The RV Forum Community

RV-related and other recreational activities => Making music on the road => Topic started by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 09:03:44 AM

Title: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 09:03:44 AM
My baritone ukulele (tuned DGBE) produces a really mellow sound. I didn't take it along in the coach on our recent trip, but I've been playing it since we got home. It now has me thinking about buying an acoustic guitar. I don't want to sink a few $K into an instrument that I have no idea if I'll be able to play. Any suggestions on guitar brands that won't break the bank, but won't leave me wishing I hadn't bought it?

I'll probably make a trip to my favorite music store in the next few weeks, and I'll check out their guitar inventory. While there, I'll also check out a banjitar (banjo tuned like a guitar). The last time I tried this instrument out, I had no idea what to do with it.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 08, 2014, 10:08:15 AM
Are you talking about a nylon string guitar like classical artists use or a steel string guitar?

I don't know anything about brands. I shop strictly by beauty. I want a gorgeous looking guitar, I can get used to playing anything.

Your best bet is to visit all the local music stores and play lots of different guitars. The one for you will be obvious.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 10:13:10 AM
Quote
Are you talking about a nylon string guitar like classical artists use or a steel string guitar?

I was thinking steel, not realizing that nylon stringed guitars are available.

Quote
The one for you will be obvious.

That's what I tell folks who ask me which uke to buy  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: jagnweiner on May 08, 2014, 10:42:16 AM
You probably already know this, but there are two general types of acoustic guitars, classical and folk.  I would guess that 95% of the acoustics sold are folk guitars.  Classical guitars have nylon strings, as Tom S. alluded to.  They also have a wider fretboard, designed to make it easier to play individual notes at a rapid pace, whereas folk guitars are designed primarily for playing chords.  Classical guitars also have a different tuning peg design.

Here's a more detailed explanation:  http://www.ehow.com/about_6661571_difference-between-classical-folk-guitars_.html

I'm guessing you probably want a steel-stringed acoustic folk guitar.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: jagnweiner on May 08, 2014, 10:47:10 AM
You will also want to consider whether you want a purely acoustic guitar, with no pickup to allow it to be plugged into an amp, or an acoustic/electric, which has a pickup and often a small pre-amp built into the body of the guitar.

Martin is often regarded as the premier acoustic guitar maker, and Martins are priced accordingly.  Yamaha, Ovation and Takamine are a few other brands that come to mind that are known for acoustic guitars.

I would go to a store or two, ask questions, and play some.  Before buying, I would go to a large guitar retailer online like Guitar Center or Musician's Friend and look at online reviews of whatever model you are interested in.  Specifically, look at the comments to see if there are any trends or negative aspects identified.

(note, I am not a guitar player myself, but my teenage sons are, so I've spent a fair amount of time guitar shopping. :D)
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 11:02:12 AM
Thanks Scott. I just got off the phone with my mentor, and he said much of the same things you mentioned.

I've looked at Yamaha and Takamine online, but didn't know how they stack up against some of the other brands.

Good point re reading reviews.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Jammer on May 08, 2014, 11:27:12 AM
Hi Tom

Back in my misspent youth it was necessary to shell out $500-$1000 to get a playable guitar.  That is no longer the case.

Right now I mostly play an Ibanez that has a built-in tuner and pickup.  Since I play outdoor gigs having the built in tuner is a big help.  I also have a Yamaha that I bring to gigs as a backup, and a 12-string Seagull that I bought used.  None of these instruments cost more than $300. I have used all of them for paying gigs at one time or another.

I have friends who have better taste in guitars and buy instruments from Guild and Takamine and Martin and the other fancy makers, all costing well into the four figures.  They're beautiful instruments to look at.  But the difference in sound is subtle.

When buying a guitar it's important to get the set-up work done properly.  This includes verifying that the frets are level, that the angle of the neck is correct, and that the bridge and nut are at the proper height.  Unless you keep your instruments in a climate-controlled vault this sort of thing really has to be done every year, or sometimes more often, to keep the instruments in top playing condition.

Instruments hanging on the wall in a store usually aren't set up properly.  Stores want to make the sale and send the guitar with you, which is fine, but do yourself a favor and get the setup work done.  I usually buy cheap guitars at Guitar Center and then take them to an independent shop and pay them for setup.  It's usually around $60, more if the frets have to be leveled (which shouldn't be necessary on a new instrument).  The small shop makes more money on the setup than they would have selling a $250 guitar so it works out for everyone.

Be sure to get a strap, case, several sets of strings, a capo (Shubb is best), and picks.  Not sure if you use a pick on your uke.  If you do you probably know what you like.  If not I would suggest getting nylon picks.  They will last for hours and hours of playing, probably until you lose them.

Enjoy the journey
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Larry N. on May 08, 2014, 11:30:27 AM
Tom, I've had a 12 string Takamine for almost 40 years (gift from the wife), and it plays nicely and has a sweet sound. I also have a more recent (15-20 years) Yamaha six string, which is nice, too.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: wackymac on May 08, 2014, 12:01:46 PM
Check out Ovation guitars.  I bought a nice one for about $700.00 from www.sweetwater.com.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Water Dog on May 08, 2014, 12:30:38 PM
Check out the Canadian made Seagull. Really nice playing guitars for in the $400-$1000 range. I've had mine for years. Martin also has an import called the Sigma which is produced overseas supposedly to Martin's standards. I bought one of those for my son when he was learning to play, and it sounded quite good.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/seagull?source=3WWRWXMB&kwid=25fe8df24d644952b50a16bf05190847

Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: BigSkyTrailerGuy on May 08, 2014, 03:53:28 PM
Guitars are much like cars; they'll all get you there. 

