#1
hi people! this guitar forum seemed pretty nice so i thought it'd be an appropriate place to ask.

some background info:
guitar i have is an encore blaster series(i think? can't remember, got it from argos years ago..) and its an electric guitar.
im 17 years old, and im not fat or anything so my hands/fingers are pretty average sized..

anyway im trying to follow the 'Learn & Master Guitar with Steve Krenz' video series (is that a good thing to do by the way? i'm a complete beginner and it seemed like the best learning option besides a teacher which i cant afford)

i refuse to go past the first lesson because..i cant even get past one of the first things he teaches! i cant make the C chord sound right at all,and im not sure if its because im not pushing down the strings hard enough at the frets or if its to do with my strumming

(i dont have a plectrum/pick thing right now so im trying to use my hand to do it, could that be the problem?) and sorry if this is a dumb question, but i really want to learn and its frustrating not being able to progress!
Last edited by qais at Jun 19, 2010,
#3
You can strum with your fingers until you get a plectrum, don't worry about it finger strength takes a little while. None of us could play straight off, make sure you are pressing the strings down firmly and not muting any of the 'open strings' accidentally to get a nice full sounding chord.

Edit: In regards to the post below me; I started on chords on an acoustic and forcing myself past that pain barrier quickly allowed me to progress. Breaking it down like that has no perceptible benefit. Practice slowly and make sure you aren't cutting corners.
Last edited by stephen_rettie at Jun 19, 2010,
#4
I wouldn't really worry about chords right now if your a complete beginner. What I would do is just get comfortable holding down a note and strumming it so you can get a feel for how much pressure you need to use. Make sure to practice with all of your fingers, especially the pinky! And the size of your fingers shouldn't matter to much, I'm a big dude and I do just fine.
#6
by not sounding right i mean, atleast 2 or 3 of the strings would make some buzzing noise, and holding down single notes im fine, its only when i have to use multiple fingers then i cant seem to do anything right! when trying single notes they sound perfectly ok, no buzzing sound.
#7
Pick each note of the chord individually to make sure they're all ringing out. Building finger strength and dexterity takes a little time, it's nothing to be concerned about immediately. Keep playing, things loosen up, muscles adapt.
#8
I see, well I guess I'll try to practise more on single notes and try to get my hands more used to it! Is there any special exercises to build up finger strength quickly or to better prepare my hands for playing guitar, or is the best and only way to just keep practising on single notes ?

Also thanks for the really quick responses, this forum is really nice
#9
Just keep at it. At your stage NOTHING will sound right. Learn to play some simple songs with just a few chords. There are many E-D-G songs. This will help with stumming and chord changes.
Dont worry if it does not sound right, it won't. Practice scales.
For future reference, dont post here every week or month with "what should i be able to.." Every one learns at their own pace.
Remember, playing guitar should be a lifelong thing and for most people plan on about 2 yrs to become fairly proficiant.
There are no tests, or contests. Spend the first six months to play for enjoyment.

Have Fun!
#10
Quote by qais
I see, well I guess I'll try to practise more on single notes and try to get my hands more used to it! Is there any special exercises to build up finger strength quickly or to better prepare my hands for playing guitar, or is the best and only way to just keep practising on single notes ?

Also thanks for the really quick responses, this forum is really nice


Don't neglect practising full Chords though man, the only way to get better at something on guitar is to practice it. Building up finger strength is important for sure but dexterity is key to chordal playing and you get both by practising chords.
As for exercises there is an amazing one called practice guitar! Haha the only way to improve is to play.
#11
haha, yeah that is true, I'll just try to practise away a bit everyday then! for now my current aim is to learn enough basics to be able to start practising some really basic songs or something, but I guess the only way to get there is practising! for some reason I was hoping there's some kinda magical finger exercises guitarists do or something lol :P.

