#1
I played a little when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Then (typical of someone that age and with the habits I had back then) I pawned a pretty nice Les Paul and Peavey amp. Fast forward about 15 years, I got the bug again. Went and bought a low-end Washburn and a super-cheap amp. Then I found a site that has a bunch of circuit diagrams for effects and built myself a distortion pedal (actually, it uses a toggle switch for now) so I could get some sound out of that cheapo amp (I'm also an electronics hobbyist, go figure).

When I played before, let's face it - I sucked. I could play maybe 3 or 4 songs without totally screwing them up, and that's about it. When I tuned up my new guitar, plugged it in, and put fingers to fretboard, I was amazed at how much finger dexterity I've lost. I can type about 60 words per minute but can't friggin' play the intro to Cold Gin or Fade to Black.

Where do I start? Speed exercises? Scales? Learn some songs?

Maybe I should note that the music I like (and therefore would like to play) is mainly 80's metal (Metallica, not Poison...Slayer, not Winger...you get the idea) though I also like quite a bit of early Lynyrd Skynyrd, and even some of the outlaw country like Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, so I'd like to be able to play that kind of music too - though I imagine once I get to where I can actually play it'll just be a matter of hearing the song to get the rough idea, and maybe looking at the tab to figure out certain parts.

I'm taking my guitar, amp, notebook computer and all in the truck with me when I'm on the road, and I went and bought Guitar Pro for learning songs.

Any advice?
#3
Well, start with scales and work your way up....work on your chord changes....play easy songs and all
#4
Well, if you're looking for finger dexterity, spider exercises are the way to go. If you're looking to learn chords and stuff, then...well just practice switching chords. However, if you want to play Master of Puppets or Ride the Lightning all the way through, you must realize that you have a long ways to go. Music is fun as hell, but it's hard work too, and it will take a while to get there.


Also, please, if Freepower gives you any advice, LISTEN TO HIM! He has some great information for us.
#5
+1 to what The.new.guy said, especially about listening to Freepower

I'd say go back to basics - revisit your open chords and switching between them, maybe barre chords, scales (but not just up and down - play them in different patterns), spider exercises for finger independence, and simple songs. Play everything as slow as you need to to get it accurate and don't worry about speeding up - that will come with technique and accuracy.

Oh, and don't practice whilst driving - I've heard it can be really bad for your health
#6
You guys.

What I'd say is just pick up a few songs you really dig and think sound pretty easy and give them a go. You can leave the serious technique stuff until you really want to do it, if ever.

For now, turn up that ****ty amp, and try rocking out to For Whom The Bell Tolls - suprisingly easy and great fun.
#7
Quote by Darkkon
keep playing this time.



Yeah, I totally agree with this. I recently started playing guitar again (started May 08) after going 18 years without playing. Like you, I really sucked back then and gave up. I also had issues with my fret hand due to tendonitis.

When I started playing again after the layoff the only things I remembered were a few scales and the basic open chords. I have to say after a year I'm a lot better than I was back then after playing for 5 years. One thing that has helped is having the resources of the internet. The only thing I had back then was magazines. I couldn't afford lessons and I wasn't disciplined enough to try to develop my ear. What's made the difference for me this time is I'm a lot more focused in my training, not just noodling around and playing the same scales over and over. I'm working on my ear, theory and technique. I work long hours, but I make sure I play at least 1 hour per day no matter how tired I am. I've also cleaned up my posture and technique when I play, so I'm not getting the hand/wrist problems I developed last time. I'm really pumped about how much I've learned the past 10 months and look forward to continuing to learn.

Hang in there and you will be rewarded.
#8
Quote by Freepower
You guys.

What I'd say is just pick up a few songs you really dig and think sound pretty easy and give them a go. You can leave the serious technique stuff until you really want to do it, if ever.

For now, turn up that ****ty amp, and try rocking out to For Whom The Bell Tolls - suprisingly easy and great fun.

Too easy tho...not challenging enough to learn anything but how to slide a power chord up and down the neck

I'm messing around with the lead to Marshall Tucker Band's "Can't You See" right now. Almost halfway to accuracy with certain passages at half-speed, playing along with Guitar Pro

And you know, as long as I'm playing something that uses a nice light overdrive sound (read: southern rock), this amp doesn't sound too awful on its own. It all came in one kit, with guitar, amp, strap, cable, picks, tuner, gig bag, and some "learn to play" DVD I haven't watched yet. The guitar is a Washburn WI14 and the amp is a Randall RA15G.

The guitar has fairly high action on the upper frets and I have to tune it every time I go to play (maybe because it's bouncing around on the bunk in an 18-wheeler all day every day), but otherwise it seems okay for the price (I paid a little less than what that kit is going for all over the internet). If I had a kid who wanted to learn to play, I'd probably buy him the same kit.

It's cheap, but not god-awful like some of the stuff I saw when I was in my teens, like Les Paul copies with flat bodies less than an inch thick, action so high you could get a finger under a string on the fretboard by accident, amps that sounded like an old transistor radio, etc.
Last edited by TruckerRedbeard at Apr 24, 2009,
#9
Quote by zhilla
Oh, and don't practice whilst driving - I've heard it can be really bad for your health

Nah, I have a hard enough time shifting a non-synchronized transmission, talking on the cell phone, switching radio stations, sipping my coffee, reading a map, and lighting a cigarette while navigating rush hour traffic in Chicago in a 72' long, 8'6" wide, 13'6" tall, 80,000 pound vehicle without trying to play a guitar too!
#10
Quote by TruckerRedbeard
Nah, I have a hard enough time shifting a non-synchronized transmission, talking on the cell phone, switching radio stations, sipping my coffee, reading a map, and lighting a cigarette while navigating rush hour traffic in Chicago in a 72' long, 8'6" wide, 13'6" tall, 80,000 pound vehicle without trying to play a guitar too!



