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VABuckeye

The Surly Beginner Guitar Thread

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4 hours ago, Chad Fuck said:

This is 100% true for me as well.  Started playing bass with a bad about five years ago and my playing on both bass and guitar has improved considerably.  They complement each other well, which should come to no surprise to anyone.  

They compliment each other well as far as learning goes, but guitar players that act like the bass is just a guitar down an octave are a beating.

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48 minutes ago, Mole said:

They compliment each other well as far as learning goes, but guitar players that act like the bass is just a guitar down an octave are a beating.

Dad?

 

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On 5/21/2020 at 9:53 AM, BonzoMontreaux said:

As far as guitar playing is concerned, I have no idea where to focus right now.  I want to build my song list, build up my lead chops, learn finger picking methods, build rhythm techniques and strumming...  

Those aren’t mutually exclusive. Want to learn fingerpicking? Learn a couple of songs that feature finger picking. Want to improve your soloing? Learn a few songs with your favorite solos. 

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Just now, BrickHorn said:

Those aren’t mutually exclusive. Want to learn fingerpicking? Learn a couple of songs that feature finger picking. Want to improve your soloing? Learn a few songs with your favorite solos. 

I think this what I need to come to grips with and just do it.  On the soloing part though, I want to develop my own style but this is still the best approach to doing that.  Wouldn't hurt to brush back up on shapes\Forms and maybe scales and sequences.

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I'm working on a structured practice plan.15 minutes.  Two minute warmup then two 6 or so minute segments devoted to working on something specific.  A scale.  Chord transitions.  Something like that.  Then I'll have a YouTube lesson or video picked out for something fun to work on.  Work on progressing on specific things I want to improve plus some fun time at the end.

If 15 minutes turns into an hour sometimes I'll be happy for it but I'm not going into each day thinking my hands have to be on the guitar for an hour.

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1) no matter what way you try and tackle it, if you're playing the guitar (ESPECIALLY as a new guitar player) you are making progress. I have no experience with practicing this but for a noob guitar player I'd almost recommend taking a video of you playing a little bit each week, maybe the same progression of chords. Check back on the previous one after you record the new one. See the improvement. It happens slow enough to not notice it as it is happening but it is happening

2) if you want to develop your own style, soloing or otherwise, the most straightforward path towards doing that is to learn lots of different things well.  If all I did was learn Stevie songs and play Stevie licks, when it came my turn to "improvise" something it would be whatever combination of Stevie things I came up with. Do what Stevie did - learn all of the things you think are cool.  When you regurgitate them back out in a different order, that's unique.  When you make a connection from one thing to another and mash them up, that's unique. Learn some jazz, flamenco, metal...Tom Morello shit, whatever, incorporate that in.  When you are learning new things, you are building those things into your arsenal, and they will come back to the surface when you are being creative on the instrument. If you want to deconstruct a bit, I think it can be useful to think really hyper specifically about a thing you like. This lick is cool, but the thing that REALLY makes it cool is how you're doing minor pentatonic but then this major note comes in. How do I do more of that? What are other ways I can do that?  Or.. man I just love the sound of open strings being hit hard, maybe I should be on the lookout for times when I can do that in an unexpected way. Etc.

3) For me, I am lazy and noodle a lot. I progress much more quickly when I make an effort to actively learn new things. Once I learn those things, they are fun and at the top of my noodling queue and so I play that new thing every time I pick up the guitar for five minutes. I had set a goal at the beginning of this year to learn a new song every week - I did not keep up with that, but it's a good goal for me to keep me from "practicing" the same things for months on end.

 

VA - I'm actually not really steeped in Rolling Stones, but I do think that the Am that starts Goddamn Lonely Love is also the first chord of Angie.

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15 minutes ago, VABuckeye said:

I'm working on a structured practice plan.15 minutes.  Two minute warmup then two 6 or so minute segments devoted to working on something specific.  A scale.  Chord transitions.  Something like that.  Then I'll have a YouTube lesson or video picked out for something fun to work on.  Work on progressing on specific things I want to improve plus some fun time at the end.

If 15 minutes turns into an hour sometimes I'll be happy for it but I'm not going into each day thinking my hands have to be on the guitar for an hour.

I think a different version of what I was talking about at the end of my post is this - structured purpose driven stuff that doesn't have to be big and onerous, and then that stuff just ends up getting worked out over and over again as you pick the guitar up and play here and there because it is good and fun to do so.

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Also: Never forget to have fun. The odds of anyone paying you to play guitar is pretty slim, so remember why you are learning. 

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6 minutes ago, Celery Man said:

VA - I'm actually not really steeped in Rolling Stones, but I do think that the Am that starts Goddamn Lonely Love is also the first chord of Angie.

Yeah, I've figured out that strum and the next few notes.  Luckily, I have a good ear and the piano background helps.  Once I learn the fretboard it will be easier for me to pick out songs and melodies.

