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Postby KR2 » September 22nd, 2009, 5:12 am

I feel the frustration . . . I thought I would never get it also.
Keep at it. But just do 10 minutes a day . . . anymore than that probably doesn't matter.
I still mess up when an errant finger decides to do something spastic . . . usually my third finger.
I've just recently started messing with different finger patterns . . . there's a wealth of Youtube lessons on fingerpicking.
That type of guitar playing really fills in the song beautifully.
I think I'm going to work on 'the clawhammer" . . . I kid you not . . . that's the name of the pattern.
It's used to play Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"

(P.S. Also see this post: http://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7627&start=285#p404877)
It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.
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Postby Puffin87 » December 14th, 2009, 9:42 pm

I've learned to practice songs as well as techniques, and not strictly one or the other. Something I've read a lot is that beginners get frustrated with technique because they don't visualize what they are learning. Finding a song that heavily uses a technique that I'm learning has been a great help...Horse with no name for strumming, three little birds for A, D, and E chord changes...etc.

I've also learned that much satisfaction can be found just fiddling with the guitar as a warm up...Doing different chord progressions, trying to make different sounds...Or even changing something in a song to something totally different and making it sound cool to yourself. I'm not playing to be in a band, so this provides infinite amusement for the time being.

Also, never give up on a song. Just because you can't play it to speed perfectly, doesn't mean it's out of your league...Stick with it...Slowing things down lets your mind notice all of the intricate movements that you may have never seen or heard in a particular piece.

That's my .02,
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Postby EternalNoob » May 6th, 2010, 12:15 pm

I've had a guitar (a used Squier Strat) for about a week now, and between some of the lessons I've found here and on justinguitar.com I've made much more progress in a week than I thought was possible. I'm now capable enough to completely butcher Three Little Birds, Wild Thing, and Effect and Cause by the White Stripes (Jack White is who finally inspired me to get into guitar despite having loved blues/rock based guitar greats for my entire life). You guessed it...A D and E chords are my specialty for now. Switching between them....not so much.

I just wanted to say thanks for all the tips! I've spent the last few days (when giving my wrists a break) reading this entire thread and there is LOTS of good advice here.

I'm 30 now and have been wishing I started this whole process 15 years ago, but seeing people 15 (or more) years older than me picking up the guitar and enjoying themselves is inspiring. Of course I'm sure most of you that I'm referring to probably wish you had started at 15 as well.

I just hope I don't become of of those people with only 5 posts to my name when new players find this thread 6 years from now. (it's amazing how long a great thread lasts)
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Postby kent_eh » May 6th, 2010, 10:05 pm

EternalNoob wrote: and Effect and Cause by the White Stripes (Jack White is who finally inspired me to get into guitar despite having loved blues/rock based guitar greats for my entire life).

That's not a big surprise. Jack is very influenced by the blues.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_ ... .281999.29

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So I looked like I was deep
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Postby matteo » May 6th, 2010, 11:20 pm


i've teaching myself guitar for some 5 years. After a few years when i learnt mostly acoustic guitar (strumming and a bit of fingerpicking), i followed my original passion and dedicated to heavy metal. I also played as rhythm guitarist with a band for almost a year. Now that i'm trying to progress from relatively easy metal songs a la Motorhead to learn proper heavy metal (Iron maiden, Judas priest, scorpions etc.), i've found out that my technique is by far too poor because every single song includes at least seven or eight different riffs, a lot of single notes parts, arpeggios etc. So i had to start back and doing the left hand exercises that i 've been neglecting all these years. The happy note is that I have to say that the exercises do work and now i can approach some parts that a few months ago were absolutely out of my reach. So at the end i will say: if you are quite serious to guitar, and your goal is higher than learning to strum pop songs along a cd, do not neglect the basics of left hand technique.
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Postby Snwbrdn'gtrst » February 26th, 2011, 1:20 pm

