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Posted: 6/16/2003 7:41:29 AM EDT
Is it really all that difficult to learn to play guitar? What's the best guitar to get in order to learn to play? Acoustic, electric, new, used, brand, 6-string, 12-string? What are the best books/tapes/courses? With reasonable practice, how long until you can strum a decent tune? (I said decent, not jam like Eddie Van Halen!) Looking for a new hobby. Don't know how to read music, BTW... Help appreciated.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 8:26:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2003 8:32:12 AM EDT by chriss1069]
I am by no means an expert, but I have been messing around with guitars for a year or two. It is not too difficult to learn...but you must practice....practice...practice. It was pretty frustrating at first...but once I started to get down the basics...it was easier and my enthusiasm also got higher. A friend of mine gave me an electric guitar and I bought an amp for it. He also taught me several basic cords. I learned some other cords from a 'learn to play guitar book'. This got really boring pretty quick, so I started buying guitar mags and practicing some of the songs they would show. I could only play the TAB...not read music. TAB is pretty easy to read..basically they show you where to put your fingers and on what fret to play the song. After messing around with TAB and a few basic cords, I started to learn scales. I practiced maybe once a week or so. It all comes down to practice and working on your finger flexibility and coordination. Depending on how serious you are, you can try to learn from some books, or get formal lessons. I would at least have someone show me the basics like tuning, proper holding and finger placement etc.... I am still no Eddie V., and probably far from it. But I can now listen to certain songs and figure out their cords...that is pretty rewarding. It is even better when you can actually play them correctly using the TAB...which by the way..may or may not be the actual way the artist plays it. Some of the songs in the mags are interpretations...they are very close and sound great...but might differ from the actual sheet music. I personally like playing the electric guitar over an acoustic...for me it is just easier and allows the dual functionality of acoustic or using the amp with effects pedals. I still do not think that there is any replacement though to an actual acoustic guitar when it comes to sound. You could also get an electric acoustic to play through and amp either acoustically to amplify the sound or electrically with effects. It really depends if you plan on using an amp and what type of music you want to play. I like the versatility of the electric...but it always requires the amp if you want to really hear what your playing. The action on the elecetric (ease of fingering the strings) seems easier than an acoustic...but I have never played a high end acoustic either...just my amateur 2 cents... ps - you should be able to strum a toon in a few weeks with resonable practice
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 8:26:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 8:29:01 AM EDT
This one dropped quick... Anyway, I'm not an expert on guitars - but I've been able to read music since 6th grade. Do you want to be good enough to play in a band or do you just want to do something in your spare time (like me)? I got bored real quick with the acoustic and playing chords. Plus the strings are harder to push. So I bought a CHEAP electric (that was a mistake) and not much later I bought a pretty nice electric. It was easier to play and IMO makes you that much more interested in playing. I just mess around with it in my spare time and that's all I plan to ever do with it. My brother, on the other hand, never could read music and can play a lot of his favorite songs on his guitars. If you use tabs, it is VERY different than actually 'reading' music anyway. If that's all you plan to do, I'd suggest buying the type of guitar you want upfront - you'll be more eager to learn. Also, the distortion can cover up some minor mistakes on an electric. If you're wanting to sit around the camp fire and sing "Kum by Ya", then get an acoustic (or if the type music you listen to is mostly acoustic). Within a couple months (with practice), you should be able to impress a few non-players. I started with a boring VHS tape about how to play an electric - learned a few basics. Then bought a blues book from Musician's Friend - that's where I made the most progress. You can download the tabs of your favorite tunes of the internet. If you want to be on stage one day, invest in some lessons. Practice, practice, practice (takes lots of it) - good luck. That's my .02, CR
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 8:52:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By David_Hineline: I would suggest the first step would be not to ask for help on a gun website but perhaps a guitar website might be in order.
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Link Posted: 6/16/2003 9:44:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By David_Hineline: I would suggest the first step would be not to ask for help on a gun website but perhaps a guitar website might be in order.
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Maybe, but seeing as you guys are my on-line family, I thought I'd ask here first. Fortunately, others are proving my assumption to be correct.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 10:10:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Zaphod: Is it really all that difficult to learn to play guitar?
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Zaphod, it depends on your level of enthusiasm and motivation. I suck at it because I never cared that much. I primarily play banjo, and learned a few songs on the guitar. I can play a few songs but don't know my way around the instrument, if that makes any sense at all? IMO the acoustic steel string guitar, for bluegrass, takes too much strength to play.
What's the best guitar to get in order to learn to play? Acoustic, electric, new, used, brand, 6-string, 12-string?
