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_Hurricane_
Alabama Fan
Mobile, AL
Member since Feb 2016
3353 posts

Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
Been playing for a little over a year, feel like I’m not making progress. But the funny thing is that I’ve felt that way for the past 4 months but I know that 4 months ago I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now on the instrument. Know that even learning one tiny part of a song or theory each day is a day that you improved. Also I’d suggest picking a favorite guitarist to allow focus and refine your early goals. I want to play rock but started out learning the intro to one song or watching 2 videos of an artist lesson series. Jimmy Page is someone I’ve been zeroed in on. I’ve been focusing on learning his licks and techniques which just so happen to teach a lot of general guitar skills I need to grow. Every guitarist can be traced back to the same basics so it’s easier to choose one and follow them back to stay focused. I know this seems limiting but you can always go back and add other styles rather than getting bogged down in knowing the basics of every style but not being able to play passably in any of them. Anyways inexperienced advice over but just some things that have helped me personally.

ETA: Some of the wiser guys out there may find some error in my logic. Any corrections or advice would be much appreciated.
This post was edited on 6/10 at 3:13 am


Tangineck
LSU Fan
Mandeville
Member since Nov 2017
682 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
You'll never make progress again like you do in the first 6 months. It's a slow improvement from there on. Record yourself often and date the recordings. Play the same thing at future intervals, 6 months, a year, etc. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the progress you've actually made if you commit to this and practice like you should. Also, learn music theory. I can't understand why people are so averse to it. It makes you better in every way.

I'm not a great guitar player but the above was the best advice I received on my guitar journey.


_Hurricane_
Alabama Fan
Mobile, AL
Member since Feb 2016
3353 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
I’d say with the wealth of resources available today, moving into theory can actually be a temptation that you go into too early before the practical/physical guitar skills truly develop. I’m 21 and gen Z has almost too many resources starting out. If you look up how to play Seven Nation Army on YouTube, you’ll get bombarded by videos telling you that you need to know every scale and how to use them to be a “good guitarist”. It can lead to a lot of useless practice/burn out for those who can’t readily see what videos are meant for beginners vs advanced players.


jdd48
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2012
16563 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
I cannot stress enough. Something I never did and really wish I did. Hire a teacher. I am still undoing years of bad habits from being self taught. While there are far better resources available now than when I started, nothing can replace being hands on with a teacher that can teach you all the tips and tricks that could literally take decades for you to discover on your own.

Just in my personal opinion, focus alot in your first few months on developing finger strength and getting your fingers used to awkward positions. While it may be tedious and boring doing the 1-2-3-4 exercise, it will pay huge dividends. It doesn't need to be hours on end of drilling either... just use 1-2-3-4 for 5-10 mins as a warmup & finger strength exercise. Once I finally addressed my finger weakness (especially my pinky), it opened up a whole new world for me.
This post was edited on 6/10 at 9:44 am


VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Oak Hill, VA
Member since Dec 2007
29586 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

Hire a teacher


When I move to Naples at the end of the month I'm going to spend a lot more time working on my guitar skills and getting am instructor is the first thing I want to do. Great advice and thank you!


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10
dbeck
Arkansas Fan
Member since Nov 2014
22553 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

moving into theory can actually be a temptation that you go into too early before the practical/physical guitar skills truly develop

That's been my problem. I have an inquisitive mind and had to know why G Major is G, B, and D notes. So I ended up learning far more theory than actual songs.

Trying to go back and remedy that now. The only nice thing is theory translates to every other instrument.

As of now when people ask me to play guitar I ask them "what chords or scales would you like to hear?"


_Hurricane_
Alabama Fan
Mobile, AL
Member since Feb 2016
3353 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
I just riff over A minor pentatonic when people ask me to play guitar
This post was edited on 6/10 at 5:57 pm


MudCatMatt
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Dec 2018
157 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

I just riff over A minor pentatonic when people ask me to play guitar


Same


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10
Devious
Stanford Fan
Elitist
Member since Dec 2010
28044 posts
 Online 

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
For me, I think the most important thing to do is just make time to play. Even if you don't feel like you're learning or improving, it's relaxing to strum a six string.


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20
SUB
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
16173 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
What's a going rate for a decent guitar teacher?