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8 minutes ago, Celery Man said:

flamenco

I saw Carlos Montoya play when I was at Ohio State.  His guitar playing was amazing.

 

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My instrument evolution was... piano lessons starting at 6, then french horn at 5th grade, guitar at 6th, bass at 8th. Stopped piano lessons at 16, did brass throughout high school (can still play for 15 seconds at a time on my flugalhorn), and have been playing bass and guitar non stop forever (actually it's been a minute since I've picked up the bass). I never really learned the fretboard like a piano, which I maybe regret a bit (or I should challenge myself to improve on). One thing that's a bit different that comes with guitar is that as you get more and more familiar, you can pick out the chords (or at least the shapes) based on voicing or the little rhythm licks that they do that are inherent to that chord shape. On.... The Weight, you know that's a D at the end of the chorus because of that little one two hit right before "you put the load right on me" they are hammering on the second fret high e string. The sound of a C chord walking down to an Amin is recognizable. It may be capo'd but you can hear it. You'll start to recognize those types of patterns as well.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, VABuckeye said:

I saw Carlos Montoya play when I was at Ohio State.  His guitar playing was amazing.

 

I had the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico

I could swear it had some electric version of Malaguena on that cd...

-0-4---0-4------------3-1-
-----2------2-0-3-2-0-----
----------------------------
----------------------------
----------------------------
----------------------------

Edited by Celery Man

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40 minutes ago, BonzoMontreaux said:

I think this what I need to come to grips with and just do it.  On the soloing part though, I want to develop my own style but this is still the best approach to doing that.  Wouldn't hurt to brush back up on shapes\Forms and maybe scales and sequences.

All the guitar gods developed their own style by copying their heroes. Clapton covered “Hideaway,” but it ain’t the same song as Freddie’s version.

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28 minutes ago, BrickHorn said:

All the guitar gods developed their own style by copying their heroes. Clapton covered “Hideaway,” but it ain’t the same song as Freddie’s version.

True.  

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1 hour ago, BrickHorn said:

All the guitar gods developed their own style by copying their heroes. Clapton covered “Hideaway,” but it ain’t the same song as Freddie’s version.

claptonisgod.jpg

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They one thing I really know is the opening part of Tiger of San Pedro, which I learned at an audition camp for the Cadets of Bergen County

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Don't try to do too much. I know beginning lessons may make you feel like you aren't progressing fast enough, but you need to master the basics. 

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Just in.

I can only add, keep at it. Practice as much as you can, even when it's only moving your fingers across the strings while watching TV.

On thing I always tell people, if you pick up guitar, ir some other instrument, you will never be bored for the rest of your life.

That, and enjoy the journey.

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For any aspiring bass players, Scott's Bass Lessons are really solid. I'll also toss out Songsterr as a great site for guitar, bass, and drums. Tabs to lots of songs (super easy to hard) that you can play in time with backing tracks. If you pay the subscription, there are more features to slow down the play speed etc. It's kinda the vegetables and dessert approach for me. Lessons and technique are great, but Songsterr is a fun way to learn and play along with something you enjoy. 

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My 5 yo is expressing interest in wanting to play the guitar (he’s always quick to tell me “electric guitar”)

Any tips on equipment/ other considerations to keep in mind for someone on the younger end?

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5 is pretty young to have the manual dexterity to make it work. I’ve always heard that typically starts about 8-10.

But if he likes it get home one of those 3/4 size mini strats for ~$100 or so to play around with. Maybe it will take.

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Posted (edited)

You know your kid better than me. 5 y/o can be a bit young to start, but some kids are able to focus really well at that age. There are 3/4 size guitars, but that may even be too big for a 5 y/o. My thought would be to find a good instructor in your area and ask about lessons and go from there. A good instructor can give advice on appropriate sizing and may even have a line on a good used 3/4 guitar that another one of his/her students is looking to sell. 

 

As far as guitars, Tbone is right about the 3/4 Strat mini Ibanez also makes a miKro line. Used would be my first choice if possible unless you can catch a good package deal around the holidays. 

 

 

Edited by topochico

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2 hours ago, UTexasFight said:

My 5 yo is expressing interest in wanting to play the guitar (he’s always quick to tell me “electric guitar”)

Any tips on equipment/ other considerations to keep in mind for someone on the younger end?

5 is too young, imo. His time and your money would be better spent on piano lessons until he’s 10 or so. (And I say that as a guy who hated piano lessons as a kid.). Learning piano makes it so much easier to pick up guitar.

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On 5/20/2020 at 8:45 PM, Goredho said:

I’d be interested in good resources for learning slide guitar.  Not tune open and hit all the strings for I-IV-V blues progressions, but something that works you towards being able to do a decent Duane Allman impersonation.

I’m a shitty slide player, but from what I can tell the difference between regular lead and slide lead is all in technique. The scales are the same, but good slide players almost never just straight-up hit a note. You always slide up or down, even if just from a fret away. And the key is to have a light touch. Don’t mash the strings. 