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It really depends...I think of acoustic, electrics, as entirely different instruments. IMO amateurs try to do treat them like the same thing and it just sounds...wrong. With all due respect to the wildly successful musicians out there, I think you really witness this in 'unplugged' albums where they just sound...wrong. IMO the 12-string is more of a 'specialty' sound but if you're into folk, and like the sound of the Byrds, get one!!!
What are the best books/tapes/courses?
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Unfortunately I can't recommend any unless you are into Bluegrass...I STRONGLY recommend getting a teacher. It's the same thing as shooting. You drill things at the range thinking you're getting better...but an hour of formal instruction can save you months in screwing around, even if putting down $40 an hour is hard at first.
With reasonable practice, how long until you can strum a decent tune? (I said decent, not jam like Eddie Van Halen!)
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Again, depends...if you want to play bluegrass backup or bang chords at church, maybe a month until you get from crawling to walking, then you will feel solid after 6 months to a year?
Looking for a new hobby. Don't know how to read music, BTW...
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I can read music on the mandolin and fiddle, but can't on the banjo, guitar and my other 'primary' instruments. Unless youre playing classical, you won't be reading music exclusively. There are 5 middle C's on the guitar and it'll take you longer to learn to read than it will for you to get acquainted with the different positions on the neck. As for learning guitar, it's the same as shooting: Fast is jerky, but smooth is fast. Don't strum any faster than you can work the fretboard, i.e. don't strum a chord fast, then slow down, change chords, then strum fast again. Ask yourself what kind of music you want to play. DO you want to have a garage rock band? Bluegrass jam session? Church worship? Just like shooting, sure a gun's a gun, but there are tons of different disciplines out there--bullseye, IPSC, hunting, tactical training, etc. HTH?
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 10:31:24 AM EDT
> Is it really all that difficult to learn to play guitar? (been playing over 30 years now) It seems REALLY hard at first, but once you get over the initial hump, it isn't too bad. You will plateau periodically. > What's the best guitar to get in order to learn to play? Acoustic, electric, new, used, brand, 6-string, 12-string? Start simple. Go out and buy a brand new (you don't want something someone has screwed up) Gibson, Fender, Guild, Takamine, or Yamaha. Get the best one you can afford, but don't worry about getting appearance doo-dads. > What are the best books/tapes/courses? Mel Bay had a really good beginner's series, but I would advise taking a lesson, then taking however long to digest that, then take another lesson. It will help you to learn a lot faster and prevent bad habits. > With reasonable practice, how long until you can strum a decent tune? (I said decent, not jam like Eddie Van Halen!) Might be just a few weeks, depending on you. > Looking for a new hobby. Don't know how to read music, BTW... Neither does Paul McCartney. Don't sweat it. Just have fun.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 10:36:44 AM EDT
I would start off with a decent electric- the Mexican made Telecaster and Stratocasters are good guitars for the money. New, they go for around $300, about $200+ used. Get yourself a inexpensive pratice amp- Crate, Marshall, Fender etc. Learn the basic open chords and then move on to the more difficult barre chords. After that, you can take it as far as you want. Have fun and don't get discouraged. Remember, it's hard for everybody at first. Your mind is telling you one thing, and your fingers are doing something different.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 3:00:12 PM EDT
Learning to play guitar, or any musical instrument, is a very rewarding and enriching experience. Dont worry about it being "too hard". If it wasn't challenging, you wouldn't get so much out of it. Plus, it's kind of a trip struggling at a phrase or technique you can quite get down. You suck and you suck and you suck, and then one day. BAM! You can finally do it, like you've been doing it all your life. The other side of that like someone said is that you also plateau along with the breakthroughs. The Mexican-made "taco Strats" are a good electric guitar. I had one. If you want an acoustic guitar, get a Seagull six string. Dont even think about getting a 12 string, you probably dont even know how to tune a regular guitar, no sense in doubling the number of strings you need to keep in tune.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 7:06:10 PM EDT
I have been playing guitar for... I don't remember, but it has been a while, I still can't read sheet music very well, but I can play fairly well. I started off with an acoustic, just to build up finger strength, and because I already had one sitting around. It worked out for a while, but it just is not versitile(?) enough, unless you will play country (not to rag on country). If you want to be able to play hard stuff, you will eventually need a good electric guitar, but more importantly, you absolutely NEED a good amplifier after you get an electric. I have an Ibanez RG570, and a Line 6 2x12, and they sound great, but for a beginner, go for something with a fixed breidge(Les Paul for example), a double locking tremelo is just too much all at once for a newbie. Lessons are a good idea, and I took them for a while, but it is mostly just constantly practicing to get good at it. I have friends that have never taken a lesson, and are just as good as I am.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 7:08:53 PM EDT
Just learn "smoke on the water" and "stairway to heaven" then slam your head in the door and move on with your life.
