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Shirtcocker
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK...I've always wanted to learn to play guitar so I bought an acoustic on impulse this weekend and started learning to play it. Using my 10 year old son's Learning Guitar for Young People instruction book I now know how to tune and I can play a stellar version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat that has been known to make grown men cry.

So my question is--how do I take it to the next level? Teach myself using books and web resources or take some lessons with a real person? Any specific suggestions? Also--any tips and tricks to help my fingers from feeling numb and sore all the time? Right now the tips of the fingers on my left hand hurt as I type this. Does that go away after a while?
 

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midnight melon mounter
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Nice, dude

You'll be rocking out "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in no time. If you learn the lyrics in Spanish, I will personally pay for your airfare to RBR Heartland '06.

Meanwhile, was that your son and his friends on the cover of Newsweek last week?
 

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take some lessons

and then begin the process. at same time, lock yourself away for hours alone in a room with guitar and favorite records(CD's). learn the songs you love note for note. take s'more lessons,find an instructor you can relate to. suffer in silence, takes about 2 years of multi hour a day practice. ya wonder why most guitarists get 'good' are geeky males at about 13-15, what else do ya do with your time and angst?
numbness,pain goes away with time and practice.you build callous,etc.. When I was a professional I could play all day and my hands would never tire. Now that I don't play as much I get the pain again. It's just like doing any athletics, ya gotta build fitness, until then it hurts
 

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Back from the dead
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Tune it

The next step is to break out your old Clapton albums and play them at 16. (Young folks reading this will have no idea what that means.) That way the solos will play at half speed and an octave lower, so you can break them down.

DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. You must learn Clapton.

Actually, I would recommend that you learn as many chords as you can, then try to play along with the radio. This will give you some insight on what chords go together, and how to predict chord changes.

You have to build up your fingers. There's no way around it, although you might try lighter strings. Also, the action might be set too high, which is the distance from the string to the neck.
 

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wut?
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Bocephus Jones II said:
OK...I've always wanted to learn to play guitar so I bought an acoustic on impulse this weekend and started learning to play it. Using my 10 year old son's Learning Guitar for Young People instruction book I now know how to tune and I can play a stellar version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat that has been known to make grown men cry.

So my question is--how do I take it to the next level? Teach myself using books and web resources or take some lessons with a real person? Any specific suggestions? Also--any tips and tricks to help my fingers from feeling numb and sore all the time? Right now the tips of the fingers on my left hand hurt as I type this. Does that go away after a while?
The pain is normal. Until your fingers are calloused, it's going to hurt.

I think learning from a person is better than a book. It costs more, but you can ask a person a question where you can't ask a book anything. Also, a book won't correct your mistakes.

I think it's easier to learn on an electric because of the smaller neck... OTOH, it's harder to get away with sloppy fingering on an acoustic...
 

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Shirtcocker
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alex-in-Evanston said:
Meanwhile, was that your son and his friends on the cover of Newsweek last week?
link? don't think so though...
 

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wut?
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Clapton's a good thing to learn. The unplugged Layla is not too complex. You should be able to play the chords before long. The solo is a little more difficult, but it's a standard minor blues pattern.

I think I have the tab somewhere for that version of Layla. I'm sure you can find it online, but I can mail you a copy if you want.
 

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wut?
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Bocephus Jones II said:
Yeah...just trying to memorize some basic chords and get a bit faster at switching between them for now. Not expecting miracles overnight--when I bought the guitar I didn't even know the names for all the parts of it or even a single chord and now I at least know how to tune and to play 5-6 chords reasonably well. Baby steps I guess...
And don't forget to learn as many Alvin Lee solos as you can as quickly as possible.
 

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Shirtcocker
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Scotty2Hotty said:
Clapton's a good thing to learn. The unplugged Layla is not too complex. You should be able to play the chords before long. The solo is a little more difficult, but it's a standard minor blues pattern.

I think I have the tab somewhere for that version of Layla.
Yeah...just trying to memorize some basic chords and get a bit faster at switching between them for now. Not expecting miracles overnight--when I bought the guitar I didn't even know the names for all the parts of it or even a single chord and now I at least know how to tune and to play 5-6 chords reasonably well. Baby steps I guess...
 

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Some advice

Take lessons. In the adult working world you don't have time to figure it out. Take some lessons so you'll learn the right technique and have someone teach you how strumming should sound.

