Beginner Advice Sought!

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Beginner Advice Sought!

Post by plakerl » August 16th, 2006, 10:20 am

Hello All,

New to this forum and guitar for that matter. I have been playing for 6 months and taking a lesson once a week. My issue is that I feel that I my progression isn;t where it should be. Part of the problem might be goal setting but I would like to see how other beginners paved the way to success. I am using a combination of resources to learn. I suppose I would be satisfied knowing I can make it through songs that I know myself and others would enjoy. Examples would be fun Kids tunes for my boy and classic and alternative rock songs.

Any advice appreciated.

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Post by GM » August 16th, 2006, 10:40 am

I've played for two years and I would plateau occasionally and feel discouraged but, generally, I've felt successful. It's all relative but I think that what worked for me was that my goals were achievable but I kept wanting more.

Kids tunes are a good place to start because you can get away with strumming once each bar and then start adding a little more to it once you're comfortable with it.

Also, I found that it took me a long time to be able to play the songs I wanted to at the speed of the original recording but that I could play them well at a half speed. I think it's good to be able to play the chord changes, etc then work on speed (which doesn't let you play with the original recording, sadly).

Hope this helps.

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Post by ldavis04 » August 16th, 2006, 10:44 am

Howdy and welcome to GN.

I have been playing for all of 8 months now...when I first started I was overwhelmed....still am. There is much to learn...but, having a clear, achieveable goal will help you greatly. What are your specific goals?

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Post by plakerl » August 16th, 2006, 11:11 am

I suppose this is where I need the most help. Only I can answer that. The one thing that frustrates me is how I am kearning just bits and pieces of songs. For instance, Nirvanas Come as You are. I can play the opening riff. Sounds good but I want the satisfaction of playing the whole song.

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Post by Tim_Madsen » August 16th, 2006, 12:02 pm

Welcome, have you looked at the lessons here at GN. They are based on learning songs. Give the beginner songs a try. Nothing like learning a whole song to build your confidence. :D
Tim Madsen
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until they know how much you care.

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Post by dogbite » August 16th, 2006, 12:27 pm

one of the problems of learning is the vacuum factor.

there is no back up band.

playing and learning is rougher; one sounds soooo naked, so to speak.

I ended up compensating too much. I played more parts that I had to just to get a fuller sound for my ears.

when I began playing with others I realized that playing and learning became easier.
the other guy filled in the void. the vacuum disappeared.

a good goal is to learn songs all the way thru.
learn the different parts. I did that by playing along with th CD...over and over and over.

that was way before backing tracks.

so learn some songs. work at it them all the way thru...singing the lyric really does help you get thru to the end...instead of that bit and piece work. (im guilty too).

play with a backing track or live and the tempo (speed) will quickly develop.
your ear will become tuned.
play with someone else. better than you is really nice. find someone with a big and patient heart.

and most importantly HANG IN THERE. you are going to hit some stale times. they pass and each time you go thru it you become better.

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Post by pearlthekat » August 16th, 2006, 4:28 pm

Start out playing songs, as has been mentioned, but play simple easy songs. It's better to play something simple really well all the way through. Find songs that have three or four chords that you already know and that are slow. some easy songs are, Margaritaville, After The Goldrush, Eleanor Rigby and other early Beatles songs.

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Post by GoodVicHunting » August 16th, 2006, 8:09 pm

Allow me to offer a different perspective.

Most guitarist attempt "Eleanor Rigby" or "Knocking on Heavens Door" in their first or second month.
I, on the other hand, played my first song around my 10th month ...

Reason being, I had a teacher who was obsessed with technique!
So I ended up with very good foundation (for a beginner), I could play E pentatonic scale at 100 bpm at 1/16 notes but couldn't play "Horse with no Name" (one of the easiest songs to play on guitar).

And IMHO this is okay, because if you aspire to be a good guitarist you need to develope a varierty of skills.
From intangibles like patience and focus to finger flexibility, rhythm, awareness of music theory etc ...
I just went about it in a unconventional way.