Like everything, your choice will be influenced by your personal vanity - You can; Stress over a stunning $12,000 Taylor in custom koa. Impress with a 1952 Gibson for $5000.  Or enjoy a $350 anybrand.  Name isn't everything - do a blindfolded music store audition (seriously, even have someone play it for you if you can't yet) and buy the tone/feel you loved the most.  I once opted for a battered Guild over a new Martin because of the special song it made.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 05:34:39 PM
Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. I'll digest the advice and head off to my favorite music store and try out a bunch of makes/models.

I probably should have mentioned that I expect to be primarily strumming rather than picking.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Larry N. on May 08, 2014, 08:42:42 PM
Quote
...I expect to be primarily strumming rather than picking.

Check out the 12 strings, then Tom, given your comments in the other thread about the 8 string uke "filling out" the sound. 12 string guitars, at least the ones I know of, are typically tuned a couple of frets low, primarily to reduce the stress on the neck. But a friend had a 12 string Guild (I loved to play that one) that was OK to tune normally -- extra strong he said. Of course Guild's aren't cheap...
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 08, 2014, 08:46:23 PM
Aye Larry, I was thinking about 12-string; IIRC correctly, that would be known as a "Spanish guitar"  ??? . I just need to grow an additional 7 fingers on my left hand  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 09, 2014, 05:54:30 AM
12 strings do have a lovely sound however they are not easy to play. The extra six strings require a lot of extra pressure with your fretting hand. Most players can't play a 12 string for more than about 15 minutes. If you do decide to get a 12er then spend time in a music store playing one.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Larry N. on May 09, 2014, 07:25:09 AM
... I just need to grow an additional 7 fingers on my left hand  ;D

As opposed to growing one for a six string?  ::) :o ;D ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: jagnweiner on May 09, 2014, 07:36:04 AM
I say this again with the caveat that I am not actually a guitar player, just one who listens to a couple of young players and assists them with their gear purchases, but I would not want to purchase a 12 string as my first/only acoustic guitar.  A 12 string does have a neat sound, but it's something you use to supplement your regular repertoire.  A six string is much more versatile, besides being easier on the fingers.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: BigSkyTrailerGuy on May 09, 2014, 09:09:48 AM
12 stringers I've seen do always seem to "magically" turn into 6 stringers!

12s are like chili powder.... a little occasionally is delightful... but it's too easy to overdo it!  :P
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 09, 2014, 09:41:48 AM
Thanks all. Good points re the 12-string guitar. I bought and played several 4-string ukes before buying an 8-string, and it (the 8-string) doesn't get played on all songs.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: greensleep on May 09, 2014, 01:43:42 PM
I know this may be anathema to some, but how about a banjo? I've played guitar and mandolin for decades and taught myself banjo a few years ago----I enjoy playing it as much, if not more, than most of my other stringed instruments. Yes, I've heard all the banjo jokes, but you rarely see a banjo being played with a frown.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 09, 2014, 02:15:28 PM
I already own a plectrum banjo, still learning to play.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: carson on May 09, 2014, 02:44:42 PM
Tom, you could be one-man band if you could figure out how to hang several string instruments on your body and play some of them simultaneously.
 Will that be your next project ? Maybe a mouth organ at the same time.

>>>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXMuWi0dUBc



Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 09, 2014, 03:31:16 PM
Aye Carson, I have a photo of my Dad's 1-man band somewhere.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 09, 2014, 03:39:35 PM
I picked up a nice Yamaha accoustic electric guitar today from my favorite music store. They let me have it on their rental program, with full credit towards purchase should I decide to buy. Price will be the same as amazon's price. No downside if I decide not to keep it.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 09, 2014, 06:24:35 PM
After we got home, I mentioned the Yamaha to my Music Director/teacher friend, and he offered to come here and give me my first lesson on Monday. He did the same thing when I bought my banjo.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 12, 2014, 05:03:23 PM
Had my first hands-on guitar lesson today. This is quite unlike playing any of my ukes or my banjos; The physical body size, coupled with a much wider neck, offer (me) a little bit of a challenge. Off to practice switching between chords in several keys until muscle memory kicks in.

What was that line ...

Q:  Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?

A:  You practice.

Interesting comparing my Yamaha with my friend's Taylor; They could be identical twins, but the Taylor has more (acoustic) bass.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 16, 2014, 06:34:21 PM
I recall when I first started learning to play ukulele that I wanted to give up. I'm currently feeling just like that with the guitar. In frustration, I pulled my plectrum banjo out of its case and started strumming away. This instrument is so much easier (for me) to play than the guitar; A combination of smaller body (pot), narrower neck, and easier chord fingering. Having a sprain in my left hand doesn't help.

