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(@starbellyblu)
New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Hello all. I am thinking about learning the guitar. I am an absolute beginner. I love music but have never been able to carry a tune vocally. I have been a dancer all my life, it is my passion as it is a way for me to be in touch with the music I love. I have reached a point of my life where I want to fufill some of my dreams and one of those is to be able to create music.

I have always been fearful of learning because of my inability to sing and my complete lack of experience with any musical instrument.

Some beginner questions I have are...

what type of guitar should I buy - I like blues and rock music but am not tied to them...I have a budget of 100-400
and how should I begin to learn? Privately? Is there a good school in the toronto area someone could recommend?

Any advice, suggestions would be very much appreciated,

Thanks in advance

starblu


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

Welcome to the world of music! I've been where you are so just think about this for a minute. There are maybe 500 active members here posting. Do you think we are some magical gods who were put on this Earth to play guitar? I know I started just like you. I knew nothing and asked the same questions. Heck, I didn't even know what questions to ask!

Remember when you were a kid and your (insert relative here) first tried to teach you to ride? How many times did you crash? I was about 5 and I remember not knowing how to stop and I flew over a bush into some metal bars. Anyway, we both eventually learned how to do it.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I'd suggest a starter pack. My best friend started on one and I thought it was a good value for $200:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-Les-Paul-Special-II-Player-Pack?sku=518677

If you stick with guitar you'll probably grow out of that pack in 3-6 months. Well, you'll be decent by then and will be itchin' to get something better. Guitar players are constantly getting new/better gadgets. Anyway, if you do get that pack and quit guitar it's not a big investment. If you stick with it you can sell it and upgrade.

I assume you don't know anything or not much about guitar or where to start. Get one of those player packs and read up on this website. There are tons of lessons and songs. If you can afford it, I would highly suggest to get someone to teach you guitar for your first 8-12 weekly lessons. That is when you learn the basics and a teacher can stop bad fingering habits before they are burned to memory. Most teachers charge $20 for 1/2 hour lesson or $30 for an hour.

I tried to teach myself for a month via computer software, reading books and other materials. I was so frustrated I wanted to quit. I couldn't finger the easiest chord or hit the proper strings. So I found a teacher and that saved me from quitting. Four years later I'm here at GN typing this post to you.

Do you have the funds to pay a teacher for a weekly lesson? It will be the best money you spend. Ask as many questions as you can. There are a lot of good people here willing to help.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

Welcome to the world of music! I've been where you are so just think about this for a minute. There are maybe 500 active members here posting. Do you think we are some magical gods who were put on this Earth to play guitar? I know I started just like you. I knew nothing and asked the same questions. Heck, I didn't even know what questions to ask!

Ahem! Speak for yourself Corbind! I have ALWAYS considered myself a magical god! :D

Starblu, corbind's post is very good - listen to his advice. There are other starter packages out there though, and if you leaning toward blues/ blues rock, consider this package too:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-SE100-Electric-Pack?sku=511681

This is a cousin to the Fender Stratocaster - a very popular blues/blues rock style guitar. Anyway, there are lots of different starter packs out there. Look around and actually hold the guitar before buying, to see what feels comfortable.

I agree that you should find a competent teacher when you are first starting out. Although somewhat expensive, it will pay you back down the road and keep you motivated. If you decide to find a teacher, ask him/her what guitar they suggest.

Finally - remember to RELAX and have fun with it. Most, if not all, new guitarists are terrified about not being any good, looking silly, not being able to learn, etc. NONSENSE! Anyone can learn, if they want to and are willing to put in the practice time. ENJOY


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(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
 

Welcome to the world of music! I've been where you are so just think about this for a minute. There are maybe 500 active members here posting. Do you think we are some magical gods who were put on this Earth to play guitar? I know I started just like you. I knew nothing and asked the same questions. Heck, I didn't even know what questions to ask!

Remember when you were a kid and your (insert relative here) first tried to teach you to ride? How many times did you crash? I was about 5 and I remember not knowing how to stop and I flew over a bush into some metal bars. Anyway, we both eventually learned how to do it.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I'd suggest a starter pack. My best friend started on one and I thought it was a good value for $200:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-Les-Paul-Special-II-Player-Pack?sku=518677

If you stick with guitar you'll probably grow out of that pack in 3-6 months. Well, you'll be decent by then and will be itchin' to get something better. Guitar players are constantly getting new/better gadgets. Anyway, if you do get that pack and quit guitar it's not a big investment. If you stick with it you can sell it and upgrade.