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jdd48
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2012
16563 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

What's a going rate for a decent guitar teacher?


Never shopped them myself. I know the local guitar store charges like $30 per half hour. Seems to be about in the ballpark according to this website:

LINK


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auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
20463 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

What's a going rate for a decent guitar teacher?

I've got a group of older people(all in their 70s) that I teach for free once a week. I think locally, some teachers charge $30 per 1/2 hour lesson.


BottomlandBrew
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2010
23077 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
Is a 1/2 hour per week sufficient? I'd like to take some lessons because I'm afraid I might be picking up some bad habits. A 1/2 hour per week might be all I have to spare


kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
58142 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
Scales and theory are how you get good, but a beginner isn’t at the stage where they can really take advantage of that yet. Beginners need to focus on the basics first:
1. Reading tabs
2. Fretting
3. Strumming
4. Bar chords
5. Quickly changing between chord shapes to develop muscle memory
6. Strumming along with simple 3 and 4 chord songs
7. Palm muting
8. And learning simple blues progressions in E and A

Once they’ve got that down, I would start moving on to scales (starting with blues pentatonic, then major and minor), then box method, then basic music theory (major/minor progressions, 1-5-7 songs, 4 chord songs, verse/chorus structure, etc).

Once they’ve got their hands dirty on that, I would move on to bends, alternative tunings, vibrato, finger picking, taps, pinch harmonics, etc. If they were an electric player, I’d start educating them on effects and amplification.

Next would be modes (dorion, ionian, etc), then finally more advanced techniques that I haven’t really mastered like chicken picking, slide guitar, sweep picking, and more advanced song writing

That first phase, especially bar chords and fretting is the hardest and most painful stage, but if someone can pull through that, it gets much much more fun.
This post was edited on 6/11 at 3:34 pm


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
20463 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
Well, for my group of older students, I spend 3-4 hours with them on Saturday, because like I told them, they don't have much time left to catch on. For young students though 30 minutes is probably plenty, to see how they are progressing and give them new tasks to learn.


Devious
Stanford Fan
Elitist
Member since Dec 2010
28044 posts
 Online 

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

they don't have much time left to catch on
brutal


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
20463 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

brutal

I prefer the term "motivational"


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dbeck
Arkansas Fan
Member since Nov 2014
22553 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
quote:

1. Reading tabs

This right here is why I never mastered the guitar. I hate learning songs from tabs/sheet music. Feels like I'm moving a millimeter per hour.

Wish there was a better way other than learning from YouTube videos or working it out by ear.


Havoc
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2015
13047 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
Not sure if you’re at this roadblock yet (I have been for years) but:
Stop learning riffs and learn entire songs, start to finish without stopping. Stop stopping. Play along with the song or do whatever to learn to just play on. The constant oops and redoing is a progress killer.


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10
kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
58142 posts

re: Advice from a guitar semi-newbie to any others on this board wanting to learn.
The best way is with sheet music, but the problem with sheet music is it tells you what notes to play and when, but not how on the guitar to play them. Tabs teach you how to play the note, but not what the note is or when to play it. Tabs are an excellent tool for learning while listening to a song, so you can learn how the player you’re listening to played those notes.

On the flip side, sheet music is great, but requires the reader to come up with their own method of arriving at those notes at the time they’re supposed to be played.

Much like capitalism, when it comes to learning guitar parts, tabs are the slowest method, except for all others.

I learn most songs by a combination of tabs and by ear, but my ear was trained by tons of knowledge of music theory and two decades of playoffs in ensembles, marching bands, jazz groups, etc. I know what sounds right, I know the influences a lot of artists are pulling from, I know a lot of the patterns routinely employed to write songs, so it’s easy for me to pick up simple stuff. I might not be an advanced technical player, but I know how to find the notes that will sound right.

Remember, though, that there are two different modes of musicianship: the interpretive and the creative. The interpretive musician seeks first to master the techniques of others in order to play what has already been played before putting their own spin on it. They seek to interpret the tabs and sheet music to be able to precisely mimic and replicate the exact technique’s employed. The creative musician merely uses the works of others to add to their bag of tricks. They might read the tab, but come up with a completely different way of arriving at the same notes, thus utilizing a novel technique with their own spin.
This post was edited on 6/14 at 9:53 am


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