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Some questions to the more experienced guitar players

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(@oldnewbie)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 27
 

The first guitar I played with was an Ibanez acoustic beginner guitar that I borrowed.

I taught myself the basic chords from "HOw to" books I had checked out from the library. The first song I learned was Pink Floyd's Wish you were Here. I learned the chords first then played along with the CD to learn the chord changes.

I would say that I'm 90% self taught and have learned a couple of things from friends. I started out learning songs by looking up the chords on the internet, then I decided if I was going to put all of this effort into learning songs, why not throw some chords together that sound good and add my own lyrics. I became a songwriter very early on in my learning stages. As my songwriting has matured, so has my guitar technique, its been quite a ride.

I play solo.

I once asked a friend if I needed to learn music theory, he said his music theory was that if it sounds good to you, go with it. No matter what you are trying to learn, get good at it before moving on to something new, you don't want to have to backtrack all the time to relearn things you should have gotten right the first time around. As you can see I speak from experience.

Have fun!

http://EricDees.com
http://Soundclick.com/ericdees


   
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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827
 

No matter what you are trying to learn, get good at it before moving on to something new, you don't want to have to backtrack all the time to relearn things you should have gotten right the first time around. As you can see I speak from experience.

This is a fuzzy question though. How good do you get at something before moving on? You can polish forever if you want to but often once you get a technique to "good enough for now" that's a good point to move on. You will need to loop back and work on things that you previously learned. That's part of learning anything. It will be easier because you've been using that technique and will so have worked it indirectly plus other techniques that you have learned will reinforce it. I agree that you don't want to move on too soon but you can also work something too long.

Finding that middle ground is a part of learning how to practice. I've swung between both extremes and I've settled on a reasonable middle ground for now though I'm sure that point will change as my skill level does.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3709
 

Most self taught players seem to get into the trap of digging themselves a hole and never being able to find their way out of it, in other words practicng the wrong way. Most beginners get themselves a guitar, learn a few chords and strum along to some old standards like stand by me. After awhile they will they will look for their next challenge, which seems to be learning to read guitar tablature and looking for songs off the internet, which are wrong most of the time anyway. The songs people want to learn are normaly well above their ability to play so this leads to frustration. Normaly they can bang out bits and pieces(badly) but never can play the song from start to finish because they are attempting to play something like Little Wing when they can't even play Michael Row Your Boat Ashore. So they give up on one song and go to the next to find the same frustration. It is unbelievable how common this is and is one of the biggest problem guitar players come across. Learning an instrument is a process and cannot be rushed, It takes time and dedication to play an instrument, not to mention a lot of patience. My suggestion is to seek out a competant guitar teacher and learn how to read music,believe me it will save you a lot of time and frustration. Music notation is superior to tab and will not just show you the note but the timing of the note. You can also see how music is constructed through notation, not to mention you can play music written for other instruments. Would you rather play by notes or numbers? A guitar teacher will guide you every step of the way and unlike a book can tell you exactly when your going wrong and pull you back on the right tracks.A good teacher is also like a coach and mentor and should inspire you and get you through the times when you feel like breaking your guitar in half through frustration. Food for thought?

Thats why Jimi Hendricks was no good ..... :P :lol:

Electrablue ....... so sorry to hear that's why you can't gig. I wish you the best.

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


   
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(@isabelle)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 244
Topic starter  