Get an easy song book like Eagles or something. Try to play the songs with a cd going to get used to the speed and timing of chord changes.

Lastly, I'd try to get with a group that plays songs in public. Maybe the Agnostic Church band!! Just kidding. I got a lot better playing with people who are better than you. You'll get better really fast. Plus the benefits of having a drummer is really significant.

Nothing like a serious steady beat that you have to keep up with.

Take lessons. Play with a CD easy songs like Eagles (they use the same chords all the time, weird they were so popular). Play with people who are better than you, a band type group is best. Have fun. Nothing like playing More Than Words to your wife, etc. and it sounding pretty right on.
 

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Definitely go for the lessons...but it is necessary to find someone that you can relate to and understands your goals are not to enter Berkeley school of music (unless thats your goal :D ) find the songs you want to learn - nothing worse than losing iterest because of the songs don't speak to you...you can learn something from every song so don't do what you don't want to - you will walk away after a while.

Having the teacher also has the following advantages:
1) tend to make you pracice more 'cause you'll have to play it for him/her in a week
2) you get pushed to try new things (don't get stick on the same riffs and get bored)
3) someone to play with and or jam over top of while you learn blues scales etc
4) someone who knows stopping bad habits before they become... bad habits :)

one way to start and help out the fingers is to string the guitar with some .009 electric strings. the sound will be a bit thin and it may not stay in tune as well but you will be able to play longer which is what you need to learn faster. as the callouses build (it will take 2 or 3 weeks if you play regularly) then you can retring the guiotar wiht some acoustic extra light strings

have fun and then find people to play with... thats where the joy is!
 

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Scary Teddy Bear
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Agreed

atpjunkie said:
and then begin the process. at same time, lock yourself away for hours alone in a room with guitar and favorite records(CD's). learn the songs you love note for note. take s'more lessons,find an instructor you can relate to. suffer in silence, takes about 2 years of multi hour a day practice. ya wonder why most guitarists get 'good' are geeky males at about 13-15, what else do ya do with your time and angst?
numbness,pain goes away with time and practice.you build callous,etc.. When I was a professional I could play all day and my hands would never tire. Now that I don't play as much I get the pain again. It's just like doing any athletics, ya gotta build fitness, until then it hurts

Take some lessons, I used to teach, and I can tell you, that students would figure it out MUCH quicker with someone there to show them. DEFINITELY play an acoustic first, you will end up with much cleaner, crisper fingering. You could always tell the guys that did nothing but play the electric on full distortion all day...sloppy, sloppy. Your fingers will hurt for awhile, but then get better, I agree with ATP, when I was playing in a band full time, I could play for 8+ hours straight, and I have....but now I think an hour would wear my hand out. Kudos man, and I hope you love it...try to play Bon Jovi's "wanted dead or alive"...it's pretty easy.
 

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Clapton may be the most overrated guitarist of the last century, and now this one.
but he did write some decent songs, and the guitar was always out there.

whatever you do, make it musical. it's painful, it's slow, but try to learn the easiest damn thing and make it musical. count. listen.
nothing drove me battier than the guys who could tear up the fingerboard but didn't know a musical moment if it chased them down the street, ripping the flesh from their bodies.
 

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wut?
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bill said:
Clapton may be the most overrated guitarist of the last century, and now this one.
but he did write some decent songs, and the guitar was always out there.

whatever you do, make it musical. it's painful, it's slow, but try to learn the easiest damn thing and make it musical. count. listen.
nothing drove me battier than the guys who could tear up the fingerboard but didn't know a musical moment if it chased them down the street, ripping the flesh from their bodies.
Don't listen to him.

If you can't play Alvin Lee in 10 days, sell the guitar.

BTW, what kind of guitar is it?
 

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Remember.....you can tune a guitar......but you can never, ever tune a fish.
.
Song #1 was row row row your boat.
Song #2 should Stairway to Heaven.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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Word is that "enter sandman" is the one to play in the guitar store. At least that is the one that a salesman I know hates the most.
 

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dr hoo said:
Word is that "enter sandman" is the one to play in the guitar store. At least that is the one that a salesman I know hates the most.
Times change; it used to be "More Than A Feeling" by Boston that every 3rd guy would wail in my local shop!
 

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ah, but would you rather jam with Carlos or Clapton?
Carlos, in a heartbeat.
A generous musician, that guy.
And he's not out of place with a killer rhythm section. Clapton is just, like, who invited the white guy?
 
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