When we were doing The New York Times’ list of the 100 greatest songs of all time, it seemed like this was the most likely to be a perennial favorite at the top. But it turns out some of these songs can be tricky to perform. In this case, “Sally,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” or “I’m an American Girl” are not easy to play, at all. But the song “Tick, Tick, Tick” is a real challenge for most musicians, if they just take a minute to find the proper balance of harmonies, phrasing and rhythm.
How long does it take to learn a new guitar tune?
There isn’t really an answer, in the sense you could say, “Oh, it takes a while for a piano player to learn a song like this. That’s just the way it works.” So some say it takes about 20 years, but that’s just in general with learning music, and the amount of time a teacher can teach students at once.
What is the most embarrassing guitar riff you ever heard?
That’s a weird question, really. I can’t remember what the riff was that I heard my dad sing into the microphone but I can say in general I was mortified by a couple of it. “I don’t know about all that stuff,” he says, “but I am happy they’re gone.”
What do you remember of the day you started playing guitar?
My father introduced us to a music store and we discovered a Gibson SG. My dad was such an enthusiastic supporter of the musical instrument. He had given it to my five brothers and me before and I always had this fantasy of playing one. That dream came true a couple of weeks earlier with the SG.
If only you could give one guitar lesson to a child today, who would it be?
I think this question is a bit like the question I gave everyone a year ago: “What’s the worst thing you could ever do to a child? That’s a difficult question to answer. I love the kids and I don’t want to harm them, but if every child wanted to take guitar lessons they would bankrupt the guitar store. I would recommend you listen to those questions and take note of the answers.”
Who would you say are the most influential musical influences in this country?
I think the thing about music is it’s a very universal language and people can understand it in different
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