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Author Topic: Learning guitar: Best way to do it?  (Read 731 times)
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Eel Snave
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« on: September 05, 2009, 03:38:29 PM »

There are two different ways I could do this:  I could learn the actual chords and get a deeper understanding of guitar and what it is.  On the other hand, a friend of mine who's a pretty decent guitarist says that all he ever learned were power chords and the blues scale and he's okay.  Bear in mind that the whole point of me learning guitar is to play songs that I've had stuck in my head for years.  What's the best course of action?
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Booner
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 04:51:43 PM »

As you work your technique and just getting comfortable with the instrument in your hands....it wouldn't hurt you a bit to get at least a cursory understanding of theory. Get to know your basic scales and chords...knowing what makes a minor, major, dominant, suspended, or diminished will make it heaps easier to pick out songs by ear.

Take time to notice typical progressions too...a progression is just a series of chords in a pattern that relates to the key of the song. In a way, they also help define the style you're going for. A typical Blues would be a First, Forth, Fifth (also common in gospel)...where a typical Jazz would be a Second, Fifth, First.  Rather than hunting notes down one at a time, you'll have a better feeling for what notes should be there.

It'll all seem greek at first, but once you understand the basics, the rest will start to fall into place.

Anyways, I'd still use the songs you want to play as reference/practice material, but take a deeper look at what makes it music. smile

I'll try to find tons of my old links that may help you and post them soon.

Good luck.

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YellowKing
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2009, 05:15:31 PM »

I taught myself a great deal by buying Fake Books with the guitar chord notation when I was first starting out. I had a Beatles Fake Book with all their songs and the accompanying chords, and by learning to play them I learned the chords.

Obviously this will take you but so far - to really learn how to *play* you'll need to get into scales and things. However, just about any beginner guitar lesson is going to start with learning your basic chords and strumming patterns and going from there.
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Eel Snave
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2009, 05:55:15 PM »

See, I played bass years ago, but never really got the theory of it.  I was good in that I could play along with a song given five minutes to dissect it, but I couldn't improvise.  I can read music because I learned piano and chords years ago there, but I'm just not comfortable fingering-wise on the guitar.  I guess I want to find the quickest way to learn, but if that way is too quick I fear I won't get any of the underlying stuff, you know?
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disarm
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2009, 07:14:08 PM »

i bought my first guitar a few weeks ago and have been trying to figure out the same thing.  my ultimate goal is playing some of my favorite songs, but i'm also determined to learn good technique and some of the theory behind it all.  unfortunately, i just don't have the time to commit to regular in-person lessons, so i'm left scouring the internet and bookstores.  to that end, i've come across a few things that seem to be working well for me after my first few weeks...

JustinGuitar.com - great online video lessons...starts with the absolute basics and builds on both technique and theory as you progress.  the 'beginner course' seems very good and has been working really well for me so far.  he starts by introducing various chords, teaches proper technique for playing them, throws in basic theory as you go along, then provides relevant practice exercises and songs.  the process is very well structured, the videos are excellent, and Justin (the instructor) has a great attitude that keeps things interesting.  his detailed video demonstrations are great when you're trying to figure out why your playing doesn't sound like you expect.  while the video content of some advanced lessons is still a work in progress, there's more than enough to get your started... and it's all completely free.  i definitely recommend giving it a shot.

Ultimate-Guitar.com - enormous resource for tabs to learn all your favorite songs.  the amount of stuff on this site is pretty incredible, and it's constantly growing.  the few songs i've delved into so far have been very good and it saves you money over buying books that contain the same stuff.  the only downside is that many of the best tabs are formatted for a specific viewing/editing program that has to be purchased...might be worth it in the long term though.

Music Theory for Guitarists - picked this book up after seeing it recommended in many places around the 'net...covers from basic to advanced theory all in a way that's relevant to playing guitar.  you start off with the basics of learning to read notes and rhythm, then moves into intervals, chord structure, scales, harmony, and more in a very concise, easy to understand format.  there are written exercises in the book, as well as a CD full of audio examples and ear-training exercises to help you practice.  while i'm going into guitar with a fair amount of music background already, i'm finding this book very easy to understand and relevant to things i'm learning elsewhere.  there's a huge amount of information for such a short (~100 page) and inexpensive book...highly recommended.

