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Some Questions About Teaching Yourself Guitar

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Postby Whiteice » October 2nd, 2011, 10:51 am

Well to start off.. I have decided to learn guitar and so i picked up an old acoustic guitar that was in my house and read some online stuff. Although I don't want to teach myself bad habits and no one i know plays guitar. So ad like some advise on how to go about teaching myself and how to avoid learning bad habits.

Thank you in advance to whoever helps out :D
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Postby Alan Green » October 2nd, 2011, 12:30 pm

Treat it as though you were teaching someone else. Would you let your student do "something" and say it was ok when it wasn't?

If not, then don't let yourself go on to the next thing without fixing the problem.
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Postby size9 » October 7th, 2011, 1:57 pm

I agree with Alan. Bad habits are tough to break. If there was a way you could take private lessons even for a couple months? You'd be way ahead. Any of the online guitar lessons that take you through the fundamentals to advanced aren't free from what I've seen. This site is a great resource to start and get your questions answered though. :D
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Postby NoteBoat » October 7th, 2011, 4:49 pm

The biggest problem with teaching yourself (guitar or anything else) is that you don't know what you don't know.

I've been teaching guitar for a long time, and I still end up being surprised by some of the unorthodox moves beginners create. But these are some of the most common mistakes I see:

- holding the guitar with the peghead too low. You want your fretting hand fingers to be parallel to the frets, because that gives you maximum reach. If the neck is horizontal, or even worse, angled down, you won't have very good reach, and it will put strain on your wrist.

- tipping the guitar so you can see where you're putting your fingers. Doing that bends the wrist at an awkward angle. For minimum strain, you want the fretting hand wrist to be straight - you should be able to draw a straight line from your elbow to the knuckles at the base of your fingers with no detours along the way.

- Hooking the thumb over the neck. This brings the palm of your hand too close to the guitar, making it difficult to fret cleanly and play quickly.

With these and other most errors, there are exceptions. Guitars come in few sizes, people in many. Folks with large hands/long fingers can get away with bad technique longer than average folks. Certain techniques, like large bends will require changing the hand position to create leverage (most often by hooking the thumb). So they aren't absolutes - but they are best practices.
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Postby Whiteice » October 8th, 2011, 9:36 am

Thank you, when my financial situation improves I will be sure to get a teach. Till then I will just have to teach myself..
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Postby Alan Green » October 8th, 2011, 10:42 am

In the meantime, we can answer most of your questions here. Noteboat owns a successful music school in the US as well as having a successful book in print about music theory, I teach at 10 mainstream schools and two music schools in the UK, and David Hodge (our lead writer) teaches halfway up a mountain in Massachusetts. Many more of us here teach at least some of the time.
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Postby fatfingerjohn » October 9th, 2011, 8:35 am

Hi,

If you can't afford loessons straight away, use a 'free' webvieo site to get you going. The best I know (free although contributions welcome) is Justin Sandercoe. You will do a lot worse than sit through his beginner videos; you needn't download the material if you don't want; just watch and learn. He has hundreds of lesson videos plus songs to learn and that will keep you busy for months.
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Postby s1120 » October 10th, 2011, 3:34 am

I found that one of my major issues re self teaching was pushing myself that extra mile. I would get into something tough, and just not figure it out.... and kinda move on to something else. Granted... everyone is diferent, and many many people have been able to learn all on there own.. I found out that I wasn't one of them though. it is pretty easy to work on the basics though... learn how to hold the guitar corectly, [that's where the vids come in handy.] and learn a bunch of chords.. One of my issues was changing between chords... and that's something thats easy to work on by yourself. [and why I didnt? who knows!]

So again... I think some people can do it... I wasn't one of them though. In just a few short lessons I feel like I have progressed farther then I would have in years of doing it myself!
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Postby TRGuitar » October 10th, 2011, 6:33 am

I taught myself long ago in the days before the internet. I has to be so much easier now. I didn't really have problems with motivation but I am one of the most stubborn people I know so that helped. In the end, even with a teacher, you still need to teach yourself as well. I guess I'm saying that either way it takes a lot of work. It is however more than worth it! :wink:
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Postby bjourne » October 16th, 2011, 12:46 pm

I'd also recommend a teacher. One of the silly mistakes I made as a beginner was putting my middle finger on the sixth string third fret, then index finger on the fifth string second fret and then ringer on the third frest first string, one finger at a time. I used to fret all chords like that and unless the teacher I got had told me that I needed to practice fretting all strings of the chord at the same time, I would still have fretted them one string at a time. There are many details like that, that would (for me) have been impossible to work out on my own.
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Postby simple-steve » October 25th, 2011, 1:51 pm

Hi all, I am new here and I recently finished , well sort of finished a learn guitar site that may help you teach yourself. Yay another guitar site,- right?
Anyway, if anyone is interested I would love some feedback on it.

I teach beginner through Intermediate including rhythm and lead guitar and charge for the Intermediate part but will give anyone from here free access to the whole site if you reply to me I'll send a link.

It's got video, text and printouts. I try to focus more on skills than just song learning.
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Postby Rocket Dog » October 27th, 2011, 3:35 am

Whiteice, if you post some videos of your playing, I'm sure there are a few that would give you constuctive feedback to help you.
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