#1
I'll try to make this short, although I'm not all sure myself exactly where I'm going with this.

So I have an old Electric guitar sitting around my house, and decided to pick it up a few years ago. I had never played before and decided to just start teaching myself. Now, when I say teach myself, it pretty much was just me trying to learn as many songs as I could. I never really took it very seriously. I'd play a ton one week, not pick it up at all on another, and this went on for a few years. Eventually, I just stopped playing altogether. Fast forward a year, present time. It's almost 6am here right now. At about 2am, I had a sudden urge to get my guitar back out. I've been playing non-stop since 2am, and plan on playing for a few more hours. I'm surprised at how much I managed to retain from way back when. I'm still able to strum along to Thunder Rolls and Wanted Dead or Alive, as well as play some simple Metallica stuff like Nothing Else Matters, Holier Than Thou, Fade to Black (Not the solo =p), etc.

Essentially, I've been spending a lot of tonight (this morning?) browsing these forums as well. I don't know what caused this to pop up, but I'm wanting to take this seriously this time. Unfortunately, I think I managed to screw up my picking technique back when I first played. It almost seems like instead of picking with my wrist, I use my arm instead, if that makes any sense at all. I also spent a LOT of time fingerpicking, so I've never been the greatest with a pick.

Really, I'm just not sure where to start, or hell, even know how to practice. I've tried looking up some beginner lessons, but most just involve learning basic chords and basic music theory, which I haven't forgotten at all, somehow. I'm just not really sure where to go from here. I want to start learning the right way, while I'm really eager to learn, and not screw up by self teaching myself the wrong way again and eventually putting the guitar away again.

I hope this makes sense to at least one person who can help me out. It's early early morning and I haven't slept yet, so my mind's all over the place right now.

Note: I'd take lessons, but due to financial reasons I just can't afford to right now.
#3
Start by learning the notes up and down the fret board, and looking up simple major and minor pentatonic scales. This will get your fingers used to moving faster and faster (don't forget to start slow though) and stretch them.

As for strumming, let your right arm just act fluidly as you strum. You need to "unlock" your wrist and let it do the majority of movement. For your fretting hand, make sure your arm and wrist are straight. Any of this "hookhand" stuff will cause you pain and you won't progress properly. Don't have your strap round your knees either, it causes back pain and hinders your playing.

Hope that helps.
Posted from Ubuntu.

Squier Precision Bass Special in Antique Burst (LH)
Rotosound Swing 66s, 45-105

On slapping on a bass:
Quote by supersac
pretend its a woman
i have no helpful advice

#4
Yeah, my picking technique is completely screwed up. I don't really know how to describe it, but I hold the pick between my thumb and index finger, but not with it resting on the side of the index finger. I'm, literally, clasping onto the thing with the pick facing the same direction my index finger is facing, if that makes any sense. I'm trying to get used to letting it rest on the side of my index finger and then grabbing it like that with my thumb, but when I tend to start hitting strings with my index finger at that point. Keep in mind too that since I learned to play using my arm and not my wrist, that I don't really know where or how to rest my wrist near anything on the guitar either, which could explain why I had such a hard time playing accurately before.

I really don't know how my picking got this messed up, I just hope I can fix it...
#5
Everything's fixable, mate. I used to pick diagonally (making upstrokes near impossible) but it's getting better now.

Since you already know a bunch of songs, I think nailing all the basic stuff and some theory would be about right at this point. I did zero theory in my early days and instead just wanted to be able to play heavy Metallica riffs, hehe. Now I know better. Scales and general exercising is going to help you a lot with accuracy, and from there you can start learning more complex and technically demanding songs.

If you like riffing around with Metallica-type things, then do this for an hour or so as well, every now and then. It builds the downstroke speed of your picking hand.
#6
Quote by Arzei
Everything's fixable, mate. I used to pick diagonally (making upstrokes near impossible) but it's getting better now.