Time to call my private tutor for another lesson, and maybe ice for the sprain.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 16, 2014, 06:40:32 PM
The hardest part of learning to play guitar for me was keeping the strings that aren't being used quiet. If you are strumming a chord that takes up all six strings it is pretty easy. But if the chord only uses 5 strings then the unused string must be muted either with the left hand or the right hand. If the unused strings are not muted properly then the chord sounds muddy.

It is a lot more difficult to keep unused strings quiet when playing on a single string. One string ringing and 5 strings must be muted. Try doing some a scale slowly and pay attention to muting the unused stings and you will see what I am talking about.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 07:40:32 AM
How do you mute some strings and not others while strumming chords? So far, the only chords I've attempted to play require strumming all 6 strings.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 07:54:42 AM
Well you have ten fingers and two palms. It only takes three fingers for most chords and two fingers on your right hand to hold the pick. That leaves five fingers and two palms left over to mute with. It is not easy to do and very difficult to describe how to do it. But as you advance the notes that are ringing that should not be will irritate you to no end. Talk to your friend who is giving you lessons about it.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: JWBishop on May 17, 2014, 07:59:32 AM
I am a beginning guitar player also. I know there are a lot of chords that don't use all six strings and I know not to play those extra strings on the chord. However, I had never heard that the unused strings need to be muted. I just don't hit them. It seems that SeilerBird is saying those unstruck strings will still ring enough to bother the tone. My ears aren't that good.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 08:53:12 AM
It is called sympathetic vibration. If you take your guitar and with one hand pluck the low E string hard. Then mute it immediately and listen to the other strings ringing. If you touch the high E string at this point you will feel it moving. In other words when one string is vibrating the energy from that string is transmitted to the unmuted strings.

Let me give you an example of how to mute. Take the standard D chord as shown below, You are not suppose to strike the low E string, only the top five strings should be used. What I do is wrap my thumb around and put it on the second fret of the E string so it is an F# which is part of the D chord (D-F#-A). Or you could just have the thumb lightly touching the E string to mute it. Or you can use the pinky finger of the left hand to mute the string, or you could use the palm of your right hand to mute it. If you don't mute the string or turn it into an F# then it will play an E which does not fit into the chord. Actually it turns the D into a Dadd9.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 09:00:45 AM
Thanks for that explanation Tom, it's very clear. I hadn't thought about 'sympathetic vibration', and playing the second fret of the E string is a trick I wouldn't have thought of. Playing a redundant note in a chord is something I occasionally do while playing keyboard, but it didn't occur to me to do it on a guitar.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 09:03:36 AM
I thought about making a video to describe what I am talking about then I realized someone else already has. Turns out there are a few of them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMII37neQD8

Tom, you are going to hate the tone of the guitar in this video but the more distortion the more the sympathetic vibrations are heard.

The reason I am mentioning this now is because it is easier to learn guitar properly rather than having to relearn it later.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 09:20:29 AM
A good illustrative video, although he's talking about muting residual vibration from a string he's just played, not vibration from another string, which is what I thought sympathetic vibration is.

Just curious if either type of vibration is more noticeable with an amplified guitar vs an acoustic guitar  ???

Quote
... you are going to hate the tone of the guitar in this video

You're not kidding; I wanted to put my hands over my ears and scream  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 09:39:11 AM
He is talking about both residual vibration and sympathetic vibration. It is a lot more noticeable on an electric. Have you ever heard a guitarist play and thought to yourself "he sure plays cleanly"? This is how you play cleanly.

I have not mentioned this before because with a uke you don't worry about it since most all of the time you are strumming all the strings and rarely are you picking single notes.

There is a lot of muting he is doing and not explaining. Most beginning guitar instruction teaches it wrong. They tell you to bend your left hand fingers so that they push down on a string and don't touch the string above it and below it. That is wrong many times.

Let's try a power chord. A power chord is not really a chord since it is only two notes and a chord has to have three notes, however a million rock and roll songs use power chords (think the intro to Smoke On The Water). Put your left hand index finger on the second string fifth fret (D) and your ring finger on the third string seventh fret (A). This is a D power chord, D, the root and A the fifth. It is missing the third F# which is the least important member of the chord. The tip of your index finger should be gently pushing up against the E string. The underside of your ring finger should be laying on the top three strings. Now you can strum away and it will sound only the two notes you want it to sound.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 03:40:03 PM
For clarification, my guitar is tuned E A D G B e (strings 6 5 4 3 2 1).

Quote
Put your left hand index finger on the second string fifth fret (D) ... The tip of your index finger should be gently pushing up against the E string.

I read it literally as "pushing up", although it's actually "pushing down" to touch the e (1st) string.

Quote
The underside of your ring finger should be laying on the top three strings.

This must be one of those anatomically impossible things for me. My ring finger is coming up and over from the bottom of the neck to reach the third string. How on Earth can it possibly lay on the top three strings (6 5 4)?
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 05:30:50 PM
By the top three string I am referring to the G B and e strings. By pushing up against the E string I am talking about pushing up as in towards the ceiling. This is a very hard thing to explain by computer.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 06:00:09 PM
Quote
By the top three string I am referring to the G B and e strings. By pushing up against the E string I am talking about pushing up as in towards the ceiling.

OK, that makes sense. But, sorry to appear dense ...

