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Guitar help

  1. #1
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Guitar help


    Long story short, my dad gave me one of his guitars over Thanksgiving. I wasn't expecting that, and if there weren't some personal reasons I probably wouldn't have taken it. He was excited that I took it and expects me to play. Honestly, I am intrigued. I took piano lessons as a kid, was in the band through high school, etc. I know little to nothing about playing guitar, he gave me a couple starter books and showed me a few things. I feel lost. I've looked through the book, played a few lessons, and am getting into this. I know there are some guys here in the know so thought I'd ask what is best to move forward.
    1. SHould I continue with the books and get a lesson once I get the hang of things?
    2. Get a lesson now to have someone show me the basics so I don't get bad habits?
    3. Fuck it, put the guitar in the case and under the bed, don't waste your time.

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  2. #2
    TRACK RAT!!!!! Pigman's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    If it was me......#3 or put it on Display as art in your house. I have tried to play and its just not in the cards for me LOLOL

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  3. #3
    Lifer Pittenger5's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    I learned by playing tab. But Im not very good, and I have no interest in writing/performing, I just like playing along to songs. So it worked for me.

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  4. #4
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    If you really want to learn while also enjoying it, find some friends to jam with. That's how I learned to play bass. I'm still not good, but I actually enjoy it.

    I despise lessons.

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  5. #5
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    How much time do you have to dedicate? If you want to be able play it takes a metric shit ton of time and effort (or everyone would be doing it right?).

    If you're going to commit find a good instructor now, don't wait.

    If you just want to bang out a few chords have at it with the books and some YouTube lessons. Just don't expect to rip, and realize that improvement comes painfully slow.

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  6. #6
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Not sure where exactly "MoonTown" but my best friend owns a music store in central CT. They specialize in lessons, all their instructors have degrees in music.
    Middlesex Music Academy | Where Music Matters

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    -Matt

  7. #7
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    I agree with Iglu and Gixxer, playing with people is one of the best natural highs, and it will motivate you to practice. It takes a lifetime, just like any complex activity, You never stop learning.

    I have found a cool teacher who uses a community approach. Not private lessons, focus on playing with people, and creates that group of people to jam with through the classes. Kind of the best of both worlds.

    One thing I have learned is that practicing often is more important than practicing for long hours.

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    Paul_E_D


  8. #8
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    That's what I've been told, practicing daily for shorter stints is better than hours one or two days a week.
    I don't expect to go on tour after the first of the year, I'm familiar with learning instruments and I know it takes a long time. I just want to get to the point of playing for myself reasonably. Jamming with people isn't an option until I can at least get some basics down. I just was curious about whether lessons were a good idea or not. I've been looking through youtube and found some good information. I think I am going to run with that until I hit a plateau.
    A friend of mine's son is currently at Berklee for guitar right now. I might see him over the holidays, I'll get some pointers from him. I just don't want him laughing at me, he's pretty good.

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  9. #9
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Youtube is a goldmine. Instructors have free content, or subscription based. That could be all you need for a while.

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    Paul_E_D


  10. #10
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    If he's at Berklee he is very, very accomplished.

    Ive been playing guitar for 35 years and get around on it ok...if you feel like driving to Southwick I'd be happy to show you some stuff for free. I think a watchful eye and a little instruction at first, to see where you are at with fundamentals and get you a solid foundation, would be a good idea before ingraining bad habits with the nearly unlimited instruction available online.

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  11. #11
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    That's what I've been told, practicing daily for shorter stints is better than hours one or two days a week.
    I don't expect to go on tour after the first of the year, I'm familiar with learning instruments and I know it takes a long time. I just want to get to the point of playing for myself reasonably. Jamming with people isn't an option until I can at least get some basics down. I just was curious about whether lessons were a good idea or not. I've been looking through youtube and found some good information. I think I am going to run with that until I hit a plateau.
    A friend of mine's son is currently at Berklee for guitar right now. I might see him over the holidays, I'll get some pointers from him. I just don't want him laughing at me, he's pretty good.
    A couple lessons now would be invaluable. Find someone expert in the style you want to play. Bad habits/technique can cripple your playing and take years to overcome. Once you get fundamentals in place you can take off on any number of self learning opportunities (YouTube). If you already play something else you should have an advantage with timing and structure.
    Your Berklee connect sounds like an awesome opportunity to get started the right way. Good luck!!

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  12. #12
    Posting Freak BSR6's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    This is pretty much a rundown of things already said, but it's the advice I would give regardless of the previous posts...

    • YouTube is your best resource to getting oriented
    • Start with cords
    • Practice often (not necessarily long)
    • Learn to read tablature (it's really easy) so you can learn songs you like.
    • Play with others.