I assume you don't know anything or not much about guitar or where to start. Get one of those player packs and read up on this website. There are tons of lessons and songs. If you can afford it, I would highly suggest to get someone to teach you guitar for your first 8-12 weekly lessons. That is when you learn the basics and a teacher can stop bad fingering habits before they are burned to memory. Most teachers charge $20 for 1/2 hour lesson or $30 for an hour.

I tried to teach myself for a month via computer software, reading books and other materials. I was so frustrated I wanted to quit. I couldn't finger the easiest chord or hit the proper strings. So I found a teacher and that saved me from quitting. Four years later I'm here at GN typing this post to you.

Do you have the funds to pay a teacher for a weekly lesson? It will be the best money you spend. Ask as many questions as you can. There are a lot of good people here willing to help.

i agree with everything you say.

except not entirely

i taught myself for the first few months and got on fine... i down loaded some pod casts for free and asked for help on sites like this when i needed it...

i think nothing can replace a good teacher...

but then again i know people... my husband... who play really really well and have never had a lesson...

so..... i'd say... try different things and see how you get on and which you prefer...

some teachers can put you off too remember... so if you do go with the teacher approach and dont get on then try looking around for another one...


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

Regarding the gear, I agree with everyone, but I'd like to add one thing. Get it at a music store and insist that it be set up professionaly. The pack I started with presented a challenge for me, as it turned out, because it was not set up well at all. (Action was a mile high)

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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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

Absolutely about the "setup." I generally believe in the principal that you get what you pay for. A guitar in a player pack may cost $125 of that $200 price. They have to cut lots of corners to get the price that low. If they had $500 starter player packs I think they would have better woods, hardware, etc. and be easier to play right out of the box. There are always a combination of alternatives competing for our money (gas, mortgage, college for the kids...).

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@rich_halford)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 225
 

Do you live alone or with an understanding partner? The reason I ask is that an electric guitar needs a cable or two and an amp, which can look a bit messy if left out all the time (so my wife tells me). So, if you have to pack it away and get it out again, thats a hassle. If you can leave the kit out, no problem. If you think you'll fall into the pack it away category then I'd recommend an steel-string acoustic guitar to start with. Hang it on the wall or put it on a stand in the corner, then you can easily pick it up and play whenever you have a few minutes.

If you go for an acoustic then Yamaha, Simon & Patrick, Seagull etc all have excellent guitars in your budget. As has been said, pay extra to get whatever guitar you buy properly set up, it could make a huge difference and help you learn easier.

Other than that, spend the next few days reading threads on here, most things are covered and its a great support network for when you feel you aren't getting anywhere - whch happens to everyone.

Enjoy.


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(@off-he-goes)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1274
 

Welcome to the world of music! I've been where you are so just think about this for a minute. There are maybe 500 active members here posting. Do you think we are some magical gods who were put on this Earth to play guitar? I know I started just like you. I knew nothing and asked the same questions. Heck, I didn't even know what questions to ask!

Remember when you were a kid and your (insert relative here) first tried to teach you to ride? How many times did you crash? I was about 5 and I remember not knowing how to stop and I flew over a bush into some metal bars. Anyway, we both eventually learned how to do it.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I'd suggest a starter pack. My best friend started on one and I thought it was a good value for $200:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Epiphone-Les-Paul-Special-II-Player-Pack?sku=518677

If you stick with guitar you'll probably grow out of that pack in 3-6 months. Well, you'll be decent by then and will be itchin' to get something better. Guitar players are constantly getting new/better gadgets. Anyway, if you do get that pack and quit guitar it's not a big investment. If you stick with it you can sell it and upgrade.

I assume you don't know anything or not much about guitar or where to start. Get one of those player packs and read up on this website. There are tons of lessons and songs. If you can afford it, I would highly suggest to get someone to teach you guitar for your first 8-12 weekly lessons. That is when you learn the basics and a teacher can stop bad fingering habits before they are burned to memory. Most teachers charge $20 for 1/2 hour lesson or $30 for an hour.

I tried to teach myself for a month via computer software, reading books and other materials. I was so frustrated I wanted to quit. I couldn't finger the easiest chord or hit the proper strings. So I found a teacher and that saved me from quitting. Four years later I'm here at GN typing this post to you.

Do you have the funds to pay a teacher for a weekly lesson? It will be the best money you spend. Ask as many questions as you can. There are a lot of good people here willing to help.

Dennis makes alot of good points.