 
Quote
The tip of your index finger should be gently pushing up against the E string. ... By pushing up against the E string I am talking about pushing up as in towards the ceiling.

If my index finger is on the second (B) string, pushing gently up won't reach the E string?

Quote
This is a very hard thing to explain by computer.

And equally hard (for me) to understand.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 06:37:42 PM
You are not being dense. It is very difficult to teach guitar technique via a keyboard. Let me try again:

>Put your left hand index finger on the second string fifth fret (D)

This means the second from the bottom of the guitar, the A string. Fretting at the fifth fret gets you a D. Now the tip or your index finger can gently push up (up meaning towards the ceiling) against the E string above it.

>and your ring finger on the third string seventh fret (A).

This means the D string and then gently lay the rest of the ring finger on the G B and e strings.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Larry N. on May 17, 2014, 08:55:05 PM
Tom J,

Just to rephrase, Tom S. is using "top" to mean highest pitch, rather than physical height (they're the lowest physically).
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 17, 2014, 09:00:34 PM
Thanks Larry, I finally figured that out.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 17, 2014, 09:11:42 PM
I am not a guitar teacher by any means and I don't know all the correct terminology.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: BigSkyTrailerGuy on May 19, 2014, 02:10:42 PM
Your next step will be Barre chords; with a barred chord, you just strum your plectrum across all 6 strings. No muting necessary.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBnS4uhaXAI
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 19, 2014, 02:56:00 PM
Barred chords are not in the tea leaves. I've tried and tried, and failed miserably to barre a chord with my ukuleles and banjos. I decided some time ago that it's one of those things that's just anatomically impossible for me, and it would be even harder on guitar.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 20, 2014, 10:41:48 AM
Quote from: SeilerBird
Let me try again:

Didn't mean to appear to ignore your message Tom. I mentioned a sprain in my left hand/wrist, and it's very evident when I try to play guitar. Since I have a uke concert coming up tomorrow (and practice this evening), I decided to lay off the guitar for a while.

Strangely, I've been playing my plectrum banjo (4 strings, much narrower neck), apparently with no adverse affects. I feel the sprain 'improving' (less pain) daily, and I'll hopefully get back to the guitar shortly.

Now if only I could recall how I got the sprain  ???
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 20, 2014, 10:57:41 AM
That's a bummer for a guitar player to sprain his wrist. I hope you feel better soon.

Do you use a pick? If so here is a little tidbit you may not know. Picks come in different stiffness's. Most guitarist use a stiff pick for lead and a thin pick for strumming. Of course there are many who don't follow this convention but I thought I would mention it just in case you were not aware.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on May 20, 2014, 11:16:00 AM
Thanks for the tip. I don't use a pick, although I bought a couple at the music store when I got the guitar. Maybe it's because of the way I've played uke for the last couple of years, but I find it easier to strum with my forefinger and thumb; Actually use the fingernails. I occasionally try a pick, but don't stick with it. I suppose that, if I was picking notes, a pick would be almost a must.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on May 20, 2014, 11:40:39 AM
Actually there are many guitar players that pick notes without a pick, like Jeff Beck. I don't see how they do it but they do. Strumming with your forefinger and thumb is a great way to do it.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on July 27, 2014, 06:58:44 PM
Quote
I picked up a nice Yamaha acoustic electric guitar ... They let me have it on their rental program, with full credit towards purchase should I decide to buy.

I made it official last week, and outright purchased the Yamaha when I visited my favorite music store. Formal guitar lessons start mid August. I couldn't resist wandering around the store, trying out different instruments, including a mandolin; I see another instrument in my future  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Stan Birch on July 28, 2014, 11:15:31 PM
I once purchased geetar, like  . . . forty years ago, and learned to play it rather well. ??

I must have been rather awesome! When looking for it one day, my wife mentioned that she had donated it to neighbour to sell in her garage sale!!

How much?

$$ 7.00!!

Obviously . . . . I got the message. 
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: BigSkyTrailerGuy on July 30, 2014, 09:06:19 AM
I just plunked down $2600 for a new Taylor 718e. I'm beginning a killer cancer battle, so I thought I at least owed myself this fun treat; first guitar since college.  Plus, It'll be a nice leave-behind for my son.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on July 30, 2014, 09:19:19 AM
Bummer on the cancer. Hope you get it beat. We have a number of survivors here on the forum.

Enjoy that Taylor!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 10:57:44 AM
Haven't attempted (much) to play my guitar; Classes are just 10 days away. Meanwhile, a friend who played it suggested I change the strings, and to get "accoustic electric, lite" strings. Following some research, I ordered a set of DR Zebra Accoustic Electric Lite (9-42) from Amazon, along with a string winder.