Anyway, learn a song or two. Page’s slide solos on LZI and LZII are a good place to start. 

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Posted (edited)

In My Time Of Dying is an open G slide that's pretty simple, until you get to the solos. 

 

Edited by Deej

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If you have a game system or a PC, I know it may sound silly, but Rocksmith has been a decent tool for me. Really good for learning songs. Usually has lead, rhythm and bass tracks. You can speed it up and slow it down.  Lots of little games you can learn techniques with. Also has a free play deal where you can set what key and scale you want and provides dynamic backing tracks. 

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I'm at a struggle point.  I know I'll get through it.  I don't have the dexterity or extension in my fingers to do what I want to do on the fretboard.  Fuckers doing the demos make it look so easy then I try it and it's just a big fucking twang.

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If you have a game system or a PC, I know it may sound silly, but Rocksmith has been a decent tool for me. Really good for learning songs. Usually has lead, rhythm and bass tracks. You can speed it up and slow it down.  Lots of little games you can learn techniques with. Also has a free play deal where you can set what key and scale you want and provides dynamic backing tracks. 

I’ve heard good things about this. I might have to try it.

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I don't know anything about these except that they look cool and are probably more usable for a kid of that age

https://loogguitars.com/products/loog-pro-electric-kids-guitar

i had heard of "strum sticks" previously which I think are a similar concept, but not electric. And i kept seeing an ad for these with this guy's video (can't hear him but he's in the zone)

 

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Cliffs of Dover is a good one too.

You got me in my feels brosef. I have literally been trying to learn this song since 1991. My old Guitar magazine with the transcription is tattered and frayed. I’m proud to report that I have the intro - mostly, the main riff nailed, and the bridge passable. All the other bit...well...things are gonna change I can feel it.

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You got me in my feels brosef. I have literally been trying to learn this song since 1991. My old Guitar magazine with the transcription is tattered and frayed. I’m proud to report that I have the intro - mostly, the main riff nailed, and the bridge passable. All the other bit...well...things are gonna change I can feel it.

That’s rude mood for me.

One of these days I swear.

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Posted (edited)

So back to beginner stuff.  The couple of basic exercises I'm doing to be able to stretch my fingers a little further down the fretboard are slowly working.  Right now my practice is a scale, chord transitions, some bass line work, the blues shuffle, the stretching training and the work off a song on YouTube for a bit.

I don't expect to play any of these songs anytime soon but they're teaching my fingers and that's what matters.

Edited by VABuckeye

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It works and it helps. If I put my palms together and spread my fingers as far apart as I can my left definitely has more reach than my right. I would love to have more reach though, I have annoying carny hands.

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Here’s something I would throw out for beginners...it’s great to focus on all the technical exercises and dexterity stuff for sure.

 

But you also have to remember this isn’t engineering, it’s music.

 

Find a song you like with 3 or 4 simple chords and play along with the recording to work on changes and get timing and vibe down. That’s often overlooked imo.

 

Like what’s up by 4 non blondes. G Am C. Over and over again the whole song.

 

Or ball and chain. D G A D. Over and over again.

 

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Damn right. I started with a $150 Yamaha acoustic and a Led Zeppelin chord book.

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Ultimate guitar tab and YouTube lessons are the greatest things ever for guitar players.

 

I have probably 50 songs in our duet list. Every one I’ve used UG as at least a starting point. Fantastic resource.

 

And YouTube for any tricky licks. So far there’s been nothing I couldn’t find on these two.

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25 minutes ago, tbone_ said:

Ultimate guitar tab and YouTube lessons are the greatest things ever for guitar players

Yep. Wish they had that shit and clip-on tuners when I first started. 

Another useful app is AnyTune. It lets you slow down songs while maintaining pitch. Very, very helpful for fast solos. 

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If you have a spare guitar, pull off the low E string and tune to open G. You can play a lot of great Stones tunes with pretty much two chord shapes and have a lot of fun as a beginner.

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Those Loog guitars look like a great option. My 6 yr old granddaughter loves my guitars so I gave her an old mandolin I had But her fingers aren't strong enough to fret even one note. That Loog looks like it would be perfect for a 5 yr old.d22342820aaa6f5aac525667f0264b83.jpg

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The best thing about the guitar is that you can practice lying in bed until you nod off, and then you can keep practicing again when you wake up until you nod off again.

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6 minutes ago, tantric superman said:
“If it can't be done in bed, it's not worth doing.”
Dave Van Ronk

-- John Holmes

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Just FYI, got a lot of pleasure out of doing some two finger picking (thumb and index) in open D (Colorado Girl/simple version of Green Green Rocky Road).  It's simple, but the droning (Thumb alternating between low D and middle D) has a really pleasantly physical feel. 

I don't know the science/music behind the open tunings but very interesting.

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