How do I start playing the guitar?
Mar 30, 2009 at 3:04 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

guyx1992

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Posts
797
Likes
10
Hey. For a few years now I wanted to start playing the guitar but never actually started learning. But I decided that I want to learn the basics before the summer. How do you suggest I learn?
A private tutor? The internet?
BTW, at first I want to learn playing a classic guitar.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 3:20 PM Post #2 of 20

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,596
Likes
504
I haven't played guitar (yet), but have you played an instrument before? If you can read music and have played something similar, you can DIY into a new instrument.

If this is your first instrument, I'd strongly suggest taking private lessons or signing up for classes at a community college. You can always visit a local guitar shop and ask the employees where they would go to start - they usually know all the area instructors.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 3:26 PM Post #3 of 20

guyx1992

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Posts
797
Likes
10
I thought of going to a private tutor, the only setback is that it's 30$/hr.
I'll take a few lessons for the basics and then see where it goes.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 3:43 PM Post #4 of 20

CDBacklash

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Posts
1,151
Likes
14
Learn the absolute basics by yourself. and then before you practise anything more than 4 times get some lessons. It's too easy to slip into bad habits and they can be awful if you want to go far with it.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 5:21 PM Post #6 of 20

guyx1992

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Posts
797
Likes
10
I already have two guitars. I just realized that my neighbor is a guiter tutor so I'll check how much he charges.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 5:35 PM Post #7 of 20

iancraig10

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Posts
4,200
Likes
760
Quote:

Originally Posted by CDBacklash /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Learn the absolute basics by yourself. and then before you practise anything more than 4 times get some lessons. It's too easy to slip into bad habits and they can be awful if you want to go far with it.


Good advice.

If you learn an instrument incorrectly in the first place (By trying to do it yourself) you will be lumbered with that poor technique for the rest of your life. The problem appears later, when you want to play something that is tricky and you don't have a good technique, so that (harder) stuff is impossible.

I am 55 and started the piano at 3. I still play with a very poor technique so I am limited by my own bad habits which I learned as a child. (On my own)

Having said that, I am a musician but if I am really honest, my poor piano technique has been the bain of my life. I can get around things but once someone asks me to read music and play, I am in difficulties. (I don't tell people that when they see my band though!!)

In my band, I sing and play sax, oboe and keyboards. With the keyboards, I programme a computer so I don't physically play the difficult stuff. (Especially live)

Learn the correct way in the first place and try not to skimp. Also, play in slow motion most of the time so that your brain 'learns' the movements.

In the end, you'll be a better player. It isn't good enough to start by learning poor technique and then try to unlearn it later, when you want to play more demanding stuff.

You will blame yourself and tell people that you're no good and feel embarrassed at the thought of playing in front of people. Honestly!!

ian
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 5:59 PM Post #8 of 20

CDBacklash

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Posts
1,151
Likes
14
Quote:

Originally Posted by iancraig10 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Good advice.

If you learn an instrument incorrectly in the first place (By trying to do it yourself) you will be lumbered with that poor technique for the rest of your life. The problem appears later, when you want to play something that is tricky and you don't have a good technique, so that (harder) stuff is impossible.

I am 55 and started the piano at 3. I still play with a very poor technique so I am limited by my own bad habits which I learned as a child. (On my own)

Having said that, I am a musician but if I am really honest, my poor piano technique has been the bain of my life. I can get around things but once someone asks me to read music and play, I am in difficulties. (I don't tell people that when they see my band though!!)

In my band, I sing and play sax, oboe and keyboards. With the keyboards, I programme a computer so I don't physically play the difficult stuff. (Especially live)

Learn the correct way in the first place and try not to skimp. Also, play in slow motion most of the time so that your brain 'learns' the movements.

In the end, you'll be a better player. It isn't good enough to start by learning poor technique and then try to unlearn it later, when you want to play more demanding stuff.

You will blame yourself and tell people that you're no good and feel embarrassed at the thought of playing in front of people. Honestly!!

ian



from a guitar and sax perspective, bad technique is more likely to lead to chronic RSI which can be career-ending than making you unable to play things. I agree though, I started at a very young age on piano and got soem bad habits, but luckily I managed to find a very good tutor who helped me out
smily_headphones1.gif

I've seen some guys on youtube (house the grate for example) with shocking technique play the guitar very well. It cant be good for your joints.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 6:09 PM Post #9 of 20

HD_Dude

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Posts
296
Likes
20
As a player for 45 years, I can point to a resource that's available now, that I never had: YouTube.

Go there and type in 'Learn Guitar.' You'll get nearly 30,000 hits.

A good friend of mine is learning to play using YouTube. He sounds great.

Unlike an instructor, you can use YouTube 24 hours a day...you can pause and rewind and repeat the lessons...and YouTube will never get annoyed.

However, an instructor will hold you accountable...which YouTube can't.

The first video, 'How to play beginner guitar chords,' looks excellent...and it's been viewed more than 2-million times.

