Guitar - can I learn?

Discussion in 'Musical Instruments' started by specialidiot, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. specialidiot

    specialidiot Break Glass, Smoke Lucky

    Messages:
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    I would like to learn a musical instrument. I was a musician in my early days - piano, and various brass including trombone, baritone, french horn, and tuba.

    I think it would be nice to have something to mess with in my rare spare time. I can still read music.

    Is this something that's doable?

    If so, how do I start? I don't even own a guitar, so that would be step one, right?
     

     

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  2. PickyEars81

    PickyEars81 Super Member

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  3. x_25

    x_25 Big Vandies!! Mwahahah...

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    Get yourself a guitar and a good book, or just start nodleing with one.

    If you go with an electric take it to a pro and get it set up correctly, it makes them much nicer to play (a correctly set up Squire bullet strat is actually a very nice guitar).
     
  4. JonL

    JonL Lunatic Member

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    13,113
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    Yes, you can absolutely do it if you stick to it. You can buy a decent playable guitar these days for $150. Go for it.
     
  5. wank

    wank Moks by popular demand

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    I'm about four months ahead of you. Apparently, it can be done. I'm picking it up bit by bit. And it's fun.
    If I had any advice, from this end of the learning curve, it would be:
    1. Get an acoustic - my first choice would be a nylon stringed (classical), but a steel stringed works too. The callusing of the fingertips is quite a process, and nylon strings are really easy for starting up. There are a couple of respectable Yamahas in the $150 range.
    2. Get an electric too (about a month or two later). You'll like to make the noises, and the neck is a different environment. A Squire Strat is a real good choice, just not an "Affinity Series", their cheapest - buy one used and get it set up.
    3. Get a video based lesson plan, and a book too. They'll both come in handy. I like my book by Phil Capone, appropriately titled "Learn to play the guitar." Browse a bookstore til you find one that seems to make sense to you.
    4. Get a music stand - a cheap $15 one. Though your ability to read music won't really do you much good (I played horn for 15 years too) except for rhythm, your neck and back will thank you.
    Then there is some gear you have to get, I'll let others talk about it.
    And take this for what it's worth - I'm just learning myself.
    (Also, I should not have mentioned Yamahas or any brand, that will cause argument).
     
  6. gearhound

    gearhound Lunatic Member

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    Set aside DEDICATED practice time.....and stick to it.
    When you first start out, the going can be frustratingly s-l-o-w at times.
    It's easy to make up excuses why you don't have time to practice?
    Don't fall into that trap.

    Practice
    Practice
    Practice

    That's the ONLY way to learn guitar.

    Good luck and be sure to.....HAVE FUN!!

    Steve
     

     

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  7. tensleep

    tensleep AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have been dinking around with guitars for years. I am not a good player by any stretch, but I really enjoy it.

    One thing that I have learned is to keep my instruments out and within easy reach. If they are packed away, I will probably find something else to do.

    I have also learned that guitars and the associated gear can be just as much of a black hole as audio gear - be careful or the collection bug will get you!
     
  8. jsixis

    jsixis Nothing sounds better

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    Definitely take a few lessons early on so you'll be shown proper form.
    Unlearning due to bad form a decade later sucks.

    It is easy since you already have a background.
    You have to spend time learning the basic chords and scales but since you already have music skill once the chords and scales are learned you will advance quickly.
    If your fingers don't bend back at the first joint you will find some chords very hard to play but I've seen people work around it.

    Like everything else, practice practice practice.
     
  9. nickv41

    nickv41 Well-Known Member

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    There are thousands of tutorial videos on "YouTube". You can learn to play just about any great riff or guitar solo you can think of.
     
  10. trhee

    trhee ㅇtㅈyㅅr

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    Sure, anyone can learn and these days with the multitude of lessons available online as well as video's, it's even easier. When I started playing, there was no internet or even video lessons.

    The most important thing is to buy a quality guitar with these attributes:

    - A neck that is straight
    - Set up with proper action (the distance from the frets to the string)
    - A guitar that can be intonated properly and one that stays in tune

    These days, about $300 will buy you a good quality "beginner" guitar whether it's electric or acoustic. I would avoid any new guitar that priced under $100 as they are junk. You'll only get frustrated and most likely quit with a low quality guitar.

    Read up and do some research on the internet. The lower priced Yamaha acoustic/classicals are good guitars for the money. If you can afford a bit more, you can get a Taylor Big Baby for around $450. For electrics, I've always recommended the Yamaha Pacifica line for beginners. The necks have a good feel and the fretwork is better than most guitars in the budget category including the lower priced Fender guitars.
     
  11. RayW

    RayW Parrothead with a badge Staff Member Super Mod

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  12. CougarXR7

    CougarXR7 Sultan of Swing

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    Go for it. I don't know if I could survive without having a guitar to play; it's my ultimate stress reliever and creative outlet.

    Want to feel better? Play a musical instrument!
     