Once again thanks for the helpful posts guys! forum feels very welcoming , off to practise a bit then I suppose
#12
Takes time dude... That's all that could be said. I know all the chords, but can't play left handed, because I never trained my right hand to hold notes.
#14
Just keep going, when you first start playing the guitar is is very tough but if you keep going you will get there. Everyone when they first start gets sore fingers and can't even hold chords properly let alone change smoothly between chords while keeping a smooth strumming action going. Its normal and with practice you will be fine

#15
I been trying to practise and I'm kinda ok with holding the strings down hard enough but I'm having another difficulty now, i really can't stop my fingers from 'leaning down' and brushing against whatever string is below the one im holding down making the string its brushing against not play properly.

I tried arching my hand in lots of different ways and trying to move my fingers in all sorts of funky ways but I can't seem to be able to hold down any strings without the my finger brushing against the string below.. any tips please?? and I have been practising/trying to stop it for a while now but even if I kinda 'tip toe' with my fingers(lol?) it still somehow touches the string below! it happens in a standing or sitting position or any other way I try!
#16
Quote by qais
by not sounding right i mean, atleast 2 or 3 of the strings would make some buzzing noise, and holding down single notes im fine, its only when i have to use multiple fingers then i cant seem to do anything right! when trying single notes they sound perfectly ok, no buzzing sound.


It's probably not sounding right because your other fingers are touching the other strings...

Don't even worry about it, everyone I've tried to teach a few things to have this problem, eventually it will just go away, just keep working at it.

Quote by qais
I been trying to practise and I'm kinda ok with holding the strings down hard enough but I'm having another difficulty now, i really can't stop my fingers from 'leaning down' and brushing against whatever string is below the one im holding down making the string its brushing against not play properly.

I tried arching my hand in lots of different ways and trying to move my fingers in all sorts of funky ways but I can't seem to be able to hold down any strings without the my finger brushing against the string below.. any tips please?? and I have been practising/trying to stop it for a while now but even if I kinda 'tip toe' with my fingers(lol?) it still somehow touches the string below! it happens in a standing or sitting position or any other way I try!


This will just make the problem worse, what you want to do is try to keep your wrist straight, and not arch it at all. May take some time to get used to, but it will help a ton

Also, try to press with the tips of your fingers, and keep practicing

EDIT: Another thing some of my friends have had trouble with that I don't think anyone brought up yet is pushing too hard. You want to push hard enough that it rings clearly, but not so hard that your interfearing with the other strings.
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Last edited by sites.nick at Jun 19, 2010,
#17
it's simply a situation where you need to build up hand/wrist stamina - it's tricky - but keep playing. it takes a while - but after "Leveling up" and putting the hours in practicing,
you're hand will be able to do some crazy stuff - and avoid the habit of "Cracking your knuckles constantly ..."

Don't listen to people who criticize your technique or specific playing methods if they're not a guitarist you respect, not your guitar teacher and not sitting in front of you. pay attention to your own personal physiology and if something hurts you - don't do it - but i can't imagine a chord formation that would cause permanent damage.

You also want to make sure the guitar your playing is hand/profile friendly - not all necks are created equal - go to a Guitar Center and play like 10 guitars - some necks feel like crap - some necks feel really, really comfortable in your hand - see if you can compare the neck profile on a 50's stratocaster ( smaller, thin ) Vs. a 70's Stratocaster neck ( bigger neck with bigger frets ) - Vs. an Epiphone les paul ( pretty big. like baseball bat big -) Vs. an Ibanez ( wide fretboard but thin in width ) Vs. a Schecter - etc...

You don't want a guitar that kicks your ass everytime you play it... a guitar that hurts your hand because the strings are a half an inch above the fretboard, and it sits in a corner for months because you hate it - you want a guitar that plays like butter with low, smooth action -

this is a huge mistake for many beginners - a First Act acoustic or electric off the shelf from Best Buy is not a guitar that will inspire you to be a lifelong player - ( not without some set up modification from an expert )

The greats make playing look effortless - like their not even fretting or picking.... and some players like the guitar to "fight them a little" - Jack White - the late Stevie Ray Vaughan - for example but they're the exception, not the rule -

also,
try extra light gage strings -( 9-42 ) to start off with and try stuff like this -
http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/The-Gripp-Hand-Trainer-for-Guitarists?sku=420351
and this
http://www.interstatemusic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10051&langId=-1&productId=900253500&cid=gbase

good luck
Last edited by StevieRayHalen at Jun 19, 2010,
#18
Quote by sites.nick
It's probably not sounding right because your other fingers are touching the other strings...

