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From accordion flop to Guitar Heroine

CNET News.com's Ina Fried straps on a Les Paul for the first time and becomes addicted to rock.

Hanukkah came early at my house Sunday.

After an unspectacular debut in the office Friday, I added Guitar Hero 3 to my holiday wish list. Luckily, my partner, AJ, obliged and got me the Wii game Sunday. After putting the virtual guitar together, I was off and strumming.

The embarrassment of getting repeatedly booed off the stage was fresh in my mind as I unpacked the guitar and set to practicing. Luckily, things came more easily in the privacy of my home and, with only a couple of tries, I managed to complete both "Slow Ride" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

News.com's Ina Fried was a bit tragic on the accordion, but finds Guitar Hero more to her liking. Ina Fried/CNET News.com

Sure, both tracks are from the easy level, but this was no small feat. My prior musical career consisted of three tortured years in late elementary school when I took up accordion. Took up is probably the wrong verb. My parents said I needed to learn an instrument. I wanted piano, but somehow wound up with a squeeze box.

Basically, the accordion required me to play the piano with one hand, hit a bunch of random buttons with my left hand and then move the thing in and out. Not a great choice for a tiny, tone deaf, uncoordinated kid. My teacher, Ms. Scary--that was her real name, at least the one she went by--gave it her best, but I was the black sheep of the yearly recitals.

That said, maybe it comes in handy now that I have to fret with one hand while strumming with the other. I did manage to hit 50 notes in a row at my peak Sunday.

Plus, unlike with the accordion, I'm actually motivated to practice. Look out, Bonnie Raitt.