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Friend Is Brand New To Guitar...What Do I Teach First?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BBenderNut, Dec 10, 2020.

  1. BBenderNut

    BBenderNut TDPRI Member

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    If you had to put a lesson together, what is the number one thing to teach a brand new guitarist? Top 3 things?!? Top 5 things?!?!?

    Have a friend who wants to learn. I've taught a couple folks before, but never had a student who took to the instrument...maybe it's me! Goal is to help my buddy strum a couple tunes at a campfire whilst we share a little whiskey :)

    All tips or suggestions welcome. I realize there no right answer. Maybe there's a consensus?
     
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  2. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    My suggestion is to find a common ground with a couple of songs he/she likes that are as basic as possible.

    1,2,3 chords at most.

    My experience is that if you can get them to play a song or at least parts of, and it be recognisable that they are well on the way so quickly, they will likely push through the boring frustrating part.

    Sitting down and learning multiple chords (i.e the old way) before playing a song is a mistake IMO.
     
  3. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    The thing I wish I learned first was patience, but I'm not sure how you teach that...
     
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  4. johmica

    johmica Tele-Holic

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    I always start with the cowboy chords.
     
  5. Loudog99

    Loudog99 Tele-Holic

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    I would start with all of the open position “cowboy” chords. Three at a time starting with C, F, G...easy version of F with only the DGBE strings. In addition, the major scale in C so that they can eventually pick out the melody to the song. Wholeheartedly agree with learning songs along the way. Easy versions of the chord progressions for verses and chorus from start to finish. I wish someone had taught me these fundamentals instead of just focusing on riffs, solos, or hooks.
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    work him on Am -Em.... when he can change between those ok swing in a C , drop 2 fingers to make an easy F.

    E should be easy after those with a lesson on sliding a barred E chord .... then a G and A.... and finally the D shape...

    that should get him started... :)
     
  7. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I have given this sort of thing some thought in the past. I have had some good experiences and bad experiences as a music student. On that basis, I think the best thing to do is to not worry about particular exercises or scales or approaches yet, but instead to focus on getting to know your friend's thinking and desires with the instrument, then going from there.

    The teacher that I liked took the time to get to know me a bit and learn what I wanted to get from the instrument, then tailored the lessons to my interests. He was constantly talking to me about what I wanted to do. The teachers I didn't like just tried to push their method and what they wanted to do or were interested in onto me. That failed. I hated it, and I fought it all the way. There are no doubt people who aren't so stubborn as I am, but that's human nature to a large degree.

    You can find all the great lessons and ideas in the world, but if they don't speak to your friend's interests and personality it's a waste of time. So I would suggest putting most of those considerations aside for now and spend more time getting to know what your friend wants to accomplish with the guitar. Once you know that, then you can ask more specific questions about how to meet those goals and come up with something that will give him/her the best chance at success. Then you can move forward with that in mind, and use ideas tailored to his interests or experiment with different approaches to find what works best.

    As you allude to when you say there's no right or wrong answer here, there is no one size fits all approach to the guitar that will work for all people. I think the best way forward is to focus on the student as a person and go from there.

    Sorry for the book, and I wish you and your friend good luck.
     
  8. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Start with open E, A, D, C, G and Em, Am, and Dm chords. Forget about the F chord, unless it's an Fmaj7, 'cause covering the first fret on the B and E string with their index finger is too hard for a beginner. You can then move on to CMaj7, Amaj7, and Dmaj7, 'cause they're all simple too. And, as for scales, I would start with pentatonics and then move on to full diatonic scales while covering the circle of fifths and how to build scales. But, that'll all come much later. Just start with the easy open position chords, and a few simple and fun songs that use them.
     
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  9. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    Forget teaching anything first but clean fretting and the ability to hit a single desired string on demand.

    Then open position chords E, A, and D, then basic G and C.

    Then strumming patterns.

    Then the intro to Stairway, it's required at this point.
     
  10. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    Depends on the players personality. Personally, I wish someone right off the bat had taught me just enough music theory to know what chord was. Not a lot (no "circle of fifths"), but maybe an hour's worth spread over 5 hours of lessons. I've meant to write up something like this as it took me way to long to piece it together myself and most guitar teaching books go too far.

    But it has to be someone with a personality that fits. Like, when they cook, do they want to know what they are doing or do they hate that and just want to blindly follow a recipe? If the later, then just teach them A, C, D, E and G and play some songs.
     
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  11. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I learned:

    1) Open G using pinky 3rd fret high e, ring finger 3rd fret low e.
    2) C
    3) D
    4) Switching G to C
    5) Switching anything to D
    6) the intro to stairway, as @Blues Twanger mentioned, it's required at that point
     
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  12. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I always start them on cowboy chords and easy finger exercises like first four frets on each string. As you add a new chord, teach a new finger exercise. Save Bm for last then a full F Barre. Then show them barres and pentatonic scales. Then other moveable chord shapes and other scales.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Teach him/her these chords and how to switch between them on the beat. I would also add Am and Em. THEN, see what songs he/she starts to play with them. That will give you a feel for their ear and taste.
     
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  14. tubedood

    tubedood Tele-Holic

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    One of my first lessons that really sunk in was a few variations of "The Spider Crawl".
    It helped with a lot of my later playing.
     
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  15. teleman1

    teleman1 Friend of Leo's

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    Learning is crampy on the hand and finger tips Many never get past this point. I show the cowboy chords and basic strumming to the beginner. To get by the cramps and monotony, I tell them to switch back and forth, mindlessly between chords, while watching the TV. When it hurts, stop, continue after a minute. Repeat till cramps and or finger tips are tender. This method for many advances the beginning to be a much shorter time and less disillusion by beginning difficulty.
     
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  16. aleski

    aleski Tele-Meister

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    Stairway to Heaven?

    Aw, so many beat me to it :(
     
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  17. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Holic

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    If you know their favourite band, look for as many tabs as you can. Tell them to go away and learn at least three songs. If they can play what they enjoy, they're more likely to stick with it.

    After that, no idea.
     
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  18. Twang-ineer

    Twang-ineer Tele-Meister

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    Posture. How to hold it, how not to hurt yourself, then downstrokes.... lots and lots of downstrokes.

    Then.... Iron Man.

    Smoke on the water

    Thats usually enough for a few weeks ;-)
     
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  19. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I beg off from that situation. Doesn't work.

    I'm happy to help someone find a decent guitar, maybe a chord book, and then I'd send them to the music store to see about lessons.

    If I did show them a song it would be a 3-chorder in A. Easiest chords: A,D,E.
     
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  20. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I would start with how to properly string and TUNE a guitar...
     
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