Practical advice for (adult) beginner?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by jferreir, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    it's like surfing... the first year you fall off a lot and look like a kook in front of the beach crowd.... swallow a lot of salt water,..
    the enjoyment and determination to stand up and surf...over rides the kook stage... especially when you're out there battling away with all the other kooks....

    the next year you're up and riding with more confidence.... pretty soon you're carving it up doing some of the moves the big guys are doing....

    time is the key..... stay with it... RIDE.:)
     
  2. BottyGuy

    BottyGuy Tele-Meister

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    This is how you start, it's all about learning songs. So start with that, I'd recommend picking one of Justin's beginner song lesson's to start. Learn to play the song all the way through. His "Three Little Birds" lesson is about as simple as it gets.

    I would also suggest trying to sing along to it after you learn the chords, being able to sing and play a song makes the process worth while.

    Also don't.worry too much about hitting wrong strings while your strumming. You generally don't even want to play every string of the chord, that's how you add character to the music. So don't worry so much an lose yourself in the playing a bit.
     
  3. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Holic

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    I'd second the suggestion of being determined to complete the JustinGuitar beginner lessons. You'll be playing songs quickly once you get rolling and that's amazing. And I also suggest goals. Something reasonable and achievable in a period of time.
     
  4. Brett Fuzz

    Brett Fuzz Tele-Holic

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    All great advice so far.

    For me, the biggest motivation was learning a few basic open chords and hearing a recognizable tune tumble from the strings. Wow ! Was that me playing that ?

    Then the motivation to play it better & add a few more 'songs' really kicks in and you are off and running.

    Justin Sandercoe's beginners course is really fantastic too (as has been mentioned).

    Good luck.
     
  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Plus, and E is a chord time in a C major chord. Come back where you're playing a Bb chord.
     
  6. younkint

    younkint Tele-Afflicted

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    THIS

    What getbent says is dead on the money. If you do this, you will not fail.

    Get back to us with those three songs.




    .
     
  7. Jett Rink

    Jett Rink TDPRI Member

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    Guitarprinciples.com In particular, The Principles of Correct Practice ...
    You meed to learn how to hold the guitar fret, etc without tension, then learn scales etc. Please check out this site. No affiliation.
     
  8. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    can't say anything new about learning but you might want to try this version of the C chord, makes it easier for picking bass notes too.
     

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  9. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    All good advice. This might sound simplistic, but you have to remember to breathe. Lots of time I catch myself holding my breath, and tensing up.
     
  10. wyowolf

    wyowolf TDPRI Member

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    For me discovering Scott Grove lessons on YT was a godsend!! also Justin Guitar and marty swartz... find songs you WANT to learn and play.
     
  11. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Holic

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    It can be tough to listen to yourself at the beginning. You can work scales and cords on a unplugged electric while watching tv to get callouses and muscle memory. Check for how clean it is during commercials. You can do the rhythm also this way. Just hold a simple E and work on your thump thump thumpatythump thump till it flows. Its a good way to put in some (not all) of the time without punishing yourself. In rock the ryhtm can be more important than the note. I know a beginner that can do fairly detailed bluegrass melody because its recognizable without timing but a simple boom boom boom what has no real noted but is all timing throws him. I've proven before in blues based music that many songs are more recognizable with the right timing but wrong notes that the other way around. Don't worry you are plenty young to do this. Lessons would help. Maybe you could save money with skype lessons or a community rec class. I did the class early on and it helped me get a big jump starting but I stagnated big time for 20 years because I didnt do any more lessons. But I still had fun. Also do a craigslist ad. There are a lot of you out there and even the blind leading the blind will help.
     
  12. Rubber

    Rubber TDPRI Member

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    +1 on Justin Sandercoe.

    Scott Grove helped me too. Especially the lesson: ACOUSTIC GUITAR, BEYOND THE BASICS. See http://www.freewebs.com/groovymusiclessons/acousticguitarlessons.htm for Scott's acoustic stuff.

    Set up a schedule for each week. Write it down and check it off as you do it. Otherwise it is too easy to cheat on the actual targeted practice time and just mess around. Keeping you on track like that is a lot of what a good teacher will do. Have the schedule detailed enough so you actually have specific things to do each day. For example, you might work on strumming patterns for 5 minutes, chord changes for 5 minutes ( use Justin's 1 minute changes to keep yourself honest ), and work on a song for 10 minutes. Also include 15+ minutes of just playing/messing around - and listen to the sounds that you are making.

