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Old 06-06-2010, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default learning the Guitar what do I do?

I need some advice on learning the Guitar. This is my second or third time around on plying the Guitar. I don't want to get stuck as I have done before. I've learned to read a little tablature (the "A" pentatonic scale) from one instructor, and a little by ear from another. It's been about a year and a half since I've been serious about this stuff. The by ear was cool and all, I was in the proses of learning to move around from key to key with minor and major pentatonic. Hard times hit and can't afford a teacher. When you change instructors it sets ya back and I ain't no spring chicken (in my fifties). It seems like I'm just plying into the air here with no real plan of attack. Any suggestions? Thanks
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Old 06-06-2010, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Might seem like a stale response but, just try and have fun playing dude. Learn songs that you enjoy and try not to force anything.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah man. Just play what you like. Do some covers and play your own stuff, experiment, and you can probably find some jam tracks online to work on leads and stuff. Another thing about learning by ear, don't worry about it yet. Just play what you know, and learn by sheet music, tabs, or other guitarists. After a while, you'll develope a sense of what chords sound like, how they mesh together, and how leads fall in place with rhythms. Then you'll be able to just jam out or listen to a song and figure it out in no time. Just remember to have fun and not worry about your skill level.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Wannabe View Post
I need some advice on learning the Guitar. This is my second or third time around on plying the Guitar. I don't want to get stuck as I have done before. I've learned to read a little tablature (the "A" pentatonic scale) from one instructor, and a little by ear from another. It's been about a year and a half since I've been serious about this stuff. The by ear was cool and all, I was in the proses of learning to move around from key to key with minor and major pentatonic. Hard times hit and can't afford a teacher. When you change instructors it sets ya back and I ain't no spring chicken (in my fifties). It seems like I'm just plying into the air here with no real plan of attack. Any suggestions? Thanks
what do you want to be able to play and why? i don't mean to be dismissive here either, they're legit concerns that need to be addressed sooner or later on any musician's path. it will also help in the type of advice our local guitarists will be able to provide.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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what do you want to be able to play and why? i don't mean to be dismissive here either, they're legit concerns that need to be addressed sooner or later on any musician's path. it will also help in the type of advice our local guitarists will be able to provide.
Thanks Dave. It seems like I got off my original thought. What I want to do is be able to pick up a sheet of music and play it and not be stuck playing the same ol same ol, thus not learning anything new getting board and burning out. I want to be able to hold my own and sound good either with a or without a band. Lets face it I'm a little old to get good enough to go on tour or make a career out of music, although I'd love to. Also,, Is it more important to be able to read or be good at playing be ear.??? I have herd some of the greatest of my time can't read. The instructor that I was (or am with as soon as I get some more dough) says the stuff he is teaching me (relative minors, the difference between major and minor) will help me a bunch when the time comes when I do learn to read more. Is this for real? I want to be able to play lead and some rhythm. My roots are in blues and Classic rock.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you want my opinion, whatever works for you. And the part about being able to be good vs learn by ear, it doesn't really make the musician. The true musician comes out when you can just jam out songs with a band or jam track. Be listening to a song and just write your own part by feeling the music, not thinking it.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks Dave. It seems like I got off my original thought. What I want to do is be able to pick up a sheet of music and play it and not be stuck playing the same ol same ol, thus not learning anything new getting board and burning out. I want to be able to hold my own and sound good either with a or without a band. Lets face it I'm a little old to get good enough to go on tour or make a career out of music, although I'd love to. Also,, Is it more important to be able to read or be good at playing be ear.??? I have herd some of the greatest of my time can't read. The instructor that I was (or am with as soon as I get some more dough) says the stuff he is teaching me (relative minors, the difference between major and minor) will help me a bunch when the time comes when I do learn to read more. Is this for real? I want to be able to play lead and some rhythm. My roots are in blues and Classic rock.
hmmm blues and classic rock, the starting points for SO MANY guitarists (i still have all my Hendrix tab books hehe). how long have you been playing? what are the 'toughest' songs you've learned so far?

unfortunately getting bored and burning out are legitimate concerns when it comes to playing guitar, especially early on if you're the kind of person who gets a feeling of success from learning something unique rather than a new way of using old pieces. for example, when i was first learning my uncle hooked me up with a chord book and told me to go home and learned the dozen or so shapes he had circled throughout (open majors and minors). a week later i went back he got me to strum through the chords then thoroughly disappointed me when he smiled back and said i was done, that was all i needed to know. i remember wondering how it could be possible. he was right though, all i 'needed' to learn were the chord shapes, after that it was up to me to find ways to use them.

when you mention picking up a piece of sheet music and playing along... do you know how to read tablature yet? it's a form of musical transcription that lends itself incredibly well to the guitar. it's also incredibly easy to find online and in music stores. there's no reason you should be running out of a variety of material to play along with.

as for sounding good, there's nothing that replaces practice. though it doesn't need to feel like 'practicing'. i hardly ever specifically practiced anything, i played a whole hell of a lot to anything within my range though. it made it significantly more fun to build up my chops that way. sure i might not have practiced 'that' full scale frontwards and backwards 99 times everyday for months but who cares? i can still pull it out for 'that' solo in 'that' song.

as for reading vs. playing by ear. there are pros and cons to each. a balanced approach would be best, if not, personally, i'd take the person who can play by ear over the reader. in my experience people who learn entirely from reading have a really hard time playing anything that isn't written down first, which makes for spontaneous bursts of awesome pretty much impossible. the vast majority of musicians i know can't read actual music.

