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A few months in..

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Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

So I've been playing for about 3 to 4 months, and I like to think I'm coming along alright.. in at least my girlfriend doesn't find my playing hugely annoying anymore! :)

I can handle CAGED and their minors pretty well, getting the hang of F and B, and having some fun with pentatonic scales (and trying to pick up some others). I'm basically at the point where I can sit and entertain myself playing chord progressions trying different strumming patterns, and doing little licks in between.

I seem to have plateaued here, and I need to step it up.. A big problem is I have practically no patience in learning songs, I start learning one and get bored when I get the gist of it, of course, not when I can actually play the song.. but when I think I would be able to if I kept at at, if that makes any sense... Terrible i know! :)

Did anyone else have this issue? I know that the only option is just press on and get it done.. I'm not adverse to learning songs, I guess it's not my top priority as I'm not really interested in knowing a million songs, but there are things I'd like to play and knowing and understanding songs is key in being able to create them..

I find I'm more into learning fundamental things, scales, chords, some theory, etc. I'm starting to looking into the blues lessons here on GN. I'm wondering if I should stop and focus on getting a few songs under my belt, or if there's any harm in putting the songs off a while longer and continue learning 12 bar blues, shuffles, turnarounds, and the more fundamental things.

On to a different topic:

After a playing a while, my [developing] callouses are really visible. I noticed on my middle finger the "wear" isn't really on the tip, does this look like I'm developing some bad habits? I try to get all fingers involved, but I tend to use just my middle and index when doing pentatonic scales when just noodling around. I need to try to catch myself more, but I think the middle finger tip isnt being used when I try to stretch down the neck with my pinky. Is it really important to try keep the finger tips on the string? (except when barring)

Thanks for any input! :)

Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 74

i have a similar problem with the song learning thing, many times i have just lost interested in learning an entire song note for note...

but fear not! one of the great things i learned from this website is that playing someone elses song note for note isnt always where its at! many of david's lessons focus on just getting the basics of the song right (ie main riff and chord progression) and then going from there, whether it be improvising over the top of that song in a certain scale or making up your own little fills or a new strumming pattern or whatever.

personally, i find this approach to guitar a lot more fun and it makes learning a song seem less like work and more like music!


"We all have always shared a common belief that music is meant to be played as loud as possible, really raw and raunchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do." -Bon Scott

Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108

It's good to use all four fingers. You'll need all four to finger some chords and some leads. But that will come as you work on learning songs all the way through.

I'd suggest playing along with the CD if you don't do that already. That will force you to learn the song all the way through and help you work on timing and phrasing as well. And if you start getting together with others to play, having played with the CD is great preparation.

I wouldn't worry about the calluses.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1024

Welcome to GN

The only advise I can give.. Keep doing what your doing.

"Play what you love and Love what you play".

The fingers.... don't worry about em, they'll take care of themselves.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

So I've been playing for about 3 to 4 months, and I like to think I'm coming along alright.. in at least my girlfriend doesn't find my playing hugely annoying anymore! :)

yeah, you still have your looks. just wait. :wink:

the very best thing for you to do is to start playing with others. learning new songs with others is huge.
it gets you right off the plateau you are on. it gets your mind working and guitar gets a lot more interesting.
your finger tips look great.

Active Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 9
Topic starter  

Thanks for the suggestions all :)

I'll definitely try playing with a CD, and just generally keep having fun..

I like to idea of playing with other people, though I don't think I'm quite "there" yet :) It'll be a good way to get out a bit, as I know about 5 people in this country, but yeah, I really do want to start playing with others as soon as possible.. Maybe taking group lessons would help with that :)

Thanks again!

Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 127

I'm in that 4 month category as well, my suggestion...if you want to explore the blues and still learn, try the book "Blues You Can Use". I believe it comes highly recomended by many on this forum and I have personally found it to be a fantastic way to learn not only the fundamentals of scales, chords, progressions, etc. but it also teaches you some very good "mini-songs" (for lack of a better phrase) over a 12 bar blues progression. I'm only on lesson 5 of the book myself but I've found it has really helped my progress along.

As for learning whole songs, I've only done one so far using a Play Along Book/CD (working through my second one now). Took me forever but I learned a ton by just working through it start to finish (I was fine with the background riff and rhythem portion but the solo portion killed me). I think the most benificial part was it stretched my capabilities and forced me to learn some new techniques that I hadn't been exposed to.

I would suggest picking something simple and slow but pick a song you are familiar with nonetheless. IMO, I wouldn't make learning a new song the focus of your practice routine (I think at this stage I still get more from working on the fundamentals), but spend a little time every practice session with it. What worked for me was I broke the song down into smaller pieces and learned it measure by measure (or phrase by phrase as the case might be). Once I got one piece of the song down, I'd then move onto the next piece and before I knew it...VIOLA...I had learned a whole song.

Good luck and enjoy.

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2801

What worked for me was I broke the song down into smaller pieces and learned it measure by measure

I totally agree and what is totally cool about doing that is that very often you will find chords, or progressions that you can use other places. I dont know how many times I have been fumbling through learning a song and found a new chord that I like to use in my own stuff or maybe that chord will come back around in another song and this time around it will be easier to play.

Blues you can use is definately worth getting. I havent finished it but that is more laziness than anything. I have both I and II.

Best of luck

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)