#1
I was thinking it would be helpful for us beginners to share our "first week" stories. I just got my guitar on Saturday, so this is day 3, and I'm interested to know what I can expect (or aim for).

For me, the biggest problem is probably that I've never played any instrument of any kind. I failed the recorder for chrissakes.

In any case, here's a recap so far:

Day One: Used Guitar for Dummies to teach myself chords A, D, E. Had some frustrating moments squeezing my fingers into those configurations, and then holding them without getting buzzing. Began to work on some progressions with those 3 chords, but my fingers started killing after maybe 45-60 minutes. Also worked on my non-existent strumming skills with the right hand.

Day Two: Fingers very sore from the get-go. Decide to play through the pain anyway. Start back in on the A, D, and E chords and notice slight improvement in my transition time. Still lots of sloppy off notes though. And I can only make it through a progression once or twice before my fingers start to scream. So I have to pause a lot. In leafing through a different beginner book, (Acousitic Method using American Roots Music) I notice that this book recommends forming the A and E differently than the Dummies book. Wtf? So I try them both this new way, and it seems a bit more natural. A bit. Still, this book offers much cooler "first songs" drawn from old blues classics, as opposed to "Kumbaya" which was what the Dummies book was suggesting. The cd also seems more clear and helpful.

Day Three: Working on retraining my fingers with the new A and E styles, and then working on transitions. Can begin to fret (I think that's what it's called) without looking at the fingers. Still very slow and error prone in everything I do though. Plus my fingers still are killing me. God when will those calluses come in? Started tinkering with some up/down strumming patterns, but I don't want to throw too many wrinkles in yet. Starting to think that my biggest challenge might be getting and holding some kind of rhythm.


Btw: is there any consensus on the best way to form the A?

Dummies recommends: x-0-1-2-3-0
Acoustic Method recommends: x-0-2-1-3-0
Last edited by Doctor548 at Jul 10, 2006,
#2
let's see...if you want quick transitions to barre chords you could play them X-0-3-4-2-0 but I doubt you know what barre chords are.

I play them with my pinky ring and middle finger. That way I can use my index to add a bass note on the E or A string.
#3
Quote by honkey
let's see...if you want quick transitions to barre chords you could play them X-0-3-4-2-0 but I doubt you know what barre chords are.

I play them with my pinky ring and middle finger. That way I can use my index to add a bass note on the E or A string.


Interesting. Did you learn that way, or switch to that once you found out that "adding bass notes" was even something that is possible?

Re: barre chords. Correct, I don't know what they are. I've seen them referred to in some posts, but I figure I'll find out soon enough.
#4
Barre Chords are the single most evil thing when first learning guitar, lets just keep it at that. I think everyone's first week is about the same.

honkey does have a point though, work on making E and A shapes without your index finger, this will make barre (where you use your index finger to cover an entire fret ex. 2-4-4-3-2-2) and 9th (chords such as X-4-6-6-0-0 and X-2-4-4-0-0) chords much easier in the long run

Oh and don't worry, soak your fingers in salt water after your done playing for a few minutes and callouses form really quick.
#5
Quote by onlyunplugged
.I think everyone's first week is about the same.

That's what I figured. But I'm interested in hearing the specifics of other noobies who are going through it now, or have done so recently.


honkey does have a point though, work on making E and A shapes without your index finger, this will make barre (where you use your index finger to cover an entire fret ex. 2-4-4-3-2-2) and 9th (chords such as X-4-6-6-0-0 and X-2-4-4-0-0) chords much easier in the long run

Oh and don't worry, soak your fingers in salt water after your done playing for a few minutes and callouses form really quick.

Good tips. I'll give them a shot.
#6
ok...
now lets see, which stirng is which, ok, but what are those dots for


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#7
those are some ******** a chords.
i just play them x-0-2-2-2-0
using my pointer, middle finger and ring finger.
sometimes barre it.
#8
Yeah when u first start to play a good bit your fingers will start to hurt. Play about 2 hours a day for a week or so and u should start to form callouses. Once they form you will have no pain (if so, very minimal). However, if u put your guitar down for a month or so they will go away.
#9
Hey,

I started in my first week by learning simple things like Twinkle Twinkle becuase it was simple, and I was able to figure it out myself and also learn that the major scale, which is the most used scale in rhymes and rock tunes, so whenever I hear a rock tune I just play about with the major scale and can sometimes figure parts out myself without reading a TAB, eventually I'll read the TAB though. After a while I just rang a few guitar shops and found a teacher. So far I've been learning some songs I enjoy listening to, and overly all arent to difficult - Alot seem to be made easier by just using powerchords, don't use them too much though!