What I am trying to convey is if you can't play a song, it doesn't mean that you are not progressing.
It simply means that you are not working on the skills directly related to playing that song (chords, rhythm).
You ARE working on other skills that will help you later on ..

So, if playing a song is what you want, follow GM, dogbite, pearl's advice.
Pick a song, break it down in manageable pieces and work on it till you have it.

Looking forward to hearing about your attempts ...

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Post by nirvgas » August 16th, 2006, 10:07 pm

If you're looking to learn a song all the way through, Smells Like Teen Spirit is a great song too. It requires chord changes, bends, and slides (think solo). Obviously it's not a children's song but is really easy and great to get that sense of accomplishment. Yankee Doodle and Star-Spangled Banner are some fun kids tunes.
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Outstanding thread

Post by plakerl » August 17th, 2006, 8:05 am


I figured that if I signed up for an acct and participated in forum I would be engulfed in great advice. Outstanding advice thus far. I am glad that others have share my thoughts as I learn the guitar. I have to say that the hardest part for me is how much potential the instrument has. I only wished I started years ago .

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Post by Musenfreund » August 17th, 2006, 8:16 am

Your last comments are pearls of wisdom. I think no matter how long you play, you will always feel this way. No matter how much I've learned (which is probably precious little), there's always so much more ahead of me. And I think every guitarist I've known has always said that. It's a magnificent instrument. In the end, it's a zen thing: you're best off if you sit back and enjoy the road without getting hung up on reaching a specific destination. (I think there's a book out on zen guitar that focuses on this point even).

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Post by 97reb » August 17th, 2006, 8:19 am

plakerl, I've been playing since January '84 (late Christmas gift). I never practiced enough when I was younger. I still feel inadequate after all these years. I could have and should have played more through-out the years. Playing your guitar frequently is the best way to get better. Take lessons, play along with cd's, play with other musicians, read magazines, LISTEN to music. Keep an open mind and use what you hear.
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Post by Aarrgg » August 18th, 2006, 2:54 am

I started playing only a month ago but according to comments from friends and family I,ve made a great progress in such a short time. I think the best way to begin is to learn a few easy songs because it's much easier to keep going if you notice your progress and it's more satisfying completing a whole song.

I'm not using any teachers or books. I try to learn playing all on my own which work fine for me. I use a number of sources on internet such as "easy songs" on this site.
When I play I dont schedule my time into playing an exact amount of hours a day/week. I put up a goal in the beginning of a week/month and then I try to accomplish them. Therefore I play when I feel for it mixing my playing time with doing other things such as reading this forum :) , learning music theory, etc... This way I dont overload my brain and don't hurt my finger tips too much.
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Post by Rich_Halford » August 18th, 2006, 8:07 am

I've been playing for 20 months, teaching myself, and I seem to learn something new every week or so. Not a big thing, just a 'penny dropped' kind of deal (this week two were what enharmonic and arpeggio mean).

The third thing I learnt might help you: learn one bar at a time.

So, learn the first bar, maybe only 3 or 4 notes and get it right. When its sounding good, learn the second bar (on its own). When thats good, try and play the two together and keep practising until thats good. Then learn the tirg bar on its own (and so on)

I am not strict enough with myself on this, but I will try harder in future.

The other thing I do is learning strumming seperately to chord changes. I am trying to crack the Masterplan at the moment (Oasis), I think the the strumming pattern is DDD/UDD/UD so I do that on chords I am comfortable with, say Em to E or to Am. When I feel good with the strum, then I try the songs actual first chord to second chord. Then I get it all wrong and play Horse with no Name (I'll learn the Masterplan tomorrow, along with that House of the Rising Sun arpeggio....).

By the way, the above is probably blindingly obvious to most people, just not me.

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Post by Oric » August 18th, 2006, 2:46 pm

Star-Spangled Banner is a kids' tune?

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