How would you recommend I learn

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by rxtech, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. rxtech

    rxtech Tele-Meister

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    I’ve been playing since the 80s but I haven’t really progressed much more than cowboy chords, bar chords and the first pentatonic minor shape. I’m good enough to jam with my buddies and play at church but I would like to progress more. How would you or rather what would you recommend that I start with? I realize at age 51 I’m not gonna be the next Clapton, Hendrix, etc., but being that I do not have any money for lessons what should I focus on. Here’s what I have as resources: various books such as a book with chords shown in three different positions, Mickey Baker jazz chords volume one, a Star Licks beginning guitar booklet from the 1980s (by Wolf Marshall), and other things that I have printed off the Internet. What should I focus on in order to become a better well-rounded guitar player that can play both rhythm and lead? Specifically what would be a good practice regimen? I know having a teacher is super important, but at this time I just don’t have the money. Also, does anyone know a good place to start on YouTube? There are so many that it seems overwhelming at times.
     
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  2. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    play along to everything you can..mix your guitar into the song.as part of the band..keep working until you fit the song & then even enhance it ..counter melodies..solo all over it just to learn...rhythm to it..actual playing seems to broaden learning..in a natural way..you now are reacting vs always thinking..you have the basics down..just apply them more & dont be afraid to move out of your comfort zone....that is 1 aspect..you are playing other people music..to me the most rewarding is ..lay down some original stuff..no limits,,no pattern to be forced to follow...play a rhythm track & then solo over it
     
  3. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    OK.....I'll chime in and I'm sure you will get a myriad of helpful suggestions.
    Of course chord/song books are a good tool for improvement regardless of the genre that you may gravitate toward. (?)

    Based on my personal experience I would offer this as an option for breaking out:
    Pick a cover song you really like.
    One that you would think...."Oh...I'll never be able to play that one, it's too difficult". (I say BS)

    Not an easy one...one that will actually challenge you not just with chord knowledge academics but rhythmically also.
    If it's not in one of your song books go here: sheetmusicplus.com and download it for $3 buckaroos or so...it's well worth it.
    Focus on learning that currently difficult song.
    Listen to it with the sheet music, guitar in hand and learn it.
    Don't quit
    until you learn to play it with some confidence.

    Once you've overcome this initial challenge the first time your confidence level will change and the comfort zone will have no boundaries.
    Decades ago I employed this approach with Steely Dan songs, Doobie Bothers, Alan Parsons, John Hiatt, Steve Stills, Eagles, Beatles and the list goes on.

    Hope that helps a bit even though you have many paths to choose from.

    But, that's just me.....carry on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  4. rxtech

    rxtech Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for your advice! I appreciate it.
     
  5. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    one of the greatest tools I ever learned was chord scales with the root note on the 6th string ,5th string and the 4th string , you will use different chords than the first position chords you are used to , plus it will give you different flavours of chords to play with

    the pattern goes like this :

    Maj7 / Min7 / Min7 / maj7 / 7 / Min7 / Min7 / Min7b5 / Maj7

    6th string: E Maj 7 / F# Min7 / G# Min 7 / A Maj 7 / B7 / C# Min 7 / D Min b5 / EMaj 7

    5th string: A Maj 7 / B min 7/ C# Min 7 / etc

    4th string: D Maj 7 / E Min / F# Min 7/etc

    its not so much as memorizing this but it gives you a different chord voice to play in place of the standard first position chord to play ,instead of playing a standard first position E chord change it up to an E maj 7 , you will get a new sounding chord that fits and adds some thing new to your playing

    another thing that helped was as an example; if you are playing a G chord the root note "G" is on the 1st string and on the 6 th string , look for every "G " note under your fingers if you can Identify the the root notes to your chords and you are playing a melody it will fit to your song and scales , there is a lot to take in here but een some of it will help you growas a player do not get over whelmed
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I strongly recommend a good/great teacher.
    Try a few.
    Personally, I have had three great teachers.
    I studied with many more, but only three realy helped me.
    Your results will vary, I’m sure.
    Anyways, the right teacher will both inspire and educate you.
    It’s great to be able to ask questions and get real, human help.
     
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  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would ask this first,

    when you sit down and practice, what do you do NOW ? What is your standard routine. What has been your typical routine since the 80's ? Did you have a goal for each practice session ? What was it ?

    The only real way anyone can advise on what to do is to understand what you do now.

    Not being funny, but this is typical in many scenarios of education. You may be 51 now but when you started you were 31. Its not too late, it's never too late .

    A GREAT teacher will take what you already know and turn it into Filet Mignon. Typically in these scenarios it's about learning HOW to practice rather than WHAT you practice.

    The same things repeated, over and over and over , thru the boredom into heavenly bliss and success. The same FEW things, not everything. Focused with a goal.