Don't even worry about it, everyone I've tried to teach a few things to have this problem, eventually it will just go away, just keep working at it.


This will just make the problem worse, what you want to do is try to keep your wrist straight, and not arch it at all. May take some time to get used to, but it will help a ton

Also, try to press with the tips of your fingers, and keep practicing


ah I see, thanks for the tip! I'll make sure to try keeping my wrist straight when I practise again later today and see how it goes. Even with not being able to do alot yet guitar is so fun I feel like practising all the time, but my friend said I'll tire myself out at this stage haha .

@StevieRayHalen : those products do look interesting and are pretty cheap, maybe I'll look into buying if I find any next time I visit the music store
Last edited by qais at Jun 19, 2010,
#19
Gais move on to the next lesson. I using that same series. Steve has even said he was sorry he even put those chords into the first lesson cause it confuses people into thinking that was the point of the lesson. Move on to lesson 2. Youll get into chords at lesson 5 and will be much more prepared for it.
2010 Epiphone Dot
2010 Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe
2009 Taylor 110 acoustic
#20
Quote by qais
first time playing guitar

There's your problem, you just need to practice more, and just bare with it. It's going to take some time, but that's all part of playing guitar, we all have to go through that process.
#21
dunno if it has already been mentioned or not, but make sure that your fingers are as close as they can be to the fret without being right on the fret. gives you the best sound.....and work on finger strength
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#22
oh man, you're gonna love A and F major chords!
^Note: Probably sarcastic
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#23
Don't worry, just keep trying, nobody can hold a chord right on the first try, it takes some time for your fingers to get used to those positions, so just keep playing and before you can even realize you'll be playing chords and arpeggios perfectly..
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#24
Quote by qais
hi people! this guitar forum seemed pretty nice so i thought it'd be an appropriate place to ask.

some background info:
guitar i have is an encore blaster series(i think? can't remember, got it from argos years ago..) and its an electric guitar.
im 17 years old, and im not fat or anything so my hands/fingers are pretty average sized..

anyway im trying to follow the 'Learn & Master Guitar with Steve Krenz' video series (is that a good thing to do by the way? i'm a complete beginner and it seemed like the best learning option besides a teacher which i cant afford)

i refuse to go past the first lesson because..i cant even get past one of the first things he teaches! i cant make the C chord sound right at all,and im not sure if its because im not pushing down the strings hard enough at the frets or if its to do with my strumming

(i dont have a plectrum/pick thing right now so im trying to use my hand to do it, could that be the problem?) and sorry if this is a dumb question, but i really want to learn and its frustrating not being able to progress!


Hi:

Yes the Learn and Master Guitar Course is an excellent Course. I have it and I can assure you that you picked a great course to learn from. DO NOT get hung up in the C Major Chord and G7 Chord that Steve presents in Lesson 1. Simply give it a couple of minutes practice on each chord each day and then work on the rest of the lesson. You will get PLENTY of chord practice starting in lesson 5.

The main thing to take from lesson 1 is how to hold the guitar, how to correctly pick notes, and the finger exercises. These finger exercises are extremely important. They will help you to gain finger strength, coordination, and dexterity. If you can, practice these finger exercises 2 or even 3 times a day and it will make learning a lot easier. Also it is much better to practice a few minutes each day than to practice 3 or 4 hours one day and nothing for 3 or 4 days Take it easy, in small chunks and above all, make it FUN. It is not a job, it is a hobby. One that will give you a lifetime of enjoyment like nothing else in life (well except maybe girls). If you are comfortable doing the finger exercises at about 50-60 beats per minute, you are ready for lesson 2. Just keep doing the finger exercises each day at the start of your practice.

Another thing you might want to do is to take a look at the Justin Sandercoe Web site. He offers a large number of free video lessons. He starts you out with 2 or three chords and teaches you to change between them efficiently. Each lesson may add a chord or two. His lessons are very laid back and a lot of fun.

