View Full Version : Any guitar players on Redszone?

05-25-2012, 09:17 AM
Ive recently decided to pursue a hobby which I've always wanted to try, playing the guitar. I figured "hey if a bunch of stoned and drunk guys can become legends playing one of these things surely it cant be that hard". I was wrong. Been playing about a month and I am definitely showing signs of improvement but it can be frustrating at times. Just wondering from any players on here how long before you were somewhat decent at the guitar? I'm not saying like rock star level but at a level where you could at least change between 4 or 5 chords fairly easily and someone could somewhat recognize what you were playing. I bought a Alvarez acoustic guitar at the recommendation of the guy at the music store. Was going acoustic a good idea or as a beginner should I have went electric? Should I do private lessons or just keep learning online like I'm currently doing? Any websites, books, or videos that you found particularly helpful in learning? Any recommendations for practice exercises or things you do to help finger dexterity? Basically any recommendations or direction for a beginner would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Johnny Footstool
05-25-2012, 03:26 PM
I've been playing since high school -- more than 20 years now.

If you are frustrated and want to improve faster, definitely start taking lessons. I learned from books and it took forever. It was a year before I could sit down and play an entire, somewhat-complex song in front of people ("More Than Words" by Extreme was big at the time). I wasted a lot of time trying to be self-taught, and I missed so much. I'd be a much better player now if I had taken lessons in the beginning.

Do you have friends who play? I really started improving after I began playing along with other people.

Starting on an acoustic is best; it helps you build strength and learn the proper form.

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to pick a song you know and love and learn how to play it, or at least a version of it. Hopefully, you can find guitar tablature and instructional videos that make it easier.
-Learn which chords are used in the song, and practice those. Practice switching between them.
-Learn one part of the song at at time -- the intro, the verse, the chorus, the bridge.
-Practice every day, for 15-20 minutes only.
-Don't try to play anywhere near full speed for a while -- you'll only get frustrated.
-Take it slow and steady, with the goal of being able to play a recognizable version of the song in a months' time.

05-25-2012, 07:55 PM
Very good advice. I started playing about fifteen years ago and can only say that the first year can be enormously frustrating. Take it slow and you'll notice that after working on something for two hours and feeling as though it's not coming to you, the next time you play it will be there. It's a weird thing, but maybe that's how the brain and muscle memory work.
I got interested in playing a little "ca-chunk, ca-chunk" jazz style and learned how to barre chord so I could more easily dampen the strings and get the right effect. Once I learned how to barre, guitar playing became a lot of fun. I could play with anyone after that. Still, my playing is only marginal and I'm very reluctant to get the axe out when friends come over and want to bring their guitars (they're good players and some of them still play in bands). The main problem is that I came to music late in life and while I have a very good ear, my grasp of music theory is still relatively primitive. But I do still enjoy playing and singing with my kids. I'm actually much better at the harmonica.

Johnny Footstool
05-25-2012, 09:15 PM
Barre chords open the door to pretty much all popular music.

05-25-2012, 11:28 PM
I have been playing about as long as Footstool, but I taught myself, refusing lessons for some stupid reason. It took me a couple months to build up calluses on my fingers and train the muscles in my hand to switch chords comfortably. If you learn the 7 major and 7 minor chords along with some bar chords, you'll be in fat city. Just practice a lot and don't get discouraged.