I've changed nylon strings on ukuleles, but this will be the first time I've changed metal strings on a guitar. I've done some research/reading on this too. No tying knots to secure the strings!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 01, 2014, 11:29:45 AM
9s are probably not the best choice for strings for you. 9s are basically for lead guitarists who do a lot of string bending. The reason you won't like them is because they will make your guitar thin sounding, especially without amplification. Lead guitarists add a lot of effects to basically give the strings back the balls they are missing. You would probably be more happy with 11s or 12s unless you plan on playing a lot of lead and doing a lot of string bending. You are probably thinking thinner strings would be easier on your fingers. Maybe, but you are better off toughening up your fingers by doing a lot of playing. Thinner strings actually can be more difficult to play and can be harder on your hands, depending on your playing style.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 11:56:22 AM
Thanks Tom. I figured I was probably going to need to try different strings to decide what I needed.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 01, 2014, 12:07:05 PM
Finding strings that sound and and feel good is a very time consuming process.  Personally I have never found an acoustic/electric string I liked.  I don't even like them on electric guitars.    One of my band-mates plays a classic Martin 000 with (gasp) nylon & steel strings.  She might as well be playing under water.  I use nothing but Elixir Lights.   I buy about a case of them a year for several guitars.  They last a long time.

X2, the 9's are going to sound wimpy and may actually hurt your fingers more.  IMHO your efforts would be better rewarded by taking the guitar to a luthier and having the action professionally set up for ease of playing with a normal set of 'Light' strings.  This is the #1 reason why so many beginning guitarists give up.  They buy a guitar that probably has the proverbial 'action from Hell' and never have it adjusted.  Yahaha builds good guitars with perfectly curved necks but they are not known for their silky smooth action right out of the box.

I broke all 4 metacarpals in my left hand and have very little strength left.  You can bet all of my guitars play as easily as possible.  But if I can play 3 hours a day anyone can!

Please tell me you also bought a tuner.........  Or have a tuner app on your smartphone....... :o 
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 12:23:15 PM
My head was spinning by the time I read different folks' opinions on brands and models of strings. So I figured I'd try one of the recommendations.

Good suggestion re the luthier. I used one an hour or so from here to adjust the action on my banjo when I first bought it. I might take a drive down to see him. Didn't buy a tuner; I have a bunch of tuners around here, and the Yamaha has a built-in tuner that seems to agree with my clip-on tuners.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 01:32:38 PM
Quote
Please tell me you also bought a tuner

As mentioned, I didn't need to buy one, but I'm sitting here looking at 9 stringed instruments (6 ukes, a banjo uke/banjolele, plectrum banjo, and guitar), and there's no way I could play them if they weren't in tune  ;)

Quote
Or have a tuner app on your smartphone

I have several different apps on my Android tablet, but I find the clip-on chromatic tuners convenient. I usually seem to have one in my pocket when I'm out and about shopping or visiting garage sales; You never know when I might see an instrument I want to pick up and play.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 01, 2014, 06:21:56 PM
My experiences with the clip on tuners has been all over the map.  One of the guys I sit in with occasionally uses some weird little clip on tuner and it's just plain wrong.  (I think it might be a Frogmind?) I used the same big old Boss tuner for about 15 years until I decided to  stop buying batteries and started using an iPhone app.  The iPhone has a better mic and seems to be spot on accurate.   And I can check my email while everyone thinks I'm tuning!

I don't even know how many instruments I have anymore.  It's a sickness.  But I really only play a couple of them most of the time.  I'm actually thinking of selling a Baby Taylor because I never fly anywhere since I retired.

At least uke's don't take up quite as much room......   ;D

Have a listen to some of my older 'stuff' on soundcloud:  soundcloud.com/Russell-Causey
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 06:38:59 PM
When I visit the luthier, his tuner is a metal plate hanging on the wall of his shop; He whacks it once, and does everything else by ear.

Quote
I don't even know how many instruments I have anymore.  It's a sickness.

 ;D understand that very well. Our Music Director called my favorite music store a couple of days ago, to be sure they'll have his next uke in stock; He mentioned "I'm bringing Tom along, because he has a good ear, and doesn't have enough ukuleles".

Last time I was in the store, I picked up a mandolin. It wasn't in tune, and I didn't know how it's tuned. I'll be prepared for the next visit.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 01, 2014, 07:24:21 PM
LOL

If you think the guitar is hard on yer' flibberty digits wait 'till you play the 'mangled limb' for an hour or two.

Tuned GG DD AA EE  but the running joke is that if you've played one for 30 years you've spent 15 years tuning it and 15 years playing out of tune.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 07:39:59 PM
Understood. My 8-string uke is tuned G/low-G  high-C/C  E/E  A/A. Two pairs are an octave apart, while the other two aren't  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 01, 2014, 07:52:00 PM
Too much work!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 01, 2014, 08:19:46 PM
One of my ukes has a polypropelyne body and wood top. Everyone who hears it says it has a "great tone". The shape of the body is such that it sits "upright on the floor" (think of a uke with the end sawn off), and has been accidentally kicked across the room several times. But it never needs re-tuning. Go figure.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 01, 2014, 09:49:06 PM
I can't imagine a poly-uke.  Was it roto or blow molded?  If it was roto molded does that make it sound like a Leslie Organ speaker?

It looks a bit like a Martin Backpacker only smaller.

Taylor made a guitar out of packing pallets.  I especially like the mother of pearl inlaid forklift on the neck.
(It originally sold for $10,000.  How crazy is that?)

http://www.laguitarsales.com/pages/3157/Taylor_Custom_Shop_Pallet.htm

Luthiers are strange folks.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 02, 2014, 12:15:16 AM
Quote
Was it roto or blow molded?

I have no idea what either one means.