Thanks for all your input.
3. I played in bands until about a month ago (my health won't allow me to stand onstage for four or more hours at a stretch anymore :cry: , but it sure was fun while it lasted!). But, I intend to keep playing for myself and to go jam whenever possible!
Sorry to hear that, but glad to read that you still play whenever you can. Music can't cure anything, but I hope it helps you beat that blues that often tags along with a serious illness.
First guitar -- Alvarez acoustic. It's been replaced by a better Alvarez and now has several electric friends
Yeah I nearly went for an Alvarez, but I heard they breed like maniacs.
Find a song that has chords you can play AND has an F chord in it.
That'll take your mind off of things :wink:
Loved your post :mrgreen:
Actually, I'm not too bad at F-ing. Funny thing is I'm struggling with my G chord at the moment. How weird is that? But that's me in a nutshell. I spend weeks practising simple chords, and when I finally manage to move on to something a tad more difficult, I forget everything I learned in the first place.
I started because I saw a guy playing guitar and I thought "I could do that...".
It's a confidence thing I guess. I see guys playing guitar and I think 'I'll never be able to do that'. But hey, can't blame a girl for trying.
Most important thing to master? Addiction to the guitar. Once you get the bug you will play and practice non stop and do very well.
Oo, I'm addicted alright. I must be getting between one and two hours practice a day, and that's juggling between my job, my husband, my son, my housework and another addiction to online video games. I love playing, and I'm not ready to give up just yet!
I don't know what are the most important things in this context. When you try to learn something, you always need a goals, a plan to achieve them and a methodology. What are your goals?
Hola Nuno. Hmm... Are you trying to get an action plan out of me? Okay. What are my goals... Now you got me thinking... I'm not sure. I'll be happy if I can manage to pick up a guitar au débotté and play a few tunes that people can recognise. I'm into rock mainly, and metal to a certain extent, but metal is not what I want to play. In the long run I'd like to be able play any type of rock from the 60s onwards. How will I get there? That's where you come in ;)
So the most important part is working out what learning style works best for you.
Chris, you're starting to sound like my boss. Admit it, you real name's Marilyn, right? :shock: I appreciate what you're saying though, but it's always nice to a/ get other people's advice so you know you're doing the right thing (-ish) b/ know that they struggled the same as you when they started. I completely agree with the check-things-out-but-decide-what-works-best-for-yourself thing. That is exactly what I'm doing. Thanks for your advice, Marilyn :wink:
A good teacher is also like a coach and mentor and should inspire you and get you through the times when you feel like breaking your guitar in half through frustration. Food for thought?
Indeed. For various reasons I cannot commit to lessons right now. So I guess I'll just have to bear with learning everything the wrong way for now before realising in a few years time how wrong I've been. Your description of the learner guitarist is pretty much a description of all the bad things I'm doing at the moment. Although I am trying to stick with things I'm finding difficult to do. Like I said, I'm not ready to give up yet.
Be comfortable with what you're doing now before you move on.
Now that sounds like another good piece of advice. Be comfortable... You didn't say 'get brilliant at it', but 'be comfortable'. Now see, I think I can do that.
Get in a band if possible. I don't think it is ever to early to get in a band. It forces you to learn songs from beginning to end and play properly. Plus it is lots of fun, you learn without even trying.
Back to confidence again, I suppose. I don't know, I can't quite see myself in a band, I don't know why. I've always seen bands as a find-a-couple-of-friends-from-school-and-form-a-group thing, and I'm not a school anymore, and I don't know anybody who plays an instrument, and I'm really bad at meeting new people, and I feel I'm too old/too young/haven't got the time to do it. Want any more excuses? I'm sure it'd be lots of fun. I just don't know where to start.
I will second Wes' mention to get into a band. It really does force you to tighten everything up.
Yeah but... *sigh*
I once asked a friend if I needed to learn music theory, he said his music theory was that if it sounds good to you, go with it.
Now that could be interesting. Define 'good' :mrgreen:
You can polish forever if you want to but often once you get a technique to "good enough for now" that's a good point to move on.
I tend to go with that anyway. If I stick to one thing for too long, I get bored, but on the other hand I guess you can't get really good at something if you don't spend enough time to learn the basics inside and out. I think the difficult thing is to find that 'point' when moving on is the right thing to do.


   
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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 827
 

You can polish forever if you want to but often once you get a technique to "good enough for now" that's a good point to move on.
I tend to go with that anyway. If I stick to one thing for too long, I get bored, but on the other hand I guess you can't get really good at something if you don't spend enough time to learn the basics inside and out. I think the difficult thing is to find that 'point' when moving on is the right thing to do.

Finding that "point" is hard. It's too easy to wander to either extreme. It's one of the things a good teacher will help you with. If you stay on one technique too long you reach a point of diminishing returns and would be better off moving on and learning other things before coming back and working on that technique some more. If you move on too fast you won't have the technique mastered enough to use it and build upon it.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

I think only women can carry on 13 conversations simultaneously! :shock:
Congrats! :lol:
I don't know what are the most important things in this context. When you try to learn something, you always need a goals, a plan to achieve them and a methodology. What are your goals?
Hola Nuno. Hmm... Are you trying to get an action plan out of me? Okay. What are my goals... Now you got me thinking... I'm not sure. I'll be happy if I can manage to pick up a guitar au débotté and play a few tunes that people can recognise. I'm into rock mainly, and metal to a certain extent, but metal is not what I want to play. In the long run I'd like to be able play any type of rock from the 60s onwards. How will I get there? That's where you come in ;)
Really I'm trying to show how the learning can be made. But I'm glad if I could help.

Ok, you want to play some rock tunes. I'd list my favorite songs and then I'd sort them 'by chords'. I mean, first the songs with chords I already know or songs with less new chords to me. I'd learn each song in that order, so I could learn one or two new chords with each new song. Maybe I'd include some songs with already know chords but new strumming or fingerpicked patterns. Move to the new song when you are comfortable with the current one.