    Learning how to practice is as hard as playing the instrument.

    What do you do now when you sit and practice ? What do you practice , how often and and for how long ? You may know more than you think.

    lets start there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    A friend of mine suggested I learn all the notes on the fretboard, which was really helpful as I progressed. You probably know them already but if not start there. Knowing whole step notes and that BC and EF are always one fret apart helps. Circle of Fifths.

    Youtube channels: Pebber Brown, Marty's music, Justinguitar. Justin has arranged his videos from pure beginner in a sequence unlike most channels.

    .
     
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    first, what exactly does progress mean

    second, your problem is not a lack of information but an absence of application

    like, you know the minor pent pattern in one position -- did you know it's also a major pent pattern?

    also, have you grasped *why* barre chords work (caged etc)

    my advice: ask your church group to tell you to take a solo, so you need to learn/progress.

    then build out from what you already know
     
  10. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Afflicted

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    On the rare occasions I sit down with a guitar having thought I should be 'better' it does all evaporate into aimless noodling very quickly. Although at 54 I still think I am going to be the next Clapton (well, insert cooler reference...).

    When I've actually made progress it's been:
    - join a band. Having to learn songs, getting tones that fit, get techniques that work for what you are doing, having to be sharper on timing,etc, etc. It does eventually plateau but that's a while off yet
    - transcribe. If I was starting all over again my advice to myself would be transcribe, transcribe, transcribe. Doesn't cost anything and it helps get your ear in shape, helps develop an understanding of how things work and is an essential tool if you want to play with others. Doesn't have to be Steve Vai solos just songs you like.
    - pick up a book/ dvd/ YouTube course and see it through. There are issues with this ( the standard of the material, getting confused,etc) but it's worth doing from time to time. I think the last thing I did was the Ross Bolton funk stuff that's on YouTube. Nice and clear and now I'm not only a semi competent funk player but I can hear where those techniques have been applied in blues and reggae, etc. Look at Justin Guitar, almost certainly the best free guitar tutorial resource in the net.

    Silly as it sounds my epiphany with theory is that it is there to explain music, it isn't there to create music. That's not strictly true, if you have a good understanding of theory it can open up a lot of doors. But at a workaday level knowing enough theory to communicate with others is what's key. Can you follow a basic chord chart? Could you transpose what you are playing into another key? Do you understand basic concepts like 4/4 time and what a bar of music is?
     
  11. rangercaster

    rangercaster Friend of Leo's

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    Everybody learns differently ... What is best for you ??? Some benefit from a teacher and others do better with self-directed study ... My approach is to listen to a lot of music ... Find the players you like and wish to emulate ... Find out who influenced them and then listen to those players ... Follow this approach back as far as you can ... To the source ... For example, if you like Hendrix, who did Jimi listen to and who did they learn from ??? ...
     
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  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    the statement that you have been playing since the 80s and are looking for direction today screams " quality teacher" .

    A quality teacher , maybe hard to find , is one who will identify what you already know and direct your activities accordingly, focused on a GOAL What is it you are trying to accomplish ?

    Seek and interview some teachers, make sure they have the instinct to understand what it is you are wanting rather than forcing you to do something you have no interest in and what they want.

    This is harsh, many guitar teachers know a million licks and can dazzle the minions, but they may not be able to teach you how to tune a guitar let alone describe where you can find multiple root pockets of the same root note.


    Hint > learn where chords and licks come from , don't just learn chords and licks as kool as they may be.

    I suspect you know way more than you realize , you just need someone to help pull it out of you.
     
  13. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    Work on playing the melodies to songs you like to sing. Adjust your amp to a tone you like and try to play just the melody of a song so it sounds like a singer. Try to make it sound smooth and beautiful, like Santana or Hendrix would do it.

    This will teach you more about real soloing faster than any method for getting your fingers to wiggle faster.

    Along the way you should start to notice how melodies have some important notes that are part of the current chord and some important notes that aren't, there are lots of approaches towards thinking about this... You kind of see the chord shape in your mind as you find the melody notes. Whether a note is in the chord, or a scalar decoration, or a chromatic decoration is kind of how your mind hears music. A practical way to learn this is to study the notes and melodies of songs you like to sing and try to see how they help each other out.

    That pentatonic minor thing sounds so good for what it is, but you've got to learn other kinds of scales too.
     
  14. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Being the same age... and only recently (last five or so years probably) making good improvement, I can also say, it is not too late, you aren't too old (unless you act that way). But, it really will depend on your motivation/dedication.

    Focus, setting goals, like others have said. I've read a few different things about practice and learning and they all kind of apply in this scenario.

