Playing the guitar or just playing with it
My wife got a guitar for me last Christmas, so I'm approaching one year with it, and just was wondering if I could get your feedback on my progress. I haven't had any formal lessons, but in my first few months I worked on a lot of David's beginner lessons and found them great! Since then, I've been more 'free-form' in my learning. I pick it up every day and noodle around with it for an hour or so. I enjoy coming up with my own little 'solos' or riffs, experimenting around with rhythms and practicing chord changes. My wife says that it is pleasant to listen to, she said it's like the background music on the reality show 'The Bachelor' - if you've ever had the misfortune to watch it, they have this background music that is meandering atmospheric guitar. Not really a song, but it all sounds good together.
My hang up is that I really don't know ANY songs. I'm starting to get in an awkward situation. When friends come by and notice my increasing clutter of equipment and instruments, they sometimes ask me to play something...and I got nothing :oops:
I'm enjoying what I do with the guitar and I feel that it has helped me, just in familiarity. I'm moderately tone deaf and rhythm challenged; I can tell that this has helped with those problems. I can turn to an easy song in a book and after a little fumbling, can work through it pretty well by sight. I just haven't had the discipline to sit down and practice songs until I have them down cold. What do you think? Should I just keep going as I have been, or buckle down and get some songs under my belt?
Hmm sounds pretty similar to what most people go through but I have to ask the question why did you want to play the guitar in the first place then that should be the answer. If you got it to just noodle around and have something to tinker with then you're probably all set but I don't really know anyone at the end of the day that really only wants to do that. My guess is you picked it up so you can play songs you like and/or to write your own. So I think the answer is yes you should buckle down and learn songs, start with easy ones (there are plenty here) and just work through them at your own pace.
If you have questions then post them here there are plenty of people that will help you.
When I started 6 years ago for about the first year and a half I didn't really know any songs and tried to work on just my technique like strumming, chord changes etc. and learning a song at that time seemed like it would never happen, but with every song you learn the next one gets a bit easier and pretty soon it will come naturally and you'll wonder why it seemed so hard at first.
Being into it for a year may seem like a long time but in guitar years that's just beginning, but don't stop noodling and making your own riffs anytime spent with a guitar in your hands will be a benefit.
As for your friends yea that always comes up. The minute you have a guitar they'll start asking you to play something.
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I am going on about a year now too... and I was going through exactly what you are now...
I talked about it and there was discussion in this thread:
Since then, I have settled on about 3 or 4 songs to perfect from beginning to end. It has been amazing. Not only am I very close to actually being able to fluently play a song... at the same time my instructor and my abilities have been able to develop, since I am not jumping from topic to topic. I am not blindly learning to play the songs note for note, string/fret by string/fret. I am learning *what* I am playing and why. The chosen songs have just been something to focus on and to base the lessons on.
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by learning songs you can put into practice the things you discover noodling.
there is much to be gained by learning a song. style, technique, for example.
As long as you don't learn any songs, nobody can tell if you're making mistakes.
Ok, thanks for the advice everyone :) I think I do need to focus on learning some songs. It'll be good discipline for me. I need to get a music stand or something.
Renee, you are right! No one can tell if you are making mistakes if they don't hear you play either :lol:
My wife has said that she would like to hear some Christmas music, so I think I'll focus this month on a couple Christmas songs - they seem super easy and I'll take them as a confidence builder to move forward with tougher stuff.
the Twelve Days of Christmas played on guitar is a great finger exercise. I ussed it out by ear a few years ago and haven't forgotten.
another reason to learn songs, and you touched on it, is to be able to something when someone asks. even better...
a long time ago as a newly wed my new widfe and I attended a party. it was supposed to be an outdoor party, but the biggest rainstorm broke loose and everyone had to go indoors. everyone was milling around waiting for the food to get organized. I noticed a guitar leaning against the wall. I got permission to play it. my wife knew I played but she only heard me noodle. someone yelled 'play a song'. the guitar was in tune so I ripped into House of the Rising Sun. evrybody lit up and began singing. over in a corner stood my brand new wife. she was beaming with adoring eyes.
that is a very good reason to learn a song.