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Learn To Play Guitar?


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Learn To Play Guitar?
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Kraetos
Lovable Bastard
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Boston-ish
 
2008-06-15, 00:49

I'd really like to learn to play guitar. It seems like a really relaxing thing to be able to do. My Dad plays and he just bought a new guitar so I asked I could have his old one. So now I have this guitar and I don't know where to start.

Can anyone recommend some books or websites to get me started?

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope
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Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2008-06-15, 01:22

If it were me, I'd get a tuner before much else. No point in figuring out chords and such if your guitar is tuned all wrong. There's a friend of mine who knows more about guitars than God, and he claims Korg are the best, but I've never tested that theory. Other than that, everyone learns differently. I favor the one-on-one approach of a private instructor, but others learn better in a classroom setting or with the "whatever I can find on the internet" method.
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Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2008-06-15, 01:26

I take it back, there is one more piece of advice I have. As much as possible, learn songs through the liberal use of the pause and rewind buttons, rather than just looking up the tabs online. I'm not saying don't ever look it up, just try to keep that to a minimum. It'll help your ears develop.
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atomicbartbeans
reticulating your mom
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2008-06-15, 07:43

Yeah... I don't know shit about guitars, but I learned a few neat songs by listening to them carefully and printing off the tab.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2008-06-15, 08:46

I began playing before "tabs" came into vogue, so mine was just all ear and listening. I'm glad that was the case, because 25+ years later, I think I can "hear" stuff - and anticipate things better - than many younger people (or even guys my age) who did the straight tabs, rote "lick learning" and Internet-based stuff.

It's funny...I'll watch guitarists who post videos of themselves on YouTube. Some are really good and fun to watch. And I read through the comments and, without fail, there will always be someone who'll post "dude, you got a tab for that?" and I'm always like "it's right there in front of you! You can hear it, and you can see both of his hands...learn it, goober! I wish I had such a cool, 'in your face' tool when I was 13. You've got a video, with sound...what the hell do you want with a 'tab'? Get off your ass and use your head, and ears, a bit..."



Train that ear. Learn songs (structured, chord-changing songs...not endless "riffs" in E minor or blues vamping in A). There's nothing better than an ear that can hear (and anticipate) changes, can tell a major from a minor chord (and where something's going, based on the tension or build). I'll hear a song, to this day, on the radio - something I've never heard - and within a verse and a chorus, I've already got the structure in my head (and sometimes the key...E and G just "sound" a certain way to me, and I can often tell those, or anchor off that and realize "okay, he's in C...".

Learn songs, learn chords. Get your left hand to the point where you can change chords and shapes without thinking (otherwise, what's the point?). Don't be a noodler. Walk before you run. I probably "played" for a solid 2-3 years (starting at 11 or 12) before it really dawned on me to attempt licks and leads and solos. I was having such a good time playing complete Beatle (and Buddy Holly...no, seriously!) songs - the chords and so forth - that I was in no hurry to get into Harrison's licks until I felt like I had a nice foundation and platform. And you know what? It was easier then, and it meant something because the notes and patterns made some sort of sense to me, based on the chords they were riding on. That's when it all began to "click" for me, about 3-4 years into playing, around the time I turned 15 or so.

The world doesn't need any more shredders and noodlers who know nothing other than disjointed "hot licks". Those things are fine, but if you can't sit, with an acoustic guitar and no effects or distortion, and play a simple Van Morrison or Tom Petty song for friends or a chick, nobody's gonna care. Nobody wants to sit and listen to someone endlessly wank around on the 14th fret. But you whip out "Into the Mystic" or "The Waiting" - and it sounds like the record and the way everyone knows it - you're halfway there, and everyone instantly kinda digs you.

"Do you know 'The Joker'? 'Cecelia'? What about 'Allison Road'?"

"Well, as a matter of fact...".

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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2008-06-15, 18:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
If it were me, I'd get a tuner before much else. No point in figuring out chords and such if your guitar is tuned all wrong. There's a friend of mine who knows more about guitars than God, and he claims Korg are the best, but I've never tested that theory. Other than that, everyone learns differently. I favor the one-on-one approach of a private instructor, but others learn better in a classroom setting or with the "whatever I can find on the internet" method.
If you want the best tuner available to consumers on the market, then you need the Peterson StroboStomp Tuner, which is accurate to 0.04 cents (read: far more accurate than you will ever need). They have a whole line of products that work with acoustic instruments, software tuner plugins and more. Of course, they are expensive so your friend could probably go with the $20 CA-30 Korg with no ill effects.

As far as learning websites, there are some great places to check out:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/ <-- has good starting guitar & bass lessons, as well as basic western music theory (how to derive major/minor scales, modes, CAGED technique, etc.)
http://acapella.harmony-central.com <-- Internet musicians forum.

