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Old 05-07-2014, 11:31 PM   #1
Blasko23
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Tips on where to start for a beginner

Hey everyone,

I am a 20 year old college student and have decided that I want to learn to play guitar. I have played alto sax for good amount of my teenage years so I am not a total stranger to music.

Over the past few years I have gotten really into metal and this is what inspires me to learn to play guitar. Currently, I have access to my Dad's old acoustic to learn on, and my plan is learn the basics on that for a few months and they buy an electric so I can start learning metal.

Is this a good plan? Is it wise to start on acoustic first like a lot of people say? I am also wondering when/if I should take lessons. I know I want to take lessons but I'm not sure If I should take them at the start with an acoustic or take them later when I want to start playing metal.

Thank you for any advice you can offer.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:21 AM   #2
EyeballPaul
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Well,I started on my mums old nylon string classical guitar,Learned my first chords on that.Then i got an old cream Hohner electric with a tortoise shell pick guard.I'd get cracking and learn some chords on that accoustic until you can get the guitar you want.As for lessons,I'd probably wait until you get nice guitar that's comfortable for you to play.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:09 AM   #3
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I started on electric guitar, and I started playing the music genres I wanted right away.
And I never felt it was a poor choice.


As far as lessons go, they're always a good idea. They allow you to develop your technique much faster.

Try to find a teacher with good reputation, that not only teaches you what you need, but also what you want to learn.
I've seen many people give up guitar due to boredom, because the teachers insisted in teaching them the way they always teach everyone -- without taking personal taste and idiosyncrasies into account.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:53 AM   #4
paul.housley.7
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In my opinion - if you ever think to yourself "i don't feel like playing today..." then you're doing it wrong. If your teacher is giving you boring lessons find a new teacher. If you're getting frustrated with a song that you want to learn then you should stop - go find a different song to play for a while.

I also think you should play the instrument that makes you feel good. There's no advantage to learning on an acoustic if you don't enjoy playing the acoustic. All you'll do to yourself is make yourself bored.

Be a hedonist when it comes to playing guitar. Work hard - but only work on the things that excite your passion.
Just one caveat: you should at least look into the "how to hold a guitar, how to pick, how to strum rhythm..." ultra beginner-type lessons. They're not interesting but they could save you some heartache later.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:25 AM   #5
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^^ agreed- a good teacher will help a ton, but it needs to be a good teacher, and also one who will work with you rather than one who's set in his/her ways and who will only do it the one way.

If your dad already has an acoustic, you might as well play a little bit on it first, since you have very little to lose. You'll hopefully get the basics under your belt and that'll help you when it comes to choosing your own guitar.

However, if you really want to play metal and you find acoustic boring or really hard, don't let that make you give up on the idea of electric- it's entirely fine if you only want to play electric, too, and it's a bit easier on your fingers.

with the lessons, you could go either way- i don't see how getting some acoustic lessons would hurt assuming you can still afford the metal lessons later. again, though, if you do find it boring becaue you just want to play metal then don't let the acoustic lessons put you off electric guitar.

justinguitar (website) seems to be very good for beginners- it's free (though he accepts donations) so you can check it out and see what you think. since you already have a guitar you can take a look and see what you think. it's all in order etc. The other thing is, if you already have some musical experience, you might well be able to get away without a teacher. That's not to say you have to, or you should, or anything like that, but just putting it out there as an option. Especially with great online resources like justinguitar.

^ also agreed.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:47 AM   #6
UrsulaSchreibre
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linkerman
I started on electric guitar, and I started playing the music genres I wanted right away.
And I never felt it was a poor choice.


As far as lessons go, they're always a good idea. They allow you to develop your technique much faster.

Try to find a teacher with good reputation, that not only teaches you what you need, but also what you want to learn.
I've seen many people give up guitar due to boredom, because the teachers insisted in teaching them the way they always teach everyone -- without taking personal taste and idiosyncrasies into account.


+1 nice... [IMG]http://*****************.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/11/20/buy.gif[/IMG]
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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You can putz around on the acoustic, learn some chords, etc., but if you're going to end up on an electric, I think it's better to start with the electric. You'll pick up some habits on the acoustic that you'll want to break when you get to the electric (strumming too hard, picking too hard, etc.). I started on piano, switched to a Hammond B3 and found the transition was similar. On a piano, volume is controlled by how hard you hit the note, and sustain is on a pedal. On the organ, a light touch works just as well and sustain is determined by how long you hold down a note. Making the transition back and forth is easier now than it once was.

The good news, if you've begun on an Alto sax, is that you'll have a leg up on phrasing, etc., for solo passages on a guitar. I know a lot of great guitar players who followed Charlie Parker solos in order to get a feel for solos on guitar. I played Alto and then tenor sax early on as well, and while they won't translate all that well to metal, you'll find them echoing in how you play other kinds of music. You can also read music, and most guitar players can't. And you can probably transpose quickly (very few guitar players can, even if they can read music), another advantage.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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Good plan. I had 20 year old steel-string acoustic I learned on for a few months, then bought electric, and all the knowledge translates fine. Acoustic is great because you can pick it up anywhere, take it with you, not worry about plugging in, tweaking amp settings, etc., so you practice more. Also, tendency with electric guitar is to crank distortion so you sound like a rock start, but that actually hides flaws in your playing compared to clean tones, so acoustic will force you to learn to play notes cleanly with good fretting, attack, etc. (or you can play electric on "clean" amp setting if you have the discipline to restrain yourself from going for the rock tones right away -- I lack that discipline, so it was better for me to learn on acoustic).