going back to your teacher, this goes back to your personal goals and what you're communicating back to him. there's a difference between wanting to learn to play guitar so you can play along to a bunch of favourites and learning to play guitar so you can write out a new batch of classics. it sounds like your teacher is assuming the latter. there's nothing really wrong with it but in car terms if all you want to do is go fast all you need to know how to do is put the car in gear, hold the wheel straight and floor it... on the other hand your teacher is explaining how the gasoline gets to the engine and is compressed by the pistons prior to being combusted by the sparkplug and delivering power to the engine and yadda yadda yadda.

if all you want to do is learn to rock out bring in specific tunes you want to learn and tell him to help you learn those songs - you're the one paying for these sessions after all.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you want my opinion, whatever works for you. And the part about being able to be good vs learn by ear, it doesn't really make the musician. The true musician comes out when you can just jam out songs with a band or jam track. Be listening to a song and just write your own part by feeling the music, not thinking it.
I'll defiantly agree with that. I've just have had a few people tell me to learn to read, that's why I'm asking. Thanks
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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hmmm blues and classic rock, the starting points for SO MANY guitarists (i still have all my Hendrix tab books hehe). how long have you been playing? what are the 'toughest' songs you've learned so far?

unfortunately getting bored and burning out are legitimate concerns when it comes to playing guitar, especially early on if you're the kind of person who gets a feeling of success from learning something unique rather than a new way of using old pieces. for example, when i was first learning my uncle hooked me up with a chord book and told me to go home and learned the dozen or so shapes he had circled throughout (open majors and minors). a week later i went back he got me to strum through the chords then thoroughly disappointed me when he smiled back and said i was done, that was all i needed to know. i remember wondering how it could be possible. he was right though, all i 'needed' to learn were the chord shapes, after that it was up to me to find ways to use them.

when you mention picking up a piece of sheet music and playing along... do you know how to read tablature yet? it's a form of musical transcription that lends itself incredibly well to the guitar. it's also incredibly easy to find online and in music stores. there's no reason you should be running out of a variety of material to play along with.

as for sounding good, there's nothing that replaces practice. though it doesn't need to feel like 'practicing'. i hardly ever specifically practiced anything, i played a whole hell of a lot to anything within my range though. it made it significantly more fun to build up my chops that way. sure i might not have practiced 'that' full scale frontwards and backwards 99 times everyday for months but who cares? i can still pull it out for 'that' solo in 'that' song.

as for reading vs. playing by ear. there are pros and cons to each. a balanced approach would be best, if not, personally, i'd take the person who can play by ear over the reader. in my experience people who learn entirely from reading have a really hard time playing anything that isn't written down first, which makes for spontaneous bursts of awesome pretty much impossible. the vast majority of musicians i know can't read actual music.

going back to your teacher, this goes back to your personal goals and what you're communicating back to him. there's a difference between wanting to learn to play guitar so you can play along to a bunch of favourites and learning to play guitar so you can write out a new batch of classics. it sounds like your teacher is assuming the latter. there's nothing really wrong with it but in car terms if all you want to do is go fast all you need to know how to do is put the car in gear, hold the wheel straight and floor it... on the other hand your teacher is explaining how the gasoline gets to the engine and is compressed by the pistons prior to being combusted by the sparkplug and delivering power to the engine and yadda yadda yadda.

if all you want to do is learn to rock out bring in specific tunes you want to learn and tell him to help you learn those songs - you're the one paying for these sessions after all.

Yes I can read a little tablature (not enough). I've just had a few people tell me to learn how to read tab or what ever so I can learn more is what was said.
I've been playing this time around about a year and a half (who's counting). In the past I started when I was around 9 or 10 on the ukulele in a class setting (loved it) then went to the Guitar at about 12 or so. I took lessons from the same instructor for a year or so. This is where I made my mistake. I changed from a instructor that was teaching how music is put together vs just how to pluck out a song.... So I learn how to pluck out a few introws,, purple haze, brown sugar, steet fighting man...yada yada, I learned some rhythms like the Who and even a little Led Zeppelin. Got board, discouraged. For personal reasons of the seventies, discovered girls and gave up. I picked it back up again 10 or so years later. gave it half a try, due to whatever excuse I had, it didn't happen. It wasn't till years later that I had my dads old Epiphone I inherited sitting in my house looking at me and calling me "Hey bro remember me when you was a little boy and you used to pluck away on me" It brought a tear to my eye and now on fire! As far as learning new songs, I have none... it's all been scales, up and down and in and out. Minor to Major. Nine thousand (or so) times a day. Just where A B C and D are and where I am (love it). I'm learning now what I should have learned then. Sorry I got a little long winded there..

My teacher asked me what I wanted and I told him I wanted to learn music. and that is what he is/has been teaching me. I do agree with being spontaneous and not having to have something on paper in order to play it. It defiantly comes from the heart. I just wanted to learn how to read enough to give me a jump start. I think I need to have fun with it, learn how to put it together and not be so concerned with my skill level on where I think I should be learning and making it so complicated. Whadda ya think?
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Old 06-09-2010, 02:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thats a good mindset to have. I bet you'll be able to go pretty far with thought like that. If what your doing is working for you, then stick with it. I usually do ear or tab. I don't really know how to read sheet music well for guitar, but I could do it. Like, if you put it in front of me and said play it, it would be choppier than the ocean during a hurricane, but I could learn how to play it. I give you mad props for trying to learn the sheet music. As for how music is put together, for me, it wasn't something I learned in a class. It kinda just came from playing other peoples music and writing my own. That advice kinda sucks, but I think I'm trying to say, it will just kind of come with experience (at least for me). Just remember to have fun and be patient. I've bean working on fast alternate picking for a month and haven't really got overly far in cleaning it up yet, but I'm still working at it.
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