On the other hand, probably, you also want to learn some leads, not only chords. A lot of rock songs use the minor pentatonic scale. So, I'd practice every day some scales. As a lateral effect, you'll improve your technique in both hands and also you will learn the notes on fretboard. (Suddenly you will 'discover' you know a lot of new chords just using your already know barre/shaped chords/voices in new fretboard positions.)

You can surf and look for this material over the net (the David's beginners/intermediate songs section and Easy Songs forum are great places to start) or also use some book written by a teacher (it helps because the songs and material are already sorted). The classic rock (really all kind of rock) is very near to blues. There are very good instructions books on blues which can help, too.

I made it and it seems it is working. :wink:


   
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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2736
 

I know I am not experienced by any means, yet I will post my response on this (in no particular order).

I started playing guitar as I always loved music. I also used to see my mom's brother playing it and then I realised that I really wanted to play the strings.

My first and only guitar I have is a yamaha classical guitar.

I am absolutely self taught. Now, self taught will only mean that I have not taken lessons from a 'live' instructor. If I have to count excellent lessons online by excellent teachers, I had many guitar teachers.

My choice of music is mainly punk rock (Green Day, Ramones !), classic rock, soft, blues, country and pretty much everything except death metal.

For a beginner, its important to understand that guitar playing is not an easy thing. Yet, by continuous practice of even small time durations can help them improve. You should try listening to new songs, try playing songs on the guitar and even dare to sing along if you can.

Most importantly, and to sum up in one line - You should have fun when you play the guitar. :D

Good Luck.


   
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(@citizennoir)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1247
 

Thanks for all your input.
Loved your post :mrgreen:
Actually, I'm not too bad at F-ing. Funny thing is I'm struggling with my G chord at the moment. How weird is that?

Well, look on the bright side Isabelle....
It could be worse.
At least you're not struggling with your G-S t r i n g :shock:

Welcome to GN! :wink:

Hope to see ya around lots :D

Ken

"The man who has begun to live more seriously within
begins to live more simply without"
-Ernest Hemingway

"A genuine individual is an outright nuisance in a factory"
-Orson Welles


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Like a lot of people my age - just turned 50, I was born a month before John met Paul for the first time, and six months after the Cavern Club opened its doors for the first time - I wanted to play guitar because of the Beatles. That was way back when I was about six, and I'm still learning!

I was a teenager before I got my first guitar - can't remember what make, but it was a bottom-end nylon-strung classical acoustic. Nylon strings? I wanted to play rock'n'roll! First opportunity I had, changed to the lightest steel strings available - 9's - and I've used them ever since.

I did take lessons, at the local Tech College - supposed to be a 20-week course, I lasted about 4 weeks of trying to read music and learning where the notes are on the fretboard and playing simple 3-note riffs. The one thing I learned was that G, Em C and D make a good progression - I asked the teacher if he knew the chords to "Stand By Me" by Lennon, and that's what he showed me.

Since then, everything I've learned has been from books, tabs, or from watching other people. The first song I learned was Stand By Me....I also bought a slide at that time, I wanted to play like Manny Charlton - Nazareth were my favourite band at the time. I asked about open tunings, was shown open G, and worked a couple of other open tunings out myself, but I mainly stuck to open G. I enjoyed playing - or rather fooling about with - slide guitar, it was a quick way of getting some music out while struggling to master chords.

Barre chords I worked out myself from basic principles - I knew how to play an E chord, I knew how to play an F chord. I figured out that an F chord was just an E chord with every note moved up one fret - so if I move an E chord up three frets, it's a G chord, two frets further it's an A chord, etc. Same with A-shaped barres - same with minor chords, sevenths, etc.

I learned a lot of easy songs - Brown Eyed Girl, It's All Over Now, Peggy Sue, Bad Moon Rising, Get Back - all three or four chords, but it kept me interested because there was an end product.

Trouble was, wives came and went - so did guitars. I messed around with the same few chords for years and years - till about 4 years ago, when I joined GN. I've learned a lot since then - at first, most of it from the Easy Songs forum, then venturing into the murky waters of theory, and I'm still learning.

Nuno's on the right lines when he says you need a plan - figure out what you want to play, then figure out what you need to learn to be able to play it. Sounds simple put like that, doesn't it?

Me, I play rhythm guitar - that's what I'm best at. To be honest, I never wanted to be a super-fast shredder - all I wanted to be able to do was play along with songs I knew, and to be able to put music to my own songs. OK, my musical knowledge has expanded - and my ambitions have grown a bit, too. Now I want to be able to write AND record my own songs - so I've bought a bass, several harmonicas, a keyboard, and a drum kit.