Guitar All-in-One for Dummies - i'm normally not a big fan of the 'dummies' books, but this one is actually pretty good just because it provides so much information in one place for a low price...combines eight different guitar/music 'for Dummies' books into a single text to cover guitar basics as well as some genre-specific skills.  i picked it up on a whim because it was on sale for ~$20, and it's turned out to be pretty useful so far.  it's not something i'm reading cover to cover, but it's a good reference.

those are just a few of the things i've found useful so far.  they may or may not work for you in meeting your goals, but i feel like these resources are helping me learn more than just how to play my favorite songs by ear.  in any case, good luck with your playing.  i've only been at it a few weeks, but i'm having a blast with my new hobby (now that my fingers don't hurt all the time) icon_cool
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2009, 01:47:58 AM »

I think everyone learns differently and has different natural aptitudes.  If you've previously played bass you know what you are getting into at least, and if you can sight read sheet music you don't have much to fear.  The hardest part in that case in getting started will likely be your form.  There are likely going to be chord shapes that feel very unnatural for quite awhile and you want to make sure that you learn to hold the neck properly because bad habits really don't go away. (I still play with my thumb hooked over the top of the neck which is nice for certain fingerings but is basically a really bad habit otherwise.)  I learned by playing and singing songs I liked, at first they sounded like crap and when they started sounding the way I thought they should I started branching out.  You won't be able to improvise too well on a guitar until your muscle memory is fixed anyway.  I honestly couldn't 'play what was in my head' until after like ten years, but I've seen guys get that good in four months too.  Since you read sheet scales are a great idea, just take some time to remind yourself where each note is on the fretboard and the patterns of duplicates and octaves.  When you play songs though don't try to play the sheet its normally a piano line anyway, play the chords and focus on the clarity of the chord and whether your strumming is producing the rhythm you mean it to.  Hope that helps.
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El-Producto
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2009, 11:15:27 PM »

I too, am going to teach myself guitar.  I'm going to take a few lessons as well to supplement.

Looking to get an acoustic, can someone give me some hints on a decent, not INSANE priced one?
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 11:25:46 PM »

Tuxguitar solves the tab problem.

A price range for a guitar would help narrow down what you're looking for. What type would be nice, too.
I spent $800 on a(n American) Guild D-40 and thought that was a deal. The GAD (chinese-built) Guild series are a good bang for the buck. Yamahas are good too. It really depends on what your looking for. You can get plenty of wacky retro electrics here. Most of them are built far better than the originals too.
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disarm
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2009, 12:58:56 AM »

Quote from: Default on September 10, 2009, 11:25:46 PM


awesome...will definitely have to check that out.  i've been on the lookout for a way to avoid paying for GuitarPro but haven't come across a reliable free program yet.  this might be just the thing icon_cool
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2009, 04:16:21 AM »

I'm kinda of screwed because my laptop soundcard doesn't support midi without buying a driver. Thank you, Creative! icon_evil
Tuxguitar will play the notation for you, which is really cool, especially if you have songbooks and don't read music well. I've a book from the 1880's and it comes in handy for learning songs from that.
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disarm
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2009, 05:07:17 AM »

bummer...Tuxguitar apparently isn't compatible with Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) right now unless you're willing to screw around with some extra steps to get the Java version to work.  i was hoping to run it on my laptop so i could keep it nearby while i play.  i guess i'll just have to wait for an update...
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2009, 10:30:00 AM »

video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUMZx4F-xx0

From the Tuxguitar forum:

To get TuxGuitar working with OSX 10.6:

1. Open /Applications/Utilities/Java Preferences.app
2. Make 32-bit as the default Java Runtime by moving the 32-bit entry above the 64-bit entry in the "Java Applications" list.
3. Close the Java Preferences app.
4. Open TuxGuitar

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