#1
Hay gaise.

Like all of you, I've always been a lover of music. I've been listening to rock/metal since elementary years and really have always lived that role. Music CD/Vinyl collections, you know. Always getting chills when listening to stuff that rings salient. So, I felt that I should take on a whole new life.

I started guitar in march this year, a month after my 20th birthday, which is kinda late to my severe regret.

I played a lot for a few months but kind of went on and off with it for another few, and now I'm back on track with it, trying to play for more than an hour each day.

Thing is, I can't seem to find ease with it. It's always been an awkward instrument for me to hold and to play. It's been 9 months and it still feels awkward. I've always thought that the guitar had so many ****ing strings and it was driven with very fine technicals.

I enjoy it like holy hell when I play it right, but most of the time I spend abhorring practice because it's steady, slow, painful, and boring. I really have no clue on music theory, and when I read tabs and try to play them, I always wonder how the hell the artist came up with it and how the **** people are able to ear it.

It still feels relatively awkward in my hands. With this, it's very hard to find motivation. It's hard to feel the desire to play when I know I'm going to embarrass myself in front of myself, and really, the thought of starting so ****ing late is always lingering above my head.

Additionally, no one has ever exactly explained basics or anything to me. Like, they've always said, "Oh, don't worry about scales or chords, just play what you want to play." As a result, for the past 9 months, I've been looking up tabs and trying to play them, usually poorly. So when someone talks guitar or guitar vocabulary, I'm completely clueless. I mean, ****, I didn't even know that the different types of strings (E,A,D,G,E) were actually notes.

I've taken lessons, and they really don't help. Every time I walk into the lesson and I ask my guitar teacher to teach me some basic stuff I don't already know, he always says, "I don't know, show me a song you want to play and I'll show you how to play it."

I mean, I guess what I'm trying to ask is, are all of these things normal? Am I being impatient and impulsive? I really just want to know what I'm doing and play well already, because I'm afraid if I spend an hour or so a day for 10 years and it turns out I either still suck or have been doing something wrong all of these years that I've been wasting my time.
Last edited by SouthOfEvan13 at Dec 1, 2014,
#2
Yes these things are normal if you recieve horrible advice. Of course you're frustrated if you are trying advanced things and don't have a clue about the basics.

Let's ignore tabs for now and focus on chords. Can you play open and barred major and minor chords?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#3
Damn, that guitar teacher of yours doesn't even know how to teach guitar.

Watch every video ever in the history of teaching guitar on youtube. Practice getting diagrams under your fingers. Look at resources regarding keys on the fretboard with an accompanied visual model instead of tablature. Figure out exactly how you want to "get your foot in the door" with playing guitar. Do you like fingerpicking? Playing with a pick? Playing with a thumb pick and free fingers? Picks on all fingers? All of the above for maximum economy of motion?

Start singing

Look at diagram after diagram after diagram about clusters of notes on the fretboard and imitate them. Sing notes within the clusters of notes as you play them.

Learn scales to just give you a frame of reference to build around an initial note. Learn the vocabulary and interval study that allows you to distinguish harmonic characteristics.

Practice changing from a G-G7-C over and over and over and over.....
Who's your favorite guitar player?

You should gain a certain dexterity on the fretboard through all of these things

Occasionally practice more than an hour a day

O, and play guitar with people as often as you can
Legato and fluidity in your playing is where it's at

DJENT!!
ಠ_ಠ
#4
Definitely get a new teacher (or at least ditch the old one, he's horrible).
For the basics, justinguitar.com is also pretty decent and very well structured.

Especially in the beginning, every song you learn should add one little concept you don't know already.
For example a new chord, a new chord progression or a new technique (say, an easy legato lick).
This way you'll actually be learning by doing, but in small chunks, and at the end of it you also know a new song.

But most of all, have fun.
Everytime you fail at something, it will make the guitar less fun.
So maybe put aside some time where you only play stuff you're good at to recharge your motivation.
Last edited by godzillarissa at Dec 1, 2014,
#5
Dump the "teacher".

"Oh, don't worry about scales or chords, just play what you want to play." ... dump this "friendly" advice also.

justinguitar is good ... the guy's put a huge amount of effort into sharing knowledge.

Until you get some basic understanding, it may well drive you crazy ...

Suggest you learn basic theory, to see how chords and some scales can be put to good use to make music. It's way easier then to learn something, and adapt it to something new.

