Best way to learn guitar for beginners

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SeilerBird

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Oldgator73 said:
I?m glad somebody brought this subject up. I was considering taking up guitar but after reading here I think I will try piano. I hand cancer in my left hand and arthritis in my right so maybe guitar would not be a good fit.
You didn't ask but I will mention it anyway. The small synthesizers are a great inexpensive way to start such as this one;

https://www.amazon.com/Alesis-Melody-MKII-Built-Headphones/dp/B07987K4F5/ref=sr_1_6?crid=O5EY4NQ6YDD5&keywords=casio+piano+keyboard&qid=1571603594&sprefix=casio+piano%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-6
 

Tom

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One caveat for first time ukulele and guitar buyers - it can become an addiction  :( My collection has grown to 10 ukes (including a banjo ukulele and an 8-string uke), 5 guitars (including a 12-string), and a plectrum banjo  :-[ Oh, and 3 keyboards (one in each location where we spend a lot of time).

Folks with limited space might consider buying a 3/4 or 7/8 guitar. When I first started playing guitar I was having shoulder issues, and a full size guitar was tough to play. I bought a 3/4 size guitar and found it much easier on my shoulders. It was also easy to transition to a full size guitar, because I was already playing a guitar, just a "small" one. Along the way, I upgraded from a 3/4 size to 7/8 size guitar, primarily for improved sound. Those two smaller guitars are made by Taylor, who make fabulous guitars - Baby Taylor and Taylor GS-Mini.

I have no plans to buy a sitar, although a mandolin is a possibility.
 

Larry N.

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I'll go along with both Toms on going into a local music store and trying things on for size. If you tell them what you have in mind, they can usually advise you fairly well (hard to do online), and you'll likely be much happier with your selection in the long run. That inexpensive Fender may be OK for a little while, but I discovered a long time ago that if I had a cheap instrument, I soon lost interest, while one that really sounded good (you don't have to start with a Martin, Guild or Taylor) helped me maintain interest.

I've noted several learning methods mentioned here, but thought I'd throw in what I've done (it suits me, but I'm far, far from being a musician). I bought a Mel Bay guitar instruction book (this was LONG before YouTube) and learned to play several chords, with a lot of practice time being spent just switching from one chord to another, switching from C to F to G to A to F to G to C to... all possible combinations. Once I could do that, I tried some of the songs in the Mel Bay book. With additional songs over the years I've also picked up many more chords and a number of strumming/right hand styles, too.

Of course this essentially makes me a "song learner" as described above by Tom S. but it has worked OK for me most of the time. Most of the time...occasionally I wish I'd gone the more difficult route, but I suspect I'd not have devoted enough time and effort, therefore would have dropped it completely.
 

Tom

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I'm a "song learner" too, and IMHO there's nowt wrong with that. I spend 2 hours every Tuesday night learning/practicing songs with 50-60 other uke players, most of whom have never learned music theory. Like me, they heard "that sound", and decided they'd like to be able to play too.

I second Larry's comment that switching between chords is key (no pun) to being able to play songs, along with the ability to strum on the beat, whatever the tempo might be for a given song. Learning/playing different strums is more of a challenge for me but, once I learn a different strum, it certainly adds to the sound. A simple example might be a calypso strum, on an appropriate song of course.

For adventurous strummers, try emulating Englishman George Formby playing his fan strum or split strum on a banjo ukulele.
If you can't figure it out, You Tube will have a lesson or two taught by an 8-year old  :)
 

SeilerBird

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For the record I never said that just learning songs was wrong. I just mentioned there are two ways to learn and most people just learn songs and don't learn music theory. Nothing wrong with that. That is how the Beatles started.
 

Back2PA

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SeilerBird said:
most people just learn songs and don't learn music theory. Nothing wrong with that. That is how the Beatles started.


If I heard/read correctly, Phil Collins couldn't read music
 

Tom

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FWIW PC is still playing, and currently performing in Vegas.
 

Oldgator73

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SeilerBird said:
You didn't ask but I will mention it anyway. The small synthesizers are a great inexpensive way to start such as this one;

https://www.amazon.com/Alesis-Melody-MKII-Built-Headphones/dp/B07987K4F5/ref=sr_1_6?crid=O5EY4NQ6YDD5&keywords=casio+piano+keyboard&qid=1571603594&sprefix=casio+piano%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-6

That?s what I was thinking about. Doesn?t take much room and easily transported.
 

SeilerBird

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Phil Collins is definitely back touring but he stopped playing drums and piano ten years ago due to have some vertebra operations. Recently he fell and now walks with a cane.
 

SeilerBird

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Oldgator73 said:
That?s what I was thinking about. Doesn?t take much room and easily transported.
Then go for Gator, you are never too old and it is dirt cheap. Tons of free lessons on YouTube and the net. Do a search on beginning piano lessons.
 

Larry N.

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SeilerBird said:
For the record I never said that just learning songs was wrong. I just mentioned there are two ways to learn and most people just learn songs and don't learn music theory. Nothing wrong with that. That is how the Beatles started.
True -- I was just clarifying which I am. Thanks for an excellent description I could use.
 

SeilerBird

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To be clear I started just learning songs. A few years late I was frustrated with my progress so I started taking music classes at college. I took piano, guitar, violin and viola.
 

Tom

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I've always been able to reproduce a tune vocally after hearing it. When I joined a barbershop chorus 20 or so years ago, it frustrated me to see some folks pick up a music score and 'sing the notes on the paper'. This caused me to buy my first keyboard, take keyboard lessons, and teach myself to read music.