You don't drive on I-95 do you?

Anyway, what's been said is great advice. Don't think you're too good for the easy songs, because, face it. You've not played for 15 years. Start there, and if they only take you an hour to learn, then great. Work your way up to the harder songs. "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica is surprisingly easy, so once you've been back at it for a week or two, try that (solo too!)

That's great you came back
I'm not a Bible-thumper anymore. Realized I had a brain in '09.

I like guitars, running, and math.
#11
Okay, so I don't practice every day. Sometimes I go a week without practicing (my work schedule is super-weird, and sometimes the choices of activities before bedtime are "practice guitar" or "have my first shower in 2 days"). That said, I practice in spurts - when I get home off the road, I might spend the better part of 2 days playing. While on the road, if I get some downtime, I might spend an hour or two a few days a week.

I can now play the entire rhythm portion of "Seek & Destroy" by Metallica, as well as the whole song "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd (though I need to work more on my chord changes) at full speed, parts of 2 Ted Nugent songs, parts of 3 ZZ Top songs, and I can even improvise blues riffs at about 1/4 speed.

I think it's time to get serious about practicing. I had my guitar set up a couple months ago, and it made a big difference in how easy it is to play. I also discovered that by turning some of the knobs on my amp and guitar, it can generate a few different sounds, ranging from soft and clean to twangy to even a bluesy, slightly overdriven sound. All without that distorter I built :-) (though I do use it for metal - it's actually pretty sweet!)
#13
Quote by Psalm 150:4
You don't drive on I-95 do you?

Anyway, what's been said is great advice. Don't think you're too good for the easy songs, because, face it. You've not played for 15 years. Start there, and if they only take you an hour to learn, then great. Work your way up to the harder songs. "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica is surprisingly easy, so once you've been back at it for a week or two, try that (solo too!)

That's great you came back


Why yes, I do drive I-95 sometimes...I drive all 48 contiguous states and 2 Canadian provinces
#14
Quote by Freepower
And still having lots of fun, I take it?

Thanks for the update - is there anything we can help with?


I doubt it. My biggest problem seems to be practicing consistently. Something tells me I'll never really progress much beyond where I am now unless I can make a commitment to an hour a day minimum practice. Problem is, my work schedule is extraordinarily wacky. I might get up, drive 2 hours to a receiver, sit there 4 hours waiting to be unloaded (but I can't get the guitar out - they might have me unloaded at any minute and I have to be ready to go right then, and it takes 15 minutes to get everything stowed). Then, I might drive another hour or 2 to my next shipper, be loaded and gone in an hour, and have to drive 5 hours before shutting down if I'm going to make my delivery on time. By then I'm pretty much too tired to do anything but eat supper and sleep. Thing is, I never know what my day's schedule will be until it's over, so it's hard to plan for practice time.

Another thing I have problems with is accurate finger positioning. Like, for example, with an open G chord, my middle finger, fretting the E string at 3 for the root G sometimes mutes the A string (which my index finger is fretting at 2 for a B note). That sort of thing. But it seems like only time and practice will cure that, so I'm back to square one.

Mainly I'm just frustrated at my inability to consistently practice an hour a day or whatever, due to my work schedule. Hrm, maybe that's why all the big rock stars starved before they got famous, either with no jobs or with nice predictable but low-paying McJobs....
#15
I understand - one thing that is helpful is imagining music in your head, invent melodies, try and figure out what's on the radio and then work it out later... all that stuff really helps and you don't need a guitar in your hands.
#16
Quote by Freepower
I understand - one thing that is helpful is imagining music in your head, invent melodies, try and figure out what's on the radio and then work it out later... all that stuff really helps and you don't need a guitar in your hands.


Of course...another problem I have now is that I practiced/played for a total of about 5 hours yesterday, then 2 hours so far today...and I can't feel the tips of the fingers on my left hand, my left wrist is stiff, and I still want to work on my chord changes for Wish You Were Here, even though it's painful!

Oh, I'm thinking of buying a cheapie acoustic to take on the road with me instead of the electric. What do you think of the Epiphone DR-100?
#17
I wouldn't know about the guitar but Epiphone's a good brand and the cheapie acoustic is a top notch idea.

One small word of advice - do play lots but do pay attention to what your body is telling you! If it's sharp pains and not fatigue give it a rest. Stretching your hands and warming up can help a great deal.
#18
Hi guys. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I've started noticing real progress, and my fingertips are finally started to callous up some.

I've also noticed I play a lot more for a while right after I get a new toy. I bought a Roland Micro Cube yesterday. Oh. My. God. That thing sounds INCREDIBLE for such a small amp. I tried it and the Vox DA5 at my local music store and had a hard time choosing, but the Roland it is.

Looking forward to learning more!
#20
Quote by Deaddog
Is that from the same Roland that used to make sound cards for the PC a hundred years ago?


Yes, it's the same company (same logo anyway). Like I said, I tried out the Vox DA5 too. I think either one would be an excellent little practice amp. They're both very versatile as far as the different kinds of sounds you can get out of them. The Roland hooked me with a slightly better overdrive sound (to my ears) and its slightly lower price tag.