#1
Well, in the spirit of my original 'Songs for girls' rant (and after a couple Coronas), I've decided to reply to all the 'I'm new to guitar, what should I learn?' threads. I don't want to discourage new guitarists from posting and asking questions. As a matter of fact, that's the best way to learn new things. However, I'd like to consolodate into one post the most frequent replies I've seen in these threads over the past few months. By no means am I a world-class guitarist, and nothing I say should be taken as gospel. These are just a few suggestions from a moderately practiced guitarist.

I'd like to start by welcoming you to the guitar. It's one of the most rewarding things, I've found, that you can pick up. That being said, it's a frustrating instrument and is quite possibly the worst thing you can do to your hands and wrists. The positions are unnatural, the instrument itself isn't in any way ergonomic, and the strings hurt your fingertips. I don't want to discourage anyone by saying that, but rather let you know what you expect. When players say to 'play through the pain', they ain't just whistlein' Dixie.

Going on a tangent, a good friend and far more talented guitarist then I once told me that when he used to work in an auto wrecking yard, they used old low E strings to cut the frames away from car windshields. To reiterate, THEY USED A GUITAR STRING TO CUT METAL. Essentially you're running your fingers against saws. It's going to hurt quite a bit at first until you build up your callouses. The rule of thumb here is to just play through the pain. If you can only manage to play for half an hour at a time, just give it an extra 10 minutes before you put it down. The sooner you get those callouses built up, the sooner you'll be playing cool riffs for extended periods.

Moving away from horror stories, the first thing I can tell you is to learn the 5 basic open chords. There's no right or wrong way to learn, but these 5 chords are an essential tool in any guitarist's r'epertoire. The chords are G, D, C, Am, and E. Learning these chords are essential to learning the guitar. They not only are the base structure for most songs, but they also help teach you to listen for notes, find notes, and will also help you build strength in your fretting hand. These chords aren't just necessary, they're required.

In addition, I see a lot of song suggestion threads. Mostly, the songs suggested include; Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd), Wonderwall (Oasis), Bad Moon Rising (CCR), Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple), Good Riddance (Green Day), Californication (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Nothing Else Matters (Metallica), House of the Rising Sun (The Animals), and Blackbird (The Beatles). I'm certain I'm missing a few, but learning those few songs will get you off to a good start.

I'd highly recommend finding a good instructor. Most guitar shops offer lessons for as little as $20 a lesson, and learning from a well-rounded instructor will save you a lot of time correcting bad habits later. In addition, a good instructor can show you ways to maintain your guitar including oiling, changing strings, and tuning. All of these are essential to know as you learn the guitar.

Aside from that, learn your basic chords and some scales. Every guitarist, IMO, should know the Chromatic scale, the Pentatonic scale, and at least one mode of the Major scale. They may not be necessary, but they'll not only show you where to look for notes, but they'll get you started on a basic understanding of music theory, which helps a ton. Any good instructor should be fluent in all of these.

The guitar is a lot of fun. It impresses people, it's very rewarding, and it can soothe the soul. Starting with these fundamentals will get you well on your way to doing what you'd like to do with the instrument. Again, nothing I've said here should be taken as gospel. If the songs I've mentioned don't suit your tastes, try a song you like. The most important thing to remember about the guitar is that what you do with it is your own. Nobody else can tell you how to learn or in what way to learn it. I think the best advice I can give to any budding guitarist is play what you love and love what you play.

-Peace-

Garou

I invite everyone on UG to reply and post their thoughts, as I'm sure I've missed a few things. To all the new guitarists out there, good luck and have fun!
Last edited by Garou1911 at Aug 26, 2007,
#4
WOW, thanks a lot. It's very useful for me.

BTW:
Quote by Garou1911
they used old low E strings to cut the frames away from car windshields.


¿You mean E or e?
#5
Go go go!!! That was a good post. It should go into the faq...or the thread should be cleared, locked and stickied.
#6
Yep thats purr-ty much it in a nutshell

Only one additive if it aint fun *F*U*C*K* it off.
Richard

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#8
Good post. I have a couple of nitpicks though:

Every guitarist, IMO, should know the Chromatic scale, the Pentatonic scale, and at least one mode of the Major scale.


There is more than one pentatonic scale, the two most common being the pentatonic major and pentatonic minor. Learn both.
Id recommend the natural minor, the blues scale and possibly the harmonic minor before delving into the modes of the major scale.
Learn the major scale first. You may not use it as much in your playing but all theory revolves around the major scale. Its essential.
Last edited by tom183 at Aug 27, 2007,
#9
Thanks for the correction Tom. I was reffering to the pentatonic major, but I should have been specific (a few Coronas will do that to you ), and you raise a good point. If you're going to learn the major pentatonic, you may as well take the time to also learn the minor.
#10
Oh a small point Garou1911 , the whole cutting through steel with a guitar string is a little off the mark. I know exactly what your mate was reffering to when he said they used to take car screens out with a "E" string, you actually use it to cut the rubber that fits around the front of the screen so you can get the screen out without breaking it. If you are unsure just try cutting a piece of balsa with an "E" it will take all year. but it was quite effective on windscreen rubbers as it is flexible & strong. Dont forget the potters friend the "e" string for cutting the pot/bowl away from the potting wheel. LOL
Richard

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#11
Good thread Garou : ) IMO with a couple Coronas in you, you're a damn fine inspirational speaker.

The only thing I would add is the word PRACTICE in really big letters and mention that there aren't shortcuts. And so there shouldn't be, learning guitar is a journey worth taking or a path worth walking or a walk worth pathing. Something like one of those...
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#12
Quote by 3holepunch
The only thing I would add is the word PRACTICE in really big letters and mention that there aren't shortcuts.


+100
Absolutely. Practice is key. Anyone trying to sell you 'guitar shortcuts' is just peddeling snake oil. It always irritates me when I see online ads that will "teach you shortcuts to play like the pros in no time!". It's total B.S. The only way to play like the pros is to practice like/as much as the pros.
#13
Yes the only time you can "learn to play like the pros" in minuites is if you are allready a pro & wish to copy someone else's style then maybe you could pick it up in minuits. What they leave out is the proficincy level that the guitarist needs to be at before attempting it.

But it is like anything else in life. "if it sounds to good to be true" it is
Richard

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#14
Quote by Dix_Fix
But it is like anything else in life. "if it sounds to good to be true" it is


Truer words were never spoken.
#15
Quote by tom183

Id recommend the natural minor, the blues scale and possibly the harmonic minor before delving into the modes of the major scale.
Learn the major scale first. You may not use it as much in your playing but all theory revolves around the major scale. Its essential.

Whoah, contradiction! Which goes first?

Anyway, I'm into guitar for the long term. I did pick a relatively hard song to learn as my first though (Classical Gas)... so that I'm proud of it when I'm done and I can show it to people who inevitably will ask me to play something. It's going well so far. I also just replaced my first guitar string. Painless!

After I've learnt this song and maybe a few others I'd like to work on some theory; scales and the like.

I love my guitar (and drums too, of course... because I'm a drummer first at the moment). This is an excellent topic, I'd just like to tell anyone who's started out and getting discouraged with their playing... stick it out! This instrument is just as rewarding as any other if not more, seeing as so many people are playing it you will have to work extra hard to stand out from the crowd. Remember, when learning a piece start slow and then build speed when and only when you can play it flawlessly from start to finish.


Thanks UG!
Last edited by Vixus at Aug 29, 2007,
#16
Whoah, contradiction! Which goes first?


I dont believe i contradicted myself but in any case i recommend learning the major scale first.
Last edited by tom183 at Aug 30, 2007,
#17
Yeah I love all my guitars , they have let me speak their language & for that i will be forever gratefull.
Richard

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