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(@6was9)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

Problem. I have every "Learn How To Play Guitar" book in the known universe.....plus reams of pages downloaded from the internet. All say something different. Which do I use? I need a proven course of action, because I can't seem to settle on one and stick with it. I'm also in my 50's and want to get it right the first time.

I have noticed that many of these "systems" or "books" will tell you to practice these chords(or whatever) but won't tell you how to practice them(the mechanics involved with practice). I guess it is the same way with licks I see in magazines or on the internet.....you've seen them, a few notes tabbed out....so how do I know what its supposed to sound like? They just sound like random notes to me.....

Is this suppose to make me feel better???? Heck I feel even dumber now.

Thanks for the help and venting room.

" I'm not sure what happened, it was tuned when I bought it."


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

There is no 'one method suits all' for guitar, unfortunately. Why you don't you start by telling us what it is you want to archieve, when you want to have that archieved and how much time and energy you are willing to invest?


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(@pearlthekat)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1472
 

I know what you mean. Unfortunately I don't think that there is a proven course of action. Maybe you need a teacher. Having a teacher may make you stay on course. Also, as stated above, people here would find it easier to help you if you state what you want to learn, what type of music you want to play, what kind of guitar you have, etc.


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(@hanzo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 50
 

I think it just comes down to picking one and sticking with it.

For me I did this:

1-start just strumming, practice picking. No notes or chords.
2-start learning major open chords. Practice all until I could transistion easily.
3-start learning notes, all strings up to third fret. Practice scaling up and down. What their notes on sheet music look like and where they are, etc.
4-start learning power chords. Moveable shape.
5-start learning barre chords.
6-start memorizing full fretboard notewise. What notes on sheet music look like and where they are, etc.

7- From this point you will know enough to get around songs well and from here you can start specializing in whatever areas really interest you the most. I'm a rythm player mostly so I do tons of chord practice, but you could easily focus on pentamic scales and apprigios and all kinds of other stuff instead. I hope that is somewhat helpful. I'm still far from anything but a novice but that's what I did.


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Hi 6was9 and Welcome to GuitarNoise.

All I can tell you is my experience. When I started guitar there were very few resourses like there is today. You could pick up a Mel Bay book, that was about it. And I really didn't want to learn Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore, or Mary Had a Little Lamb. I wanted to play like Eric Clapton did with Cream. You could find some songbooks, but it was all piano with guitar chord symbols above. That was about it.

I knew a little about music from school. I could read, but very slowly. But I didn't understand the guitar as an instrument at all. I saw all those possible notes on the fingerboard and was completely overwhelmed and confused. I didn't really understand what chords, or keys, or scales were.

All that just to let you know that most of us have been where you are. But everyone of us has learned to play guitar. And now I understand all these things pretty well. There are still some things I don't understand like Modes. A lot of Theory confuses me.

But you don't need to understand all that at once. It is just like a baby, you have to learn to crawl, then stand, then walk, then run. And you are going to fall down plenty. But you just have to relax and have fun and enjoy the trip. I promise if you consistently practice, you will learn to play. And everything will begin to make sense.

If you really want to be an accomplished player, take lessons and learn to read especially. But if you want to be just a player, maybe play in your church, or at home, or a gig, you don't need all that.

Start off by just learning the Major chords in the most common keys for guitar.

Learn:

C, F, & G- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of C
D, G, & A- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of D
E, A, & B- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of E
G, C, & D- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of G
A, D, & E- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of A

If you just learn that, or even just the 3 Major chords in C, you can literally play thousands of songs. And that is the real goal, to play songs, to make music.

You have to make guitar fun. I really recommend learning how to play simple songs right off the bat. If you are playing songs you will have fun and will not even notice the work of learning. There are many Easy Lessons on the Home Page. Start there. They are well written and easy to understand. Just practice one song at a time. You will learn a lot. Some of it will take awhile to kick in, but you'll get it, we all have.

This is a great site. Visit the posts and read. You will pick up a little everyday. If you do that, a year from now you will probably be a lot better than you expect. There are many here who have only been playing a short while. They were just as lost as you. But now they are not so lost, and some are even recording and playing in bands.

And age doesn't mean anything. The bass player in my band started at 54. Never played an instrument, didn't know a thing about music. He has been playing 5 years now and is pretty darn good. You just gotta stick with it.

Sorry for the long sermon. Just learn the basic Major chords for the common keys. Learn to strum a few songs. Come on here and ask all the questions you want. You will get lots of help. And you will get it. You will learn all about scales, and theory, and how to strum correctly.

Be patient, and just play, that's all there is to it.

Wes

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@denny)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 452
 

If you're still working, post a note on the bulletin board to see if there are any guitar players looking to get together. They will probably be more than happy to get together with you. You will find that the more they know, the more patient they will be with you and watching them play will do wonders for you. Just strumming along with a player is a great feeling.


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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

Problem. I have every "Learn How To Play Guitar" book in the known universe.....plus reams of pages downloaded from the internet. All say something different. Which do I use? I need a proven course of action, because I can't seem to settle on one and stick with it. I'm also in my 50's and want to get it right the first time.

Hmmm...

Are you sure that you're not me - writing under an alias? That sounds uncannily familiar.

I even have "Learn to Play" books for instruments that I don't actually own (like bass guitar). I started in my late 50s.... also have several folders bulging with stuff printed off the net.... I jump from one book to another... I have no clear course of action..

