Learning to play the guitar... Page 27

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  • RichieTenenbaum 30 Jan 2011 15:31:29 2,209 posts
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    God, I've been learning through a mac app called Guitar Method. The songs are a bit shoddy, and it's not great, but it's useful. I, on the other hand, am painful. When I strum, my plectrum falls out of my hand, and it just makes this horrible, squealing racket. It's really painful to practice as it sounds so bad. It strumming up-down 4 times in a bar, and it just sounds too loud and too much. Horrible.
  • Mr_Sleep 30 Jan 2011 16:45:38 17,061 posts
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    PiersMorgan wrote:
    Can anyone recommend a good theory book for complete beginners?

    Well, this is the classic. Not used it myself but it's one of the most influential guitar books ever written.

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • Fab4 31 Jan 2011 09:06:41 6,057 posts
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    PiersMorgan wrote:
    Can anyone recommend a good theory book for complete beginners?

    Fretboard Mastery by Troy Stetina

    While it has a 'metal' edge to it, I think it does an excellent job of describing the theory behind a guitar's fretboard. It does cover a lot though, and can be a bit daunting, but its sectioned up quite well. It also covers something important which a lot of books gloss over, ear-training.
  • Fab4 31 Jan 2011 09:15:55 6,057 posts
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    RichieTenenbaum wrote:
    God, I've been learning through a mac app called Guitar Method. The songs are a bit shoddy, and it's not great, but it's useful. I, on the other hand, am painful. When I strum, my plectrum falls out of my hand, and it just makes this horrible, squealing racket. It's really painful to practice as it sounds so bad. It strumming up-down 4 times in a bar, and it just sounds too loud and too much. Horrible.

    What kind of plectrum are you using? Is it thin and flexible? If you are 'strumming' you are putting a lot of force across the string, so you want a plectrum that will flex as it hits the string, rather than (as in your case) route the force through the plectrum and shake it out of your fingers.

    Also, what is the action (distance of strings to the fretboard) like on your guitar? If its too low and you are strumming, then the movement of the strings as you strum them is likely to lead to them hitting the fretboard, and resulting in an ungodly noise.
  • roz123 31 Jan 2011 09:27:07 7,113 posts
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    A good song for stretching the fingers is "Every Breath you take" by Sting and The Police.
    Its slow but you have to stretch a bit.
  • dufftownallan 31 Jan 2011 11:42:34 4,725 posts
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    also, anyone who wants to practice barre chords could do worse that learning dry the rain by the beta band
  • PepsiMax 31 Jan 2011 11:55:17 604 posts
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    I've just started lessons, and its great!

    I taught myself to play (after a fashion) about 13-14 years ago, basically only playing chords and stuff, nothing fancy, but meant that I could play along to a few songs and what have you. But got stuck after a while and didnt know where to go with it, so stopped. Then after 6 months or a year started again, but soon stopped.

    So I've been thinking about having lessons for years but never got on with it, until now!

    Had, I think 3 lessons, 16 for 45 minutes. They are really good, it has really helped me, and I really enjoy the lessons.

    So if you do play a bit and are wondering about lessons, certainly worth a try and I'd be happy to comment further on what I''ve done in my lessons etc if anybody is interested.






  • RichieTenenbaum 31 Jan 2011 18:32:25 2,209 posts
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    Fab4 wrote:
    RichieTenenbaum wrote:
    God, I've been learning through a mac app called Guitar Method. The songs are a bit shoddy, and it's not great, but it's useful. I, on the other hand, am painful. When I strum, my plectrum falls out of my hand, and it just makes this horrible, squealing racket. It's really painful to practice as it sounds so bad. It strumming up-down 4 times in a bar, and it just sounds too loud and too much. Horrible.

    What kind of plectrum are you using? Is it thin and flexible? If you are 'strumming' you are putting a lot of force across the string, so you want a plectrum that will flex as it hits the string, rather than (as in your case) route the force through the plectrum and shake it out of your fingers.

    Also, what is the action (distance of strings to the fretboard) like on your guitar? If its too low and you are strumming, then the movement of the strings as you strum them is likely to lead to them hitting the fretboard, and resulting in an ungodly noise.

    I'm using a bog standard fender thing I got with my electric guitar. On my acoustic. It's fairly flexible. I have fairly high strings. I think I'm just rubbish. I'm playing a note before I've fully finished my chord shape and it's horrible. Need more switching practice.

    I find that my guitar squeeks when I play, too. I think I'm not holding the strings down hard enough.
  • Rufus 31 Jan 2011 19:52:38 1,754 posts
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    roz123 wrote:
    A good song for stretching the fingers is "Every Breath you take" by Sting and The Police.
    Its slow but you have to stretch a bit.

    Good call, very good call sir.