    As you start out remember...Pick down!!! Always pick down!!! Eventually you will learn alternate picking and the basic building block is picking down.

    I've been playing guitar since I was 10. I unfortunately developed the bad habit of picking up when I was young and it took me years to overcome. Once I got over that hump things changed drastically. Picking up my possibly be the worst habit you can develop.

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    Last edited by BSR6; 11-29-16 at 12:44 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Guitar help

    Sub'ed I just picked up my first guitar and I need the tips.

    Thanks to all that already posted good stuff.

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  14. #14
    Lifer wiggeywackyo's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Everything that's been said thus far is good.

    Take a few lessons from someone good to learn good habits. Go to YouTube and really suck it up. Once you plateau, go to someone good and get more lessons.

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  15. #15
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    One other thing...
    Bring the guitar to an established setup guy and get it set up. If it's not set up well (if the action is high for example) it will be quite a bit tougher to play.

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  16. #16
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Mike View Post
    One other thing...
    Bring the guitar to an established setup guy and get it set up. If it's not set up well (if the action is high for example) it will be quite a bit tougher to play.
    +1

    I know someone close to you. Highly recommended. Does good work on all sorts of stringed things.

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  17. #17
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Mike View Post
    Bring the guitar to an established setup guy and get it set up.
    Suspension first, then brakes, then... wait, what are we talking about?

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  18. #18
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Mike View Post
    One other thing...
    Bring the guitar to an established setup guy and get it set up. If it's not set up well (if the action is high for example) it will be quite a bit tougher to play.
    Great point. A couple others for newbs:

    1. Learn the proper way to hold the instrument. Find a body position that allows you to be loose and relaxed. Tension is a fucking killer, especially with your picking hand. Pay attention to your arms, neck, shoulders and recognize tension building - it WILL happen.
    2. Choke up on the pick unless you're strumming chords.
    3. Like racing, play slow and correctly or you'll never play fast and clean. Buy a metronome. As you get better jam with a drummer.
    4. Keep it fun and don't get hung up comparing yourself to others. Nobody in this world has picked up a guitar and threw down Eruption on day 1.

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  19. #19
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Nice man, it's SO rewarding to pick up even a few basic things and string a jam together.

    I dabbled with guitar for years, even have a couple. Almost never play but I know a handful of chords and scales, which is enough to play around and have some fun. If I'm feeling real lazy I can tune my Fender to Drop D and just wail on power chords all day.

    Guitar never really hooked me like piano though. Never played music as a kid but finally got myself a keyboard 6-7 years ago. Like many things in my life I'm basically self-taught. I have a very hard time learning from others and/or in a structured environment. A lot of people will insist that you need lessons, but it really comes down to your learning style. One thing that lessons would have aided with is avoiding bad habits - hand position, stuff like that. That probably applies to guitar as much as piano, and it's one great reason to look at lessons if you can jive with the teacher/student format.

    At first I barely knew what a C major was, so I picked up a few "intro to piano" books. Never made it past the first few pages. Jeeebus those lessons are boring. So I printed out a bunch of scales and just started playing around. Then quickly decided I just need to learn an actual song and not "chopsticks". I decided on Beethoven's "Für Elise", printed out the sheet music, then... well I couldn't read sheet music so I had to figure that part out. Since there was no way I could "sight read" sheet music, I would slowly interpret about a measure at a time, then just sit and practice. A few hours a night, a few nights a week, and almost a year later I could finally play the entire piece. Absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences of my life hitting those final chords after nearly a year of practice, wow! I felt I was ready to learn something a little more challenging, and absolutely worship Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, so I found the sheet music and got started. About six months later I could finally play the piece to finish. Not masterfully, by any means, but at that time probably the crowning achievement of my personal life This vid was shortly after I learned it, still very rough at that point, but I have proof haha:



    I know... boring classical music I moved into some Rachmaninoff and a few other pieces over the next couple years, but sadly drifted away as family/career and other interests started to take over (um, motorcycles?). I still tap the keys now and then, but have decided to get to the next level takes so much effort it'll be a perfect hobby for retirement.

    Anyway, getting a little overzealous about my own experience, but I really want to drive home that you CAN teach yourself, but...

