Going to my first guitar lesson. Been playing for 29 years...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Sotakoira Musti, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Sotakoira Musti

    Sotakoira Musti Tele-Meister

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    Yep, my first ever guitar lesson in on next monday. I've been playing guitar since 1990. Boy, do I feel nervous! It's even worst than going on your first gig.

    My major malfunction is lack of skill to impro. I'm so boneheaded, that I need notes to tell me how to play a song. Then everything is all right. If I've hadn't bought Hal Leonard's Beatles Complete Scores in the mid 1990's , I'd still be playing cowboy chords or doing some stupid pentatonic scales up and down.

    The "bible":
    11680103_800.jpg
    We have this saying in Finland, "hauki on kala". It means literally "a pike is a fish". The true meaning of that phrase is that you chant that mantra for 1000 times, to truly learn that a pike is really a fish. But still, you haven't got a slightest idea why pike is a fish. Just mechnanical performing, without any thought about what I'm really doing, and most importantly, why.

    And that is the way I've been practising since I was a young lad. Playing song after song, repeating them until my fingers started bleeding. And yes, now I can master about 130-140 Beatles's songs, both rhythm and lead. Yes, that's indeed very nice. And the others (which I'm not so keen on) need just a little hint, and they'll go.

    But when I go outside Beatles, or any other song I've learned the hard way, I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I have to impro a riff or a solo, I just can't go beyond pentatonic scales or somethn sh***y stuff I create. I've tried and tried, but my lack of creativity is just overwhelming. If my bandmate from non-Beatles band asks me to do a solo, usually it's just a total choke.

    So, the big question is, can my teatcher make me unlearn (forget) everything I've learned or not learned in these past 29 years. Okay, I've maybe exaggerated a bit, I'm not that bad player, but you get the big picture.

    I asked my teacher to teach me improvising, using the whole neck. It'll cost a 200€/month, but I can go to as many lessons as I like. While I'm waiting for my knee surgery (artificial joint), I've got all the time in the world to go to lessons. I truly hope they'll help me to become a better and most importantly, a more creative player.

    Wish the old bonehead luck guys and gals!

    Br, Musti
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  2. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Good luck w/ surgery & rehab.
    Great decision for post-surgery time - learn what to do w/ the entire fret-board.
    Check in afterwards and inspire us w/ your progress.
    Peace - Deeve
     
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  3. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm guessing he will probably start you out with those same pentatonic scales and expand on them. I would get your teacher to play some improv lead for you and be prepared to change teachers if you aren't impressed by it. I went through a bunch of teachers in my first few years of playing. Only a couple wowed me. I learnt the most from those guys.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  4. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    I played about 15 years before taking some proper lessons. I was using the hunt and pick method of playing lead. I was shown the scales and it helped so much. I wasn't making as many mistakes. Good luck. Learning the major scale in three positions and the number system changed my life.
     
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  5. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    Best of luck all around. I admire you for thinking of doing it during the wait. I hope it keeps your mind from thinking too much about the upcoming surgery. And when you are back on your feet you can dance and play new licks. Cool.
     
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  6. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I had only been playing for about 5 years when I decided to hire an instuctor for the same reasons that you point out. He was a fantastic player who specialized in claissical as well as blues and jazz. He sat me down in his home and told me to just play something for 10 minutes while he observed and took notes. At the end of the 10 minutes he pointed out 9 bad habits and a couple of things that I was just plain doing wrong. It was an hour session and I made more productive gains from that hour than anything I had done in years. Sadly, the gains were far fewer over the next 6 months until I decided to shut it down. He just never had a plan for me and when I complained about how we don't seem to have clear purpose to our sessions, he broke out the Hal Leonard series and tried to start me out from the beginning. I wasn't motivated by it at all and walked away.

    I think you are making a great decision, hopefully, you found a good instructor the first time out.
     
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  7. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    It sounds like you have all the tools you need to improvise and just need some confidence and support. I think a teacher or coach is perfect for that.

    If you already know the lead lines to all the Beatles songs it seems to me you could start there with even just modifying one small part of a solo.

    Anyway, best of luck and I wish you success in your upcoming lessons.
     
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  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Going beyond mechanical performing to improvising requires that you learn scales, chords, and how melody lines fit into them. A good instructor can really help. With a good understanding you can work on theme and variation as a basic improvisation. Then you can add time to your improvisation. Just make sure you find an instructor who understands your goals. Some seem entirely focused on technique and classical technique may not be the best for pop and jazz. The hardest part will be finding an instructor who will help you get better at what you want to play rather than make you proficient at what he plays. Good luck and make sure it stays fun.
     
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  9. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

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    Your original post reminds me of myself a bit. I can learn all kinds of songs, including some songs that a few years ago I passed on because they were too hard.

    I probably should bite the bullet and take some lessons too.

    Maybe you motivated me a bit?
     
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  10. Sotakoira Musti

    Sotakoira Musti Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys for your support! Feeling a lot more relaxed already!