Try the Epi starter kit, if you want electric. Acoustic, I'd suggest and Art & Lutherie, quality guitar, made in Canada, you'd have no trouble finding them in Toronto. I remember being in Missisauga, and seeing them at that giant music store in Square One.

You could try a teacher for a few weeks. I took about six lessons from a family friend, who is a local shop owner. He showed me the basics, chords stumming all that. He told me that I was progressing well, so I stopped, and started on my own. Four years of playing, he still gives me compliments when he sees me play. But I wouldn't have been as good if I didn't have those inital lessons.

Vacate is the word...Vengance has no place on me or her...Cannot find a comfort in this world.


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

Welcome to GN. We've all been where you are now, so don't think that we don't understand - it's a very hard place to be, with no experience to help you make a decision.
Don't go out and spend a fortune on gear that you may not like - a set is probably a good idea. I would advise you to make the sacrifice and spend a bit more, at a local store, and be advised by someone with more interest in you than the size of his commission.
You'll inevitably find that your first purchase limits you in your progress. It does, however give you the experience, that you lacked, when you first bought a guitar. It allows you to go to a guitar shop and make an educated decision as to the type of guitar that you want - and the confidence to pick up a few instruments to try them for yourself, which is the only way to determine if a guitar suits you or not.

Whatever you do, don't hesitate to ask. They say that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. It's not true, the most stupid question is the unasked one.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@teegee420)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 50
 

Hello, starbellyblu. I just started playing about a month ago. I payed about $200 for a Fender Fat Strat copy with a 25 watt amp. Neither were of particularly great quality. It didn't take long for me to want something better. The other day I spent a good amount of money on a set up that's going to last me a long time. I'm returning the old gear. I'm not saying that you should break the bank, but get something that's well made and sounds good. Read plenty of reviews of the gear before you buy too. Musician's Friend has many good customer reviews, and you can also check out Harmony Central and search for reviews by type/make/model. Best of luck to you on making a smart purchase that works well for you.


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

I'd say 95% of us started on crap gear. It's just the way it is. We want to try something (play guitar) but we don't want to sink tons of money into it. If I had sunk say $1,000 on an amp and guitar when I first started I would have practiced better and sounded better. But, unless someone has really deep pockets, we opt for started kits and keep upgrading as we progress with this guitar obsession. What's it called? Oh yea, GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@teegee420)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 50
 

I'd say 95% of us started on crap gear. It's just the way it is. We want to try something (play guitar) but we don't want to sink tons of money into it. If I had sunk say $1,000 on an amp and guitar when I first started I would have practiced better and sounded better. But, unless someone has really deep pockets, we opt for started kits and keep upgrading as we progress with this guitar obsession. What's it called? Oh yea, GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).I agree with you completely. I certainly don't regret only spending $200 initially. It got a guitar in my hands and gave me the opportunity to see if playing was something I really wanted to pursue. It also allowed me to develop an ear for the kind of sound I want. I'm nowhere near being rich, I've just been pretty good about saving my money lately, so that's what enabled me to get better gear.


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(@vanzant38)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 325
 

Yes most of us did start out on crap gear, but the good news is you probably won't notice it for a while. My first guitar was a used Ibanez G series for $150 and a Crate amp for $100. The amp was stolen so I never got to realize that it was crap and the guitar well I sold it after about 6 months. So I never knew what I had/or didn't have.

My dad would always talk about retirement, and allude to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I say all you've got at the end of the rainbow is death. You're riding the rainbow right now. - Mark Borchardt


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(@starbellyblu)
New Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Just got back from a weekend in Kingston and am thrilled to see such encouraging and positive responses. Thank you.
I have contacted a guitar teacher in my area. He says he has a Washburn Acoustic-Electric available for sale for 380. I am going to take a look at it..I truly have no idea what is good or not but your feedback has been so helpful.
Does size matter? (I know there are no stupid questions..lol) I am petite...under 5'3...I have long fingers but should I be looking for a paticular size of guitar or are they all kindof the same?

My lessons by the way begin on September 16th..I will be going twice a week for 30 minute sessions. I am scared but encouraged by all of you. Again...thanks

Star blu


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(@teegee420)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 50
 

Before you decide on an acoustic/electric, make sure you get your hands on a solid body electric first and see how it feels. I tried an acoustic first and the big body just felt awkward when I held it in a playing position. An electric felt much better to me. Also, I'm sure the Washburn is a nice guitar, but you can find decent acoustic/electrics for under $200 like this one.


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