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newbie stuck!

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(@tuckatangent)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 22
Topic starter  

Hey y'all,

My name's Amber, and I've been playing/doodling around for about three months. My chord changes and strumming have improved greatly since I first picked up my axe, however I'm very frustrated because I haven't learned any songs beyond VERY simple ones (Melissa Ferrick's "You've Known It All Along", Mary had a little lamb, the batman theme, etc.) I've learned the chords for many of my favorites (I like folk/rock music, like Melissa Etheridge, Melissa Ferrick, Ani DiFranco mostly but I'll listen to pretty much ANYTHING with an acoustic guitar part) but I just can't find my rhythm. I can't make these chords sound remotely like any music I hear. I can't strum in time! I know this is post 4067 on this topic, but I thought I'd give it another go. Can anyone help? I love learning to play so very much, but currently I feel I'm running in place. Thanks for reading y'all. I've checked the out guitarnoise lessons, which are excellent, but I don't know many of those songs. I want to play stuff I actually know!


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

Lots of times on recordings, the rhythm player is not playing a 'straight' rhythm, like just up down up down. They break it up, usually to sorta match what the drummer is doing. When you're listening to the tunes, see if you can discern what the hi-hat (the 'tss, tss, tss' cymbal of the drum kit) is doing. Lots of times the rhythm player will be playing along with that.

And then there are songs that don't have a rhythm player at all. In those tunes you can listen to the piano or keyboard parts and see if you can match them a little bit. I used to be in a band where I was the one who did all the synth/keyboard parts of the tunes we covered and...it was a stretch sometimes. It made me 'hear' better though; trying to pick the parts out. It also helped me with 'chord voicings' which is where a chord is played, say an E major chord, but it's up the neck in a different position so the notes are switched around a little bit. Same chord, different order of notes. That may be why some of the things you're trying to do don't sound quite like the record; they're the right chord, but played up the neck or down the neck. It takes a lot of listening to try and hear which note is on top, in the middle and on the bottom, but the more you listen, the better your ear gets.

Same with how the chords are being played - strummed? Plucked? Partial chords instead of full-chords?

That kind of thing. Don't get discouraged though; this kind of thing takes awhile sometimes. And it's something one always workss at even away from the instrument.

Take care.


   
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(@tuckatangent)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 22
Topic starter  

Thanks Demo! Your post was inspiring.


   
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 vink
(@vink)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 722
 

Check out the lesson Keeping Time by Tom Serb aka noteboat on this website. This gives you a variety of exercise to improve your strumming timing, and goes through several patterns. You should be able to recognize some of these patterns in the songs you like.

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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(@mikey)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 329
 

Amber

Read some of the other posts here from people at your stage. That you are seeing improvement in your chord changes and strumming probably puts you ahead of the curve.

Realize that when looking at tabs on the net that they will give you the chord but that the artist might be playing that chord in a different position. I'll assume that at 3 months you are still playing what is know as open chords. Using only the first 4 or 5 frets on your guitar. There are chords and up and down the neck that you will learn with time. These other chords have the same name but differ in "tonality". Don't worry about all that right now. Play the chords you can play and enjoy it.

As for keeping time. Listen to the song you want to play. Try to pick out the rhythm guitar part with your eyes closed. Is it a straight down up down up, or a down down up up down up, or something else. Place your fretting hand over the strings so that they mute the strings.. strum along with the song. You won't hear any music from your guitar, just a percussive thunk ka thunk ka. Relax your strumming arm and feel the groove. Follow along.

Check out all the beginners lessons here at GN. They might not be songs you want to play, but they are excellent building blocks.

Don't get discouraged, your only 3 months in. You will improve by leaps and bounds through desire alone.

Rock on,
Michael

Playing an instrument is good for your soul


   
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(@barnabus-rox)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2957
 

Hi and welcome

I've been trying to play for nearly a year and I can't play Mary had little lamb , Batman theme

you've done well in a couple of months I'm now feeling like I'll never get this playing gig thing

Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am


   
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(@mattguitar_1567859575)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 879
 

You might find my lesson on here "stumming for beginners" helpful.

Certainly some of the feedback i got from people in your situation, was very positive.

Matt


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

sounds like you are doing fine. rythym takes a bit of time. once you dont have to think hard about formng chords and making those changes quickly your rythym will happen for you.

when i started I took a few lessons. primarily I am self taught. I used albums to play along with the best I could.
I didnt have computers when i began there were no things as TABS.
actually, I have to hand it to all of you who are starting off with all this available technology. it would freak me out cause it is so daunting.
I still dont do TABS very well. it's confusing and too slow.

so hang in there. practice and try to keep it fun.

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


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

I had the same problem with 'Curtis Loew a while back. One day it just came to me....much like Gimme Shelter will come to me. Keep plugging away. Sometimes it helps to work on something else for a bit. The lessons on this site are really good.

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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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
 

Hello Amber and Welcome to Guitar Noise.
Try the strumming patterns here:
http://www.grouptherapy.guernsey.net/strumming.html
There are sound files to play along with.
These are common patterns and are used in a whole lot of songs not just the ones listed,


   
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(@sin-city-sid)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 735
 

Besides what everyone else told you, buy a metronome.

Oh yeah, welcome to GN.


   
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(@tuckatangent)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 22
Topic starter  

Thanks for the replies y'all! I really appreciate it!


   
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(@oktay)
Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 345
 

Besides what everyone else told you, buy a metronome.

Oh yeah, welcome to GN.

I agree with Sid. However I find I have trouble keeping up with a metronome. A simple drum machine works better for me. I have a $60 guitar processor with a very simple drum machine in it.. but it helps. It feels much more natural than the ticking of a metronome. Other helpful things for keeping time I found are playing along with the CD and/or singing along while playing. (You don't need to sing every word.. or just hum the notes)

oktay


   
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(@tuckatangent)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 22
Topic starter  

Hey, I've made a little progress because I asked Mark at the groupguernsey site to help me with one of my favorite songs. It's been pretty fun trying to play the song (Melissa Ferrick's Everything I Need) and it has more pieces than I thought it would. It's a great way to procrastinate on studying!


   
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(@sin-city-sid)
Prominent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 735
 

Work on one piece at a time. You will get it. Have fun.


   
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