The basic of all of this are intervals, though a lot of people will tell you otherwise. Their shapes can be learned very quickly, and will reinforce everything you learn later. Their sounds can be learned with more effort and practise. In isolation, they will just be shapes/sounds ... you need to understand their application (chords, scales, resolutions, etc). They help you remember chord and scale shapes. I've contributed one UG article and two lessons on intervals that may help you, so I won't regurgitate that here! You can see the shapes there, and more of a discussion about them. (Latest lesson is http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_3.html. It links back to part 2, which links back to part 1).

cheers, Jerry

(p.s wouldn't worry about "late" start!)
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Dec 1, 2014,
#6
I've been there too.

I was rambling years around.

First improvement was, that I played Hal Leonard guitar method complete maybe 3 times through along the cd and then I tried without cd. (Yes it is quite boring)

Playing with metronome is effective. Its difficult in the begin.

If you like internet recourses. Then good places are

www.justinguitar.com (there is beginners course and intermediate course)
martyzsongs (youtube)

Its maybe good to read/watch video what Tom Hess, Troy Stetina and Pepper Brown say about learning to play guitar.

Library is good place. Go to check what you find from there. Most of teachinbmatrials are poor. I like book+cd format, try to find good materials for you. Take easy stuff first. It is impossible to play fast and screaming solos first.

Practice method can something like, 5-15 minutes each:

1. chords changes with metronome
2. minium movement
3. Rhytym with metronome
4. Eartrianing/ music theory
5. Learn new songs
6. Play songs that you know with metronome
7. Improvise and have fun with metronome

Try to find your own way to learn. I like those book+cd guitar methods. I working 2-4 books at the same time. Good teachers that I found (books) are Phil Capone, Mark Hanson. Ross Bolton, Salz Simon, Troy stetina (cds are too fast to play along in the begining)
#7
Yeah, don't be afraid to try new teachers. If you don't like someone, move on to the next.
But justinguitar.com is the best out there. He starts with acoustic guitar, but of course you can just use an electric. It is very well structured and really works if you put in the time. I have tried most of the Internet resources out there and always come back to that site.
#8
Here's my thoughts..

I never took a lesson. I don't really know that much theory. I learned from tabs and many many Metallica songs. Start off finding a relatively simple riff (ya know something slow, not many notes) that sounds cool. My first riff was the intro to Enter Sandman. Yea it wasn't flawlessly executed but the fact that I could hit those notes and hear the riff being replicated just fueled my desire to learn more.

I also conditioned my mind before I even got a guitar that "you won't be good at first, it will take time."

If you get frustrated, stop playing. Find a position that is comfortable for you. There is no right or wrong way.. well to an extent.

I made it a point to get a 'feeling' for the fretboard by playing power chords randomly.

So yea man just break down the riffs, don't try to learn a whole song yet. Eventually your muscle memory 'vocabulary' will grow and you'll find other things are easier to play.
#9
Quote by SouthOfEvan13

Additionally, no one has ever exactly explained basics or anything to me. Like, they've always said, "Oh, don't worry about scales or chords, just play what you want to play." As a result, for the past 9 months, I've been looking up tabs and trying to play them, usually poorly. So when someone talks guitar or guitar vocabulary, I'm completely clueless. I mean, ****, I didn't even know that the different types of strings (E,A,D,G,E) were actually notes.
.



its funny because when I try to get students to focus on the basics, they often just ignore me, and end up doing whatever they want.


Quote by SouthOfEvan13

I've taken lessons, and they really don't help. Every time I walk into the lesson and I ask my guitar teacher to teach me some basic stuff I don't already know, he always says, "I don't know, show me a song you want to play and I'll show you how to play it."


so he's like " lets just do songs because I don't actually know anything… not even basic stuff" ??


or maybe he's just trying to get you playing some music to get you going?


Quote by SouthOfEvan13

I mean, I guess what I'm trying to ask is, are all of these things normal? Am I being impatient and impulsive? .


it seems to me that you might be.


Quote by SouthOfEvan13

I really just want to know what I'm doing and play well already,


it's been less then a year. You have to get over of the fact that your human.


Quote by SouthOfEvan13

because I'm afraid if I spend an hour or so a day for 10 years and it turns out I either still suck or have been doing something wrong all of these years that I've been wasting my time.


Thats dumb… don't think that way.


If your teacher truly doesn't know anything and only teaches you songs because of that….. find a new teacher.
Maybe though, your teacher really does know what they are doing, and are just waiting for you to practice what they already showed you before getting more in depth? simple songs and riffs are a good way to get your bearings on basic skills. Maybe he plans on getting you into theory when your ready? (maybe not IDK)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 4, 2014,
#10
Playing guitar is one of the best things going but, after 40 years, I still find it frustrating. There is always something new to learn.