....yet... I have managed to learn to play quite a few songs and have had a heck of a lot of fun along the way. :)

I found that the only important thing was to find whatever motivates you to simply keep going. There are a million paths, some more different than others, but the big deal is to just keep going and not give up.

There are a lot of elements to music and no matter how cunningly you pick the path you'll always be relatively lousy at some of them while you're making progress in others. For the first few months you can make a few nice sounds but there's really not much chance of putting it together in a way that sounds like any recorded song you ever heard.

My order was a bit different to Hanzo's, but the exact order is probably not that big a deal. It probably looked a bit like this.

1. Learned a couple of simple chord shapes. Used only a basic down strum, or down/up while I was learning the chords.

2. Added more chords, better changes, and slightly fancier strums.

3. Looked into timing, tempo, rhythm etc a bit more carefully.

4. Learned to read both standard notation and TAB. Brushed up on a bit of general theory.

5. Worked on scales and single note positions. Learned more about keys, matching solos to chords, etc.

But the emphasis keeps changing anyway. I'll get a lot better with my left hand, and then notice that the right is lagging behind in ability. So I'll focus on that for a while. Or spot that the timing's getting rough as compexity increases, or whatever.

As Pearl and Arjen said, there ain't really any "one size fits all".

Good luck with it all.

Cheers,

Chris


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(@tim-shull)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 82
 

iam in no way in the same league as Wes and some of these other players, but it i know for me it really helps to be picking with other players, it just speeds up things when you can see and here things. good luck stick with it and have fun!

Cash is cool


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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

Start off by just learning the Major chords in the most common keys for guitar.

Learn:

C, F, & G- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of C
D, G, & A- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of D
E, A, & B- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of E
G, C, & D- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of G
A, D, & E- That is your 3 Major chords in the key of A

If you just learn that, or even just the 3 Major chords in C, you can literally play thousands of songs. And that is the real goal, to play songs, to make music.

Some great advice, as always, in Wes' post above. But I'd like to add a couple of things to that part.

It's absolutely true that knowing those chords will give you access to thousands of songs. But unfortunately it isn't true that you'll then be able to play them, because the chord shapes are only part of what you need.

When I started, I was told something like "Learn G, D, C and F and you'll be able to play hundreds of songs - heaps of Dylan for a start! " So I learned those chords, plus E, Em, A and Am. And guess what? Not only are some of these 'basic' chords actually quite hard to learn, but I still couldn't play any songs. and I certainly couldn't produce anything that sounded even remotely like Dylan, despite the fact that everybody breezily assured me he couldn't sing so he'd be easy to copy! Quite depressing.

So - after assuming at first that it must be my complete lack of talent or affinity with music - I looked a little harder.

So here's the truth. Or what I think the truth is, anyway.

Some chords take a long time for a beginner to get right. F is usually quoted but any of them can be hard for some people. B can be a swine, and so on. Also, changing smoothly and quickly between them is never easy at the start.

Dylan actually can sing. You might not like his voice tone, but he can sing. Which means that he is actually playing two instruments at once - voice and guitar. And guess which one is carrying the "song" - i.e the melody line. Yes - it's his voice. So my chords are only part of the deal, and are likely to sound very 'lacking' on their own.

Dylan has a right hand too. My bag of chords are useless without a right hand to provide some tone, tempo, rhythm, and all that timing stuff. Dylan had a range of strums and picking patterns at his disposal. Maybe not a huge range at the start, but he did know how to make use of what he had. If I don't have any skills in that department I'm shot.

Beginners are often told that they if they learn a few basic chords they can play hundred of songs. I've seen it often quoted here by experienced players. And it's correct - but it can also be misleading because it leaves so much out.

All I'm saying is don't be discouraged when the return you are getting for your effort doesn't seem to be paying off quite as quickly or easily as the books or advice seem to suggest. It does take a good while before you can put anything together that sounds OK. But if you push on through, it does start to happen, and it's well worth all the work. 8)

Cheers

Chris


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(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6353
 

another geezer (50's) like me. welcome.
you know all the text in the world wont help mush if it is so far out of context.
my advice for direction is to learn songs. each song will present problems for which you find the solution. you have all the written info you need. after that it is mind, ear, and muscle training. by playing a song it all comes together in an enjoyable way.
before computers I had to learn by wearing holes in my records. now with these amazing 'slowdowner' devices we have it easy.

your brain is full info apply it to something =a song.
hope this helps.

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


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(@goodvichunting)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 327
 

In addition to what wes and chris have said, I would suggest you to set measurable goals!

So for the first month or two, your goals could be:

1. Learn the name of the notes for all open strings.
2. Learn some basic theory (how the guitar is tuned, fretboard theory, chords theory etc).
3. How to correctly sit with the guitar, fret the notes.
4. Learn to play the G, C, & D chords individually.
5. Learn to switch between G, C, & D chords.
6. Pick a song that has these three chords and learn to play it.

If you follow a similar outline, you will have a better handle on your problems.
"I am having problems forming a C chord" is much easier to solve than "I don't know how to progress".

Also, you should pick an end, (whichever) and stick with it. With enough time and patience you are bound to become a guitarist.

Vic

Latest addition: Cover of "Don't Panic" by Coldplay
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=502670


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(@6was9)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 32
Topic starter  

Thanks to all for your great advice. This is just what I needed....nothing like hearing it from the players who have been there before you. I believe I've found the place to be.

Thank you.

" I'm not sure what happened, it was tuned when I bought it."


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