    Another good one is Tears in the Rain by Joe Satriani.
  • crispyduckman 2 Feb 2011 13:11:36 1,858 posts
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    RichieTenenbaum wrote:
    Fab4 wrote:
    RichieTenenbaum wrote:
    God, I've been learning through a mac app called Guitar Method. The songs are a bit shoddy, and it's not great, but it's useful. I, on the other hand, am painful. When I strum, my plectrum falls out of my hand, and it just makes this horrible, squealing racket. It's really painful to practice as it sounds so bad. It strumming up-down 4 times in a bar, and it just sounds too loud and too much. Horrible.

    What kind of plectrum are you using? Is it thin and flexible? If you are 'strumming' you are putting a lot of force across the string, so you want a plectrum that will flex as it hits the string, rather than (as in your case) route the force through the plectrum and shake it out of your fingers.

    Also, what is the action (distance of strings to the fretboard) like on your guitar? If its too low and you are strumming, then the movement of the strings as you strum them is likely to lead to them hitting the fretboard, and resulting in an ungodly noise.

    I'm using a bog standard fender thing I got with my electric guitar. On my acoustic. It's fairly flexible. I have fairly high strings. I think I'm just rubbish. I'm playing a note before I've fully finished my chord shape and it's horrible. Need more switching practice.

    I find that my guitar squeeks when I play, too. I think I'm not holding the strings down hard enough.
    Pick choice is massively important and quite personal to the player. It influences player comfort and the sound produced.

    Jim Dunlop is the big name for picks and you can get them in all guitar stores:

    http://www.jimdunlop.com/category/guitar-picks

    I recommend starting by trying out the nylon standards. I've recently gone back to playing the black 1mm for electric (had a phase using harder tortex picks). Try the lighter ones if you do a lot of strumming and especially acoustic strumming. I generally use fingers on acoustic but sometimes find myself reaching for a thin white or grey nylon standard.

    Nylon is just a good starting point though - guitarists use all sorts of weird materials and objects and everyone tries power tools at one time or another.

    PSN/XBL/Steam/Origin: crispyduckman

  • Fab4 2 Feb 2011 13:18:08 6,057 posts
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    crispyduckman wrote:

    Nylon is just a good starting point though - guitarists use all sorts of weird materials and objects and everyone tries power tools at one time or another.

    I started using these last year. couldnt go back to a 'normal' pick now. 4.1 mm FTW :-D
  • markh 2 Feb 2011 13:28:30 3,598 posts
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    I've just started up playing again for about the 3rd time :p I always get a certain way into learning but then give up after being frustrated about not being able to play difficult songs :)

    This time i'm trying to learn scales and techniques to back up the learning through playing and hopefully that'll help.
  • Salaman 2 Feb 2011 13:37:59 19,037 posts
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    RichieTenenbaum wrote:
    I'm using a bog standard fender thing I got with my electric guitar. On my acoustic. It's fairly flexible. I have fairly high strings. I think I'm just rubbish. I'm playing a note before I've fully finished my chord shape and it's horrible. Need more switching practice.

    I find that my guitar squeeks when I play, too. I think I'm not holding the strings down hard enough.

    That's why it's great to take lessons. A teacher will correct your technique before you can practise and learn bad habits that will take ages to unlearn.

    At first, it's a good idea to put all your fingers down for a chord and play all the strings one by one to see if they sound right. Switch to another chords, play one by one, strum all the strings. Switch, one by one, strum, switch.

    If you're not pressing down the string correctly or you're touching a string with another finger it will sound off.
    You shouldn't have tp push down too hard if you position your fingers right, not in the middle of the fret but right behind the little metal thingy.

    Soon enough you'll find you're getting the hand of getting the chords right. Then you can start working on switching chords faster.
  • Surferrosa 26 May 2011 14:53:43 464 posts
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    Does anyone have an opinion on the usefulness of guitar pro 6 for a novice - only been playing for about 6 months? I'm thinking I may buy it, but I'm wondering if it's mostly just going to go completely over my head.
  • coda 31 Aug 2011 02:12:42 1,868 posts
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    Could anyone recommend some good books/dvds for a complete acoustic guitar novice?
  • Surferrosa 31 Aug 2011 11:57:07 464 posts
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    coda wrote:
    Could anyone recommend some good books/dvds for a complete acoustic guitar novice?

    You could try Justin Sandercoe. He sells dvds and books too as well as his free beginners course - really worth a look. I've learned loads from his site.
  • coda 6 Sep 2011 16:31:01 1,868 posts
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    I just bought my first ever acoustic! It's a Yamaha FG-140, I believe it was produced in the early 70s. And only set me back 115. That's a decent price for a vintage Yamaha isn't it?
  • Salaman 6 Sep 2011 16:32:52 19,037 posts
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    Sounds like a good deal.
  • Deleted user 18 July 2012 11:50:24
    So I dug out my old electric guitar that I got for a birthday many years ago, it's dusty but still in pretty good condition. I didn't get far last time but I've got this urge to try again.