Finally, if you can, have another guitarist take a look at your guitar. It very well might be that you need a setup to make your guitar easier to play. When I bought my stratocaster, it was not too hard to finger chords but it became VERY easy to play after I had it setup properly. First position chords (especially C major) became much easier on the fingers after the setup.

I hope that helps..Good luck!
#25
^yeah i've been checking out justin sandercoes website lessons as well as steve krenz videos! i'm on lesson 5 now and although not always perfect, i can hold the chords now so i'm really happy!

but yeah I'm looking to take my guitar to get it checked out, its just a bit difficult since there's no nearby music stores.

Also, I been wondering..what exactly is it that makes the difference between a good sounding guitar and one that sounds 'bad'? I've identified my guitar as this one here..Encore KC3
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/electric_guitars/encore/kc3/index.html

and have to say, I'm not very pleased with the sound it makes, even though its in tune, I don't know i just don't like the sound and the notes barely hold for any time at all!

Would changing to some nicer strings or something else be able to change it up a bit and maybe sound better? or is the sound down to the guitar as a whole and i would need a new one?
#26
Quote by qais
by not sounding right i mean, atleast 2 or 3 of the strings would make some buzzing noise, and holding down single notes im fine, its only when i have to use multiple fingers then i cant seem to do anything right! when trying single notes they sound perfectly ok, no buzzing sound.

are you playing an Open Cmaj? or are you playing it Barred? when i first started playing i had a hell of a time with barre chords. it takes some odd hand strength. just keep at it. practice chromatic scales (look em up if you dont know). just keep at it.
#27
Quote by qais
^yeah i've been checking out justin sandercoes website lessons as well as steve krenz videos! i'm on lesson 5 now and although not always perfect, i can hold the chords now so i'm really happy!

but yeah I'm looking to take my guitar to get it checked out, its just a bit difficult since there's no nearby music stores.

Also, I been wondering..what exactly is it that makes the difference between a good sounding guitar and one that sounds 'bad'? I've identified my guitar as this one here..Encore KC3
http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/electric_guitars/encore/kc3/index.html

and have to say, I'm not very pleased with the sound it makes, even though its in tune, I don't know i just don't like the sound and the notes barely hold for any time at all!

Would changing to some nicer strings or something else be able to change it up a bit and maybe sound better? or is the sound down to the guitar as a whole and i would need a new one?


Yes, if the strings have been on your guitar for a very long time, then changing them could make a world of difference. I bought an old Dean EVO guitar that sat in a closet for about three years. When plugged in, my first impression was that the guitar pickups were not working. That is how muffled the sound of the old strings were. When I put new strings on it, it sounded great! So if the strings have been on there a while, new ones will help the tone.

Another big thing that effects the tone of the guitar is the pickups. I am guessing that the KC3 has 3 single coil pickups. This is just ME but I prefer humbuckers to single coil pickups. The tone is just much fuller. If there is a guitar shop that you can visit, take a look at other guitars and how they sound. Compare the sound of your guitar to other ones with three single coil pickups. Also compare the sound to guitars with humbuckers. While upgrading the pickups on your guitar is an option, there are some good sounding inexpensive guitars such as the Fender Standard Stratocaster or the Epiphone Les Paul. Even if you do buy a new guitar, don't automatically get rid of the old one. It never hurts to have a backup guitar. I have that old Dean that I mentioned that I drag around with me so that I don't have to worry about damaging the Les Paul.

One BIG thing that can effect your tone is the amplifier. My first amp was a terrible piece of junk from Behringer. It was a total disaster even for a beginner. Take a look at the Fender Amps. Both the Fender 25R ($99 US) and the Fender 65R ($199 US) sound great and are very easy on the wallet. Also, if you can, take your current guitar with you to try out a new amp. You might be surprised!
#28
yeah my guitar also been locked away for a good 4 or 5 years before i took it out recently. anyway I just went ahead and ordered some ernie ball 'regular slinky' strings so i'll see how those are soon, also saving up to get a nice amp since I've only got a garbage 'beginner pack' one that is just really bad!

Also been watching alot of vids and stuff, I really like les paul style guitars I think I might get an epiphone les paul after I'm a bit better . Also got someone to drive me to a music store soon so I'll get my guitar checked out very soon.