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(@wasted_dreams)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

Hello,

I bought an acoustic guitar when I was in High School (about 5 years ago or a bit longer) but didn't get very far with it, it basically became an ornament. I learned the beginning of "R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts" and the riff of "White Stripes - Seven Nation Army" and that was about it.

I'm quite a shy person - i'll never tell people what music I like if they ask me, I won't even tell them what genre but instead I say I like a lot of different music and ask what they like - I then comment that I like some of them. At home I won't play music unless I have headphones in incase anyone hears. When someone comes into my room I mute my TV or change the channel.

I didn't strum the guitar as I was scared people would hear me. Instead I just did a little fingerpicking but as mentioned above, I didn't get far.

A little while ago I was inspired again and I decided to buy myself an electric guitar as I thought it'd be quiter if it wasn't plugged in.
I bought a strat copy and it is quieter, but I still haven't managed to pluck up the courage to strum the thing.
It really is beginning to frustrate me as I know I can't get far unless I strum and I need to get over this hurdle. I've told my family that I have this problem and they say not to bother. My dad's even showing me videos on YouTube and saying "You could learn that" but i'm still scared to strum. I'm even trying to get my sister to learn so that she can strum at the same time and I would maybe manage it as it would be less obvious I was making the noise.

I'm probably more able to strum in front of my mum or sister as when I bought the acoustic my sister had a little strum with me one day when my dad was at work, and I did have a go. My dad's brother plays guitar and I think maybe that's why i'm more shy with my dad in the house - because he knows what a good guitar player sounds like. But at the same time, it's stupid as he has obviously already heard someone learning and would be more used to it than my mum or sister.

So i'm on this forum so that I can maybe get some advice or hear stories of people with a similar issue, and hopefully someday soon, get over this silly confidence issue and get playing.

Oh, and my real name is Alison and i'm 23 (incase anyone wonders).


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(@katmetal)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 727
 

Hi Alison!

Welcome to the forums! I'm new here too, but from what I've seen in my short time on here is that these are a great bunch of guys (& gals) to hang out with! I have never really experienced the self conscience situation you are describing, so I can't really offer direct, personal advice on that, except to say this; We all started out as beginners, we all sound horrible at first. I knew a guy in high school that tuned the bottom 3 strings to E & learned to play like that. I met him a couple of years later & tuned his guitar for him, & he was totally lost! (For awhile, at least) There are some very gifted folks, but for the most part it takes a fair amount of effort & practice to start to sound proficient. Sounds like your dad is trying to encourage you, I would go with what he says. There is alot of great stuff on youtube.

You can also start off with the simpler leads & rhythms until you get the basics down. I'll admit, I'm still not that good & can get lost on the neck, have to hunt for notes if I don't pay close attention to what I am doing, and it seems like my pinky never wants to co-operate either! I say, strum away & make lots of noise!

I do see the confidence situation with my teenage son though, now that you bring it up. I am trying to get him to learn to play the drums, & I notice that he is sort of hesitant with his playing; he will listen to my instruction, but seems very unsure of himself. I am glad you brought this up, because I believe I will try a gentler, more understanding approach with him.

BTW, I bet you sound better than you think!

Good Luck!
katmetal :)


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 Bish
(@bish)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3765
 

Welcome to the GN forums!!

Bish

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


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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3998
 

Welcome to GN, Alison!

Try to follow the lessons in the web part of GN. For the beginnger songs, don't learn the chords only, read and follow the David's explanations and keep playing. You will improve and get more confidence.


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(@embrace_the_darkness)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 540
 

Hi Alison, welcome to GN!

Where in the UK are you? You could try to find a good teacher (could be easy or difficult depending on where you live); learning from and playing in front of someone else who plays guitar would probably help the confidence issue you are having - after all, a guitarist knows that other guitarist's are there to make noise as well!

I only ever really play my guitar when no-one else is in the house, but that's more of a not-wanting-to-bother them thing, not a confidence with my playing thing. Still, it could be an answer for a little while?

Another thing to remember is that the people listening to you play hear something quite different to what you hear. So many times, I've stopped and gone "argh!" when I've made a mistake, and the people listening say "Why'd you stop?"; they didnt even hear the mistake I made, which was (on relfection) always very minor (like missing out a string) and I only hear it *because* I'm a musician. The Joe Regulars were clueless! My point is, you probably sound a lot better than you think - we are all our own worst critics by far, after all!

I hope you DO keep playing, it's the most rewarding and fun thing you can ever do.

Pete

ETD - Formerly "10141748 - Reincarnate"


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

Welcome to GuitarNoise, Alison! We look forward to seeing you around the forums! :D

Be sure to check out our Women's forum, "The Other Side"!

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- 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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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Welcome to GN.

This is the place where dreams come true (atleast of playing guitar). So they won't be wasted anymore.

Post often and Enjoy !


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(@wasted_dreams)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

Thanks everyone.

@Elecktrablue - Where is the forum for women? I can't seem to find it.

I was all set to try and strum tonight until I picked up the guitar and got scared again.
My sister came in, took the guitar and strummed away quite the thing. But even then, when my dad had walked in a few times and knew it was her, when she gave me the guitar back I couldn't bring myself to strum.