I'm still learning - probably always will be still learning - but I've had, and I'm still having, a lot of fun learning. And that, to me, is the main thing!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1305
 

Actually, Moonrider, there's a little more to it than just not being able to stand for 4 hours. I have a terminal liver disease and, as a result, I have no energy anymore

I knew you were ill, just not HOW ill. I'm grateful you understood the spirit of my post.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go find someone to help get this foot out of my mouth . . . :oops:

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


   
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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338
 

Actually, Moonrider, there's a little more to it than just not being able to stand for 4 hours. I have a terminal liver disease and, as a result, I have no energy anymore

I knew you were ill, just not HOW ill. I'm grateful you understood the spirit of my post.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go find someone to help get this foot out of my mouth . . . :oops:

NOOOO! I don't want you to feel badly! I just wanted to explain why I couldn't play onstage anymore! There's no foot!! :D It's all good! :D

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


   
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(@isabelle)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 244
Topic starter  

I think only women can carry on 13 conversations simultaneously! :shock:
Congrats! :lol:
Well, what can I say. I like a challenge. Plus I was offline for about a week so I had to make up for that ;)
On the other hand, probably, you also want to learn some leads, not only chords.
Not necessarily. I quite like playing just chords for now actually. My main problem is making out the strumming/picking pattern in a song. I suppose it'll get easier with time. I quite like your idea of listing songs I'd like to play and classifying them by range of difficulty. Although I'll probably end up with lots of things that are way too complex for me :x But I'll certainly give it a go.
You should try listening to new songs, try playing songs on the guitar and even dare to sing along if you can.

Yeah... now... this is my other issue, I cannot sing. I know a lot of people say that when in fact they have a perfectly reasonable voice, but me, I can not sing. I do try, though. In my head.
At least you're not struggling with your G-S t r i n g :shock:
That's for me to know, Ken, that's for me to know :shock: Nice crack, if I may.
To be honest, I never wanted to be a super-fast shredder - all I wanted to be able to do was play along with songs I knew
That pretty much sums up what I want to do. Looks like there are several ways to get there, and I suppose I'll have to find what works best for me. I agree with you and the Easy Songs bit on this site is invaluable to me. I even manage to understand the theory parts (to a certain extent :twisted: ) and it certainly keeps me going for now!


   
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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Yeah... now... this is my other issue, I cannot sing. I know a lot of people say that when in fact they have a perfectly reasonable voice, but me, I can not sing. I do try, though. In my head.

Persist with it if you possibly can.

Everybody says they can't sing, but it's rare indeed to find a person who can't sing Happy Birthday, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with their kids. Can you sing happy Birthday? If you can - even a line - then you can sing a song too, the difference is just practice, exactly like learning guitar.

One of the dificult things about learning guitar is discovering that you can't reproduce your favourite songs. Usually this is because there is no possible chance for one lonely amateur to match the original sound of an entire band with professional musicians, a range of instruments, a bank of recording technology AND a professional singer. What you can do is learn how to work your way towards matching some of the parts that you hear - step by step. Voice is a whole other instrument, so it has to be learned just like any other.

Start by reading David Hodge's lesson on "Finding Your Range" and then do a little "no stress, no fuss" practice each day. After a few weeks you'll see definite improvement. You won't be able to sing every song in the key or style it was written but you WILL be able to sing to some songs after a few months if you work at it properly. It will then double the musical effect you can create, and triple the fun and satisfaction.

I couldn't sing either. I was terrible. But now I've progressed to being merely mediocre, and writing and singing my own songs. Not well yet, but on the road. If you've got a moment have a listen to "Perfectionist Beginner Blues" at Soundclick. I wrote it about those "Oh I can't do THAT" feelings we all have. There's a verse about not being able to sing. :wink:

Beginner Blues

I'm sure you'll recognise some of the feelings. It's not great vocally or musically, but I'm DOING IT!! :D Last year it was all well out of reach.

You can do it too.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Hi again,

On a hunch I just Googled "If you can speak you can sing". Turns out it's a saying with variations right around the world:

"If you can speak, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance"

It means you too. :P

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@isabelle)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 244
Topic starter  

Everybody says they can't sing, but it's rare indeed to find a person who can't sing Happy Birthday, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with their kids.
You've nailed it right on the head there. I can just about cope with Twinkle Twinkle, but I struggle with Happy Birthday. I'm even having trouble singing the national anthem to the point I'm considering emigrating to Toronto ;)

I haven't looked at the Fiding Your Range stuff yet. but I did listen to your Beginner's Blues, and yes, the lyrics are very close to home and made me smile. Thanks for your encouragements. Maybe next year I'll be doing the backups on your songs - who knows :lol:


   
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