  13. emoxley

    emoxley Well-Known Member

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    One thing everyone seemed to forget to mention............. no matter what guitar you have, until you toughen up the finger tips, they are going to hurt. They're going to hurt pretty bad at times, but you have to force yourself to keep playing. You can take a break for a few minutes, but you have to get back to it. As has been mentioned, practice, practice, and more practice is what it takes to toughen the finger tips and get to the point where it becomes fun, rather than painful. Once you get past the pain, you'll be glad you did it. Good luck!

    There's several good brands of acoustic guitars, such as Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Fender, Yamaha, Alvarez, Epiphone, Seagull, and Takamine (pronounced Tok a meenie), to name a few. You'll find some cheap ones too that seem to play alright at first, but the more you play them you realize they aren't what they originally appeared to be. If you're serious, get a good guitar to start with. You won't be sorry.
     
  14. specialidiot

    specialidiot Break Glass, Smoke Lucky

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks everyone... this is kind of what I'm looking for.

    I'll look for one of the Yamaha's mentioned, and get going!
     
  15. andrewto

    andrewto Active Member

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    Sorry if I'm a little late, but I thought I'd add my 2c. I play guitar fairly decently, and I taught myself. I too started on piano and brass instruments (euphonium is still my main instrument). First I would consider the kind of music you want to play. I understand the reasoning behind getting an acoustic first (less noise and settings to distract you, you hear just the instrument), but IMHO starting on an electric isn't any worse. For one, electrics generally use lighter gauge strings so they will be easier on your fingers. If you like music that uses mostly electric guitars (rock, metal, etc.) it will inspire you to practice more if you can get that tone. I started on electric and bought an acoustic later. Also, don't worry too much about calluses and fingers hurting; it's not that bad unless you play at least an hour a day (in the beginning).

    If you like mostly acoustic music and are willing to spend about $300 or more (maybe, maybe not) on an acoustic guitar, you should definitely try to get a guitar with a solid top. Most beginner guitars are made from laminate wood which doesn't resonate very well and sounds bad. With a solid top guitar, the top of guitar (most important for tone) vibrates as one and will sound better as it ages. Some brands to look at would be Seagull (in my experience a great reputation) and Crafter (what I play). I've played both and they sound really great for around $300. I made the mistake of buying a cheaper Yamaha; I ended up having to take it in to have it fixed and eventually returned it for my Crafter. I don't mean to bash those Yamahas--they're decent guitars for the price; I'm just saying you could do a lot better for a little more.

    About learning (sorry this is getting kind of long...)--most of the "learn to play guitar" packages out there teach guitar from scratch. However, since you already read music (and presumably have decent ears since you played brass instruments), you can skip a lot of that. If you think you could get along with just a book of chords and using your ears for the rest, that would be best IMO. Most pop and rock music uses a similar "vocabulary" of chords. If you start by learning 3 or 4 chords, you could listen to a song, figure out what chords they are, and there you have it! The simple (and more gratifying IMO) way... or there's the other way of getting chord sheets or tabs and reading them, which is a lot easier for some people. I have a lot of experience teaching guitar and other instruments, and that's the approach that I find to be the best. Feel free to ask for further (or more coherent) explanation, as I have a tendency to ramble... hope all that helps!
     
  16. voltcontrol

    voltcontrol Fizheuer Zieheuer

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    :yes: Go for it!
     

     

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  17. ccheath

    ccheath Got an Idea! Subscriber

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    Nah, we're too old. :D Just kidding. I just started learning and I do notice some improvement as time goes on. You can do it.
     
  18. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

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    Learn the chords from Seger's "Night Moves." It's a classic beginners song.

    My son is taking lessons, so the guitar is now always within reach. I've learned lots of new chords that way.
     
  19. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

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    I recall our discussion some time (1-2 years?) ago of a "first" guitar for your son. What make & model did you select?

    I usually recommend "Red River Valley" to beginners. :thmbsp:
     
  20. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

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    SI,

    Start with a good quality instrument that feels right and playable. I recommend that you do not start out with a so-called "classical" acoustic-cum-nylon-stringed variety, which can be a real bitch for anyone, including "experienced" guitarists, to play, but especially for beginners. "Classical" acoustics usually have a wider nut than steel-stringed acoustics, so hand size comes into play as well. There's nothing "improper" in starting out with steel strings--most of us did--and even electric if that's what you desire and would be most likely to pick up and play; the best instrument for you as a beginner is one that you will be compelled to pick up and play, daily, for a couple of hours per session. I started out on a Teisco electric @ 8 years old, from there moved on pretty quickly to a Fender ('63 Mustang) and a couple of Gibsons ('59 Melody Maker and '56 Les Paul Junior), all excellent sounding and playing instruments that wed me to the guitar, and it has remained so for 40 years. The acoustic steel-stringed and acoustic "classical" nylon-stringed instruments followed, still have some of each and even tackled "reading" in order to improve the performance on the nylon-stringed instruments. But that's down the road. For now, find an instrument you like, that feels right and which you'll be inspired to pick up and use, man. Electric instruments have an additional benefit: you get to select an amplifier, too!

    Somewhere below in this Musical Instruments forum is an older thread about learning guitar and best instruments for beginners, and IIRC, there is one effin' excellent post in that thread by our Fotno re: this topic. Use <SEARCH> and see if you can find it.
     

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