There was a time when I could play a lot of Megadeth songs without even thinking about it, but if you don’t keep it up, eventually you lose your edge. It happens to all us — life gets in the way sometimes.
I decided a couple of weeks ago to relearn a lot of the songs that I used to play a lot. I went into my studio, picked up the guitar and played what I could remember — it wasn’t pretty. I decided I needed to do some preparation before learning the songs.
With many bands, getting back into playing songs is easy. The songs really aren’t that tough to play, but Megadeth is different.
Dave Mustaine is the master of chord progressions, so learning to play those songs takes a little bit more planning. Here are a few things I did to prepare.
First I watched many of the Megadeth concerts I have on DVD and on my Apple TV. I watch concerts differently than most people — I don’t just watch the band play, I watch the guitarist and where he is playing the chords. There are many ways to play each chord, but there is a reason the guitar player chose to play it a particular way. That’s the type of detail I try to pick out.
Guitarists like Mustaine have a lot of cool notes in their songs that aren’t always easy to pick out on your own. I often go to YouTube and search for a song to see if anyone was able to get it — many times they do. That’s another great detail to pick out.
Keep in mind that I still haven’t picked up my guitar yet.
The last thing I did was to look at tabs to refresh my thoughts on how to play the songs. This is usually the last step before I begin to play.
This whole process takes a couple of weeks. It may seem like a lot just to relearn some songs, but when I picked up my guitar yesterday I was able to rip off a few songs right away. It felt good too.
The main point of doing so much preparation is to reduce the frustration of relearning songs you used to know how to play.