    How the hell do you keep your little finger out the way!? Is that why they say it's easy to learn on an acoustic because the neck is bigger? If true I'm thinking of popping down sue ryder later, they always have nice ones in the window for 50.
  • OmniaVincitAmor 18 Jul 2012 12:02:58 1,518 posts
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    The best advice I can give is to find a song you know like the back of your hand. Find out the chords then practice just strumming the chords without any rhythm just to get the hang of it and learning the progression from one to another regardless of how slow you might be. Then go on YouTube and watch someone performing it acoustically to get an idea of when the chords "change" in the song. Then just practice bit by bit. Most songs are surprisingly similar throughout. I promise at one point it will just click and it's the best feeling ever.

    My song was live forever by oasis by the way.

    Defeat is not getting knocked down, but refusing to get back up.

  • Fab4 18 Jul 2012 12:10:48 6,057 posts
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    If you are serious about progressing you need to stretch your fingers and build up independence in them. This will eventually make getting around the fretboard and chording a hell of a lot easier. Youtube 'guitar finger independence exercises' and 'guitar muscle memory'.

    Combine them with learning how to strum a favourite song, to break up the inevitable monotony :D
  • DUFFMAN5 18 Jul 2012 12:15:18 14,662 posts
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    @OmniaVincitAmor

    Good advice. My song was knocking on hevens door (Dylan) Am,G,Dm and you can throw a C. In ;)
    Im buying the 360 rocksmith to try and get back into playing. I have played off and on for over 10 years now, and im not very good at all...to be fair out of the 3ears mentioned i have gone months and years without playing.
    Really want to give it another go.

    "Duffman the grey is thrusting in the direction of the problem! Oh, yeah!"

  • ZuluHero 18 Jul 2012 12:55:16 4,142 posts
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    I think I learned to play from this book:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Learn-Play-Guitar-Manual/dp/1864691727/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    But I had lessons too. Really helped to iron out bad habits (unshapely chord positions is a big one) that's easy to pick up learning by yourself.

    Though I guess if it sounds OK then who cares, right?
  • thelzdking 18 Jul 2012 15:10:22 4,367 posts
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    OmniaVincitAmor wrote:
    The best advice I can give is to find a song you know like the back of your hand. Find out the chords then practice just strumming the chords without any rhythm just to get the hang of it and learning the progression from one to another regardless of how slow you might be. Then go on YouTube and watch someone performing it acoustically to get an idea of when the chords "change" in the song. Then just practice bit by bit. Most songs are surprisingly similar throughout. I promise at one point it will just click and it's the best feeling ever.

    My song was live forever by oasis by the way.
    This is pretty solid advice. Just keep raking out the chords for some basic songs for a few weeks to get your hands used to the guitar. My song was some dreary Verve b-side.
  • Mr_Sleep 18 Jul 2012 15:53:33 17,061 posts
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    Using that method, don't be surprised if you hate the song by the end of the process. I used a similar method and mine was The House of the Rising Son, which I now hate.

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • FuzzyDuck 18 Jul 2012 16:28:24 4,126 posts
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    Apostle wrote:
    So I dug out my old electric guitar that I got for a birthday many years ago, it's dusty but still in pretty good condition. I didn't get far last time but I've got this urge to try again.

    How the hell do you keep your little finger out the way!? Is that why they say it's easy to learn on an acoustic because the neck is bigger? If true I'm thinking of popping down sue ryder later, they always have nice ones in the window for 50.
    Don't keep your little finger out of the way! Learn to use it like the rest of your fretting hand. It'll feel almost alien at first, but you'll eventually build up strength and flexibility in it. Play scales 'in position' and get used to fretting with the same pressure in all your fingers. It'll eventually make chord formation that much easier too because you won't have a weak finger.

    The important thing is to keep it interesting for yourself and have fun :D
  • Deleted user 18 July 2012 19:06:38
    Ok thanks, I'll try pick a song, I was thinking The Man Who Sold the World Nirvana cover, well it doesn't matter which version really I suppose. Anywhere I could get the chords, or tabs? I was reading the front page and the ultimate guitar website is pretty good.


    Oh wow, I was going to spend 10-15 on a tuner thing but read that you can get a smartphone app. How cool is that!! Saved me some money there and my guitar is now in tune, sounds so much better.

    @goodfella - Thanks I'll check the videos out. Still can't get my little finger out the way, I assume that happens when your fingers are stronger?
  • Deleted user 18 July 2012 19:10:38
    @FuzzyDuck Not sure if I confused what you've said or the other way round. What I mean is when I'm holding down the string with my little finger the string bellow is rubbing against it so doesn't er pluck right.

    Early days I guess! My fingers hurt already!
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