    I guess he’ll make me play something (I could play Something? :D) with my guitar and then take a deep breath before hearing out everything I’m doing wrong, starting with tech issues. I’ve come to notice that when getting older and having quite massive medication, it has affected my eye-hand coordination.

    I’m really looking forward to see how these guys handle their pedagogical skills. I’ve been teaching for a couple of decades myself, so I have a hunch about how you can teach stuff even to the most boneheaded people. The system goes (in theory) like this:

    You can have max 4 bookings to attend lessons. Once you’ve done one lesson, you can book another. These are group lessons, where everyone is doing their own thing. You get the agenda for your lesson in the beginning and assigned to an amp and headphones. Start doing your thing and the teacher/s will monitor you via their headphones. Then they’ll come to correct you if you do something wrong and you can ask for an advise anytime at all. Max group size is 10 and if so, there’ll be 2 instructors present. Max 5, 1 instructor. As I said before, paying this monthly fee gives you right to attend to as many lessons you want/can. And you can walk away whenever you want.

    My main concern is how they can teach just me and listen to my needs. Well, I’ll give them two months, one prior and one post operation. Try to suck as much info as I can get. If I’m not satisfied, then try to find another, and this time a private instructor. And thanks for advice, I’ll be very prepared to ditch the teacher if I have even a slightest doubt. Personal chemistry is a strange thing.

    As someone said earlier, what I really need is a boost to self confidence. The same kind when I’m at the world of Hal Leonard. I’ve written a dozens of songs, know my chords and can do prima vista when having notes. So basically the skills are there, but they’re buried behind a thick wall self critisism. A kick in the a*se is just the thing I need.

    I’ll report to you after first lessons, two in a row on monday. Looking forward on seeing how stupid I feel!

    Musti :lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  11. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    if your teacher says "tell me a song you want to learn" tell him you want to learn to play all songs.
     
  12. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Unlike other professions there's no real license to acquire to teach guitar.

    After I had been playing a while, I took a lesson with a guy who prided himself on his ear and how he didn't read music . Yeah, ok.

    Anyhow, I learned a few things but I was super nervous about it. I played a little bit, lots of clams, and he got on me about slowing down. Said I was trying to play at a high school level and needed to start at first grade. Like a microagression it sort or set me off. Then there was the lesson on a Sunday while over my shoulder he was watching the football game. I didnt go back.

    Took some other lessons from another guy I did get along with but was rather expensive.

    I like the idea of a group lesson. I don't have the desire to play electric guitar alone, I like to fit in the mix with others and I hate a knee to knee lesson in a tiny room.

    Good luck to you!
     
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  13. Rich724

    Rich724 Tele-Meister

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    In my mind lessons will provide for several key things.
    Proper technique
    Understand why chords/melody progress the way they do.
    How to build more complex arraignments.
     
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  14. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Jens Larsen, on YouTube, has a lot of lessons for playing jazz, which is probably not what you want.

    However, he has a great tip for learning how to improvise over a backing track. He says to play only three notes of each chord. Because most songs are in 4/4 time, this exercise requires you to leave a little space or change the duration of one of the notes. With this method, your playing gets away from merely playing scales, forcing you to play rhythmically and to create melodies.
     
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  15. ronzhd

    ronzhd Tele-Holic

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    Nothing wrong with cowboy chords and pentatonic licks!
     
  16. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 54 years of guitar playing, learning for me and I think most you learn stuff in spurts. What I found find what works for you, play what fits your ability just enjoy what you play. The one thing that's really helped me when I was young everyone had guitars instead of going to a friend’s house to play video games you brought your guitar and amp. If you can find other players to practice with share ideas, riffs it’s a great help. With 54 years of playing I’m still not stellar, I can’t listen to a song and play it but the one thing I can do if have fun.
     
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  17. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    A great decision!

    We should never be too complacent to learn, to improve, to reassess our music. I hope this exercise brings the dividends you're hoping for. :D

    It'll take your mind off the rehab, too......;)
     
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  18. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Meister

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    After 20 years, I decided to take lessons. It was the best decision I ever made, musically. I needed someone to challenge me to grow. There's no "you can't...," it's all "you will." It's the best, even as I flail about trying to sight read and figure out odd time signatures.

    Good for you and good luck!
     
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  19. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to struggle badly with lead guitar for unfamiliar tunes. I could memorise and play lead lines, but I didn't understand the concept of playing the changes.

    Eventually I got there.

    Slowly, at first.

    Better with time.

    If you aren't familiar with the idea, maybe ask your teacher to play you an example.
     
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  20. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Good music teachers are hard to find - nobody becomes a musician because they actually want to be a teacher. But some of them accidentally find they're good at it, or they have enough integrity to learn how to be a good teacher. I've had all kinds, myself, more bad than good.

    My suggestion is to back away from the scales for a while and just really understand your movable chord shapes, how they relate, which ones are near each other, where the other notes are around each movable chord that sound good. Just doing that can take you a lot farther than you might think.
     
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