    The first thing I would suggest is doing a written list of goals, long term, short term, specific and broad. Set some goals that are easily achievable, set some that are tough. Then lay them out in in an honest, self-evaluation that will make you a success (reach your goals, that is) in a timely fashion.

    i.e. you know the pentatonic scale in the first position, or box. Can you name those five notes? (goal #1) If so, translate those notes up and down the fretboard (goal #2). If you don't already know all the notes of the fretboard, this will do two things for you... Help you learn the notes of the fretboard (goal #3) and and two, get you to know the pentatonic scale in other locations/positions (goal #4). Start in one key, maybe A (lotta songs in A). Keep the focus tight and specific. Easily attainable goals!

    Now, how long should this take? Each of us is different. Might take me a week if I was 20 and had no job. At 51, hopefully full time employed, things are different. So, maybe it will take you a month, or six? I dunno. But, you can figure it out for yourself.

    But, set a timeline. Then, it becomes a plan. Again, make sure the plan is reasonable.

    Now, complete the plan.

    Eventually, the goal would be to be comfortable in all keys (flats and sharps especially). Then, think about learning to spell chords. Think about where those notes are in the pentatonic scale. Learn about other scales and how they relate to chords, etc.....

    Big goals like 'getting better' are attainable, but they need to be defined more specifically to develop a plan and actually attained.


    I set out a few years ago to 'learn music theory' or at least be better at it. It was a big goal, and not really realistic. But, it set me down a path of learning smaller chunks and developing a lot of knowledge... I still don't know 'music theory'. But, I have a much better understanding of chords, scales, notes, intervals, etc. I spent a lot of time here at TDPRI learning about the major scale and how to build chords. Now, I'm better, I have new understanding of music and how it's made and also, along the way, I got better at other things. Not too late, but start TODAY!
     
  15. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You don't need any money, there's more free tutorial stuff available in youtube than you could make through in a lifetime

    Just a google search away. You know specifically what you want to learn better than any of us do
     
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  16. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I completely "get" that you may not be able to afford a teacher, but is there another better guitarist (at church or somewhere else) that you can sit down with to learn from? I'm assuming that, if you recognize you have room for improvement, that you have a decent ear for music and your own playing....that's an important factor. I've known many musicians that simply couldn't discern that they weren't very good. If no one at church is willing to help, maybe you could find a teacher willing to trade services (on your part) for lessons? While I'm almost totally self taught on guitar, I've had years of formal training on violin, piano, voice, church choir....all culminating in a Bachelor's Degree in Music Theory and Composition. Pretty impressive, right?....except with the exception of helping me UNDERSTAND what I'm playing, I don't feel all of that training did much with my guitar playing itself. I suppose it helped with ear training and analyzing songs I wanted to learn, but many wonderful musicians are COMPLETELY self taught......what did they do?.....they practiced. Good luck!
     
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  17. rxtech

    rxtech Tele-Meister

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    Wow! So many answers. Thank you all for your help and suggestions! This really is a great forum and I’m glad that I have remained a member since the early 2000’s. Cheers all and again, thank you!
     
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  18. sctrotts

    sctrotts TDPRI Member

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    Honestly, I was in the same boat really..but the best way was to find players better than you who will take the time to jam with you and share common musical interests. Make it regular and practice. Don't practice what you know.. work on the stuff you don't know.
     
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  19. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Organizing your own practice time is the first step, nothing to do with "what to study."
    1. warmups 5 minutes - do some exercises, stretch out your fingers. Work on patterns that force you into good habits, like using your pinky, or skipping strings, or playing standing up instead of hunched over like a dwarf.
    2. review 5 minutes - play some stuff you worked on yesterday, just work it in your fingers.
    3. Study new material 20 minutes - learn something applicable, not a huge piece of knowledge, just bit sized. For example, you know how the D,G,B strings are open in a G chord? You know how an A chord just takes those three strings up two frets and voila, now it's an A chord? Now play just those three strings all the way up the neck and memorize what chords you are playing. 5th fret it's a C chord, 7th fret it's a D chord, etc. Now play along to some blues backing track or something using just that shape. 20 minutes of this. Tomorrow you can try the 7th chord variant, or mess around with a different movable shape, or add a little extension to your pentatonic box. But just take it a little piece at a time. And don't skip the review part.
    4. Fool around - as long as you want. Don't let yourself do any noodling or fooling around until you're done with the 30 minutes or focused study.

    That might not be the ideal "how to study" but it does give you a structure. And you need some structure. Some people recommend that you use a timer for each section of the lesson above. Force yourself to spend only that amount of time on each section, then move on to the next. Turns "fooling around" into your reward for your hard work, instead of making you think that was the practice.
     
  20. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Correct....a great reminder for all of us.

    Look for opportunities to associate and work with those that are better than ourselves.
    I would add that learning the language of music is another personal growth imperative which will greatly enhance interaction with those that are far ahead of us musically.

    Carry on....
     
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