I thought about starting my own thread, but this seems more appropriate... This is after my first 60ish days, so as been said before, feel free to close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and hum. (I don't know how much of this is NEW or just reiterations but here goes)
Learn from as many sources as you can. I'm currently taking nuggets of info from the lessons here, David Hodges' wonderful book, and another site called Guitar-in-a-Nutshell. There have been tons of times I just can't get something from the way it was explained on one site, but when I looked at my other references it was clear as a bell. Learning the mute/chord change upstroke in 'Lesson #24 Hurt' has helped my chord changes when I play the version of 'Runaway Train' that I got from GIAN
Be your own harshest critic. This does NOT mean to be down on yourself because you can't play lead like Knopfler or even make that C to G change in time, but always push yourself to be the best you can be.
Take your guitar to a pro to be set up When I started playing I was getting horrible fret buzz. I was convinced that it was a poor set-up and blamed all my ills on my awful instrument. Turns out, after a visit to GC, that it wasn't the guitar it was me. I was just making beginner mistakes. (Alternate title for this bullet, "It's not the guitar, it's you") And if it IS the guitar, with a good set-up now you have no excuse :wink:
Read through this forum Front to back, top to bottom. I couldn't believe it, but EVERY possible question you can think of or problem you encounter has been addressed (usually at length) by the Guitar Gods that inhabit this place
All the world's a stage, but the play is poorly cast
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Postby Wade McClusky » March 23rd, 2011, 10:35 pm

I'm 45 and I started teaching myself guitar eight months ago. I'm probably echoing some of what has been said here before...excellent thread...
Use the many resources out there. I had a rusty old set of heavy strings on my guitar from Day 1, or the previous owner, whichever came first. So, when I bought some new, light gauge strings I googled "how to change guitar strings" or something like that for guidance. Learned a bit about tuning, cleaning the fretboard, keeping the strings clean, etc. A buddy loaned me his guitar songbook, and by focusing on the songs that sounded interesting and easyish I was led to a bunch of new chords (and I've learned at least one song.) Since I decided I was interested in funk music I found a nice article on funk guitar that featured a bunch of easy movable chord shapes, which I was also interested in. Other guitarists like to talk guitar and they can teach you a lot.
If you've ever played another instrument, let that experience color your approach to guitar. From my years as a drummer, I feel drawn to that technique where you sound the chord and quickly mute the strings by lifting up off the frets or by palm muting. It's easy and it's rhythmically interesting. Win-win. From singing experience, I get satisfaction in playing chords cleanly. On the other hand, I understand chord inversions a lot better from playing guitar, so I combined that idea with a few piano cliches I've used for a long time and came up with nice funky new piano riff.
Play with other people - young, old, from other countries, etc. Music is a social activity.
If you are into good time party music, spend some time listening to virtuosos. If you want to be the next Alan Holdsworth, listen to some good time party music.
Relax. (I'm still learning that one, so I'm repeating.)
Sorry to blab on...off to do a little practicing before bed!
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Postby SaintVitus » March 30th, 2011, 9:18 pm

I've been playing since I was 8. That's 32 years. Over the years, I've had frustration and self-esteem issues with learning how to play better. Some of that has been due to pretty bad teachers who follow a specific lesson plan, rather than setting up a plan of action based on what I already knew. The rest was my own youthful desire to fit in with a certain image based on a specific type of music; in my case, technical metal and rock of all kinds. I would be handed pieces of paper with crappy chromatic exercises and scale patterns and told to learn them. The following week, I'd be given more of the same and be told to "learn a song." I don't retain ANYTHING that way, and as a result, I just got frustrated. So, as a substitute for this, I relied on pure aggression and played in many hardcore punk, grindcore, and "power" metal bands (read: dropped D and C#/dropped B tunings with really easy chord shapes) over the years. I quit the last band I was in in 2006 and gave it up for a few years (a divorce didn't really help either). I just started taking lessons again, this time with a teacher who has grooved into what I already know and had geared his lessons to my specific style of playing; namely, left/right hand coordination and applying scales to chord shapes and transposing. These are areas I have always been weak at, and in just THREE DAYS I have picked up on a lot of it and have improved quite a bit. Being a little older (40) has helped; whenever I goof on something while playing, I just chuckle and go back at it. My more mature focus, as well as applying what I already know how to do, is a tremendous help. I'm addicted now, practicing 5-6 hours a day. If I didn't have a six year old son and a girlfriend, I'd probably do nothing but play.

