Vivid descriptions of India as a riot of festive colors, a kaleidoscope of strikingly contrasted images, a visual pageant, yada yada yada are fairly commonplace and honestly, those don’t tell us anything we don’t already know about the socio-cultural landscape. However, many unexplored facets of India’s socio-cultural life are making an imprint on the national consciousness as the country’s liberated generation of yuppies and retirees in their early 30s are rediscovering the land of their origin in new and interesting ways. One such facet that is really coming into its own revolves around capturing the varied essence of this diverse land by night through the lens of the camera. Droves of photographers across the spectrum have channelized their passion for photography in this direction.
Insofar as candid confessions go, you can’t get better than Barefaced Liars’ Sumant Balakrishnan’s take on why he chose a guitar though he was initially keen on drums—“My parents’ tolerance would have had to be much higher because drums have no volume knobs!”
A lawyer by training, Sumant grew up in a really good era for rock music (the 90’s), “All my favourite musicians were invariably guitar players or singers,” which probably explains why he also handles the vocals for the band.
Experts often ask you to go for the best equipment you can get, but Sumant’s idea on buying a guitar comes as a surprise: “The most important thing for me to consider is comfort and functionality. It is important to view your first guitar as a sort of stepping stone into the world of music, and not a permanent investment.”
Beyond the investment comes the practice and Sumant said that a budding musician should concentrate on practicing solo as well as with his band. Explaining, he said, “A budding musician has to reach a certain proficiency at his instrument before he decides to venture out into the world of live music. Playing with other people enables a quick exchange of ideas and techniques between musicians.”
Most new hobbies can be a pain in the neck, but a guitar can be a pain in the fingers as well. Recalling his early days, Sumant said, “When I was 16 and started learning the guitar, the pain that I felt in my fingers was outmatched by my eagerness to learn my favourite songs. The pain you get will only go away once calluses have formed on your finger tips, and there is no way to get those but to keep playing. Since this pain is unavoidable, try and ignore it, power through it, and definitely never let it get the better of you.”
- Fender or Gibson: If you want an entry-level product from a big name
- ESP, Schecter or Cort: If you want a high quality product at a much more reasonable price. *Sumant’s Pick*
In Five Easy Steps
You can’t do everything at once. Sumant’s tips:
- Beginners should get the cheapest, most comfortable acoustic guitar they can afford and work their way up from there
- First, concentrate on training your fingers to navigate the fret-board
- Once you know your way around the fret-board, buy an entry-level electric guitar with a small amp
- Want to increase your speed on the fret-board? Buy a metronome. This will also help you when you’re playing with more experienced musicians
- FX pedals are important if your music requires a large array of sounds. To begin with, use digital effects processors or amps with included digital effects