Not sure if you saw this recent discussion (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,73328.0.html) (and photos) of a relative making his own (wooden) uke. Not a luthier, but a good woodworker and a good musician.

Quote
Luthiers are strange folks.

The guy I use looks like he's right out of Santa Cruz in the 60's.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 02, 2014, 12:33:26 AM
 ;D. One of my guitars was made in Santa Cruz.....  By a crazy luthier extraordinaire.  It's beautiful but too fragile to be a workhorse.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 02, 2014, 12:34:40 PM
I've been vascillating between a mandolin (8 string) and a charango (10 string). I suspect that, at some point, I'll end up with both. Maybe I can grow an extra 5 fingers on my left hand.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 13, 2014, 07:16:39 PM
Had my first guitar lesson yesterday. Only two of us in the class, other guy being another member of our ukulele band. Feels like a repeat of the process I went through to learn to play the uke, and is clearly going to take continual practice.

Meanwhile, my new guitar strings arrived several days ago. I'll put them on just to feel the difference, and decide where to go from there.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 14, 2014, 05:27:33 AM
Meanwhile, my new guitar strings arrived several days ago. I'll put them on just to feel the difference, and decide where to go from there.
Save the old strings, you might be putting them right back on.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 14, 2014, 06:37:22 PM
What strings do you recommend I put on?
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 14, 2014, 07:44:06 PM
As I mentioned before I use nothing but Elixir lights and super lights.  I started using them because they kept giving me freebies but found that I really like them.  I buy them by the case from musiciansfriend or zzounds . Com

I used Martin Phosphor Bronze for years but they don't last very long compared to Elixir's.

I've been playing for 49 years.  (Holy crap! I should be really good my now.  At least 20-30 times better than I am!).  In all those years I've tried lots of different strings and the #1 lesson I've learned is not to go cheap.  Unless you can get expensive strings free!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 14, 2014, 09:14:05 PM
I can't imagine playing guitar enough to need to buy strings by the case. How many sets are in a case? There's also no way I'll be playing for 49 years  :(

I'm not sure I understand the expensive/cheap part; The DR Zebras I bought are about the same price as Elixir. However, having done a little more research, I see that I bought those strings for the wrong reason.

Based on your recommendation, I'm ordering a set of Elixir strings, and look forward to a pleasant surprise.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 14, 2014, 11:56:47 PM
I hope you're happy with them Tom.   

A case is 12 sets and it looks like prices have gone up since the last time I stocked up.  They are now selling 8 sets for about what I paid for 12.

Liked it better when I got them free.   :o

Started when I was 16, much to the consternation of my family.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 03:46:57 AM
I sometimes (often) wish I'd learned to play various instruments when I was younger. It doesn't come naturally.

Last evening was Paul McCartney's concert at Candlestick Park. Haven't heard how it went, but It blows my mind whenever I watch and listen to him play.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 15, 2014, 04:46:03 AM
My niece was at Pauls concert at Candlestick. She emailed me to tell me she was on her way there in a limo.

I don't have a string recommendation. I think that basically they all sound identical. If there is small sound differences I sure as hell can't hear them. I think finding the right gauge is the most critical thing. 9s are way too light for a rhythm player. I have 9s on my electric and 12s on my acoustic. I would suggest trying a set of 10s then a set of 11s then 12s and see what feels best to you after a week of strumming.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 09:05:06 AM
Thanks Tom. I assume your numbers refer to the diameter/gauge of the thinnest (highest) string  ???   The Elixir 'light' strings I ordered last evening are .012-.053, the same diameters as the strings Yamaha puts on this guitar.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 09:09:50 AM
Quote
My niece was at Pauls concert at Candlestick. She emailed me to tell me she was on her way there in a limo.

That would have been an awesome concert. Hope she made it inside the stadium. Countless folks with tickets were stuck in traffic for several hours and never made it. Others were turned away because the parking lot was full.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 15, 2014, 09:52:44 AM
Thanks Tom. I assume your numbers refer to the diameter/gauge of the thinnest (highest) string  ???   The Elixir 'light' strings I ordered last evening are .012-.053, the same diameters as the strings Yamaha puts on this guitar.
Yep, that is standard to call a set of strings by the thinnest ones. 12s would be the best set for you right now. They will hurt your hands a bit more than 9s will to begin with, but overall they will sound much better. 9s are just too thin for rhythm work.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 15, 2014, 09:58:17 AM
That would have been an awesome concert. Hope she made it inside the stadium. Countless folks with tickets were stuck in traffic for several hours and never made it. Others were turned away because the parking lot was full.
Nope, she didn't get in. I just got the following email:

Never mind, we never got in. We missed it! $1000 down the drain. Epic fail. Traffic was not controlled, no limo drop off. I am so sad today
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 09:59:32 AM
As you can tell, I'm just a beginning student. Hopefully, I don't forget what I learn  :(
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 10:06:42 AM
Quote
she didn't get in

So sorry to hear that. I feel bad for all those folks who bought tickets and didn't get in. In addition to the traffic mess, non-ticket holders were allowed to tailgate and listen during the concert, which meant that numerous ticket holders were turned away from the lot.

