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(@theredd)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

I must be enjoying my guitar, I plug in and next thing I know its 2 hours later . . .

Having said that, Im getting a little frustrated at how slow this is going. At least it seems slow to me; after two weeks Im still struggling to master some of the open chords. Maybe "master" isnt the right word; how about "play them correctly twice in a row"?

Ive been using David Hodge's lesson "Absolute Beginner Part 1: Chords". I can play the E, A, and D chords till the cows come home, and can change between them pretty confidently. C and G, on the other hand, are giving me fits. The best way I can describe my problems are this: any time I have to stretch across three or more strings, I cant arch my stubby little fingers enough to avoid muting strings.
For instance, when I play a G chord, I cant arch my middle finger enough when its on low E to avoid muting the A string, and still press down on high E with my pinkie to play it cleanly. When I play a C chord, my index finger mutes high A; when I adjust to stop that, my ring finger starts muting the D string.

I do realize this takes time, but I wonder if my hand positioning is causing some of the problems. First of all, my thumb wants to wander all over the place; sometimes its behind and parallel to the neck, other times it has moved so it is perpendicular, then it wants to hold the neck like a baseball bat. Its like my thumb has a mind of its own!

The second thing Ive noticed is, my left arm starts to hurt very quickly. Maybe Im tensing up too much? I've tried holding the guitar different ways (neck parallel to floor, neck up high like BB King) and it makes no difference.

I suspect the three issues are all related, and all a consequence of me being a n00b. Anyone have any suggestions on things I can try to work through this?


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(@jackss565)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 233
 

Your arms hurting is perfectly normal after 2 weeks. And the thumb position, in my experiance, shouldn't make too much of a differance. Mine certainly wanders all over the place, and i've been told not too worry about it at the moment. My advice would be, if you are having problems with chords learn some simple riff's, smoke on the water, 7 nation army, that kind of thing. This will let you produce something that sounds good, which will help you want to continue and practise more. It will also build up finger strength and flexibility which will in turn help with your chords.

Jack


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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1121
 

You know what?

Practice

Seriously - seems you're coming along just fine. The muscle memory thing takes some time. Pretty soon you'll be flying away with barre chords.

Try to find some songs you like with some chords you are confident with and some of the hard ones. Sing along - It's much more fun than just changing back and forth.

hang in there - and feel free to whine here - you're not the first/last one

lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


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(@theredd)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

I actually have taken a swipe at a couple songs/riffs, Smoke On The Water being one of them. After I discovered how difficult it was to play only two strings, I thought to myself "dont get ahead of yourself, learn the chords first". Maybe I need to find some different songs to try 8)

And thanks for the encouragement!


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(@jackss565)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 233
 

The beginers lessons on here are very good for finding songs to play, and take a look at www.justinguitar.com as well, its good and free!

And the easy songs database, have a look, find something you like.

Jack


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

First, welcome to GN.

I completely agree with Lars, the answer is "practice". Two weeks and you can play five chords? It's very cool! You can play thousands of songs, perhaps millions. Try to find a song with those chords, it will keep you motivated (search in the Easy Songs forum). And follow the David's lessons and also the Easy Songs for Beginners. Perhaps you can try the Horse with Noname: you almost know one the chords and the other is pretty easy.

And on your thumb. Here there are several teachers that can tell you another thing but, at least, initially I'd try to maintain the "correct" pose. If you do it, some chords will become easier than with a "usual" pose with the guitar a la BB King or the thumb over the neck. The way you are holding the guitar couldn't be too correct because you arm wouldn't be hurt as quickly. Perhaps I'd consider some hours with a local teacher for correcting these things.

But I think you are doing well, the change from C to G chords is not easy because you must move all your fingers. Try to use another fingering for the G chord:


(Picture from http://www.adamfinleybrowning.com/ )

You only must change slightly your middle and ring fingers one string, remove the index, and put the pinky in the first string. When you come from the C chord it is easier than the normal fingering.

