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Young Grandma Learning Guitar

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JBELTON
(@jbelton)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 16
Topic starter  

I've been learning (mostly self taught) acoustic guitar for about three years now. Is it my age (49) or am I not real coordinated? My step son who is 12 starting learning electric guitar about a year and half ago (he does have lessons)and he is all over the fret board with speedy fingers. Whereas it takes me months to learn one song. I can strum very well, fingerpick pretty good but can't pick notes much at all. (been trying needle and the damage done FOREVER!)

How long does it take to get the muscle memory full swing and what practice do you suggest? I mostly practice songs I like. I practice some scales but don't really see the point until I'm at a stage where I'm ready to improvise with other players and that won't be until I'm an old grandma!


   
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Bish
 Bish
(@bish)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3636
 

Welcome to GN, granny. :wink:

I'm no where near the expert on this topic but do have some experience. With me, I don't know theory but guitar and most instruments have come naturally for me. Other's will spend countless hours learning to play and will do well and succeed. Everyone has their own learning curve and interest in terms of where you want to take your playing and where you want your playing to take you.

Play from the heart and then from the mind and then the book.

Regardless, enjoy what you are doing and don't worry about a time line.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


   
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ballybiker
(@ballybiker)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 493
 

great advice bish...

if you can strum well then thats the most important bit sorted...the best melodies are the simplest..just a few notes played well and tinkered (pull off,hammer etc)....they stick in the mind and become a song's hook

so no need to be all over the fretboard...honest :roll:

as bish said.....what timescale????

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

Drool

http://www.myspace.com/ballybiker


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

I'm just a little older than you and started at 45. Had no problem understanding WHAT to do, it was getting my fingers to do it that was the problem! I've had a lot more success with sliding in open tunings than with the standard stuff, which has a very steep learning curve.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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dogbite
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

rythym and a few chords is all one really needs. trouble starts when comparing little johnny's progress with your own.
little johnny does not have a life of experiences to muddle the brain yet BTW.

if you get pleasure from picking up the guitar then that is where it only needs to be.
keep at it. it will come.

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


   
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Maliciant
(@maliciant)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 259
 

I don't think it would hurt you to take lessons, there might be some simple issue like how you hold the guitar that could be affecting your ability to progress that a teacher may catch and help you correct, sometimes a little structure goes a long ways. The other thing is electrics tend to be easier to play, and I'm going to risk torture by saying it's almost certainly easier to learn the physical portion of guitar playing at a young age, maybe so with the theory side too (I don't think theory is easier to learn for young people, but I think what they do get sticks better/provides a foundation). Get yourself a few lessons, try out that electric of his, you might impress yourself with a theoretically easier instrument to play. If you want to be able to play faster or move around more there are exercises that can improve that.


   
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Denny
(@denny)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 452
 

Welcome to GN. Sometimes when I'm working on a new tune I have to take a break from it and come back to it after a few days. Try not to compete with your step son. If he's doing well, then good for him. Remember, you can play all the time---he has to do homework! Good things take time.


   
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BarnaBus RoX
(@barnabus-rox)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2957
 

I'm a grandad and I aint "old" ....

My son is 14 and we started learning at the same time

We learn something new and its' usually son showing dad how to do it ..

I think its' more of flexability with in the fingers and hands then anything else ..

We still can't play a entire song from start to finish but we are getting there ..

Just for the record I am 43 started learning guitar aged 41 ...Grandson aged 3 ..

Cya
Poppy :lol:

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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kickinstonesblu
(@kickinstonesblu)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 52
 

Hi JB...
Welcome in the water. I just joined myself and can't get over the people and the knowlege i'm getting....more than I've ever been exposed to before. I have two grandgirls and a boy
again...welcome in the water...
I like what Will Grear used to say " Use it or Lose it... if you don't want your legs then sit on your bum and they'll quit working." Use them fingers, they'll get better.
Start reading on site... the lessons and forums are awesome ...the people here have alot of knowlege...in a sort time i've had no less then five revelations...ding ding. those "oh thats why" deals.

see ya
KSblu

If I don't remember it....It didn't happen


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261

   
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JBELTON
(@jbelton)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 16
Topic starter  

Thanks everyone! Good to get re-enforcement from those that are in the same place or have been there!


