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Teaching and learning: any advice?

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Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995
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My youngest nephew came home yesterday. I was playing my bass and he came into the room. I was using my headphones and he showed some interest on how it sounded and what I was doing. I told him "do you want to play?" while I gave him the bass.

I connected the bass to the amp, switched the power on and told him how to play some notes... First the A... Then the D... then the E. You know what happen when a new bass player learns three notes, so I picked my acoustic and we start to jamming some blues progressions. First a classic 12 blues bars, then I added a quick change on the 2nd bar. He asked for more so we also aded some ideas for turnarounds... and he kept asking for more so I told him some passing chromatic notes here and there.

I think he was enjoying a lot because almost two hours later he asked "is it already nine o'clock?" Obviously I enjoyed a lot, too! Unfortunately I didn't record the session.

He wanted to try the guitar playing. We swapped the instruments but his poor, young and uncallused (uncallused?) fingers started to feel tired! I use 11's in my acoustic!

I'd like to teach him some guitar things, I think he'd like to learn some instrument, he always showed interest for the music.

I don't remember my first guitar class and, furthermore, I think my teacher didn't use a good approach. The first contact is important.

Could you give any advices? For example, is it correct if he tech him some easy chords? Is it better some easy melodies? Electric or acoustic?


Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4921

is it correct if he tech him some easy chords? Is it better some easy melodies?

I do both. There's no reason to divide up guitar playing into "lead" and "rhythm" - it's all one instrument. In a first lesson I'll teach a few notes - in standard notation - a few chords, and a few rhythm concepts.
Electric or acoustic?

Whichever one he sees himself playing. That's the one he'll practice more.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3995
Topic starter  

As always, thank you very much! :D

I said chords and melodies because perhaps it is easier for him to play note by note using and focusing on one finger. Yesterday he got in troubles when he needed to move from A (index on 4th string) to E (ring/pinky on 3rd string). My teacher used exercises for the left hand and it was boring. I only played those exercises in my first two or three weeks. I'll try to teach chords and melodies.

I think he will prefer electric. When he played the acoustic he complained about the body, it is a dreadnought. Although he is tall!

By the way, I forgot it. He is lefty. He played righty and was complaining at the beginning but he played well after 5 minutes.

Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 146

My teacher is pretty darn awesome, and he taught me a few chords at the start. He's some guitarist with loads of talent and playing for all the big bands over here. He wanted to do his own thing however, and he doesn't know anything about management. Now he teaches students like me in addition to performing!

I learned a few chords in my first lesson (G, G7, C, D and A I think) and he asked me to practice those with some progressions from a guitar book. He found it more important for me to get started on chords than licks immediately. He kept teaching more chords gradually (D7, Dm, F, Bm, A7, Am, E, E7, Em, ...) so I could play quite some popular songs. After a few lessons he gave me the E minor pentatonic scale, and played with me a bit. I had to play some blues progression and he'd play the E minor scale and we'd switch a few times.

I play electric by the way, and loving it. I'm told it's also a bit easier.

Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 16

Yea I think Liontable's teacher has a good approach.

Starting with some simple open chords and working on changing between these is a good way to start. I teach guitar myself and I try and get my students onto some open chords as soon as possible. Once they are comfortable with a few chords, I get them into a song. You'll find once a student can see those chords working in the context of a song they get more into playing :D
Getting together Emaj, G Maj, A maj, D maj will open up many songs that they can start with. e.g. Most of ACDC's back catalogue, Wild thing, WIsh you well (Bernard Fanning) etc.