The whole "I am practising for an hour a day" bit worries me. Don't think of it as practising, think of it as playing; having fun. Listen to stuff with the guitar and try to play along with bits. It will sound horrible to start off with but you might find one note that doesn't, and then you might find another one, and after a bit you might find you have found several and it doesn't sound as rubbish as it did. Then, after a bit, you will find you can hit those notes consistently. Stick with one or two or three songs and keep going back to them - there is no point in trying to play along to your whole record collection as you are looking to commit phrases to memory. These phrases become part of your kit bag which you can call on when you play.

Try to find someone to play with socially. Not a teacher, just someone you can sit down with, have a beer and pick a few strings. You then bounce things off each other ... and you are having fun.

Everyone I know has considered giving up in the first year, and many have.

I have a friend in his 50's who has recently started to learn. He comes round for an evening and we have a great time. And I'm learning stuff as well because it opens up avenues out of my comfort zone, which is great.

Don't practice, pick up the guitar and have some fun. Go away and do something else and then try and do what you did before again.

You do need to repeat stuff because playing the guitar engages with the muscle memory element of your brain. Otherwise, there are too many things happening at once for your analytical brain to react and action. You learn a new chord shape and it is difficult, the more often you play it the less difficult it becomes util you no longer need to think about it. It is the same for all of us. It is the same with scales. You can commit the shape to memory, which will avoid duff notes. However, until the feel of moving between the notes moves out of your conscious thought to your muscle memory it will be hard.

So 40 years down the line, I still don't think of myself as any good. I have several guitars which I just pick up and play "stuff" on. I might play the same small thing over and over (until the rest of the house are sick of me) but next time I pick up the guitar it is easier to play that thing.

Almost everything that I play "from memory" isn't from memory at all. I remember where something starts and, after that, because I have done it over and over, it just happens. If I have to explain what I am doing it takes ages because I have to keep going back to playing which ever bit to see what happens next.

Don't get disheartened because everything you learn is another stepping stone across the river. Once you have that stone you can run back across previous stones you once struggled to find.
#11
First off, don't feel bad about starting late! I'm now 68 and it is starting to come. I started when I was about 40 but I started going deaf (I'm a veteran so you know where that came from) so gave it up. But after getting really good hearing aids I decided to take another wack at it. Just love music; all kinds I guess.

I learned about 20 chords and started with simple country or rock beats. I am currently struggling with strumming patterns but I have faith in myself to be able to learn. We don't really learn unless we make mistakes so hang in there. If we want to change or learn something there is going to be discomfort. So, I have learned to accept the frustration as part of the learning experience.

Final word: I agree with what others have already stated. Dump the teacher you currently have and find someone who knows what their doing. Have some fun with it! Sing along even if you sound like a stabbed cat.
#12
True story what Redbear46 is saying. It if your not having fun then there's no point. I know it feels like you suck and always will but keep at it. Get yourself a competent teacher who will work with you and help you reach your goals. Frustration is gonna happen regardless of your skill set. All you can do is improve so stick with it bro!!
#13
Everyone has given you some excellent advice, but you said more than once that it wasn’t comfortable and that seems to be a big factor in what is causing you frustration. Might you need a different guitar? I’ve been learning on an Epiphone Les Paul, but earlier this week I bought a PRS and I immediately noticed the HUGE increase in comfort. I didn’t realize until now how much I was “fighting” with the Les Paul. I have to play the Les Paul with a strap while sitting down or else it moves all over the place. Actually, it still moves around a lot on me with the strap. Whereas the PRS rests perfectly on my leg – nice and balanced. Apparently a Les Paul is not a good fit for me personally. Everyone is shaped differently and has different sized arms, legs, hands, etc. Trust me, your guitar makes a huge difference.
#14
^ Yeah, but you shouldn't really blame your gear. Of course some guitars are more comfortable and I play better on them. But learning basic technique shouldn't really depend on your instrument.

But yeah, you could of course go and try some guitars.

Also, about learning songs, I think that's the best way to learn to play - I think it's important to do stuff in practice. Technical exercises are good but may bore you when you are just starting - and you also want to learn to play musically. And that's why learning songs is great. But of course you need to know the difficulty of the song when deciding what to start playing. I would start with learning chords and then play songs that use those chords. You want to be able to change chords fluently. You could also learn some basic riffs. I started with Metallica riffs (because back then I was really into Metallica). But anything simple will work.