The (my) objective was to correlate what I saw on a score with what was coming out of my mouth. After a few (?) years, I was no closer to being able to do this, so I quit trying. I can read a music score, understand some music theory, but still sing what I hear.

I don't use music theory to create or learn a chord, but my ears immediately tell me if I played a correct chord or hit a clunker.

Meanwhile, from my message in another topic:


Reminds me of arriving in Hong Kong on one of my multi-country hops, checking into the hotel at 10pm. I dragged my colleague down to the bar to unwind from the travel, and we were entertained by 3 Filipinos, 2 female singers and a male keyboard player. I noticed the girls, both excellent singers, reading from large hard-covered ledger books. During their break, the 3 entertainers joined us at the table, and I just had to ask if I could see the contents of one of the books that they were literally clutching tight. The lyrics of very song were handwritten phonetically, and they explained they wrote them while listening to songs on the radio, and they just wrote down what they heard.


What I take away from all the above is that we all learn in different ways, and some/many of us don't have the talents and knowledge of most musicians.
 

SeilerBird

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I remember when I was a sophomore in high school. I played drums in a band with two guitar players. One night we went to the movie theater together to see a film that was about an hour of the latest English groups each playing one of the biggest hits. But no Beatles. They had the Zombies, the Honeycombs and the Animals among others. The Animals played House of the Rising Sun and we all wanted to learn how to play it. We didn't have a pad and pen with us so as the song played we shouted out the chords. Am, C, D, F, Am, C, E. We repeated it all the way home. But I was very frustrated since I could not pick it fast enough. I did not realize at the time that it was two guitars that sounded like one.
 

Tom

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... as the song played we shouted out the chords. Am, C, D, F, Am, C, E.

That's something I have no clue how to do. What's more, when I play (aka strum) a tune on a uke or guitar, my ears tell me a chord change is coming, but I have no clue which chord without looking at a lead sheet. I've learned to play some tunes from memory, but it took me strumming each chord until my ears told me it wasn't a clunker, then on to the next chord.

The only improvement on this "learning method" is if I play a known chord progression (e.g. C-Am-F-G7 or I-vi-IV-V). Even then, a progression can change part way through (e.g. for a bridge or a refrain), and I'm back to relying on my ears to detect the clunkers  :(
 

Tom

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Signing (not singing) a song ...

This special group of kids performed a unique rendition of the Welsh national anthem:

https://www.facebook.com/bbccymrufyw/videos/2377537809230866/?t=4
 

8Muddypaws

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Sorry for arriving to this so late.  I was playing a celebration of life gig yesterday.

I started out with a $20 Sears Silvertone.  It was an instrument of torture to play.  I was young & stupid enough to buy a second Silvertone.

Guitars:  cheap ones are generally harder on your hands and do not sound as good.  Simple answer:  expect to pay more than you expected.  ;D  If you do buy an inexpensive one have the shop do a setup.  If you buy an expensive one too!  I bought a $700+ Taylor GS Mini and had to spend an additional $50-$75 to have it set up the way I wanted.

Guitar Brand:  I?m partial to Taylor but I was perfectly happy with a Takamine.  I eventually had two of them.  I still have a Yamaha classical that I bought more than 35 years ago. 

Think about getting a classical guitar.  Nylon strings are easier on the fingers and it will have a wider neck.

Theory:  the problem is that most people find learning theory to be just plain boring.  Especially on the guitar.  It can be completely overwhelming.  Learning songs is easier and more gratifying.  Especially if you sing and want to accompany yourself.

There are so many online teachers!  It?s a jungle out there.  I?ve watched a bunch of videos produced by ?Steve Stein?.  He seems to have struck a good balance between teaching theory and teaching songs.  His website is www.guitarzoom.com but I suggest you watch some of his lessons on YouTube first.

Another good one is www.guitarcontrol.com. 

Of the two I prefer Guitarzoom.  I just like his style more.

I highly recommend that you look around for a live teacher to get you started.  I didn?t and I suffered because of it.  Check craigslist, music stores, even adult Ed at high schools and colleges.

Bedtime!  I was up late last night.
 

SeilerBird

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Tom said:
That's something I have no clue how to do. What's more, when I play (aka strum) a tune on a uke or guitar, my ears tell me a chord change is coming, but I have no clue which chord without looking at a lead sheet. I've learned to play some tunes from memory, but it took me strumming each chord until my ears told me it wasn't a clunker, then on to the next chord.

The only improvement on this "learning method" is if I play a known chord progression (e.g. C-Am-F-G7 or I-vi-IV-V). Even then, a progression can change part way through (e.g. for a bridge or a refrain), and I'm back to relying on my ears to detect the clunkers  :(
We were able to see the guitar players hands and we were shouting out the chords we saw, not heard. That is one thing a lot of guitar players do is study other guitar players hands to see how they are getting the sounds they get. Especially someone like Jimi Hendrix.
 

Tom

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[quote author=SeilerBird]We were able to see the guitar players hands and we were shouting out the chords we saw, not heard.[/quote]

That I know how to do, and I'll occasionally look at our Maestro's left hand at uke practice, but it's not always possible to see what's going on. I'll sometimes mentally extrapolate from the fingers I can see, and think he must be playing a 'x' chord. OTOH if he's switching fast, I can't process it fast enough.
 
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