McCartney apparently heard about lots of folks getting there late because of the traffic, and extended the concert by an hour.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Punomatic on August 15, 2014, 12:05:57 PM
Just to muddy the waters a little. You might consider finding a used guitar in a pawn shop or second hand store. I picked up a beautiful (as in not a mark on it, sounds wonderful, easy to play) Epiphone in a second hand store for $175. 
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 15, 2014, 05:56:02 PM
Too late to buy a used guitar; I already bought the (new) Yamaha, and that's the instrument we're discussing changing strings on. OTOH today I was looking at cheaper (than mine) new and used guitars at the Guitar Center.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Punomatic on August 17, 2014, 10:12:42 AM
Sorry, Tom. I guess I missed that. Here's something to consider. I have used silk and steel (http://www.amazon.com/Martin-M1400-Marquis-Acoustic-Strings/dp/B0002GZQEM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408288176&sr=8-1&keywords=guitar+strings+silk+steel) guitar strings in the past. They are easier on the fingers of your left hand.  You would have to decide whether the sound is to your liking.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 17, 2014, 12:24:23 PM
Sorry, Tom. I guess I missed that. Here's something to consider. I have used silk and steel (http://www.amazon.com/Martin-M1400-Marquis-Acoustic-Strings/dp/B0002GZQEM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408288176&sr=8-1&keywords=guitar+strings+silk+steel) guitar strings in the past. They are easier on the fingers of your left hand.  You would have to decide whether the sound is to your liking.
If you want to use silk and steel strings you must have a guitar set up to handle them. Tom's guitars are steel string models so they won't work with silk and steel strings installed.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 18, 2014, 07:45:31 PM
The new Elixir strings arrived today, a day later than promised.

I don't plan to do anything until my Wed appointment at the dealer; They have a tech who is apparently brilliant. If this doesn't work, I'll consider going to an appropriate community.

Edit: Typo.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 18, 2014, 09:39:58 PM
Are you saying this is an inappropriate community?  IMHO that's what's making it fun!

I don't think we've steered you wrong.  Have the tech teach you how to change your own strings!

I rarely take more than 3 strings off at any time - never remove all the tension from the neck.  This is probably because some of my guitars don't have truss rods and I just got into the habit.

I'm careful not to mix up the bridge pins.  They go into the same holes they came out of.

I saw a video of some guy using steel wool on the fretboard and neck!  Don't!  Just don't!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 19, 2014, 04:11:30 AM
 I only change one string at a time. There is no reason to take off more than one at a time.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Larry N. on August 19, 2014, 06:58:09 AM
Quote
Tom doesn't have bridge pins, they are only on nylon string guitars.

Well, my Takamine 12-string and Yamaha 6-string are both steel string guitars, and they have bridge pins, as do the other steel string units I've had my hands on.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 19, 2014, 07:25:49 AM
Quote
Are you saying this is an inappropriate community?

Not at all, and I wasn't referring to this or any other online forum. Looks like another of my attempts at (self-deprecating) humor didn't work, or at least didn't come out right.

FWIW I removed only one string at a time, so the bridge pins went back into their original holes.

I've changed (nylon) strings on ukuleles before, but this was the first time changing steel strings. It looked a lot easier on YouTube  :-[
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: SeilerBird on August 19, 2014, 08:44:34 AM
Well, my Takamine 12-string and Yamaha 6-string are both steel string guitars, and they have bridge pins, as do the other steel string units I've had my hands on.
Opps sorry about that. It has been too long since I hung around a guitar store.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 19, 2014, 11:06:24 AM
It was understood as humor, and returned with same.   :P
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 19, 2014, 06:33:27 PM
Had my second guitar lesson today. My mentor played my instrument and thought it was 100x better than with the OEM strings, although the one remaining OEM string is still a dud. Tomorrow he and I are going to meet with the dealer tech to have him adjust the truss rod (if necessary) and install the Elixir strings.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 20, 2014, 01:22:17 PM
This guy has it right!
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 20, 2014, 05:10:27 PM
Had a good visit with the luthier/tech at the dealership.

The 9-42 DR Zebra soft strings I'd installed had made a difference, but I had him install the 12-53 Elixir soft strings. The bridge was cracked, and he replaced it (he actually tweaked a bridge to optimize it). He also checked out the action, and confirmed the truss rod was adjusted correctly.

This is a whole different instrument! My guitar guru was along for the ride, and he had the same reaction when he played the guitar after the above was completed. We went back to his house and played around for a while, and the verdict was the same. I'm a convert!

Thanks to everyone for the advice. We (I) finally came out the other end.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 20, 2014, 05:52:41 PM
On to Carnegie Hall...

A guy got in a NY cab and asked "do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?", and the cabbie replied "you practice!".
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 20, 2014, 06:18:20 PM
Not going to say I told you so...........  :-X

I think you're probably talking about the saddle.  The saddle is the actual bone or plastic piece that the strings rest on.  If the bridge was cracked it would take more than a few minutes to fix.

On one of my trips to NYC I asked the waitress in a deli that question.  She looked me over and said "You ain't going there no matter how much you practice sweetheart." 
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 20, 2014, 06:23:31 PM
Quote
... you're probably talking about the saddle.  The saddle is the actual bone or plastic piece that the strings rest on.  If the bridge was cracked it would take more than a few minutes to fix.