However, learning how powerchords work, will help you build up strength and accuracy, once you've got that, just focus on practicing with a 4th finger between the powerchords so you get a fuller sound when you include a fourth string.

I'm not very good at all, it's only my second month and I've learnt no theory, or any chords or notes but I can play a song badly - but that was my goal - set yourself goals that arent too difficult - so do the simple stuff and don't push yourself too much or you'll find youve gone too far and you'll have togo over all the simple stuff again - you won't progress fast if you set goals to big for yourself, just do what comes naturally with time. Get yourself a good guitar teacher, learn songs you enjoy, buy a load of picks 'cos you'll loose em all like I did cos I only had one to start with, get a sheet stand for your books and TAB printouts!

Just don't rush, always take it easy.
#10
I just played as many Green day songs as I possibly could the first week. I remember at that time when i thought power chords where hard to form.

After my fingers got stronger, then i learned barre chords. It was easier than i heard.
#11
Day one:

unpacked my brand new ibanez acoustic, and started to watch a DVD that came with it.

Learned the Em open chord.

Day two-five-nothing new, just messin around, not learning anything. finding out about tabs

day 6- i play american idiot on my acoustic using the new "tab method" that i leanred

LOL the funy thing is, i thought a 3 string power chord was the hardest thing in the world, and i was litterally sweating when i tried to play it.

day 7-reinforcing powerchords
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#12
Lots of great responses so far. Green Day is one of my wife's favorite bands, so maybe I should start with them too. What's their very easiest song?

Btw, I got an Ibanez acoustic as well. I sent in for that DVD, but so far have just been using a couple books.
#13
Brainstew :P

Well..it is...but you'll probably want something a bit more challenging than that to be honest, it really is simple.

I don't think "When I Come Around" is too difficult...if I'm mistaken I'm sure someone will correct me.
#14
American Idiot is easy. Holiday is easy. Boulevard of Broken Dreams is easy (though you need a capo to play it properly, I never use one so I'm always off key when I play it, but meh - I'll get a capo sometime soon I think). They're the main three I know and play; though 90+% of Green Day songs you'll find easy once you learn power chords.

My first week? It was actually not so bad, because I'd "played" guitar before, sort of. Nothing special but I'd picked up on a couple of things and played a bit with my friend who'd been playing a short while. So after a week I could play powerchords etc. easily; and a few open chords (I grabbed a whole load of lessons from the Internet). I then decided it would be wise to learn the placings off by heart so did that. Found transition too hard, acted like a quitter so started playing power chords. Went back to open chords and wham bam thank you ma'am; could play and transition well; it didn't take long before I could do it without looking. It took months before I could manage barre chords.

And a question; what are callouses?
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#15
All Greenday is easy...

I remember I learned 2 string power chords and those wernt bad for me to play....but the first time I even looked at a 3 stringer...I was shocked, and when I tried to play it I didnt really know how and it took a while. But now my ring finger is sooo much stronger they are easy.
#16
Quote by AC/zeppelin/DC
All Greenday is easy...

I remember I learned 2 string power chords and those wernt bad for me to play....but the first time I even looked at a 3 stringer...I was shocked, and when I tried to play it I didnt really know how and it took a while. But now my ring finger is sooo much stronger they are easy.



I'm sure I'm the first person to ever say this (except maybe the person who made a thread saying BJA is the best guitarist of this era, ) - but, no. Not ALL Green Day are easy. For someone who's been playing a few months, yes, pretty much every song's easy. For someone who's been playing a week? Take a look at what you just said, 2 string power chords; Green Day use three string power chords, and also the odd barre chord and some open chords - so you wouldn't have been able to play much Green Day in your first week, whether you'd want to or not.
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#17
Great Thread!

