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59 year old beginner

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(@mitchell-ward)
New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Greetings All.
Three questions I really need some help with if possible. But first, 59 years old, now retired, I've been reading this forum for 3 months, taking lessons for 4 months (teacher and Hal Leonard book one with CD), practice 1-2 hours a day and accept no excuses for not getting serious practice done. First 3 months was total frustration, now settled down. Progress very sloooow. Still wondering if I have what it takes, although my teacher says I'm doing great, $$?
I keep reading, "one day it will click and you will wonder what was so hard", "relax", "have fun".
Now, given the above, on average,my three questions.
At what point should it click?
When will it start to be fun?
How do you avoid applying excessive pressure on strings (especially when playing along with CD)? I've really worked to correct this one, with little progress.
If not for this forum, your comments, and GN I would have thrown in the towel. Please keep up the good work gentlemen.

Thanks very much,

Mitchell


   
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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

Mitchell, all that is true. But there's no realistic guideline for when it will happen. There is nothing but frustration to be found in comparing yourself with others. You have to find satisfaction in achieving personal progress toward your own goals, whatever they may be. Setting those goals impossibly high leads to frustration, too. You won't sound like a virtuoso in a short time, and may never. But you may be able to find relatively simple things that you can play and have fun with as you keep working on other stuff. Personally, I think if it's not fun, it's not worth doing.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Question:
Now, given the above, on average,my three questions.
At what point should it click?
When will it start to be fun?
How do you avoid applying excessive pressure on strings (especially when playing along with CD)? I've really worked to correct this one, with little progress.

Answer:
"one day it will click and you will wonder what was so hard", "relax", "have fun".
When will it click? - when you can relax and stop worrying "when it will click"
When will it start to be fun? - when you can relax and stop worrying "when it will be fun"
How to avoid applying excessive pressure? - relax, have fun and stop worrying about excessive pressure on the strings.
Accept where you are in your learning, stop comparing yourself to others and you'll find that you achieve far more (and realise that you've already achieved a great deal).

And welcome to GN

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@kaizer-szoza)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 103
 

the fun part could be remedied by learning songs you love. I learned some of my favorite songs first and each one had something different to learn (pull-offs, positioning up and down on fretboard, chords, small solos, ect..). Somethings I just couldn't do, but as I practiced different things I would go back to trouble spots and have better success. Another point to be made here is that some of my favorite songs took me months to learn. I am still learning a lot.

The learning never stops and is at times slow and at times fast, so acceptance that it will be slow would benefit you overall pleasure in my opinion.

**If you are getting frustrated, take a break, put the guit down, and go back to it later with a refreshed energy**

good luck


   
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(@pearlthekat)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1468
 

have fun now!!
I order you to!


   
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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 557
 

Hi Mitchell

first of all welcome on this forum! I can give you my 2 cents since I've also started to play quite late (2 years and half ago at the age of 33). The first year or so has been compete frustation since I never played anything resembling to a real song but now I can tell you that I enjoy playing guitar and even if I'm not as good as I wish, at least i'm quite decent and i'm improving day by day.

What it is important to remember is that learning could be slow, very slow and at the beginning it is far more productive to approach simple things. To explain it better: I love Iron Maiden and I spent several months trying to learn some Maiden numbers without any real results. If you know them you could easily understand that I was bound to failure since it is almost impossible for a beginner to learn songs which involves fast speed, sometimes odd signatures (like 3/4, 6/8, 5/4), single notes picking, triplets ecc.: too many difficulties all together!

So I had to stop and decided that the first thing to do was to learn to play with a steady timing. Then I praticed them learning a few quite easy songs and finally get some joy from playing guitar. Also I tried (and I'm still trying) to learn as many rhythms as I can because the more rhythms you know, the more songs you can play at least in a simplified version. For a lot of time I learned songs of arists that I usually do't listen to because these songs were a chanche to learn some new rhythm (i.e. learnt some John Denver songs to learn bass and strum approach, some Bob Marley to learn reaggae off-beat rhythms, learnt most of david Hodge easy songs for beginners etc.). Now I'm quite confident and even if I've learnt only a couple of Iron Maiden slow songs, since I've learnt a bit of power chords at least I've started to learn some other hard rock songs that I like (last one was the immortal "Smoke on the water"!). Maybe in a few months I'll could finally learn some Iron Maiden!