   
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Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Something I noticed: older people tend to look at what goes wrong whereas younger people look at what they can do. And somewhat related, younger people seem to be more confident in trying new things. I've yet to meet the first old beginner who started tapping after having 'sorta' learned some open chords.


   
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Chris C
(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Hi Grandma, :D

+1 to what the other have said - don't sweat too much about comparisons.

Progress has a lot more to do with how motivated and enthusiastic one is than with age.

I started fiddling about with guitar about two years ago (at age 58, I'm now 60). My hands were stiff and painful. I had to literally use my right hand to help put some of the left hand fingers in place properly before I could get a clean chord. But now they fly. I can do several clean chord changes per second instead of per minute. I can also play single note scales or runs all over the neck. I can play a lot of simple songs and one or two trickier ones.

More importantly I know how to have fun playing, learning and practising - so I pick the guitar up every day and enjoy it.

As other say, it takes time, not just to build the muscle memory and skills up, but to find what keeps you motivated and enthusiastic. Yes, you don't have good coordination, but no that's not inevitable or unchangeable. For the first year I fiddled about in a pretty unplanned and erratic fashion, and then took several months off to learn another instrument. But now I'm a lot keener and target my learning a bit more carefully.

What I'm saying here is that whatever you have done in the past hasn't 'blown it' in any way - you can always find ways to push forward faster and more effectively if you want to. When I started out I would have been happy if all I ever achieved was to strum a few simple traditional 'camp fire' style songs. I've already gone past that point and set new goals. If you stick at it and enjoy the journey the rewards seem to escalate... :D

What works for me is to have a number of things on the go at once - several songs, various exercises etc. I have one or two major focuses, but also a bunch of minor ones. If I put all my effort into one song or one aspect (like bar chords) the muscles and the brain both usually still seem to need a certain amount of time to learn the patterns anyway. There's only so much 'forcing the pace' that seems possible, at least when you're still a relative beginner. Just stick at it and be consistent with practice and it will keep improving.

Scales are very useful for a couple of reasons. One, they're good exercises for finger dexterity and general stretching and warming up. Two, they're the building blocks of melody, and when we think of songs it's usually the melody that we remember. So play a scale and once you know where the notes are you can start two things (both of which are fun) 1. "Finding" tunes you already know (simple nursery tunes like Twinkle Twinkle are a good start, and not too hard to find, and 2. Making your own tunes up. And (as with picking patterns) they're great for working on general accuracy and control. As with most things, the trick is to make them fun not just some kind of chore or obligation you have to plough through each day. Scales are just a team of players standing in a row waiting for the game to begin. What game is up to you. 8)

Good luck and enjoy the journey. Find your road and don't worry too much where the rest of us have got to. 8) :)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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Elecktrablue
(@elecktrablue)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4338
 

Hello, JBelton! I'm not a grandma (I'm not even a ma, for that matter!), but I'm about to be 51! Be sure to check out "The Other Side" forum. It's for us to talk about things relating to being a female guitar player!

Welcome to GuitarNoise! We look forward to seeing you around the forums! :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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Vic Lewis VL
(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

I'm the same age - 49 - between me and the Mrs, we have 16 grandkids, and #17 due in early june. Oldest has just turned 18 - he started playing guitar a few months ago, and whereas I'm content to be a fairly good (well, reasonably competent) rhythm guitarist, he's at that age where he's not scared of trying anything. E7#9 - only heard of it a couple of years ago, forgot about it completely till afew months back when someone posted a song with it in on easy songs - Mark (the said grandson) can move to it easily, I have to do it one finger at a time....

I can beat him at picking out chords and a rhythm, but another six months, I'll be saying to him, "Hey Mark, have a listen to this, what the hell is that progresssion....."

Then again, he loves the Who - I taught him "Pinball Wizard" and he's still struggling with the sus4's.....

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.......

: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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