My week started yesterday actually (:
All though I learned how to take some basic chords like c, c7, d, d7, dm, e, e7, em, etc when I was younger since my step dad is a musician. He also thought me how to do some easy finger picking and stuff like that.. and I do remember most of it.

Anyway, I hadn't played the guitar for about 10 years when I started again yesterday!
I started of by taking some different chords in a random matter and played smoke under water and stand by me which I also remembered from the early days. I kept doing that until it sounded at least a little good then I went out and searched the internet and found this godly site!

First thing here was reading some lessons and trying to figure out what everything ment in english then I charged right into the tabs, downloaded power tab, downloaded tabs to all my favourite songs, played them in power tab and wished I could do that myself :/
Now I realized my fingers where soar as hell ! Blimey they hurt!
..So I kept on playing a little more random stuff and actually managed to play shape of my heart by Backstreet Boys quite good (compared to a lawn mower).

Today I've almost not been able to play at all since my fingers are so damn soar, it even hurts real bad to type on the keyboard. But I couldn't keep my hands of so I've pretty much done the same things as yesterday with some improvements in movement of the left hand.

Guess it's all about training!
engstrom: my fingers don't hurt no more!
Last edited by engstrom at Jul 11, 2006,
#18
I don't think my first week had passed yet. Anyways the major chords I know so far is the D, A, E, G, C, F ... **** man I hate the F major I am stuck on it, can't get my fingers to stretch properly. And only two minor chords A and E, and these three other chords like A7 which I'm still trying to learn all the other ones.

I can only play the beginning of Iron Man by Black Sabbath lol.
#19
Most Greenday is easy but some of it can still be challenging... try some blink 182 too... when i first began i learned parts of songs.

Parts of songs i learned were:

Beginning of Adams Song- Blink 182
Beginning of Stay Together for the Kids- Blink 182
Brainstew-Greenday (very easy)
Beginning of I Walk the Line- Johnny Cash

theres more but i dont feel like typing anymore..have fun.
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#20
I bought my guitar in feb or so I haven't really played it due to work etc... I am going to enroll in a beginning guitar class at the local JC and hopefully that will help some... I only know like C, G, D and I can play some parts to songs -- I just need to try and put an hour or so aside a day to practice
#21
my first week i had a lesson and all i got was 13 chords and the A major pentatonic scale" the chords were A,A7,Am,C,E-,C7,E,Dm,E7,D,D7,G,G7.
#22
Cool thread, good idea. I just got my guitar yesterday an spent most of the day tryin to tune the damn thing, nearly there still sounds a bit dodgy lol. Day 2 I learnt a few chords (A,G,C,Em) from my free dvd. Now ma fingers are killin me an I think I
might try the salt water tip.
#23
Days Four and Five
Yesterday, I took some advice from people on here and started looking for single string songs. This was a good idea. Strumming and transitioning between full chords is tough,and the rewards seem further off. But picking at single strings is pretty easy. "Jingle Bells" took just a few minutes to learn. Then there's an old bluegrass ditty in my book called "Get Along Home, Cindy" that pretty fun and easy to play using mostly just two strings and two frets. I also printed up the tabs for I Walk the Line last night, and have been tinkering with it a little bit. My Johnny Cash greatest hits cd is scratched though, so I can't listen to that song to check my progress. D'oh.

In between messing with the tabs, I'm still working on good transitions between those first three chords. I want to get that pretty smooth before I start adding in new ones.

The fingers have hit a good numb state. Still sorta painful, but the toughness is coming.
#24
now are the four fingers all numb or just one or two cuz ive been playin like 3 motnhs now and only 2 of my fingers are really rough while the other two (pinky and ring finger) are still soft but i use them.
#25
Quote by MedicreDemon
now are the four fingers all numb or just one or two cuz ive been playin like 3 motnhs now and only 2 of my fingers are really rough while the other two (pinky and ring finger) are still soft but i use them.


Good point. The pinky is barely at all. I just started using it yesterday. I try to use my ring finger a good bit.
#26
i spend my first week learning happy birthday, top gun anthem, and adams song by blink182. When i first got my guitar i couldnt reach the 4th fret with my ring finger (index on 2nd fret) for a few days
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#27
You did yourself a big favor by beginning to learn chords immediately. Keep at it.