Age doesn't matter one iota; only desire does. I'm lucky in that I've been playing for so long that I've already developed many skills before hitting that rut. It's just moving up the ladder to that next horizon that I'm working on. I find that I'm much more focused at my age, and grooving into different types of music rather than sticking to a certain genre or style has also helped me to move forward. Of course, that whole image thing disappears with age (for the most part with most people). I can laugh at it now. The moral is not to let any sort of "fitting in" to cloud your judgement, or your desire to learn. I admit that I was a weak young man, and I hope other young players don't fall into that trap.

The best advice I can give, and others have already given it too, is to check out other forms of music besides your chosen favorite. I was strictly a Morbid Angel/Napalm Death/Slayer/Carcass/Entombed grindhead for many years. Now I listen to and appreciate everything from Buddy Rich Big Band to Zappa, Rush to Wayne Johnson Trio, jazz to classical and classic rock. My downfall was pingeon-holing myself. Don't let this happen to you.
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Postby Johnny Lee » April 5th, 2011, 2:20 pm

A major thing is that I need to be focused on enjoying the guitar. Not using it as a platform for demonstrating how awesome I am at making sounds from strings and wood. That was huge for me to realize.

I've learned the importance of working on something until you get it right. This didn't use to happen. I'd practice something, sorta get it right, then move on to something else. You can imagine, I never got very far doing it that way. Instead, now I realize that its important to develop the habit of getting it right. One piece played entirely right is better than 10 pieces you can play crappily.

Also that muscle memory develops really slowly. At least for me. I always used to assume it was quicker than it really is. Now I know that patience is absolutely essential. It's tempting to keep pushing, to play something faster, even if you don't really have it down yet. Slowing down always seemed like a step backwards, yet its absolutely the right thing to do sometimes.

Lastly, space out the practice. As it turns out, multiple short sessions are actually better than super long marathon sessions. The "forgetting" and "remembering" of a technique or part trigger the brain to remember how to do it. To me it now makes perfect sense since regular memory works the same way. Studies show that the "testing" of the memory actually helps you learn stuff faster.
My writings on playing guitar => No B.S. Guitar
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Postby MinorKey » July 10th, 2011, 4:46 am

I've learned that if you stop playing for a day or two your fingers get soft really quick! Probably not a problem to a seasoned player I suppose! I just want my pads hard so it doesnt hurt to fret those high strings!
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Postby Ghost » September 21st, 2011, 9:17 pm

That I didn't need to tune my Jackson RR, Ibanez Roadstar & JS1000 with the tuning machines since they are Floyd Rose. Now I know what the little pegs (fine tuners) do on the saddle. Only took breaking 2 strings on the guitar I got restrung because it was locked. :oops: Asked the guitar tech what happened.
"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

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Postby corbind » September 21st, 2011, 9:28 pm

Ghost wrote:Only took breaking 2 strings on the guitar I got restrung because it was locked. :oops: Asked the guitar tech what happened.

I bet you laughed pretty hard when you found out why. :)
"Do I want this badly enough that I'm going to put in the effort, to do the work required to make it happen? If I want it, I won't count on magic or fate...I'll make it happen." (David Hodge 1/1/11)
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Postby Ghost » September 22nd, 2011, 8:19 pm

corbind wrote:
Ghost wrote:Only took breaking 2 strings on the guitar I got restrung because it was locked. :oops: Asked the guitar tech what happened.

I bet you laughed pretty hard when you found out why. :)

Yep. I thought when the two strings snapped that it was the tuning machines breaking. I didn't know what happened since the strings didn't actually go flying for my face. I should have known they were broke because they weren't tuning up at all. I got to the tech and he showed me the pegs and where the strings broke. Facepalm to laughing. Got my Ibanez Roadstar around the time my playing slowed down again and I didn't have much money at the time to continue on. Fun times now.
"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.
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Postby Cat » December 22nd, 2011, 1:05 am

It's your only friend. Believe that!
"Feel what you play...play what you feel!"
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Postby Ghost » July 8th, 2012, 12:15 am

The most important thing I was ever told: "Have fun".

Read a post where a GN member told a new guitar player that. That's what we should all remind each other when it gets tough while learning new songs, chord progressions, skills...
"If I had a time machine, I'd go back and tell me to practise that bloody guitar!" -Vic Lewis

Everything is 42..... again.
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