I actually began to wonder tonight...
"Maybe i'm not actually shy, maybe i'm putting obstacles in the way... and I will never get anywhere like this, so maybe I should give up and sell my guitar".
Then I nearly cried.


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

Don't give up! And, don't cry!!! The guitar can seem overwhelming in the beginning, but, like anything else, the more you do it, the more relaxed you will become with it and your confidence will begin to grow! Once you've got a whole song or two under your belt, I promise that you'll feel much better! It's not written in stone that you absolutely HAVE to play in front of ANYBODY, especially in the beginning of the long process of learning to play.

You may very well be putting obstacles in your own way! If you think about the guitar and playing it negatively, you're going to hang onto that negativity and it WILL hinder you! Think about why you picked up a guitar in the first place. Was it for love of music? Was it because of a "rock star" fantasy? Was it because you liked the sound of a guitar and wanted to make those same sounds? Whatever reasoning it was that led you to your first guitar is the reason you should learn to play it! There are no bad reasons. You just need to learn to look at it as a positive thing rather than looking at the negatives, like strumming, or playing in front of your dad. You've pretty much got to learn to strum if you're going to play, and it's really lots of fun! And, knowing fathers of daughters (my own father taught me to play when I was 13), he wouldn't laugh at you if you made a mistake! He loves you! He will encourage you!

If I were in your situation, I would find a qualified teacher and start taking lessons. A teacher expects you to make mistakes in the beginning and will show you how to correct them. He or she will also teach you the correct strum techniques and the correct fingerpicking techniques and get you into playing melodies. In the meantime, though, I would also suggest going to our "Absolute Beginner" lessons and start learning the basics from our own David Hodge, who is an excellent teacher!

Perseverance is a good thing and you've got to have some to learn to play guitar! Keep after it! Don't give up! And, don't think yourself into quitting!!!

EDIT: And, if your uncle lives close enough, ask him to give you some lessons!!

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- 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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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Good advice by Eblue. You can surely play guitar, Alison.

Learn some chords and the guitar starts playing. Learn some scales and you start playing solos. And its not that tough either.

Make a plan of what you want to do. You can even post your plan here and seek advice of various other players as to what you need to do to progress faster.

Be with us. We will make sure that you play and you play better than the people around you.

Good Luck !


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

Hi Alison, I'm old and from the UK......

But still young at heart, and it's playing guitar that keeps me that way. I'd been playing a LONG time before I joined GN, and like you I was very short on self-confidence.....now I'm a reasonably decent rhythm guitarist, not at all afraid of playing in public, and hell, I'll even open my mouth and sing....

This is a GREAT site to learn from, there are so many genuinely talented people who'll take the time to answer whatever questions you care to ask....don't give up, don't even THINK about giving up - you will regret it if you do.....you'll look back in a few years time and think, "I wish I'd stuck with the guitar - I could have been good by now." Don't go down that road.....

Hope to see you around the forums.....

: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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(@denny)
Reputable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 452
 

Hi Alison. Welcome to GN. Don't worry, confidence comes with practice. We've all been there.

Denny


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(@wasted_dreams)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

Thanks for all the advice. I won't give up, but it gets frustrating having the fear aspect too - without that, I'd manage a lot better.

This weekend I am home alone so I plan to practice a lot (as much as the skin on my fingertips will let me). I downloaded a video lesson from NowPlayIt.com and hope to get somewhere with that, even muting the strings and not properly strumming I think I have the hang of the intro.

I hope that if I manage to learn even a part of the song (I'd say "all of it" but I don't know how long it usually takes to learn a song so i'll play safe with my expectations) then maybe that would give me confidence enough to strum, because I won't be strumming random pointless noises, I'll be strumming an identifiable tune.

I have been looking at the easy songs for beginners lessons and may try some, but I wonder...
I don't know a lot of the ones at the start, up until "House of the rising son" which I may try.

Would it be completely stupid to jump ahead and try lesson 20 "Tangled up in blue"? I really like that song at the moment and thought if you had a song you really liked and would love to play, as opposed to a song you don't know, maybe it would help you move forward.

Also, I wanted to listen to the mp3s on that lesson to hear what it sounds like but they seem to be incredibly short and don't actually contain any guitar playing. Is that whats supposed to be on them?


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(@katmetal)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 727
 

I hope that if I manage to learn even a part of the song (I'd say "all of it" but I don't know how long it usually takes to learn a song so i'll play safe with my expectations) then maybe that would give me confidence enough to strum, because I won't be strumming random pointless noises, I'll be strumming an identifiable tune.I either play rhythm along with a track, or if I don't have the track, simply chord/strum & hum the tune to myself.
Would it be completely stupid to jump ahead and try lesson 20 "Tangled up in blue"? I really like that song at the moment and thought if you had a song you really liked and would love to play, as opposed to a song you don't know, maybe it would help you move forwardMost books/instructors say not to, on the other hand, some encourage it if you feel you are ready. I never had a problem with jumping ahead to a particular song/riff/solo, if I especially liked it & felt it was within my grasp.

Whatever you do, have fun with it! May you have a very productive weekend! :D


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(@wasted_dreams)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 17
Topic starter  

Whatever you do, have fun with it! May you have a very productive weekend! :D

Thanks katmetal :D


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