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11/22/2017 10:05:29 PM
Posted: 10/10/2004 8:20:13 PM EST
Hi and thanks for looking.
I'm 20, I can speak three languages fluently, but I can't play a single instrument. I can't even read sheet music! I really think it's a shame. I'm thinking about teaching myself how to play the acoustic guitar.
I don't want to play anything hard rock style and I specially don't want to start my own garage band. But I was listening to the acoustic version of "Laid" by James, and I think I really would want to able to do that.
Anyway, here are my questions: How difficult would it be to teach yourself? Specially for someone who has no musical experience whatsoever. What kind of guitar should I look into (college student budget). What kind of books/websites to learn from.

Any input is appreciated.
Thank you.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 8:24:03 PM EST
I taught myself. It's easier if you have friends who play but definitely not impossible. Go get a decent Epiphone or Ibanez solid top acoustic for 2-300 bucks. It should serve you well for a while and if you decide to stick with it step up to something really nice. Try some out and see which one feels best to you. If you are in college, you should be able to find someone to help you learn pretty easily. Preferrably and nubile young female.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 8:24:57 PM EST
tabs
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 8:58:31 PM EST
You are in Gainsville right?
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:05:35 PM EST
You can also check out pawn shops. take the guitar down and look at the neck ( the head is where the tuners are) . Turn the guitar so your now looking at the side of it. Now look at the strings. If they are far above the neck (1/2 is way too high!) then the neck is probably warped. Take a look at the bridge. The place just before the strings go into the guitar. See if the strings are sitting in "grooves" made by the strings. If you have to loosen the strings by using the tuners and lifting up on the strings to see the "groove" . If you see them the sound will be flat and not clear. The pins (where the strings go into the guitar) should be snug and look where the strings and pins meet. If the strings are cutting there way into the guitar then it will never sound right. It can be fixed but if not done right as anything it will have to be done again. And THAT part isn't easy. Go check out new guitars also. They will give you an idea of what feels good to you and will sound how they are suposed to. Guitar playing is one of my favorite things to do. I've been playing for about 15 yeras and still really enjoy it. Good luck and keep us posted. Take care.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:12:57 PM EST
Does it have to be guitar??

Bass! just as cool (If not BETTER) as guitar except you are not a dime a dozen AND pretty easy.

Lots of video tapes and DVD's to help you out. I learned slap style bass from a Louis Johnson video and when I play the stuff he shows on the tape... friends go "Holy Shit!!!'

Tabs as DeadSled said, is a VERY easy way to learn. That is another avenue. Just wait and see how easy it is and when you can play the bassline from "Money" by Pink Floyd... you will be saying HOLY SHIT as well.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:13:17 PM EST
You can teach yourself, but I do not recommend it. There are certain basic techniques you need to know. It's kind of like lifting weights: anyone can do it, but if you don't learn the proper technique early on, you can injure yourself. With the guitar, I think if you do not know the basic techniques, you risk reaching a quick plateau as far as your ability to play.

Since you are a college student, perhaps your school offers basic guitar lessons? If not, you might try taking lessons from some of the guitar majors over in the music dept. They are always looking for money and I would suspect they charge a lot less than private instructors.

Now, if all you are interested in is strumming chords, then you can get by with being self-taught. But if you are interested in the more advanced styles, you really need a teacher.

I have been playing guitar for almost 30 years and I wish I had had the money to afford to good teacher back when I started. It took me years to unlearn the bad technique I learned from being self-taught.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:14:49 PM EST
I taught myself starting with nothing but grandpa's old electric and a cassette tape of my favorite songs. I was shown how to tune the thing, and just started picking out notes. That was a tough way to go, but it worked for me. I never bothered with lessons except to give them (since I'd spent my money on expensive gear ).

If taking lessons isn't your thing, start with a basic chord book. Or look for some free tutorial software. However you do it, learn some basic chords and learn how to strum some simple songs. Then pick a tune you like and either find the sheet music (the chord sequence and fingerings will often be noted) or better yet, pick out the chords by ear. The latter method is obviously tougher, but invaluable to training your ear.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:18:18 PM EST
Admit it, you want to strum old liberal hippy songs on the guitar and sing along with the liberal hippy chicks to get laid.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:20:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/10/2004 9:20:46 PM EST by DrFrige]

Originally Posted By the:
I taught myself starting with nothing but grandpa's old electric and a cassette tape of my favorite songs. I was shown how to tune the thing, and just started picking out notes. That was a tough way to go, but it worked for me. I never bothered with lessons except to give them (since I'd spent my money on expensive gear ).

If taking lessons isn't your thing, start with a basic chord book. Or look for some free tutorial software. However you do it, learn some basic chords and learn how to strum some simple songs. Then pick a tune you like and either find the sheet music (the chord sequence and fingerings will often be noted) or better yet, pick out the chords by ear. The latter method is obviously tougher, but invaluable to training your ear.