I really like nylon string classical for learning, too. The neck is much wider, but that forces you to stretch a bit more, you may find it easier to play when you switch to narrow neck of electric or many steel string acoustics. Also, the tips of my fingers hurt like hell learning on steel string, and this was less when I switched to soft nylon string classical guitar. Really, the only downside to learning on classical guitar is that the neck is only 12 frets long till it hits the body, so you cannot practice guitar parts that, say, call for playing at 18th fret or whatever, like many rock solos. So you will have a gap in your education learning exclusively on classical.

So I started with steel string acoustic with long neck, 22 frets or so, then got true electric after a few months around the same time I also got a nylon string classical. At that point, I hardly played the steel acoustic, I was either playing the nylon string or the electric.

Then I got a semi-acoustic. It is resonant enough that I could enjoy playing / practicing without an amp, but I could also plug it in and get some nice growling rock tones (better than, say, acoustic-electric which really does not do rock tones / distortion well IMO).

I guess looking back on it, I might actually start with a semi-acoustic as my first guitar which you can play unplugged, or amped, and can really give you feel for playing on solid-body electric later. The one I had was cheap Epiphone Les Paul Dot Studio semi-acoustic which I still have, love the tone, very playable, decent build quality for $200 guitar. Does not look quite as "dated" or old-fashioned as some of the larger semi-hollow "jazz boxes." I also see a lot of Ibanez Artcore semi-hollows for sale second-hand, and those also got really good reviews, and I think you can pick one up for around $200 or a bit more if you want one of the higher end Artcore.

So basically, ignore the beginning of my post and buy a semi-acoustic. I think every rock guitar player who plays electric has, or should have, a semi-acoustic in his arsenal for the unique jazzy, twangy, bright, jangly tones it can give you, and it's versatility. I plug my Dot Studio into a good tube amp, and I really hear that classic Les Paul growl from the humbuckers (even though they are stock and a lot of people dis them as being underpowered compared to the humbuckers that come on real Gibsons -- and trading out the pickups is one of the easiest mods on a guitar, a lot of people do it even when they buy a pricey Gibson, so you can get a Dot Studio or Artcore and trade out the pickups if you feel they are not hot enough, not giving you the level of rock / distortion you want. But, again, you should really be playing everything clean when you are learning so you'll hear your mistakes.

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Old 05-08-2014, 05:05 PM   #9
Dave_Mc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
You can putz around on the acoustic, learn some chords, etc., but if you're going to end up on an electric, I think it's better to start with the electric. You'll pick up some habits on the acoustic that you'll want to break when you get to the electric (strumming too hard, picking too hard, etc.).


I agree, and that's normally what I say when someone wants to learn electric but feels he/she should start on acoustic because "that's what everyone does". However, considering he already has an acoustic, playing a little while (not long, just enough to be able to try out an electric in a shop so he can make an informed decision when he decides to buy one) on the acoustic he already has probably wouldn't hurt and might help.

That's what I did because my mum had an old acoustic

But yeah I agree that in general if you want to learn electric, learn electric.
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:22 AM   #10
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I agree with the above posters - as you have access to an acoustic guitar, it won't hurt to learn a few chords, correct posture etc with it while you save up for an electric.

Also, +1 on JustinGuitar.com- it's an excellent site with comprehensive lessons and is very good for getting the basics right (I'm only a learner myself). It's free, but Justin does rely on donations, so if you get something out of it, why not kick him a few bucks.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:23 PM   #11
Blasko23
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Thanks everyone for the great replies! I think I'll go ahead and learn the basics on acoustic, learn on that for a month or so and then buy an electric. Mostly I just want to learn the fundamentals and pick up enough knowledge to make an informed decision when I buy an electric.

The only question for me now is when to get lessons. I know I to get lessons when I'm ready to play metal, but do you think I should also get a few while learning the basics on acoustic? Im worried that if I self-teach myself at the start that I'll pick up some bad habits that will be hard to break later on.
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:27 AM   #12
Linkerman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blasko23
The only question for me now is when to get lessons. I know I to get lessons when I'm ready to play metal, but do you think I should also get a few while learning the basics on acoustic? Im worried that if I self-teach myself at the start that I'll pick up some bad habits that will be hard to break later on.

IMHO, if you're planning on getting lessons, it's never too soon to start. You'll progress faster and more correctly, and yes, it'll be easier to correct bad habits if they're spotted right away by the teacher.
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Old 05-12-2014, 09:42 AM   #13
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If you have previously played another instrument, then you may already have some knowledge about how to read music. It can be just as useful to practice on an acoustic guitar for the first time. The approach is almost identical and the sound produced by the hollow body makes up for the lack of an amplifier. You can practice speed and accuracy until you decide to buy an electric guitar.

You don't honestly have to take music lessons to learn how to get better at the guitar. There are numerous resources online that can be just as helpful as a tutor, and more than half of them are probably free. Either way, good luck on whatever you decide.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:50 AM   #14
Dave_Mc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blasko23
(a) Thanks everyone for the great replies! I think I'll go ahead and learn the basics on acoustic, learn on that for a month or so and then buy an electric. Mostly I just want to learn the fundamentals and pick up enough knowledge to make an informed decision when I buy an electric.

(b) The only question for me now is when to get lessons. I know I to get lessons when I'm ready to play metal, but do you think I should also get a few while learning the basics on acoustic? Im worried that if I self-teach myself at the start that I'll pick up some bad habits that will be hard to break later on.


(a) That sounds like a sensible plan to me.

(b) I can't imagine getting lessons now could hurt. Worst case scenario, you get a teacher you don't like and you leave and don't come back. You're in no worse situation than you are now. Best case scenario, you get a good teacher who helps.

I should add I've never had a guitar teacher, though I had previous music experience like you did before I took up guitar.
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