But, don't worry, keep practicing and you will do this five chords and fifty more in some time! ;)


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(@ballybiker)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 494
 

welcome to the world of frustration!!!

no...your doing fine

things WILL just kinda click eventually....trust me

each time you pick up your guitar and practice,things will be ever so slightly better....its just that YOU won't even notice...then one day soon you will pick up and play something to make you go wow...I promise 8) ...it happens like that to us all....honest

keep on playing

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

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


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 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

And just wait 'til you get to the F chord! Woohoo!
We'll be hearing from you then too.
But like it says above "Feel free to whine here."
Good advice is free here. We feel your pain/frustration/impatience.
It took me 4 months to play my first song with chords. (Available to see and hear in Hear Here - Beginner's Videos)

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@twsteffen)
Active Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 15
 

Hey Welcome.

You have gotten pretty good advice from the people here, and that is just practice. The only thing I'd like to add is that I've found guitar will be a forever frustrating learning process. I don't think at any point you anyone picks up the guitar and says

"Well I'm glad I've learned everything, playing guitar is super easy now."

Its the never ending story. My friend the other day came over when I was playing and said "Man you've gotten so much better than when you started, are things just like really easy once you learn those few chords?" I told him "no way. learning these chords has only shown me a thousand other chords i don't know and can't play and hundreds of other things i can only dream of doing on a guitar.

Soon you will have those 5 chords down and think wow I can't believe i struggled with those because you'll be frustrated with scales, or barres. Maybe it will be hammer-ons and pull offs. After that maybe it will be speed or slides. etc etc. Just enjoy it, if you accept the fact that not a lot comes instantly you will really start to appreciate it when you improve. Embrace it and go with the flow.

Just keep strumming man.


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(@bigh29)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
 

You mentioned that you know E, A, and D fairly well. Instead of focusing entirely on the mechanics of C and G, and I think you should consider learning and playing some songs that incorporate E, A, and D. This will help you work on your right hand rhythm, and making changes on the beat of an actual song. Making music is eventually what this is all about, and you should start working on song playing early.

This does not mean that you abandon learning C and G, just that you should mix it up a bit and add song playing to your routine.

H


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(@theredd)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

I tried Horse With No Name today . . . it actually went pretty good :o

And I think I learned a couple things-

1) Strumming on the upstroke makes sense now. (Its interesting how "playing music" can sometimes help more then "doing an exercise")

2) Apparently I was holding the guitar in a bad way, and that was causing the pain in my left arm. I shifted where the strap sets on my shoulder, that changed the angle of my left arm, and I suddenly felt so much more comfy.

3) Im guessing Im not the first person to discover this, but when I DONT look at the fretboard , I do better with changing chords. Not just the easy ones in Horse With No Name, all of them.

To those who mentioned getting lessons- as soon as I can find a teacher, I hope to do just that. It seems that, in my area, there either are no guitar teachers, or they dont understand the concept of advertising . . .

Again, thanks for all the helpful suggestions-Im sure Ill be back asking more soon!


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Redd,

If you have any music stores in the area they should be able to help with a teacher. when I was living in SC I didn't have one around so I started calling colleges to see if they had any guitar classes. They didn't, but the music director turned me on to a very good local teacher so check around.

"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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(@ballybiker)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 494
 

) Im guessing Im not the first person to discover this, but when I DONT look at the fretboard , I do better with changing chords. Not just the easy ones in Horse With No Name, all of them.

this might sound really silly...but i'll suggest it anyway

get yourself in front of a large mirror and see for yourself how your posture is and how your hands look on the fretboard..you will know yourself how you should look.......

this can be a real eye-opener to any beginner

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

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


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(@theredd)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
Topic starter  

Gahhhhh! Today was the type of day that made me give up many years ago. Everything I could do yesterday, I couldnt today. Oh well, maybe it will be better tommorrow.

That aside, I tried using a metronome today. It actually messed up my rhythm! Is that normal to start?


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(@jackss565)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 233
 

That aside, I tried using a metronome today. It actually messed up my rhythm! Is that normal to start?

I still can't use a metronome, it makes me either speed up far to much or slow down the same sort of amount. But practise makes perfect so i keep trying.

Jack


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