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AndrewPatrick
(@andrewpatrick)
New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1
Topic starter  

Sup guys, I'm new here.

I just bought my first guitar yesterday and started taking lessons online..so I'm brand new to guitar. :D

I just have a quick question about a problem I'm having. I'd like to know if its normal or if its just the guitar I purchased.

First off, I have:

Ibanez V Series V70CE
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Ibanez-V-Series-V70CE-Dreadnought-Cutaway-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-102567492-i1150613.gc?mode=1&qso=3

I started learning a few chords yesterday and the problem I'm having is that it feels like i have to press down extra extra hard to get the note to play properly (without buzzing sound).

I just read a few of the reviews on Guitar Centers website and a few different people said that it was not a "fast playing" guitar and that you had to press down extra hard.

Another thing that is happening: Sometimes when I try to play a certain chord (like A minor) its hard to get my finger in the proper position without it hurting too much...and my finger will mute the chord below it.

I guess what I want to ask is...is this normal regardless of the guitar I have? And....will I be able to press down hard enough to play the notes (without it hurting as bad as it is) once callous form on my fingers?

One last thing...even when my fingers are hurting really bad (like right now..hurts to type)...should I just keep playing to speed up the callous thing?

- Thanks in advanced for any responses :mrgreen:

EDIT: For anyone who is familiar with the guitar I have. Do you think I should try and exchange it for something a littler easier to play?


   
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Simonb
(@simonb)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 29
 

Hi Andrew, welcome to the wonderful world of the guitar :)
I started learning a few chords yesterday and the problem I'm having is that it feels like i have to press down extra extra hard to get the note to play properly (without buzzing sound).

I just read a few of the reviews on Guitar Centers website and a few different people said that it was not a "fast playing" guitar and that you had to press down extra hard.

This could be a "problem" with the guitar having a high action (height of the strings off the fretboard) (and I have problem in quotes because some people will actually prefer a higher action). But as you've only just started playing it could well just be that your fingers aren't strong enough yet and/or your fingertips aren't calloused enough yet, either of which will make holding down the strings a little harder than it will be later on. I certainly wouldn't swap the guitar just yet though, give it some time until your fingers are toughened up and then you can make a better judgement on where the problems lies (if indeed it hasn't gone away by then).

Another thing that is happening: Sometimes when I try to play a certain chord (like A minor) its hard to get my finger in the proper position without it hurting too much...and my finger will mute the chord below it.

I guess what I want to ask is...is this normal regardless of the guitar I have? And....will I be able to press down hard enough to play the notes (without it hurting as bad as it is) once callous form on my fingers?

Assuming you're not using some contortionist fingering then the finger position and muting is all just practice (as is everything with the guitar :D), and I can assure you if you keep at it you'll be fingering chords with the best of them in no time :)

(p.s. This is the first post I've made from work, I fear my guitar habit may be developing in a rather negative fashion :lol: )


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Less expensive acoustic style instruments can have this problem. I'm sure the guitar is playable, but it well could be a little hard to play. Being a beginner, the pain in your fingers is normal. This shows me you have been practicing. Your other problems are not unique either, we all struggled through them and I am sorry to say there will be more to come as you progress. You will however conquor all of them on your journey to becoming a guitar player. It just takes time and practice.

Trade the guitar? Hmmmmm...... You have options there. You could push on with it as is. You could take it to a luthier / guitar tech and have it setup. I'm not sure what this would cost you depending on where you live. What I would do for it is check the neck for need of a truss rod adjustment, check the nut and saddle heights. I would lower the string action by first taking material off the bottom of the saddle if needed and if the nut wasn't cut deep enough I would deal with that. These certainly are not beginner jobs, you would need to pay to have it done. Another option would be the addition of an electric guitar. They are easier to play. You can get some quality stuff for very reasonable prices now days. Around here, the concensus for the optimal number of guitars is the number you own + one. :D I'm sure an experienced guitarist could play your instrument just fine but when you are just learning a hard to play guitar is a big obstacle.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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mmoncur
(@mmoncur)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Welcome to guitar! I'm almost as much of a beginner myself (started two months ago.)
I started learning a few chords yesterday and the problem I'm having is that it feels like i have to press down extra extra hard to get the note to play properly (without buzzing sound).

That sounds normal to me. It was incredibly hard for me to get a clean sound from chords at first, and that was on an electric. An acoustic is even harder - I still have a bit of trouble after buying my acoustic 3 weeks ago.
Another thing that is happening: Sometimes when I try to play a certain chord (like A minor) its hard to get my finger in the proper position without it hurting too much...and my finger will mute the chord below it.

Also normal. I didn't have much trouble with A minor but it took me over a month to get a consistent sound out of the C major.

The tragic thing about guitar is that it looks really easy when you see someone playing. Little do you realize that they spent a couple of months suffering in agony just so they could twist their fingers into that shape... I've gained a great deal more respect for all guitarists since starting to play myself.
I guess what I want to ask is...is this normal regardless of the guitar I have? And....will I be able to press down hard enough to play the notes (without it hurting as bad as it is) once callous form on my fingers?