    Try some playing in the dark, without being real judgmental about how crappy you sound ;). That's what you sound like now. Your job is to shape that into something that you like. The dark part can help you get into listening and away from trying to use you eyes to play the music. You don't need eyes for music, just ears ( and probably some other way to strum the guitar - unless your ears are more flexible than mine.)

    Truefire.com has a lot of good to great courses. Just be sure to get ones that fit your level.

    All this has helped me a lot. Good luck and remember that if you keep it up regularly, you will get there.
     
  13. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I'm 95% self taught. I say 95% since I leared from the internet and books and after 20 years took some real lessons this past year. We didn't have any "youtube" or "skype" that poeple have these days. LOL. I had to lern the hard way, looking up chords on the UNLV server (now Ultimate Guitar). :lol:

    All kidding aside, it won't be any fun at all if you don't get something out of it right away.

    I get the notion that you're a younger person....I started playing when grunge was all the rage and should have started with easier tunes. My recommended approach, find a couple 3 chord songs. Easy stuff from the 50's and learn those three chords. Start slow. Be able to transition between those three chords in time with the recording. You will likely start slow as all get out. Then, you will feel like you can DO something. Then go back to all the theory, metronomes, walking bass lines and scales.

    Do also find some other people, beginners. Toronto, I'm told is the 3rd biggest city in North America. Put an ad on CL and see if you can find some other folks to stay motovated. The mayor might be free soon. :) Doesn't matter if you are playing tunes you don't necessairly like, you're building skills. You will learn a ton that way.

    Good luck!
     
  14. loggerboots

    loggerboots Tele-Meister

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    Howdie young man, from someone who also started late in life (37, now 44), here's what I learned.

    Do not learn songs from tab. I wasted 2-3 years going down that road because I was too stubborn to sign up for lessons. Get into lessons with someone who's well respected and learn the basics (you don't need much to get going with blues and rock). Once you have the basics down, if you want to learn a song, or lick, learn it by ear. It's not hard once you know what you're doing a little bit.

    Start playing with others as soon as feasible. Playing with others makes you better, faster, esp. in the timing/rythm thing, which is easy to slide by when you're playing in your bedroom, but you'll be exposed once playing in a band or jam if you don't have the timing down.

    Once you know a few chords, learn to sing over them. Even if you don't think you have a good voice, do it anyways. Trust me, if you get to an intermediate level, you're going to want to have to rely on as few older beginner/intermediate musicians as possible to get a band going. The more you can do yourself, the better.

    Don't focus so much on "lead guitar". If you do, make sure you improvise in your genre as much as possible, learning things by rote to build vocabulary.

    To reiterate, get into lessons with a good teacher who will guide you. If they seem to want to only hand you tabs or charts for songs you want to learn, look elsewhere, get someone who wants to teach you how to play music on guitar, with songs as an application of what you're being taught.

    ETA - oops, missed the part where you say you can't afford lessons. Even if you can only get in once/month for 1/2 hour, a good teacher can give you enough material to keep you busy for the entire time. Frankly, weekly lessons can be too frequent for an adult as it take a bit of time to get the previous weeks stuff under the fingers and we don't have all the time in the world to practice.
     
  15. dmarg1045

    dmarg1045 Friend of Leo's

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    Good luck!
     
  16. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Holic

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    I wish I pushed singing early also. Not just because it would be cool to learn but it helps internalize the music faster and deeper. My kids in jazz band and the teacher expects all of them to be able to sound out their parts vocally from sheet music even. It makes sense that what comes out of your instrument shouldn't "surprise" you. Basically the same rule follows anyone can learn guitar and learn to sing. At first just hum along with the sound the guitar makes. Or maybe should be making. Its a good way to doublecheck yourself. Do some work then play with it. You can get better and still mostly have fun. Its why its the best instrument in the world.
     
  17. jferreir

    jferreir TDPRI Member

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    First, I want to briefly thank everyone for the helpful replies. I should probably clarify a few things...