    1. The only reason I survived those miserable hours of practice, picking through sheet music, and being bored out of my skull is because of the feeling I got when I actually nailed it. If an instrument doesn't really light a fire in your heart & soul, you'll really struggle to ever learn. Because it takes work. Lots of it.
    2. Practicing every day for short periods is THE way. We're talking motor memory here, and after every practice session you need to sleep and let your brain do it's brainy stuff and encode all that new information. I would literally see a marked difference after a 1-2 hour practice, then 4-5 hours of sleep.
    3. Set an achievable goal, but not so low that you completely lose interest. This totally depends on the person, but for me... all of the intro-level pieces that people recommended just made me want to gag and I never would have progressed going that route.
    4. Have fun and jam. For every few hours of actual practice, I'd just play around for a few hours too. Too much structure practice you forget to just have fun sometimes.


    I don't know if that's any help AT ALL but there it is. I'll probably always suck at guitar but it's still fun to strum sometimes.

    I believe almost everyone has the ability to learn on their own, but we're constantly being told it's a bad idea, and we're raised to depend on others to learn anything. Nothing at all against the traditional approach, but I wanted to share my experience because it is possible to teach yourself, have fun and make progress without paying a bunch of money for lessons or waiting for someone else to help you fix a flaw in your technique, get through a challenging piece, etc. If you enjoy playing, start with some basics and pick a song that's not too easy (but not too hard) then just start working on it. Good luck!!

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  20. #20
    Lifer FirstDuc-1098's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Petorius View Post
    Suspension first, then brakes, then... wait, what are we talking about?
    yea, change a couple words in each of these postings and we've got a pretty good thread on getting into racing and getting better

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    Shit Corey says:
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    I think that a smooth motor would help me be a bit smoother

  21. #21
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    As you can see, there's a gazillion different approaches.
    I'm largely self taught, the rest I picked up along the way, mostly from playing with people.
    A tab/chord book is a good place to start, or making a binder from tabs you print online. Find some easy songs to fumble through. Old Dylan and Neil Young are great simple places to start.
    I make it a point to hold a guitar and just noodle around a little for like 10min a day. Mostly to keep my fingertips calused, but it's pretty therapeutic too. It drives my wife bananas that I can watch tv and plunk along, but that's how I prefer to check out for a few.
    Enjoy.
    And ask any more questions you have.

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  22. #22
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky Mike View Post
    One other thing...
    Bring the guitar to an established setup guy and get it set up. If it's not set up well (if the action is high for example) it will be quite a bit tougher to play.
    The guitar is pretty set up now, dad had that done when he bought it a couple years ago. If I continue with it, I'll have someone look it over again in a year or so. It seems like a nice instrument, Taylor T5Z, probably never play to its potential.

    Iglu, if you could shoot me that contact to have on file, that would be great. Thanks.

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  23. #23
    Member VTRumble's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    I bought an electric guitar about 20 years ago with plans of lessons etc., but got lazy and never followed through. Fast forward about 15 years and a guy at work kept an old acoustic acoustic there and would play a bit during the day, he showed me some chords and let me use it whenever I wanted. I ended up finding a decent used one for myself and brought it to work, learned a ton just screwing around, but I'm way to impatient for lessons - I need to learn a song quick or I lose interest, doesn't even need to be a complete song, just something recognizable. Youtube is full of step by step lessons, this is a great site too: Justin Guitar | Free Guitar Lessons like others have said,get a decent tuner, and don't overdo it and get aggravated, you'll be sour on it for a while and not enjoy it. I know I'll never be great at it but it can be pretty relaxing once you get to know some chords and can play something besides tab.

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  24. #24
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Oh yeah, one other thing: it can be like snowboarding, tests your resolve a bit at first (lol) but if you stick with it just a liiiiiittttle while, it's all downhill from there. Lotsa people give up after two weeks, who if they just stuck with it for a month would probably enjoy playing for life.

    It's a shit-ton rewarding and most anyone can do it to a level that's fun if they put in the effort, so consider setting your mind to stick to it for a little while. Once you get it, you don't have to practice incessantly to keep it, but on the other hand, you probably will (practice/play a lot) because it's fun. Commit to learning chords G, C, and D, so you can play them without looking, with no buzzing strings and switch fairly easy between them. Then, you are over the hump, can jam with people or at least play along with some records, and things will take off.

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  25. #25
    Resident Turkey Tricky Mike's Avatar
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    Re: Guitar help

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    The guitar is pretty set up now, dad had that done when he bought it a couple years ago. If I continue with it, I'll have someone look it over again in a year or so. It seems like a nice instrument, Taylor T5Z, probably never play to its potential.

    Iglu, if you could shoot me that contact to have on file, that would be great. Thanks.
    Nice guitar.
    Keep it in its case when you're not playing it and get a cheap-o case humidifier (and keep it full of water). As much as you might be tempted, don't hang it on a wall. It's no bueno for acoustic gitfiddles.

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