Let’s Learn Photograph

Remember how I said I would be learning how to play Ed-Sheeran’s Photograph in the first quarter of the year? Well, I started a few weeks ago, and boy do I have the scarred fingers to show for it.

I started practising finger picking in the last week of December to prepare myself to play the whole song in finger style, but I’m sticking to learning just the intro for now; alas, that was a tad ambitious :lol:. The song is  relatively easy, but I have a very big problem with timing: I am too slow :(.  I know the chords, I’ve mastered the progression, yet my hands won’t move as fast as I want them to.

The chords in the song have me moving up and down the fret board (beyond the first three frets I am used to playing): when I go from E to C#minor, when I go from C#minor to A, and when I go from C#minor to B, which make it really hard to hold and play all the notes in the chords on the first strum. C#minor to B is an easy change, though, since it’s really just a slide, as is A to E which I am already used to.

To help me move faster, I am practising one minute changes between the chords. Hopefully, this starts to yield results in the next two weeks.

All in all, I am glad I decided to learn this song first this year, because frustrated as I am with my slow hands, I am still having fun, and the up and down movements across the fret board have helped me realize something I have been doing wrong since I started playing. I noticed that I have been relaxing my wrist far too much (no mind that every instructional video I watched told me to look out for this) which causes me to mute some strings when I play.

Playing the chords formed between the first the three frets, it was easy for me to form the “fretting claw”, relax my wrist a little, and still play the chords properly. Now, I realize that not bending my wrist all the way forward when I was learning the easier chords is making it hard for me to transition from E to C#minor, which actually requires me to bend my wrist to get all the notes sounding right, so I am working on correcting this mistake as well.

The target date for the song is still March; worst case I’ll still be slow, and best case I’ll be a prodigy – I’m betting on the latter ;-). Either way, I’d definitely be a better player by the end of March.

Cheat Tip: I play the B power chord in the place of the B chord because it’s basically the C#minor chord starting from the second fret, without any fingers on the third fret.



Until next time!


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