    I did try learning from the JustinGuitar site. It was really helpful at first, but after taking a few private lessons, I was told that some of the stuff I was learning was questionable. For example, Justin teaches a weird variation of the A chord, where your fingers overlap (easier transition from D chord). I was told that this is a bad habit to develop, and that made me question whether those tutorials can or should be trusted.

    I've been trying to learn a few simple songs to keep me motivated, so I'm well ahead of you there. Here are some of the songs:
    1. Your Touch - Black Keys
    2. Every Day, Every Night - Patrick Sweany
    3. Them Shoes - Patrick Sweany
    4. Bad Moon Rising - CCR
    5. Catfish Blues - Any variation

    I can already do some (sloppy) chord transitions, along with a few minor riffs, but I just can't seem to get the timing/rhythm down for any song. Not just the strumming pattern, but the actual timing. Timing really is the most important thing to making music SOUND like music, even if you hit a few of the wrong strings, but I'm absolutely terrible at it. This really prevents me from playing any one song from beginning to end. Furthermore, I can't figure out how to learn a full song because I can't find reliable instructions. Tabs are either inaccurate, contradictory, or non-existent. I can't read sheet music, and I can't identify notes by ear, so that doesn't give me many options. For example, there's no tabs for "every day, every night", and many conflicting tabs for "your touch". I wouldn't know which one I should learn, and I only want to learn how to play the proper way.

    The guitar teacher I had told me NOT to practice with a metronome so that I can develop an "ear" for the beat, or something like that. The other thing is that I don't know HOW to use a metronome. I have a metronome app on my phone, but I don't know what to set the tempo to, why that's important, or what it means when learning how to play guitar. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

    As much as I would like to continue with lessons, I really can't afford them. It seems the going rate in my area is about $30 per 1/2 hour, and that's only if I travel to them. I really didn't find that I was learning that much from week to week, and that's a huge financial commitment for me. I wouldn't sell either of my guitars to facilitate lessons because they ain't worth much! The acoustic is worth less than $100, and the tele is practically brand new. I already named her Emily, so it wouldn't feel right if I put her out to pasture, haha.

    This post was my favourite because that's exactly what I've been trying to do. I confess that I don't know what the major scales are, but I did learn the blues scale from a random fellow who was kind enough to show me a few years back. I committed that scale to memory and I play it almost regularly to build up finger dexterity. However, because I have no rhythm/timing, I'm very worried that I'm not practicing the scale properly, and possibly developing poor habits. What other scales should I learn, and how should I practice them?

    I know exactly what you mean about listening to music and paying attention to the structure. I think of music like academic writing. To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. You have to master the structural basics of writing (e.g., grammatical rules, logical inferences, etc.), and then you have to read widely to deepen that understanding, and to pick up various stylistic cues along the way. This explains how writers often develop their "voice" over time, and how we can sometimes recognize grammatical errors even if we cannot identify the specific grammatical rule that's being broken. Bringing this back to music, by listening to a breadth of music, you're essentially building up a repertoire/knowledge-base that you can reference when playing or writing music. You can anticipate what type of bridge would work well between two passages, or how a particular vibrato might impart a certain "flavour" to the music. This I completely understand.

    I think this is why I'm so drawn to blues-inspired music; every note sounds like it's meant to be there. There's a strong anticipation of certain notes, and I find that less is more when it comes to really well-executed solos. Sometimes it's the notes that you don't play that make the music so beautiful.

    I guess I really need help in developing a strategy to overcome my lack of rhythm, as well as practical advice on setting up a consistent practice schedule. I'm pretty good at learning the fret portions of a given song, but it's the timing and strum patterns that I always struggle with. If I can learn how to play a few songs from beginning to end, I think that would do wonders for my confidence (which I have none of).

    So, can anyone make some specific recommendations or suggestions based on these clarifications? Sorry for the book, and thanks again for all the encouragement.

    P.S. I just turned 28, if that makes a difference in how I should approach all of this.
     
  18. upinthemteles

    upinthemteles Tele-Meister

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    learn the major scale and figure out twinkle twinkle by ear.... that's two complete songs right there
     
  19. slowlearner78

    slowlearner78 Tele-Meister

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    I'm a hack and my situation is not all that different from the OP's, but the above comment is completely antithetical to everything I have ever been taught about learning music.
     
  20. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Metronome: nothing wrong with using one. Move from clicking on every beat to just 1 & 3 (or 2 & 4), then just on the 1.
     
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