As a former professional guitar player and songwriter, I have to say, it's a great resource. You wouldn't want to use only YouTube...but in addition to friends who play, books, and maybe a lesson here and there, it is a great way to get your skills down.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 6:11 PM Post #10 of 20

UglyJoe

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Posts
348
Likes
10
guyx, are you wanting to learn classical guitar, or are you wanting to play pop music on a classical guitar? Those are two very, very different things. If you want to learn classical technique I have a few pointers for you:

1.) Pick up Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon. Absolutely fantastic book for learning technique, and many (if not most) teachers in the States today use this book as one of the main foundation texts. If you don't know how to read music, you can learn that online, as well as the standard tuning of the guitar and how to read music in relation to the guitar, etc. Outside of those basics, Tennant's book is a wonderful primer for good technique.

2.) When you begin, don't grow nails on your "picking" hand. The technique is actually easier to learn without nails, and good fundamentals need to be built first. As you progress then start to grow and shape your nails to get the tone, attack, and volume that you need.

3.) I'd start off teaching myself some of the very base fundamentals, especially how to at least basically read music and make your fingers basically go where you want them to. Spending a lot of money on very basic teaching isn't financially the best way to go (and this is coming from a guitar instructor). We can't really do a whole lot to help you until you are familiar enough with the guitar to start learning. I think at most I'd suggest one lesson a month until you really become comfortable enough with the guitar to begin real learning. Bad habit's can be broken, and most bad habits are fairly easy to break if you've only been playing for 6 months.... lifelong bad habits are harder to break, but they certainly can be broken, from personal experience. Until you are comfortable with very simple chords and moving between them, and playing basically in rhythm, then lessons are a waste of money, imo.

4.) Once your really ready to start learning (I'd say anywhere between 4 weeks and 3 months, depending on how quickly you pick it up and how much you practice) I'd DEFINITELY try to find a college instructor to take lessons from. Private tutors are great when that's the only thing you have, but the opportunity that a college offers is just better all the way around... dedicated practice facilities, opportunities to play in ensembles, masterclass opportunities, opportunities to play in front of other guitar students to get feedback from multiple sources and encouragement to keep it up, and even opportunities to play in halls, in small groups and solo. It's a great experience and will drive you to preform much better than the private tutor experience can give you, imo.

Anyway, those are some quick pointers for a beginner... Good Luck!
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 6:27 PM Post #11 of 20

stevenjchang

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 10, 2007
Posts
688
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by CDBacklash /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Learn the absolute basics by yourself. and then before you practise anything more than 4 times get some lessons. It's too easy to slip into bad habits and they can be awful if you want to go far with it.


good advice
x2

you don't need a teacher for basics, you can do that yourself. also u'll be interested and motivated when u first start.
you need a teacher to get you over the hump, when you become somewhat disinterested, or its hard to get yourself to practice to get better after a certain point.

i can play the guitar but its hard to get over a certain level of difficulty by yourself

also ya, bad techniques
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 6:32 PM Post #12 of 20

robm321

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Posts
7,971
Likes
208
Quote:

Originally Posted by UglyJoe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
1.) Pick up Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon. Absolutely fantastic book for learning technique, and many (if not most) teachers in the States today use this book as one of the main foundation texts. If you don't know how to read music, you can learn that online, as well as the standard tuning of the guitar and how to read music in relation to the guitar, etc. Outside of those basics, Tennant's book is a wonderful primer for good technique.


I concur - probably the best book for starting out on classical guitar.
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 8:09 PM Post #13 of 20

apatN

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Posts
5,774
Likes
19
Jimi Hendrix learned to play the guitar all by himself. He even rearranged his snares and played left handed.
wink.gif
 
Mar 30, 2009 at 8:14 PM Post #14 of 20

CDBacklash

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Posts
1,151
Likes
14
and just look at his technique :p. Theres no rule that says that if you learn you cant be great, but getting a tutor is a great precaution to take for your own safety as well as your future.
 
Mar 31, 2009 at 2:13 AM Post #15 of 20

Omega

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Posts
520
Likes
13
I'm not sure the OP means "classical guitar" rather than "classic" guitar, meaning acoustic as opposed to electric. Who knows? OP?

Learning classical guitar will require lessons, and a bit of discipline. Learning acoustic or electric guitar can be done with a helpful friend to show you the very basics, and various internet resources.

I taught myself to play (acoustic) guitar when I was away for a summer. Bought a guitar, friend showed me how to read a chord chart and to play open C and G chords, and I was off. It's do-able. The important thing is to put yourself in a situation where you enjoy practicing.

I still have fairly poor technique though--and it shows when playing fast leads and interesting barre chords. I simply didn't learn the optimal way of placing and moving my fingers, because a chord chart has no information about how to do this.
smile.gif
If I were to do it over again, I'd do exactly the same thing...after all, it was fun learning on my own...and my goal was enjoyment, not ultimate guitar-playing ability!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top