Hi everyone.

My name is Lis. I'm 22/female, german/irish/american and have always wanted to learn guitar. I grew up on artists like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers etc. (too many to name!) as well as my favorite genre: grunge rock. The band that got me into everything really as far as music is Alice In Chains. Other favorites besides include Soundgarden, Nirvana, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam, Mad Season, Screaming Trees and Mark Lanegan.

Anyway, I've recently bought myself a really nice, deep red acoustic guitar, but unfortunately cannot afford lessons, and none of my friends play guitar so they really can't help me. So I've basically been teaching myself how to play. My progress so far has taken me through a few basic chords, and a wee bit reading music notes, and learning by ear how to play a few very simple intros like Nirvana's "Plateau".

I have not looked into guitar tab as I hope to learn how to read music and learn to play my guitar that way. I realize, however, that I need to develop some kind of method in order to make progress.

I just have a few questions to ask. Any answers, as well as any other advice you may have concerning guitar, please feel free to give it. I appreciate it immensely! Thanks for reading.

How often to you usually practice?
When you first started out what was your method of learning?
Are there any guitar books out there that you believe are essential to learning acoustic guitar?

I'm sure I left something out here, just not sure what it is so if there's anything else besides, I would greatly appreciate any advice on it you may have. Thanks so much.
Last edited by blue_come_over at Sep 5, 2006,
To answer your questions.

1.) When I first got my guitar I practiced atleast 45mins every day . Now, 2 years later I practice atleast 2 hours a day.

2.) My first method of learning were tabs. I was given a free guitar learning book when I bought my first guitar, and I tried to learn some of it, but in the end I said to myself I can't be bothered with this so I went to tabs instead. Don't get the idea in your head that tabs are bad or anything like that, their just an easier way to approach learning music, but if you stick with it and learn proper musical notation then that's great.

3.) As I said in my second answer I haven't found an intrest in learning proper musical notation so I couldn't really help you there.

Edit: Remember that this site has tons of free lessons just waiting to be at your disposal as well as video lessons also.
Duke Ellington - If it sounds good, it is good.
Last edited by Anything Goes at Sep 5, 2006,
i usually practice whenever i can be bothered, its usually around 1-2 hours a day, but a few years ago when i had more time on my hands, i used to practice on average about 8 hours a day...but practice times vary greatly from person to person, as long as you are dedicated and use your practice time wisely and efficiantly, you will make good progress in your playing...

as for methods of learning, its very admirable of you to just want to learn notation as opposed to tabs, but imo once youve grasped how to read notation, i advise you to learn tabs as well as free tabs are more widely available than free notation...but if you do...also continue figurin out songs by ear as well as it will train your ear to recognise intervals and sounds of chords etc more easily, and that is a very useful tool to have

as for learning...you said you have learned a few basic chords...
i would now recommend looking up a song that also uses these basic chords...seeing as you like AIC, nutshell would be a good song for that, as it contains one progression all the way through...which is made of basic chords (Em7, Cadd9, G and D - some may have a strange name, but are very common and are relatively simple to play)

look for other songs that will gradually build up your rhythm playing and your number of chords...

after that i would suggest trying to play some riff-orientated songs, and then move to solos...

hope i helped
I usually practice between 1 & 1/2 hours to at least 2 hours. When I began I learned basic chords E, em, am, A, D, C and so on. To gain muscles on playing seperate notes I would play little songs such as "marry had a little lamb" and other nursery rhyme songs. It also gave me a good ear on playing certain notes certain notes. I praced about 30+ minutes a day as a begginer.

Reading music is not really important for a begginer. Tablature should do just as good to help you learn certain songs.

This website contains a variety of Tablature, Lessons and video lessons to help get the average begginer on his/her feet. If you are looking for books to study go to your nearest guitar shop and ask someone what's the best book for learning on an acoustic.
Most of the important things

in the world have been accomplished

by people who have kept on

trying when there seemed to be no hope at all
I practice now about an hour or more a day...two or more on weekends or when work holidays. When I started, I practiced maybe 20 mins a day, because my fingers hurt so much...that just takes getting used to. You've got the right idea starting with an acoustic; if you ever go to an electric, it'll be easier for you to make the transition. The basic rule for practise is that it's better to practice a little bit every day than for a long time once a week.

I started by learning tabs...they're really simple to read, and because it's a direct representation on how to play a particular song on your guitar, you'll see progress easily. Reading notation is good, too, but if you're going that way I definately recomend studying theory. You'll get a much firmer grasp on reading music, and why music sounds the way it does.

As for lessons/books, Hal Lenord (sp?) puts out a great series. I've got the music theory book by that publisher, and it's fantastic. Also look at the Guitar Grimoire...it has an enormous amount of information, although some people don't like it because it's a bit repetative. This site has great lessons, and there are many otehrs that do as well. I would recommend at least a few lessons with someone, though...even if it's a favour from a friend. A sloppy technique/position etc. is easy to pick up, and hard to get rid of once it's habit, so it's a good idea to have someone show you the basics in person.