Also, remember that learning to play takes time. You won't become a master in a year. When I had been playing for 9 months, I still sucked. My playing sounded pretty bad. But I kept on doing it because I liked playing my favorite riffs. I'm still not that great at playing the guitar. But I'm pretty happy with the sound I get out of the guitar and my timing is way better. Now if I play the guitar, it sounds like music. I'm not primarily a guitarist so I haven't practiced it that actively. But in four/five years I have still learned to play it musically. I would say my playing sounds pretty good, even though I may lack some speed and fancy techniques and that kind of stuff.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Dec 4, 2014,
#15
Quote by SouthOfEvan13
Hay gaise.

Like all of you, I've always been a lover of music. I've been listening to rock/metal since elementary years and really have always lived that role. Music CD/Vinyl collections, you know. Always getting chills when listening to stuff that rings salient. So, I felt that I should take on a whole new life.

I started guitar in march this year, a month after my 20th birthday, which is kinda late to my severe regret.




20 is far from late that's pretty young man what are you talking about? By the time you're 25 you'll be a god if you practice a lot.
#16
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Yeah, but you shouldn't really blame your gear. Of course some guitars are more comfortable and I play better on them. But learning basic technique shouldn't really depend on your instrument.

But I'm pretty happy with the sound I get out of the guitar and my timing is way better. Now if I play the guitar, it sounds like music. I'm not primarily a guitarist so I haven't practiced it that actively. But in four/five years I have still learned to play it musically. I would say my playing sounds pretty good, even though I may lack some speed and fancy techniques and that kind of stuff.



Technique doesn't really all that much. I much prefer the musical side of the guitar playing spectrum. Some shredders have really bad timing.. Which is what really makes good music the spaces letting the notes breathe ETC. I'm pretty sure you're a really good guitarist you seem like a really humble player. I bet if I heard you play in person you'd blow my mind honestly.
#17
Me too. I lost touch with the electric guitar for over 20 years, started picking up the electric guitar once again only recently. All I know currently are some old bits and pieces of riffs and licks from my fav bands, never know how to play a damn whole songs but now I am sort of struggling to learn a complete song. Felt exhausted and frustrated like you, no teacher, DIY, practising schedule in a mess as I have no clue how to start.

But then there are lots of information in the internet, UG forum is good place to go too and that is why I am here. lol
#18
Quote by yayapapaya38
.... never know how to play a damn whole songs ...


Unless you need it for a gig, who does? :-) I can play parts from more numbers than I can think of , but ask me to play the whole song and I'm right up a creek. Silly really, I should learn the whole thing, but once you have learn't the interesting bit the rest seems a bit like hard work.
#19
^^^ In my experience, guitarists who only learn parts of songs here and there tend to give up at some point once the novelty of the party trick wears off.

If it helps at all, once you learn a couple of full songs it becomes easier.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ In my experience, guitarists who only learn parts of songs here and there tend to give up at some point once the novelty of the party trick wears off.

If it helps at all, once you learn a couple of full songs it becomes easier.


I've worked with some "pro" guitarists who learn parts of a song here and there, and I'm still hoping the novelty will wear of from them :-)

Which reminds me, OP, two other things you need, technique-wise:

1/ how to assume the face of an angel after making a massive blunder (where appropriate) and

2/ how to immediately cast suspicion on another band member after making a massive blunder, if 1/ is inappropriate.

2's a lot more fun, but isn't necessarily conducive to a long and prosperous band relationship.

cheers, Jerry
#21
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ In my experience, guitarists who only learn parts of songs here and there tend to give up at some point once the novelty of the party trick wears off.

If it helps at all, once you learn a couple of full songs it becomes easier.


Well 40 years down the line the novelty still hasn't worn off so obviously I'm more stupid than the people you must know.
#22
Sounds like you need some decent LUCK - Labour Under Correct Knowledge.

I would say from my experience until you start to attain some real proficiency learning guitar seems to go nowhere and is frustrating. So I reckon it makes sense to attain some proficiency ASAP.

How best to accomplish this I will to wiser and more experienced posters to advise on.
#23
Quote by jerrykramskoy
I've worked with some "pro" guitarists who learn parts of a song here and there, and I'm still hoping the novelty will wear of from them :-)


Surely you don't mean to say you know pro guitarists who can't play a complete song. They couldn't do any work.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud