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Best way to learn guitar?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by MarrFan, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. enterprise

    enterprise Tele-Meister

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  2. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I miss @Tim Bowen
     
  3. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

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    I have my weekly guitar lesson tonight and I really enjoy learning. The only problem I have is finding time to practice. This means that I tend to forget a lot of what I've learned as I struggle to find time to reinforce what I learned.

    For me, lessons are essential as I always need to ask questions. On-line and YouTube options are great but the human interaction and playing along with someone is such a great feeling.
     
  4. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    I'm 40, I've just finished up my first year of lessons after about 2 years of trying to get started on my own. I'd say the only reasons that are legitimate to avoid in-person lessons would be a) unable to afford it at all, even if it was reduced frequency b) Literally no teachers in your geographic area. My experience on my own pretty much sucked, and it's been phenomenal with lessons.

    I had bought a bunch of books and watched videos and such in those first 2 years and didn't really get anywhere. I could already read music alright from piano experience. I started with an acoustic and actually kind of hurt my fretting hand from poor setup and not knowing what I was doing. Justinguitar.com in particular just really didn't help me at all. He is very long winded in those videos and not concise at all. He doesn't talk enough about posture or physical aspects of playing correctly. His initial videos he sits cross legged on the floor with a dreadnaught. Totally an impossible position for me to play in. His books simplify things beyond belief in a really frustrating way. (His songbooks in particular). They are barely better than taking the chord sheet off "ultimate guitar.com" or something.)

    So January 2017 I mostly could play something like "Mary had a little lamb" up in first position. Couldn't play it very fast. I knew a few chords but couldn't keep time, couldn't really handle hitting an upstroke at all. I couldn't play very long without my arm/hand cramping up. Couldn't play at all standing up, had trouble holding the guitar still, had bad posture while sitting, you name it. I was hardly getting a foundation on my own.

    My teacher really worked with me on the physical aspects right away, also told me when my guitar needed a setup (even when unhelpful shop employees had told me it didn't, or took my money and just adjusted the truss rod). Motivated me to get my Telecaster, etc.. that was all really quick. I bought my Telecaster about a month after I started lessons. He is primarily a Tele player, so it was an obvious step in terms of simplifying things, what's the point in translating everything from a Tele to an acoustic as a beginner? (Not that we haven't worked on acoustic stuff too)

    After a year I've pretty much got all the Open chords, I'm pretty proficient with the E shape and A shape for Barre chords, and I'm familiar with the triad shapes. I can play blues rhythms on my own for the most part in a few keys. I learned a ton of songs. I can handle the open chords at ~120bpm including 8th notes and I can for the most part play with other people and stay in time, or do the same with the metronome. A few of the songs I've learned I play note for note correctly and can play the guitar solos. Some of those I also can play at full tempo. I've improved tons on things like palm muting, controlling extraneous strings ringing out, playing with high gain without things going out of control, stuff like that. All the physical stuff that is really hard to learn from videos.

    I'm very easy going, we have been all over the map in terms of song selection. The only thing we really haven't worked on is any classical pieces. What my teacher ends up doing is over a month or two putting me through a sequence of songs that all share traits and bits of theory, and by going through those I have practical experience at whatever the bit of theory is, and I learn by example. As a recent example of this I've been working on the close voiced triads up and down the neck. The song sequence started before Christmas and was roughly "Silent Night" -> "Runnin with the Devil" -> "Crazy Train" as their are shared bits of theory in those songs. I think I'm moving out of that now, because I'm working on some of the crazy scale runs in Crazy train. No way I'm going to play them at tempo any time soon but there is some really interesting stuff that my teacher broke down with me about how Randy Rhodes constructed those runs. My guess is next week there will be some new something similar, perhaps out of one of the constituent keys/scales that are in use in those fireworks in Crazy Train. I can't really play any of Crazy train except the riff at the required 140bpm but it's been fun and useful anyway. If I was the type to have unrealistic expectations and get frustrated maybe that'd be tough. My instructor seemingly has a massive library of songs he knows and has tabbed out sheets for, sometimes his own arrangements at different levels, sometimes full sheet + tabs, etc.. at any point if there is a song sequence we're going through he usually has a handful of songs that will all work for the next point to jump to so there is no problem for me to find one of the songs I really like. We're about the same age and grew up in the same area listening to a lot of the same stuff so it's not real hard.

    I didn't have high expectations, certainly nothing unreasonable, but I do put in the time to practice. 5-10 hours a week at this point. I can play in my finished basement at night, and I can go practice at lunch too. In the summer I can go outside and play my acoustic at the office and I can also pop over to where I take lessons (5 minute drive) and practice in the rehearsal rooms during lunch. I am pretty busy and have a young child but I've made the time by basically eliminating any TV watching or video games I might have been doing, and slightly reducing the amount of time I spend reading books.

    If you're doing videos IMO Marty Schwartz is the best... he hits all the same important points my teacher does and explains things really well for the level I'm at right now. The only weak points vs real lessons with him is he isn't handing you written notes specific to you and he can't see what you're doing wrong. But you can tell he's legit and has taught lots of in-person lessons as well and really thought out how he's doing his videos.

    If you want to take lessons you still have to find a good teacher... but the difficulty in doing that can be a very local phenomenon so I wouldn't be scared off by someone on the internet who is not in your physical location warning you that they may have had trouble years ago. The local teachers are going to vary but using books & videos has the same pitfalls no matter where you live. I'd definitely give it a try without trying to "build a foundation" on your own cause there is no guarantee you'll build any foundation at all and you'll possibly in grain bad behaviors and mistakes.
     
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  5. michaelnel

    michaelnel TDPRI Member

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    Discussion about music store guitar teachers reminds me of the worst teacher I ever had. Back in the 1960s I signed up for lessons at a little music store in Menlo Park California called Progressive Music.

    I only took a couple “lessons” from this teacher. He seemed to be in a haze all the time, and he just noodled around on his guitar for ½ hour and charged me for a lesson. I enjoyed it, but didn’t learn a thing. My dad used to drop me off and pick me up after the lessons. My dad was an FBI agent at the time.

    After the second lesson, my dad said “We’re not doing this any more. There is something WRONG with that guy and I don’t want you to be around him.”

    So that was the end of my lessons with Jerry. He was missing a finger on his picking hand but could pick like crazy anyway. He was in a band named The Warlocks at the time, and he became quite famous later even though he was Dead.
     
  6. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    Lessons with a good teacher. Bad habits come from playing without feedback. Between Skype and all the pros out of work and teaching, there is NO excuse for not being able to find a good teacher.
     
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  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    i recommend the book and cd "blues you can use". it starts simple and walks you through some basic but important blues tropes.
     
  8. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I ain't reading any more of this thread, probably did already, but I'm wondering how the OP is coming along, now that he's in his early 50s? :lol:
     
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  9. Hpilotman

    Hpilotman Tele-Meister

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    Also knowing the Nashville Numbering System which is very helpful when transposing Keys.

    Also knowing that all chords that use Only fretted notes are moveable 1/2 step / fret.
     
  10. Toast

    Toast Tele-Afflicted

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    I think there is an important question to ask if you’re interested in learning to play guitar. You need to answer for yourself whether you primarily want to learn the mechanics of playing a guitar or whether you want to learn how to create music with a guitar. Those are two equally valid approaches to learning, in my opinion.

    The approach to learning the mechanics of guitar playing is summed up well in Dimebag Darrell’s Wikipedia article.

    Abbott did not receive formal guitar lessons. He stated in a 1994 Guitar World interview that he once received "a guitar lesson off this cat. He wrote down some weird scale and tried to explain how it worked. After we finished he said, 'Now go on home, practice that scale, and show me how well you can play it next week.' So I took it home, played around with it for a few minutes and said, 'F*** this, I just want to jam.' I respect people that can read tablature and all that ****, but I just don't even have the patience to read the newspaper." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimebag_Darrell

    If Dimebag sounds like you, then I’d recommend learning the cowboy chords and barre chords from Youtube. After that, I think you should start learning songs you like. Watch Youtube Learn-how-to-play [insert song title] videos and start practicing easy songs you like. There are internet lists of easy [insert music genre] songs for beginners that you can find. Learn some songs, find some other players with a similar playing temperament, and form a band. Start playing music. You may eventually develop more of an interest in musical concepts as you improve your understanding of playing mechanics. There are loads of players who used this approach to learn and they’re happy with it. It has the advantage of being an anti-theory approach and that appeals to a huge number of players. It might also be the most satisfying method for playing guitar, particularly if you want to avoid musical complication.

    The other approach, I’d call it the theory approach, is more focused on learning and applying musical concepts to playing the guitar. The advantage to this approach is that it opens up a huge range of musical possibilities and genres for a player to explore. Those possibilities not only apply to guitar, however; they apply to any instrument you want to think about in some musical context. If a musician wants to add an accordion to a rock n’ roll song, an understanding of musical concepts will provide a painless path for throwing it into a mix. In this approach the player is more of a musician/composer than a guitarist. If you find all the elements of music engaging as well as the mechanics of guitar playing, then you should seek lessons that teach musical concepts along with the mechanics of guitar playing.
     
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  11. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I fully support getting lessons early on. I didn't.

    I played for 40 years without guitar lessons, though I had several years of piano lessons as a child and had taught myself to play guitar from printed music and understood some basic elements of music theory.

    A guitar teacher at a music store quickly assessed my proficiency on several fronts, noting my terrible rhythm, and got me on track and directed me to inversions and the harmonic scale, which lifted me, with practice, to a level that I would never have attained on my own.
     
  12. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'm all for studying with a good teacher. I have even though it may not be apparent. My comment was merely my observation. They seem to cater to beginners.
     
  13. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    No doubt that beginners are the majority of those seeking lessons and that music stores market sales of guitars and instructional materials with lessons.

    I found my teacher by hearing him perform. I tracked him down and found that he taught at a music store. His students range from beginners to old timers like me.
     
  14. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    So did I! Sort of. He was on a another forum like this one and I discovered he was local. After hearing him play, I understood he knew his business. It tuned out he was a really talented teacher as well as performer.
     
  15. MarrFan

    MarrFan Tele-Meister

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    This moron played on and off.....and now I'm back.....trying to learn in the middle of a pandemic. Because I feel a lockdown is coming and it's gonna be a long winter. So.....should I bring my Tele in for a tune up at say like a Guitar Center or local music shop? I've been watching Marty/Justin guitar vids to prep......hoping to make better progress this go. Fire away.
     
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  16. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Learn the caged system. Books are your friend. Lessons are great for starting out. It's a life long journey. Part of the fun is learning the little things.
     
  17. MarrFan

    MarrFan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this reply out. Appreciate the advice. Hope your journey is going well.
     
  18. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    It's been almost 3 years since I wrote that reply.

    I am still with the same teacher, but he started his own business. My lessons have been online this year. Online now works for me I'd say at this point in my journey.

    I think in-person is still super important at first. That first year to 18 months my instructor was spending a LOT of time with me on posture, hand positioning, fingering, stuff that is super easy for an in-person instructor to notice and correct but harder online and impossible in a non-interactive video where no one is watching you. My teacher is very pragmatic with that stuff. He's not going to tell you to do 1, 1.5, 2 step bends with your thumb way down the back of the neck. But when you need to make a big stretch he will recommend I do so, and he seems to look for what would work for me as opposed to dictating I do exactly as he did.

    But in any case at 6 years of playing and coming up on 4 years of lessons I'm spending a lot more time on theory and I pick up new stuff much faster so online has not been a drag at all this year. Sometimes I can pick stuff up by ear now, and certain songs he'll send my way I nail down really fast and can play right along with the record in an hour or two.

    We can't really "jam" online though and that sucks. It's going to be great when we in person lessons can resume. Likewise I can't wait to be able to get together to play with friends again.

    I still kind of hate almost all the videos on Youtube though.. they all basically fall into:

    - Semi-decent starter lesson to get you to buy a package
    - Paid gear reviews

    Just about any lesson that's free on Youtube is still going to either cover something too hard for you or it's going to have 10 minutes of stuff you don't need to listen to because you already know it front to back.

    I still like Marty Music but I'm going to skip the 5-10 minutes of him showing the chord shapes 99% of the time cause I already know the chord shapes and can easily take whatever the progression he's playing and translate it from open chords -> barre chords -> 3-4 different triad versions.

    I still can't sit cross legged on the floor with a dreadnaught and play like Justin Guitar. That will just wreck my back. :mad:
     
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  19. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Meister

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    So, I took music store lessons for five years when I was a teen. I learned very little from my lessons and didn't have the advantage of online resource in the early 80s.

    Fast forward to today and I'm almost overwhelmed by the availability of resources. Here's what I'm doing to learn this time around:

    1. Justin Guitar beginner's course book and website. Very good course.
    2. My wife prefers Fender Play so I sit with her and take the lessons along with her. Lots of good teachers and bite-sized lessons. We're not far enough into it to see how it will be as we advance. They had a 50% off annual deal for black friday (friday50 code).
    3. Beato YouTube channel to learn about theory.
    4. I have a couple of big charts from Amazon with lots of chords and scales.
    5. If I haven't given up by next year, I may find a teacher.
    6. When COVID is over, I'm going to find some jam sessions. It occurs to me that just playing with better players is the most effective and fun way to get better.

    I am a green novice guitar player but I am an educator with deep understanding of adult learning. The biggest factor is student motivation, of course.
     
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  20. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Yah I have a Fender play account just cause the deals were so great.. it's really cheap if you get one of the deals.

    I think Fender play is really great quality for the price.

    My teacher uses the heck out of soundslice.com... it does a lot of what the Fender play software platform does only better IMO.. basically provide a way to have a video + notation + tab that are all synced up on the screen. Soundslice is just way more comprehensive with it's notation and it can print the notation + score very nicely for when you just want to throw it on the stand and not have to use the computer. Fender play in comparison really only shows a kind of "augmented tab". It's better than regular tab but it's not as good as full music notation + tab IMO.

    But for non-interactive stuff where the teacher can't watch you back and tell you what you're doing wrong Fender play is great, and Fender has worked really hard at improving it the last few years.

    I do wish Fender could do something more to give a better idea of what level each lesson/segment is at.. it's hard to tell before you watch the video how simplified it is.. I'll frequently start a video and realize it's an ultra simplified version of the song I'm not that interested in, and there's no way to tell exactly what you're getting till you start watching the video.

    They have their whole 1/2/3 pick rating system for difficulty, maybe it'd be better if they made it 1-5 or 1-10 and had some secondary rating thing that tells you how accurate what they're teaching is to the original piece.

    Soundslice is a totally different model though, it's a platform for teachers to do whatever they want to do and sell their own stuff... soundslice itself isn't dictating what goes on it.
     
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