Rhythm is everything and its importance is huge! If you wish to play a songs you can simplify almost everything i.e.:

a) change tonality or use the capo if you cannot play some chords;
b) simplify some chords if you can not play them;
c) strum instead of picking single notes or arpeggiating

you can also simplify the rhythm to a certain extent, but if you can not play with a steady timing nobody will ever recognize what you're playing.

so to make my too long post short learn to play in time with some tutorial cd and learn a few useful strumming patterns, then you'll have the minimum tools to be able to play some songs you like and guitar would become fun!

cheers

Matteo


   
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(@ballybiker)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 493
 

as matteo pointed out.....rhythm IS everything...techniques dont mean diddly without rhythm.....as you walk...get an even pace and count your steps 1 2 3 4...do it in your head obviously :lol: do this EVERY time you walk...it conditions the brain
after a few weeks your brain will be imprinted with...RHYTHM

honest it works 8)

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

Hi, Mitchell, and welcome to the party.

So, four months down the line, what can you do? Something must have clicked by now, even if it's only how to play an Em7 chord.

We figure you're finding it fun already, or you wouldn't be hanging round with this bunch of reprobates and you certainly wouldn't have survived four months of lessons. Are we right?

I don't think there's an easy answer to the Vulcan Death Grip. We've all done it, and as a teacher I find I have to mention it to just about every student. I take my cue on this one from Charles Gacsi over at Wholenote dot com - take your thumb off the neck and play a few notes or a couple of chords. Not only is it a lot easier than it sounds, but you get an instant feel for how much pressure is really required to get the strings down.

I think I have the record round here for starting out older students - Sausage Fingered Mick was 62 when he first picked up a guitar after 40 years of singing with bands and barking orders at guitarists. I groaned when I first looked at his hands, but by the time I finished teaching him he was fingerpicking REM's Everybody Hurts and we were singing Eagles songs together at lessons. He never got to play Tears in Heaven, and I suspect he never will, but he stuck with it.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

echoing others....HAVE FUN NOW.

and believe it or not it is clicking for you.
you are better now than when you first touched a guitar, you are listening to music now differently than you ever have...true?

get used to some frustration. it never really goes away.
and then be ready to be amazed.
just two days ago I had a major leap in playing the fretboard. I was noodling around, hit upon a chord structure andplayed an oldies I never played before.
then I looked at the why and understood. [slap forehead].

it truly is important to not be hard one yourself. to be too strict with practice times. if you are not in the mood struggling through a two hour session you scheduled is non productive.

after forty years I am still learning. and I would not have it any other way.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
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 jimh
(@jimh)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 144
 

Take the advice given here and RELAX. You need tor realize that even the phase you're in now is FUN!! :)

Music is the universal language.


   
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(@ballybiker)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 493
 

Take the advice given here and RELAX. You need tor realize that even the phase you're in now is FUN!! :)

i've said this before but let it stick...

to a child the word PLAY means fun.... its the same word!!! 8)

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


   
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(@chuckster)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 938
 

+1 for relax and have fun.

It can get frustrating at times but if you stop enjoying it put the guitar down and walk away. Come back to it tomorrow. If it's really frustrating take a couple of days off. It's amazing what a break can do.

8)

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


   
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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 2167
 

Yah we all need a little 'recess time' between classes! ;)


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

Listen to what everyone has said they are all right. The death grip is pretty normal and personally I think it comes from not being comfortable/confident with what you are playing, expecially when you try and play to a CD.

Once you get a song or riff down where you think you can play it in your sleep try playing it and really concentrate on keeping a light touch.

And as far as thinks clicking in that is exactly how it goes. You may practice a chord for weeks or months and never semm to play it clean and then one day it wwill just happen and you won't look back.

This will continue to happen over and over again throughout your playing career, but the most important thing is to not let it frustrate you to much and just have fun.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1675
 

About the death grip---are you using a strap to support your guitar, even when seated? I sound like a broken record as I've mentioned this on many threads, but it is one of the best tidbits I've found.

Using a strap, even when seated, frees up your fretting hand to relax and move about, because it is not needed to control the guitar's positioning. It's surprising the difference it makes.

One other thing--make sure the guitar's action is not set too high. Hopefully your teacher would have noticed if this is the case.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


   
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