And hey, if you like Alice in Chains, I'd suggest you pick up their unplugged album (if you don't already have it). The acoustic version of Angry Chair is easy to learn (though it's in a different tuning,) and you can probably pick it up in half an hour. The rest of the album is great, too.
"He has a woman's name and wears makeup. How original."
--Alice Cooper, on Marilyn Manson.
I started playing like 30 minutes a day, 2 years later 3 hours a day. I use tabs, and they made me alot better. But also get like some scale charts, and listen to all different kinds of music. I know it sounds really cliched but It really makes you better.
When you play songs you should really listen to the song as you learn it, it is so much easier. And something that helped me alot is Guitar Pro. It cost like 54 bucks, but you could get power tab, and its practically the same thing, for free. Just stick with it, and dont give up. The best of luck to you
You're all so sweet. Thank you much for the replies as they have all been immensely helpful. Yes, I am very passionate about playing. Although I can't afford any private lessons at the moment, I have been taking in practically everything I can find on different technique and how to play (admittedly, all this has left me feeling a wee bit overwhelmed! - I recall someone telling me it's best to purchase ONE guitar book and stick with that so now it's just up to finding the right book/dvd?). Still, playing is so much fun. It really is almost like an addiction ;]. The more I play, the more I want to play.

Also for recommending Hal Lenord and Guitar Grimoire, thank. I can well understand what you mean about it being easy to pick up a sloppy technique/position and how very hard a habit it can be to break. The value of private lessons can hardly be overstated. Alice In Chains have been my favorite band from as far back as I can remember, and their "Unplugged" album is absolutely brilliant. AIC were incredible live! Among my main goals is to be able to play every song on unplugged album.
Last edited by blue_come_over at Sep 6, 2006,
In that case....

That should bring up a list of tabs for the Unplugged album...I think that's all of them. Thing is, they're in Power Tab. It's a free program that basically lets you write/edit/read tabs with notation; it will also play the song for you in MIDI format so you can hear axactly how it's tabbed out (although the MIDI isn't the best thing to listen to, I usually play the album along with it). There's a metronome to keep time, too. This program might actually help a lot, especially to show you how to relate notation to tabs without going into huge amounts of theory.
As for books, take a look at these:
--Explains the circle of fifths, which is useful in determining which key to play in.
--This is the theory book I'm using. It's great...with little quizzes, ear training, and a CD with tracks explaining what the theory does in practise.
--Alice in Chains Unplugged Tab book. You'll want to get this.
--The Guitar Grimoire. Like I said, some people don't like it, to some it's a Bible.

Go to your local music store and browse the books they've got there. You'll find a lot of 'how to play' books, but only by paging through them will you find one that works for you. Try to find something with a CD, or better yet, a DVD...watching someone can help you get away from those bad habits in technique.

Also, someone above mentioned to listen to lots of different kinds of music. Couldn't be more true...the more types of guitar playing you listen to, the more you realize that they're all related, and you'll start to understand the instrument better. Start watching DVD concerts of your favorite guitarists (there's a whole section on this site where people have reviewed these). It will inspire you, and it will show you how the greats play.
"He has a woman's name and wears makeup. How original."
--Alice Cooper, on Marilyn Manson.
1. I very rarely have the time on a school day to get more than 30 mins on guitar, the other 30 on piano. On holidays and such I try to get about 2 hours or more.

2 My method of learning was to come right here to UG and try out some stuff that people had posted for lessons. They were comprehendable and I could understand them more because they are people like me, young ones who play guitar.

3 Again, I came to UG so I dont know of any books.

So you want to learn notation rather than tab? Thats great, but it doesnt help to completely ignore tablature when you are a beginner. It will take some time before you can msight read for a guitar, more than for a piano as you have two hands doing different things (plucking and fretting, rather than just pressing keys on both). Tab is simple and it will get you to a stage that you feel comfurtable at not looking at your right hand plucking the strings, and you can focuss on the fretting hand.

22 is a bit of a ripe age to start guitar, but dont be offput about people saying "oh well itl take you longer because youre not young and clever". This is true, but if you commit and try harder then you will get there just as quick.

Good Luck.
Quote by Robbie n strat
In the changing rooms we'd all jump around so our dicks and balls bounced all over the place, which we found hilarious.

Little children should be felt, not heard.
You can never be too old to learn music.

I practice anywhere from 2 - 4 hours a day on average now, around 1 - 2 when I first started.

I used tabs to start out, I still do sometimes, but I am trying to learn real musical notation
my philosophy about learning guitar--learn how to teach yourself. Learn as many songs as you can (full songs, not just riffs! and learn the words to sing along!) and as you do this, you will pick up on patterns and your ear will develop. use your ear to start to learn songs by ear to get a better sense of the relationship between notes and chords. pick up some music theory too, and eventually you will reach a point where you are self sufficient enough to learn new songs easily and even write your own music. have fun!
"You are amazed that it is so easy to infect men with the war fever, and you surmise that man has in him an active instinct for hatred and destruction... I entirely agree with you."

--Sigmund Freud in a letter to Albert Einstein