Since you already know a bunch of songs, I think nailing all the basic stuff and some theory would be about right at this point. I did zero theory in my early days and instead just wanted to be able to play heavy Metallica riffs, hehe. Now I know better. Scales and general exercising is going to help you a lot with accuracy, and from there you can start learning more complex and technically demanding songs.

If you like riffing around with Metallica-type things, then do this for an hour or so as well, every now and then. It builds the downstroke speed of your picking hand.


That sounds about exactly the same as how I was back when I was playing way back when =p

Really, I think if I can get my picking technique on the right track I'll feel a lot better about this whole thing.
#7
Same Here, I've had a guitar since about April last year, and I can play basic chords and some simple songs and some Metal riffs, but I never learned any scales or any theory so now I'm going back and practicing scales and rhythm.
#8
So I guess my best bet then would be to start learning my major/minor scales, and go from there? I've never used a metronome, but I'll probably start using one of those. No sure entirely what speeds to start with and all that, but I'll figure it out.

Gotta work on my picking still too =p
#9
if you're going to continue as a self-taught musician, the best thing to do to learn new things and increase your abilities is to just be really honest about what you don't know. for example, do you know the name of every note on your guitar? do you know how to play a major scale? do you know how to play a major scale in every position on the fretboard? do you know how to play chords in more than one position? do you know what scale to solo in over a particular chord progression?

just keep asking yourself questions like these, and if the answer is ever 'no' then you know exactly what to work on.

in your case it seems like the first question should be "am i holding the pick correctly?"
#10
Haha, yeah, the pick thing is definitely first up on my list. I spent about 2 hours practicing today. First hour I just spent practicing holding the pick the right way and strumming on different strings, jumping between strings, etc. It still feels weird since it's new for me, but I figure in a week or two I should start getting used to holding it like I am. Last hour I started going over the scales, mainly the majors. Whenever I get freetime I'll spend it just going over notes on the fretboard, scales, etc.
#11
So I just spent about 35-45 minutes playing around with C Major Minor scale on using a metronome. Went back and forth between quarters and eighths at 84BPM. I was able to play both perfectly fine at this speed. Is this a good way to start learning these? I'm just kinda guessing at where to start, so this is probably either hit or miss.
#12
C Major or Minor? Can't have both at the same time :P

Start slow, and work your way up slowly, don't get too ahead of yourself. Try some pentatonic scales too.
Posted from Ubuntu.

Squier Precision Bass Special in Antique Burst (LH)
Rotosound Swing 66s, 45-105

On slapping on a bass:
Quote by supersac
pretend its a woman
i have no helpful advice

#13
Was supposed to say Major AND Minor scales, guess I missed a word in there =p
#14
Quote by DBush2765
So I just spent about 35-45 minutes playing around with C Major Minor scale on using a metronome. Went back and forth between quarters and eighths at 84BPM. I was able to play both perfectly fine at this speed. Is this a good way to start learning these? I'm just kinda guessing at where to start, so this is probably either hit or miss.

It's not the most constructive use of your time no, all you're doing is getting good at playing that scale pattern, you're not actually learning anything practical in terms of how the scale works or how you can use it. You'd hardly ever play a straight scale pattern when actually paying the guitar so why spend a disproportionate amount of time practicing how to play them.

As long as you're approaching it as little more than a picking exercise it's OK, but even then it's of limited use. You have to keep in mind WHY you practice, you practice to get better at playing the guitar, and ultimately playing scales isn't playing the guitar...exercises are a means to an end, not the end itself.

Youre far better off approaching scales as tools, musical ideas that exist for you to use and modify to create something different. Using a scale creatively is what matters for a guitarist, not simply playing the notes in sequence so get a feel for the sounds available to you withing that scale, see how the different notes interact with each other, what chords can be derived from it and how they fit with the scale pattern on the fretboard. If you don't know the notes within a scale then you aren't really learning scales.

The alphabet is ABCDEFG etc, but we don't recite when we want to write or speak.
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