It's hard for me to describe my "first week," because I really didn't have one. I didn't go out and buy a guitar one day and start playing. I played other people's guitars whenever I could for a few years. Eventually I got my own, but I already knew so many things, so it wasn't as difficult.
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#28
Basically My whole first week was:

Learning G, C, D, A, E, and Em

Learning the song "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. Still a terrific begginer song by my standards. Not a single power chord, which are meant for their sound not their ease of use, as I know now.

Getting pissed off at how much my fingers hurt.

My mom suggesting I should learn bass, (her boyfriend played bass in some godawful Grateful Dead tribute band) because "you know, there's only four strings"

Braking three strings. Completely scratching up the front my dad's acoustic guitar cause' I played too hard.

Feeling discourgaged

Sounds pretty close to everyone elses actually. I'm so glad I didn't take up the mandolin instead, which is still on my list of instruments to learn to play, actually, right behind the harmonica and the banjo.
#29
I was just thinking that Neutral Milk Hotel might be a good band to look at for an easy song or two. Love that cd.

Does anyone know any sites that have tabs for kids' songs? I've got 2 year old twins, and they'd love if I could play "The Wheels on the Bus" or the alphabet song or something along those lines.
#30
I remember the frusteration of learning chords back when i first started.

the first chord progression i ever learned was C, Am,F,G,E,B,D

I wasn't the most melodic progression, but packed a wicked punch since the F and G were Barr chords. A metronome helped alot...

here's a decent little site with test to hone your theory skills... http://www.wholenote.com/
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#31
teh first week i worked on chords and trying to get used to the guitar. i'd say it took me a good year and a half or more to be able to switch between the basic chords and barre chords. i remember sitting in front of a tv changing chords cleanly and it payed off
#32
Two songs to learn.. well the beging every guitar player on here started w/ these songs i but my money on it: smoke on the water and Iron man
#34
Well, seeing as I started with a teacher from the get go, my first week of practicing wasn't nearly as varied as some others. So rather than just documenting my first week, I'll document my progress up untill now (I've been playing a little over a month).

Week 1:
My first lesson, I learn the name of the strings, how to hold a pick, etc. I'm also given an introduction to powechords. Even though I only know 3 progressions, I find that I'm practcing an excess of two hours a day simply because I'm excited that I'm finally learning guitar . One bad thing though, my fingers are killing me.

Week 2:
I've found that the progressions I'd been given have become incredibly easy with practice. But this week a new variables have been thrown in. I now have to play the progressions an octave higher, use palm muting, and use blocking. With the addition of the pinky, I find it incredibly hard to move around the neck; but palm muting and blocking come relatively easily. I also have two new progressions to boot. So far I've learned these chords: E5, A5, and D5 open style. G5, C5, A5, D5, B5, E5 fretted style. My fingers still hurt, but I push through the pain and continue to practice.

Week 3:
I'm taught the riff to Smoke on the Water by my teacher in order to reinforce powerchords. I also start to move away from powerchords and learn a few major chords. The chords I learn are: A, D, and E. I find the fingering to be awkward at first, but I soon find it to be natural and can do the progression well with practice. I start to combine new material with old material in order to create organized practice sessions lasting about one hour a day average. Also, thankfully, calouses are starting to kick in, so pain isn't a factor anymore.

Week 4:
I start to learn my first real song, Back in Black, as a way to finish off powerchords. I find that my transtion between chords is painfully slow in comparison with the song, though like everything, it came with practice. I'm also taught a two more major chords: G and C. The fingering for G major comes naturally, but the transition to C major in progressions is slow. Even with practice, I still find it to be somewhat slow, though it has improved over time. I also learned a little about alternate picking and rhythm. I add the new material into my practice sessions, and have quite a bit of fun with the intro Back in Black.

Week 5:
I learn the verse to Back in Black. It was for the most part was alot easier to learn than the intro, but I find the transition to the modern G chord to be very awkward. I also stopped learning major chords temporarily in order to focus on minor chords. I learn three minor chords: Dm, Am, and Em. I only use A minor and E minor in the progressions I'm given, but I keep myself familiar with D minor. I also start to implement building speed into my practice sessions. By now I have pretty well established practice sessions that last up to two hours average.

BTW, the way to form A major in Acoustic Methods was the way I was taught to form it, and it seems pretty comfortable to me.

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