Keep in mind it's not just callouses. You also need to develop some muscle strength - I have very strong hands but I couldn't believe how weak they were trying to squeeze into the position for an "F" chord. The good news is that if you practice every day you'll get a bit stronger each time. Soon you'll think A minor is a piece of cake and learn to hate barre chords instead. :)
One last thing...even when my fingers are hurting really bad (like right now..hurts to type)...should I just keep playing to speed up the callous thing?

I'd say no. When I started I practiced for no more than a half-hour a day, and worked my way up to an hour or two. The times I broke that rule I ended up with fingers so sore that I had to skip practice for a couple of days...

As for your particular guitar, there are undoubtedly some others that will be harder to play, and some that will be easier. Most electrics will be easier. You might want to try some others at a store now that you know a chord or two to test them with, but I doubt there's anything wrong with your particular guitar. When I tried out acoustics I thought the Ibanez models were usually among the easier ones to play...

At any rate, good luck! Just practice every day and everything will work out.


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Hi Andrew, welcome to GN. Stick around. Good place.

I had similar problems when I first started. I could not make a clear Am, C or an E chord. I simply could not clear the strings. I bought one of those department store jobs that came with the amp and a bunch of junk. I could pick out notes OK, but when it came to chords, forget it. After about a month or so, I went to the Guitar Center and asked a salesman about it. He pointed me to an Ibanez GAX70 for about $180 at the time. I pulled it from the wall and could instantly do those chords. Sold.

So, my suspicion is that your guitar is probably fine. You are on your first day. I assume you got this guitar at the Guitar Center? They have a satisfaction guarrentee kind of thing. I forgot how many days it is, but you can exchange if not satisfied. I'd give it a few more days as you've been at it for a day. If you are still not clearing those basic chords, it does not hurt to go and try a few out just for a piece of mind. I will say that every Ibanez that I've ever picked up has been easy to play, but have only picked up a few of their accoustics. Even came close to buying a Spruce top a few years back.

One of the toughest things to do as a beginner is to pick out gear. Do you have any friends that could help you out?

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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TwistedLefty
(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

all good advice, i would find a guitar shop that does setups.
it should be in the neighborhood of $40-$60. this can make a world of difference in a starter guitar.

#4491....


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

be sure to fret (finger on the string) behind the fret wire and not on top of it. too far behind the string can buzz.
you should not have to press so hard your fingers ache.

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


   
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Steph
(@steph)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 26
 

I've seen no-one mention it before, so I thought I'd put it in here:

If you have never played guitar before people tend to have a certain way to "grip" the guitar neck with their fretting hand. The best way I can describe it is like gripping a railing or a baseball bat (e.g. the neck actually rests on your palm and your fingers have to be really curled to go around the neck to the frets).
While their is no single perfect way to hold a guitar, you want to avoid the "grip" I just stated, as it will tire your fingers quite fast and might give you pain in your tendons (especially the pointing finger).
A better way is to rest the guitar on your thumb, having a good space between your palm and the neck of the guitar.
This way you can have your finger hit the string from the top instead of diagonally, reducing the unwanted string muting of nearly strings.
I found a picture here that is not so clear, but shows a "correct" hand positioning:

You can see that his palm is not touching the neck itself, thus giving the fingers more space to reach the fretboard (less curl).

Another thing you mentioned was buzzing notes, while the above might contribute to that enormously, sometimes it also helps to move all your fingers as far down the fret as possible. For example, moving 2 millimeters down might change the sound from a nasty buzz to the actually fretted note. This is especially noticeable with the A chord, where the position of the finger on the B string is usually quite restricted by the size of all your fingers there and is halfway the fret. If you force it a little bit down (or use your pinky+ring+middle finger instead of your index+ring+middle finger to see how that goes) you will see small changes have a big result.

As for the guitar, it probably is a good enough guitar. As a beginner you can use the finest guitars ever made and still have as much trouble as with a cheap one (do note that very cheap guitars are so shoddily put together they actually ARE harder to play). I play classical/ acoustic myself and have a string height you can put a finger under higher on the neck and it did not stop me from learning on it. The one thing that is harder is playing fast, and barré chords are a bit harder of the thumb muscles. It might not hurt to have the guitar looked at at the store you bought it, if it is not really in need of a set up they will tell you and even if it has to be adjusted they might not charge you much as you also bought your guitar there.

I would say to seek out a person who plays guitar in your neighborhood (there are always some other people around who have had lessons, either at work/school or just where you live) to give you pointers about how to hold the guitar and some pointers about how you position your fingers and embark on your (sometimes frustrating) journey of music.


   
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DennisF6
(@dennisf6)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 74
 

all good advice, i would find a guitar shop that does setups.
it should be in the neighborhood of $40-$60. this can make a world of difference in a starter guitar.
+1
Not only do many starter guitars need some setup work, when you do encounter typical beginner problems you will have some peace of mind knowing that it's not the equipment, it's the operator.

I want to play guitar very badly -
and I do!


   
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geoo
 geoo
(@geoo)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

I wont repeat all the great advice already given but I just wanted to say

Get the guitar set up
Practice
Yes, we've all had the ouchy fingers.
Keep practing
It does get better
Dont give up
Its not the guitar, probably
Get the guitar set up
Keep on practing
Its a battle of wills
Welcome to guitar
Be sure and get that set up
Oh, and keep practing.

At varying degrees over the next months and years.. you'll thank us, hate us, curse us, love us....but

Keep practing

Jim

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


   
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