Good luck.



LOVE the Avatar! EDDIE!!! taught myself almost ALL of Steve Harris' bass lines. He is DEFINITELY one of THE BEST Bass players out there.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 9:22:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By mattja:
You can teach yourself, but I do not recommend it.



You must be a guitar teacher.

Seriously, I think everyone's different. Some of the most amazing guitarists I've ever seen are self-taught. Others do well with instruction. Just depends on your personality I think. Some people have a knack for figuring things out, some need guidance to avoid common pitfalls.

I never had a lesson, and I can keep up with the best of them. But, there's nothing wrong with lessons.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 10:59:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By swingset:

Originally Posted By mattja:
You can teach yourself, but I do not recommend it.



You must be a guitar teacher.



No, I never had the patience or the time.



Seriously, I think everyone's different. Some of the most amazing guitarists I've ever seen are self-taught. Others do well with instruction. Just depends on your personality I think. Some people have a knack for figuring things out, some need guidance to avoid common pitfalls.

I never had a lesson, and I can keep up with the best of them. But, there's nothing wrong with lessons.



There are certain styles that require proper technique. Perhaps not in the rock and roll and pop worlds, but when you get into any of the so-called "serious" styles, it's difficult to become proficient without learning proper technique and the theory behind music.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 11:04:22 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/11/2004 9:27:32 PM EST by m_jacobs_wife]
The fellow poster before me owns a Gibson Les Paul guitar. COOL!
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 2:47:18 AM EST
I taught myself with a couple of good beginners books I found at a music store. Also, there are a few good sites that post tablature music for guitar, like olga.com and tabcrawler.com. If you have a good ear for music you'll start picking out the keys from listening to music after you learn the chord shapes.
Have fun!
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 6:36:36 AM EST
tabulature is your friend, no need to read sheet music with guitar, just use websites like Harmony Central.comharmony-central.com

it just takes a little time every day for practice
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 6:39:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/11/2004 6:41:47 AM EST by BeetleBailey]
I taught myself in a few months, but I had theory training before that.

1. buy a CHEAP guitar (you can get one for $30 on ebay)
2. practice with beginner's books from Mel Bay or someone similar until you decide go/no-go
3. from there, you can start investing into your hobby, or move on to try something else

ETA - my experiences with other musical noobies has been that you can tell pretty much right from the start who has got, and who never will get it depending on the progression in the first series of attempts.
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 6:42:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By DeadSled:
tabs



... ain't the same as reading music. It'll get you by, but it's not the same.

As far as learning to play the guitar, I've been playing for 17 years now and I'm self-taught for the most part. You can teach yourself, but I highly reccomend taking lessons from a qualified instructor. A teacher can answer questions, correct poor technique (tendinitis is not fun), and show you tricks that you would be hard pressed to get from a book and/or CD. If you want to learn completely on your own, I'd go with a software multimedia package, since you get audio and video. But nothing beats a good teacher.

Another important thing to do is make sure you get good equipment. Tone is important with any instrument, and unfortunately there are a lot of cheap instruments out there that sound like crap.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 7:11:10 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/11/2004 7:12:00 AM EST by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 7:15:04 AM EST
TJ, that's a good point that I forgot to mention. I had a hard time playing with others when I first started because I was self taught. And all I knew was the first parts of songs but gave up on the harder parts I didn't know or couldn't play. One of the best things you can do when starting out is finding other people who are better than you and playing along with them. When I was in college I had no end of jamming buddies who just wanted to hang out and play.

Now, when I learn someone elses song, I learn the complete song as best as one person can play it. There's nothing wrong with knowing a few licks, but when that's all you know it's horrible. I'd be a much better player today if I had more formal instruction when I started.

Remember the Alamo, and God Bless Texas...
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 7:33:08 AM EST
+1 on getting a teacher for a few intro lessons to get you pointed in the right direction

Link Posted: 10/11/2004 7:47:14 AM EST
Go with the teacher.

You will learn faster- and achieve a higher level of play.

I taught myself; using books/tapes 30 years ago.

My kid is teaching himself (he hates my pick'in).

He is surpassing me 10X

I love my guitar.

