Hey guys, i've recently got back into playing my guitar (eletric) but problem is I never had lessons because I don't think it's really needed even though it's more easier and able to understand a lot at the same time but I just don't have the time for even an hour of lesson because well I think saving money is a good idea.

Before I start, I've played music back in high school and was in a band playing the sax. To be honest through out my whole "musical hobby," I never once was thought how to do theory so I fell a lot behind in the high school years and didn't bother getting extra help as I thought to myself, "it's music, simple subject no need for extra help." also because the teacher was a bit on the odd side.

So my problem is that I can read notes but I can't play a song or scale unless I hear it first to find out how the tempo and rhythm of the piece. That is one of my biggest issue, another is how to play by ear (I've always failed on ear tests when the teacher would play a chord on the piano, where we have to figure out what Major/Minor 1-perfect octave).

So my reason for this topic is I don't know where to start on playing my guitar. What should I do? How should I progress and such?

The stickies are great on the forums but again, I don't know where to start because I feel that I'm overwhelmed by all these ideas/knowledge.

One of the things I really want to learn is to able to play by ear (being able to compose a music by just listening to it and playing it on the guitar through a few progresses of finding and modifying) which people usually say on youtube they take like 5min-hour which i find incredible and I cannot do at all! Another thing I really want to learn is how to play fingerstyle? I think thats what it's called where you pluck multiple strings at the same time so that it sounds like theres more than one instrument playing, a good example of this is Sungha Jung on youtube he's just pro.

Heres one example:

Btw, one question how are you suppose to play song like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHRVnuO3kBY
the guy has his index flat against the fretboard, whenever i usually see songs like these on guitarpro or tabbed, it looks really confusing to play but when you watch the video it looks so simple because the guy barely moves his hand and position. I've tried playing this but my inner index finger started to hurt a lot and I was barely able to make any sound even having my finger flat against the fretboard, was wondering what I'm doing wrong? Maybe because im on the electric?

I apologies for the wall of text and questions but something like this I can't really search on my own through google or anything because there really isn't a guideline for my problem.

Thank you all! I hope to actually start my training in guitar =]
I would suggest buying a beginners guitar book and starting from scratch, it will help you develop all the skills you mentioned above and you'll have a head start with your musical background, the learning by ear stuff is practice but start simple with stuff like smoke on the water etc and really try and train your ears to picking out at least the bass notes of what you hear. The guy in the video is playing barre chords where he places his index finger across 5 or 6 strings on one fret, the reason it hurts is because you havent developed the proper muscle strength and dexterity in your fingers again this comes with practice, there are no cheats or shortcuts with this kind of stuff. Goodluck.
Quote by phayzze
Get lessons.


If it's really not an option then start with you tube beginner lessons and practice.
And practice often as well. You're not going to get anywhere without a ton of practice.
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introduce her to the back of your hand.
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Remember kids.
Backhand = Discipline
Palm hand = Abuse

About your last question - If you haven't played in 7 years and are a beginner I'd recommend getting more familiar with the guitar before tackling barre chords (which is the whole "index finger flat on the frets" thing).

I haven't done beginner's lessons in quite a while but the lessons section of this site has a lot of great information for beginners, including theory as you mentioned.
Lessons is a problem because I live in quite from from urban cities and there are none around here. I guess its best to start from scatch and practicing often as well I can handle but I don't know what to practice and where to start. I assume people will say scales or something similar? But I don't understand exactly what to study and why i should study that for?

Thanks for the quick replies as well.

EDIT: Sorry I meant to say that I've owned my guitar for 7 years but I've never focused on practicing it like I should. Probably just fool around with it to learn some easy songs from time to time. One thing is that my bridge I believe it's called, is lowered a lot so the strings are really close to the frets, any idea how low/high it should actually be?
Last edited by Intercrew at Sep 25, 2011,
Quote by phayzze
Get lessons.

I agree. Get a teacher or else you'll likely buckle under beginner's frustration and quit. Because a good teacher can be inspiring and a motivator. You'll also pass up a lot of dumb habits that hinder your playing in your advanced stages that beginner guitarists without teachers pick up.
Quote by jrockparker
I agree. Get a teacher or else you'll likely buckle under beginner's frustration and quit. Because a good teacher can be inspiring and a motivator. You'll also pass up a lot of dumb habits that hinder your playing in your advanced stages that beginner guitarists without teachers pick up.