Whatever you wish to call it. It's the only thing the strings rest on between the nut and the "bridge pins". I said nothing about "a few minutes to fix"; The guy was called in by his boss to take care of me, and he was working on it for an hour or so (I didn't time him, because we went to lunch).
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 20, 2014, 09:13:38 PM
I've had a couple of bridges pulled off & repaired.  It was a matter of weeks, not hours in both cases.

But my intention was not to step on your toes Tom.  Just offering support.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 20, 2014, 09:19:27 PM
Quote
... my intention was not to step on your toes Tom.  Just offering support.

I took it the way it was intended, and a big thanks. I was just confused by the term "saddle".
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 22, 2014, 12:52:34 PM
I have to say that I'm really enjoying the sound and feel of the Yamaha with the Elixir strings. It's going to be a while before muscle memory kicks in, but I'm looking forward to accompanying myself on guitar.

Meanwhile, uke band practice starts in just over a week; That's when my brain will fry. Last year, I learned to play banjo during the summer hiatus and, when our uke season re-started, I caught myself playing banjo chords on a uke. Didn't take long to get myself straightened out, but I suspect this year will be deja vu all over again  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 29, 2014, 10:05:28 PM
Tom,

Here's something you might enjoy.  Dr. Sparkles and his Mom.  I've known both for many years and never knew she could play clarinet!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=_8JW_siG5rc
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 30, 2014, 12:02:16 AM
Thanks. Wish I could play without a lead sheet. Vocals and rhythm come intuitively, and my ears tell me when chord changes are coming, but I have no clue what that next chord is. Of course, my ears tell me if I play a wrong chord  :o
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 30, 2014, 09:11:32 AM
And everyone else knows too!   ;)

I spend many hours every summer making lead sheets for my workshops.  You're not alone.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 30, 2014, 09:48:56 AM
I've created and modified my share of lead sheets, but I have to find the 'right' chords by playing 'wrong' ones. So my lead sheets start out without chords and I add them one at a time after playing and believing what my ears tell me  :-[
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 30, 2014, 10:03:39 PM
I've got a few hundred lead sheets that might be suitable for your studies if you're interested.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on August 30, 2014, 10:24:09 PM
Thanks. What genres? I have several thousand lead sheets here, but not necessarily ones I'd want to play on guitar.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on August 30, 2014, 10:38:18 PM
Mostly country, some jazz standards, some rock.  And some that that defy classification.

 I was speaking only of ones where I have a soft copy, I.e. Word document.  I have thousands of printed ones filed alpha-pathetically.  Meaning out of order.  It would take months to make a list of all the papers.  Big job with very little reward value.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on October 06, 2014, 08:08:17 PM
I'm enjoying my Yamaha guitar, but wanted to get a "cheaper" one that I can "throw in the car" and not worry about it being stolen. I played an el cheapo that someone was selling, but figured I wouldn't be happy with it.

Today, while visiting my favorite music store, I played several makes/models and settled for another Yamaha. I probably should have had them put Elixir strings on, but I decided to play it for a while and have the strings changed later.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on October 06, 2014, 09:31:38 PM
Thus it begins.  Soon there will be enough guitars to open up your own shop.  😀
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on October 24, 2014, 07:30:52 PM
It didn't take long to figure out that the stock strings on the 'new' (inexpensive) guitar needed changing. According to the Yamaha web site, they buy their strings on bulk rolls, but I can't figure out why they'd use this el cheapo stuff on all their guitars.

This morning I Received a call from a uke band member asking if I wanted to accompany him to my favorite music store. I jumped at the opportunity and grabbed the guitar. He was having a low-G string put on his uke. I had them install the same Elixir 'light' strings I recently had them put on the other guitar. It sure sounds and feels better.

While there, I wandered into a sub-store owned by the uncle of the main store owner. He has a room full of collector and otherwise expensive guitars. He was encouraging me to pick up and play some of these wonderful instruments, but I was so paranoid that all I could do was look at the price tags. If you have $XX,000 to spend on a guitar, this is the store for you.
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on October 24, 2014, 08:44:01 PM
Trust me Tom, I know where to pay too much for a guitar.

Like this one : http://www.gryphonstrings.com/instpix/43877/index.php

Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on October 24, 2014, 08:53:49 PM
I don't doubt. This guy had a "wall of Martins".
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: 8Muddypaws on October 24, 2014, 09:19:53 PM
Martins are actually relatively inexpensive compared to some of the small luthiers stuff.  I played a $20,000 Custom with the luthier who built it hovering over me.  As soon as he told me how much he wanted for it I very carefully handed it back to him and refused to even touch it.  (It actually didn't sound as good as my old workhorse Taylor grand auditorium)

On the other hand they're more affordable than RVs!  And they rarely break for no reason at all.   :o
Title: Re: Beginner guitar
Post by: Tom on October 25, 2014, 06:03:22 AM
The majority of instruments in this store are custom &/or made by small builders, some local. I didn't recognize most of the names. I made a comment about the $xxx inventory he was carrying, and the sub-store owner explained it was all consignment; Some from 'collectors', and some from the builders. It was all too rich for me, and I kept inching my way towards the door before I inadvertently scratched or otherwise damaged something.