There are literally thousands of websites containing TAB, lessons, video demonstrations and more. Just Google "Guitar Lessons" and you'll be well on your way.

The thing is it will take determination to learn on your own without an instructor kicking your @$$ on a regular basis. It can be done but I like interacting regularly with someone who's forgotten more about music than I could hope to know.
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Swox
OK Mr. Sunshine!
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Toronto
 
2008-06-16, 05:16

I'd recommend at least some lessons from a classical, flamenco or jazz guitar teacher so you can learn proper technique. If you take lessons from your typical basement of a guitar shop teacher (no offense to them), they'll likely not correct common mistakes like wrapping your thumbs all the way around the neck to the low-E string (sorry, Jimmy, it's bad technique, no matter how awesome you were).

I like using tabs, personally, and I can play by ear about as well as anyone else I know. But then the songs I learn tend to have some pretty weird chords in them, so it's more about saving time than anything else.

Hope you enjoy your new instrument!

Do not be oppressed by the forces of ignorance and delusion! But rise up now with resolve and courage! Entranced by ignorance, from beginningless time until now, You have had more than enough time to sleep. So do not slumber any longer, but strive after virtue with body, speech, and mind!
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Dave
Ninja Editor
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bay Area, CA
 
2008-06-16, 11:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinMacFiend View Post
Of course, they are expensive so your friend could probably go with the $20 CA-30 Korg with no ill effects.
I think that was my buddy's point.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2008-06-16, 12:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
I think that was my buddy's point.
It may have been his point that a cheapy Korg would work, but I was debating his assertion that Korg tuners are the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave
There's a friend of mine who knows more about guitars than God, and he claims Korg are the best, but I've never tested that theory.
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Yontsey
*AD SPACE FOR SALE*
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2008-06-16, 13:23

The best way to learn guitar is to just sit down with one and try and jam every day. I'm self taught and it was grueling and slightly disappointing at first but I got much better over time.

Playing with other people who are better then you is great too because you can pick up little tips and such.

I'd recommend learning scales first. I still don't know them as well as I should, but ohwell. Hell, I didn't even know chords the first 2 years I played. I sorta take that back, I knew how to play chords but I didn't know the names and all the fancy stuff. I was and still am real raw on guitar.

As far as tuners go, definitely buy one. Korg's are not bad. I have a pocket one that I sometimes use, but I mainly use my Boss tuner pedal in my pedal board.

bassplayinMacFiend recommend the Harmony-Central website and I will second that site. I'm a daily visitor there. They have a great forum section that I'm on all the time. The "marketplace" section they have has a lot of diversity in there and I've bought and sold through there. I visit the recording forum too to get new ideas and tips. Their review section is great too. I also visit www.ultimate-guitar.com. It's a tab website, but they have a lot of good lessons there and a good forum as well.

I might have missed it, but is your guitar electric or acoustic? Either way, I'd recommend getting some new strings right off the bat.

If it's acoustic I'd recommend:
Elixar polyweb
D'Addario's
- These are the only two I use. They're a lil pricy ($15?) but they last forever and have a great feel and sound.

If it's electric, I only play with Ernie Ball Super Slinky's.

Let us know if you have any other questions or need hardware advice. There's several of us music buffs running around this neck of the woods.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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charlesbrooke
 
 
2008-09-09, 02:23

If you are thinking of playing folk or country music it's probably easiest to start by learning chords and strumming. Also take this approach if you're not sure what you want to do on guitar. You can play a really easy song reasonably well in a week and can be playing effectively in less than a year.

Some good chords to start with are G, C, D, Am, Em, Am7, D7.

After you can play 5-10 chords, you can start practicing scales.

About 6 months in, it's time to really focus on getting a steady beat and then playing more interesting rhythms. Playing a steady beat is much harder than it seems so don't start with that (unless you're a drummer or something).

If you are inspired to learn guitar because of guitar players you've seen, it's a good idea to watch what they do (hopefully you can get some video of them) and try to do the same things yourself. This is more fun than learning from a book, although you can do that too.

Oh, and I almost forgot: If you want to play guitar well you have to have a strong grip in both hands. Get a foam grip exerciser (made especially for guitarists, under $5) and squeeze it for about 5 minutes a day. This makes more of a difference than the 1 hour of practicing you do.

Resources :
About.com - Beginner Guitar Lesson Archive
Expertvillage.com - Videos OnLearn the Math of an A-Minor Guitar Chord
Learn Various Guitars and Rythems
Also you can find teaching Guitar for beginners on YouTube, and if you have iTunes, there are plenty of Podcasts which you can learn from.


Good Luck.
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2008-09-09, 07:51

I'm in the group of 'don't bother with the hand exerciser'. Do you want to exercise the muscles used when playing guitar? Then play guitar! Your fingers will get strong where they need to be strong and stay limber and flexible where they need to be.
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