I wish a teacher would be nice but I live too far from urban cities.
In that case just try learning some songs that you like, lots of people have video lessons on youtube for that. You could also look into getting online lessons.
Yea, the biggest obstacle when i started was my own lack of ambition.
Luckily, once you learn some chords, you can start learning some of the songs that you yourself like, which is incredibly fun.
Btw does fiddling around with a stress ball or just a squishy ball that's small enough to fit in your palm a good finger/hand excersie when not near a guitar or a prep before playing? I've read it's a good idea to loosen the tendents or muscles of the joints in ones finger to move around the fretboard much easily and swiftly.
You say you can read notes but you can't read the rhythm. So learn the note durations and everything else that are relevant, such as how staccato is notated and how note ties work.

I'm not sure what you mean by "compose music just by listening to it", but I'm assuming you mean being able to hear a melody in your head, and then write it out. Probably not the best way to do it, but I just noodle around until I can get a couple of notes right, then I find the key of my composition. Once I know that, the rest of the melody is a lot easier.

I'm not sure what your question regarding fingerstyle is. Since you already know what you want, just learn some fingerstyle songs. You can't get some bunch of guys over the internet to teach you to play fingerstyle. For that matter, you also can't get a teacher in real life to teach you. Basic ideas of fingerstyle, sure. Fingerings for a particular song, sure. But it all boils down to practice and then suddenly being able to play the song.

Regarding your last question about the second song, that's a concept called barring. Once again, it's something that comes only with practice. Though you might want to look at whether you are pressing down too hard or not. You only need to press as hard with your index finger as it would take to get the note to ring out. My advice is get the more fundamental ideas on the guitar down (such as open chords, how the open chords relate to the barre chords) before you learn barre chords. Otherwise, it'd just be a bunch of new chords, when really it's just a few chords being moved up and down the neck.

There isn't a set height for your strings. As long as it's comfortable, and it doesn't buzz excessively when you play, then it's fine.

I've not heard about the squeezing ball thing helping with loosening the tendons and stuff, but I can see how it would come in handy for your fretting hand strength when playing barre chords.

Edit: Regarding the barre chords on electric thing. If anything, barring on an electric is actually a lot easier.
Last edited by triface at Sep 25, 2011,
Take my free ebook, seriously, first it is free, and it is designed for those who want to learn and don't know where to start from.

PS: I have been playing for 7 years too

The idea to have a good improvement rate is to first figure out the theory, than apply it to guitar and then train your ear to assimilate the theory you applied on guitar.

For example Guitar Intervals:

1. You learn the theory and you know the distance between the intervals.
2. You play them on guitar to learn their shapes
3. You sing the intervals with your voice and you assimilate them.

WARNING: It takes longer to master them, but once learned you will see the advantages on the long run
Btw is there like a spot to where I should start on your ebook? Do I sign up?
apajr, I'm going to have to ask you to remove the links in your sig and stop pushing that ebook. You can offer stuff if it's genuinely free but I'm not having you soliciting for members email addresses through the forums, so either host it somewhere with no strings attached or stop mentioning it.
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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Steven seagull you probably don't remember me but you helped me choose my first guitar yamaha 812v which I still own.
Until you have mastered your instrument you wont be able to simply magically hear and write everything down you want.. master the guitar, this might discourage or encourage you, but the guitar is a friggin hard instrument to learn. It will take you years before you reach that level and only if you practice every day with a structured routine.

There is no quick fix, no magic formula: just discipline , time and effort.
The sooner you get a practice plan, the better.
How many hours a day are you willing to practice?
Quote by Intercrew
1-3 hours and up to 5 on weekends as I have no work

Then I suggest you devote 1 hour to working on
ear/sight music reading, music theory, fretboard knowledge, intervals identificacion, etc..
another hour working on technique and another 1 on improvisation / playing .

on Weekends you can improvse and learn more songs than during the week or work on things youre having problems with

Never miss a day or 2.. no matter what happens (unless youre unable to get near a guitar) practice !!