and a chorus ahead of you is difficult! It doesn’t help that you’ve just eaten a huge meal and the alcohol is kicking in!
Answers/solutions (other than learn more classic multigenerational singalong songs) on a postcard please……
According to my calendar you still have a couple of weeks before senility kicks in, my friend
Besides the above-mentioned mantra, you do know it’s all just practice. Just need to go to more party singalongs
I didn’t invite anyone here so there was no chance for that , but the unsolicited sharing of “Silent Night” in a group of friends did generate a few sweet comments although it could well be that they have the same standards of decency in this area that you people have here, so it probably doesn’t say much
Well, you could come and be with my family. Not once did I get asked to play anything for anyone. That’s the kind of thing that will help your problem.
I’d have a look at some of Justin’s grade one songs. There are some up-to-date one’s in there. Or there is Ultimate Guitar, a lot of those seem to be simple chord progressions. Then have a few practices and load them up on your ipad so you don’t have to really remember them.
Hi Gordon, there was a thread called Campfire Songs, maybe check out that thread. You could also start putting together a list of chord progressions that would work for several / many songs each, and either include the lyrics or know that you can get the lyrics from your phone. You might end up with 10 pages back and front that would be good for 40 or 50 songs. Leave that in your guitar case and you’re ready to play! I’d focus on building up a repertoire first, strumming only, then when you’re comfortable with that start adding in some of the identifiable riffs.
For other song ideas, type in ‘campfire guitar songs’ or something like that in YouTube. You could also go through Justin’s early grade songs and pluck out quite a few.
I do think that knowing typical chord progressions is very useful, but you also need to know the song (a bit anyway) to be able to use those progressions. If you work on some simple songs too I’m sure at your level if you know the song to hum along / sing in your head when you hear it you will also have a good idea of what the next chord will be and when the change is when you’re playing. I’m not talking about F#m Aug 7th kind of chords, I’m talking about standard CDEFGAB major and minor chords, open, bar 5&6 root, and triads on the first 3 strings.
Hopefully this answer is not exactly what you’re not looking for, learn more multi generational songs! I did have an idea about how to use the chord progressions, but I do think part of it needs to be learn more songs. That’s what works for me anyway
About a year ago we had a little sing-a-long, that I knew was coming, so what I did was to build a little playlist of 10 songs in the Justin App songs. The songs were fairly easy songs that most people, at least of my/our generation would know.
That evening when the time came, I streamed the audio/video from the app to the big screen TV. Using the Band without the vocals setting in the app we had karaoke like visual on the screen as well as the chords to play along with. By adjusting the volumes on the app and the guitar, any flubs on my part were at least masked.
I don’t use the app any more to actually learn songs but for this use it was ideal … I didn’t have to remember the chords, the lyrics or even the tempo so I could just follow along and just concentrate on getting all the changes in the right place.
Thanks for your replies. First prize has to go to Rogier who actually posted his reply on a postcard!
Some interesting posts from you all, including don’t invite anyone to your house or don’t take your guitar.
The general consensus however is of course to learn more songs and as Mari and Rick said become more familiar with some basic 4 chord progressions that can then be used for loads of different songs. The difficulty is to recognise the pattern and put it all together quickly as your ‘audience’ quickly loses interest as you mess around.
Thanks for your input here Mari, you’ve given me much food for thought.
As Glen suggests, we did have karaoke on the tv but even for the songs I knew they were often in a different key from the one I knew and by the time I’d messed about with capo positions etc. the song was over.
I suppose the key thing is are you playing for people or playing with people. If it’s for people then you have your list of songs that you’ve practised and know. You’re in control of the songs.
The more difficult one is playing with people who want to sing along and make suggestions as to what songs you should play.
The bottom line in my case of course is it’s family and friends so it’s all good fun.
Thanks again to you all for your contributions. And I mustn’t forget to thank Brian for reminding me that I reach senility in just over two weeks. Of course that means by next Christmas I’ll have forgotten where I put my guitar so all this will cease to be an issue.
I get the point, but this really isn’t true, is it? I can play the G-Em-C-D Axis of Awesome progression, but I can’t play thousands of songs or even dozens. Beyond learning how to play those 4 chords in a row, I’d have to do this:
Know which songs use that progression.
Most of those songs don’t use only that progression. I might have to learn different progressions for the bridge, chorus, etc. for all those songs.
I’d have to learn the lyrics to thousands of songs.
I’d have to learn the song structure: how many verses, chorus, where the bridge(s) are, intro, outro. Etc.
I’d have to learn a strumming pattern or groove, which can be quite different for different songs.
Of course, learning the I-V-iv-IV progression is very useful, especially when you can start to recognize it when you hear it. But let’s stop saying that learning a 4-chord progression will add many songs to your repertoire. It’s a good first step.