You'll never regret it.
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 10:28:48 AM EST

[/The biggest problem people who are self taught have is meter or the beat. It's almost impossible to jam with them for they can't speed up or slow down to follow the group. They either go off on their own, want to lead, or get hopelessly lost. They also tend to lack flexibility in switching keys or simplifying so that you can jam.b]



Some of the best advice I've heard about leaning the guitar yet! I picked up my first ax in 1990, traded a big hunting knife for it to a guy heading out to Desert Storm. I 'taught' myself while waiting for my F-15 to come back...some of those missions were more than 7 hrs long and I had plenty of time on my hands. I am one of those newbies who only learned a few lines to favorite tunes, and it IRRITATES THE HELL OUT OF ME!
I never learned any kind of chord progression, and playing with other people is pretty much a futile effort for exactly the reasons listed in the previous post...I get lost easily, I mess up the tempo and I have no idea how to change keys to suit other styles/voices. I started playing for personal enjoyment, but quickly lost interest. I picked up my guitar about 3x/week, but it's the same old crap every time. I recently (within the last 2 years) started playing with a VERY understanding neighbor friend, and in these last 2 yrs, I've learned more than in the 10 years prior. I'm not suggesting to go drop a bunch of money on lessons for the sake of lessons...I'm saying that to really get good quickly, find some like minded people to jam with and pay attention to the people who know what they're doing. It REALLY HELPS!
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 2:50:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/11/2004 2:50:39 PM EST by Lockedon]
Thanks for all the imput so far!!!
What do you guys thing of this for a beginner?

www.musiciansstorehouse.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AC76&Product_Code=JG610PP
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 2:53:10 PM EST
take up fishing instead.

Link Posted: 10/11/2004 3:12:17 PM EST
Since you have no musical experience at all, I'd recommend taking lessons, at least at first. I'm self taught also, but I come from a family of musicians, and I played saxophone for a while in elementary school band.
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 3:23:46 PM EST
If you dont have the cash for lessons (which I recommend)...do the next best thing..make a friend that plays. Learning from and/or with a friend makes it a lot of fun, you will be really into it, and it costs nothing. I agree with some other posters that there are certain skills you need to learn....and you can probabaly only learn them from sitting with someone that already knows how to play. Start out by learning a basic major scale...then learn at least one chord in each key....at the very least you can play a rythym then.

If you are just looking for a beginner guitar..you can get something cheap for probably around $100....but understand it will be crap and probabaly wont stay in tune very well.....a good guitar is an investment....and through the years I have learned that I play better with better gear. When the gear sounds good....I sound good...and that is motivating.


Good luck with whatever you choose - if you go it alone, scoop up a good book of scales, and a book of chords. Also a good idea to practice your scales with a metronome.

Enjoy
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 3:32:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lockedon:
Thanks for all the imput so far!!!
What do you guys thing of this for a beginner?

www.musiciansstorehouse.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AC76&Product_Code=JG610PP

You can do way better than that . I have some friends in the Gainesville area that might be able to take you under the wing so to speak and help you get set up with a good starter guitar . Hence the reason for asking if you are in Gainesville.

I would also recommend taking some lessons . Learning theory is tough on your own , but once you figure it out the rest is pretty much a cake walk .
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 6:42:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lockedon:
Thanks for all the imput so far!!!
What do you guys thing of this for a beginner?

www.musiciansstorehouse.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AC76&Product_Code=JG610PP



Check out www.musiciansfriend.com/, I've used them in the past with no problems. Check their specials and sratch and dent stuff. Don't really buy anything other than a name brand, not worth the hassles. Expect to spend a minimum of $200 for something decent as well. Life's to short for piece of crap off brand musical equipment.
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 6:45:29 PM EST
Get lessons. Trust me. Play bass, too. Chicks dig it. Plus, guitarists are everywhere, good bassists are not.
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 2:57:39 AM EST
I'd buy a used guitar. You get more for your money.

Look around for one with a solid top. Check out seagull, the taylor big baby.


You should be able to find something like this that will be MUCH more playable and better sounding than the $99 chinese shitbox you posted a link to.

Examples:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2385&item=3750337245&rd=1

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2385&item=3750065665&rd=1

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2385&item=3753658168&rd=1

Link Posted: 10/12/2004 4:03:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 4:10:54 AM EST by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 10/12/2004 5:41:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/12/2004 5:59:26 AM EST by MikeS369]
"There are certain styles that require proper technique. Perhaps not in the rock and roll and pop worlds, but when you get into any of the so-called "serious" styles, it's difficult to become proficient without learning proper technique and the theory behind music."

You're kidding right? You mean playing things like Via, Satriani, Lynch (and many more rock guitar players) play don't require proper technique? Come on. You must be a jazz guy.

I'd suggest learning on an electric. It's much easier on the hands, greater tonal variation and just much more fun to play than an acoustic. Although acoustics such as Martin and Taylor are damn fine instruments. Especially the Taylors. I like those a lot but you are talking big bucks for the better ones.

But one thing you should be aware of is you get what you pay for. Spend $200 on a new guitar and I can just about guarantee you it will be junk. Since you are new to this I would not spend too much on your equipment you may decide it's not for you. I think you can probably get a decent setup for $500 or $600. Seems like a lot but if you stick with it you will end up spending a 100 times that amount over your lifetime.

Find a good teacher. You will learn quicker and avoid developing bad habits that limit your ability. Practice at least 30 minutes a day and in time you will get the hang of it. Oh, and if you do decide to do this learn how to sweep pick.
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