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 7:39:46 PM EDT
As others have pointed out, acoustics are significantly harder to play (at first, especially)... the tips of your fingers will really hurt until you built up callouses (sp?), and even then, it takes a lot more hand strength to play these compared to electrics. If you are new player, an electric will make it much easier to focus on learning, and make it less likely that you simply give up because your fingers hurt so damn much! Line6 amps are good... I play a Vetta 2x12 Combo, and it sounds great. Or, you can just get a Pod if you'll only be playing through headphones. I've also heard good things about this little Tech21 amp... [url]http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=030616201547066157000155686563/g=guitar/search/detail/base_id/41616[/url] And it's only $250. You can't go wrong with a Strat, but take a look at Carvin guitars too... [url]www.carvin.com[/url]. They also sell kit guitars that you put together yourself to save a little money. It's not as hard as you think (all the hard work is done already)... takes about 3 or 4 days to apply the finish (tung oil, very simple), and an evening to put it together. For $350 plus about $30 for finishing materials, you get a fantastic quality guitar. I built a Carvin Bolt kit a few months ago, and recently picked up a DC200 (factory-made Carvin). Personally, I love the necks of these guitars... nice and thin, smooth ebony fingerboard, tilt-back headstock, etc. Now my Strat is going on ebay! --Mike
Link Posted: 6/16/2003 7:56:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/16/2003 8:02:19 PM EDT by prk]
When you go to shop, take an experienced player with you to check out the guitars. Avoid really low-end guitars. You want something that will reward you with a good sound when you do things correctly. I made the mistake when I first started, of buying a really cheap (in the worst sense) steel string guitar that was murder on my fingers, had the 'action' too high, and even when I did finger a note correctly, still sounded like crap. However, a salesman who is a good player can "wow" you with technique and make that lousy guitar sound pretty good. Until you get it home. Your friend should know what features to look for and how to spot quality. If you're after an electric, I would avoid a low-end Stratocaster. The tremolo bridge (whammy bar) makes tuning finicky. Also look for good machine heads (tuning mechanism) that aren't sloppy in the fits of the parts. That can not be checked very well without loosening at least one of the strings. You should be able to maintain good tuning as you play higher on the neck. On some guitars, you can have all the strings in good relative tune in the first position (an "A" on the 5th fret of the "bass E" string sounds exactly like the unfretted "A" string next to it, and similarly across the strings, allowing one to be done on the 4th fret of the "G" string). Then as you go higher up the neck, a cheap guitar may be out of tune >> a "B" played way up on the 9th fret of the "D" string will not be just the same as the unfretted "B" string. You will hear a wavering sound as you play both strings at the same time, which is from the slight difference in frequency. Some guitars allow for some adjustment at the bridge, but many don't. There should be a slight concave bend to the neck, allowing, (as you hodl a string down at the first fret and also at the highest fret) the string to clear the frets that are in between the ends where you are holding it down. The necks often have an adjusstment for this, but you don't want to have to mess with it at this stage. Get one that's set up right. When you play a string at any fret, there should be no buzzing, assuming you are pressing right behind the fret and with enough (but not extreme) force. Don't be afraid to bargain on the price or ask them to throw in a good hard case or other significant extras. A practice amp should not have bad hissing or hum. Acoustic guitar? Get a body with solid wood construction.
Link Posted: 6/17/2003 9:45:07 PM EDT
Buy [u]This is Spinal Tap[/u] on CD. Live it. Love it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 12:45:40 AM EDT
bought first guitar my freshman year of college. it was the world's cheapest, ugliest, banana-yellow strat copy. the thing was so shitty, it would actually detune SHARP! (no BS) cost: $70 benefit: inestimable along with the strat, i bought the tablature to 2 songs--GnR "don't cry" and metallica "nothing else matters". everything i ever needed to know about guitar was covered in these two songs: chords, riffs, fingerpicking, lead, clean tone/distortion, classical, rock, metal...you name it. this was 13 years ago, and i still learn something new every time i go back to one of those songs. i'm a mediocre player, but the enjoyment i've gotten out of the instrument is more than i can possibly describe. my point is this: don't overthink it, just do it. buy used. buy the tab for a song you love, and start making noise. keep making noise. make louder and better noise. do it do it do it. why are you still here?
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