So I'm a completely fresh beginner to the world of guitars, and I've decided to teach myself without a teacher. I purchased the Hal Leonard guitar method book as well as 'The Principles for Correct Practice for Guitar,' ready to jam some Beatles, Stairway to Heaven, whatever... only to open the book and find that it wants me to play Yankee Doodle and The Star-Spangled Banner and whatnot for probably the next year.

I'll say it straight up: I have no interest in playing Yankee Doodle. Don't get me wrong, I realize that I have to 'walk before I run,' and I'm willing to spend the majority of my time practicing chords/scales to maximize my improvement. But the whole reason I decided to get into guitar was to play stuff I like (Beatles, Hendrix, Radiohead, etc...). Unfortunately, it seems like the lessons taught in Hal Leonard go hand-in-hand with the lame (IMO ) songs included, so I don't see how I can follow the lesson plan while playing my own choices of songs instead of the book's.

I want to learn guitar properly, which is why I spent money on instructional books rather than just jumping into tabs like the majority of my friends. Is there a way for me to do so while playing songs that are actually fun?

BTW - I'm well versed in music theory due to experience with the piano... are there any shortcuts I can take when learning the guitar due to this advantage (ie skipping a lot of Hal Leonard lessons and instead working on my technique more)?

Any input is much appreciated - thanks in advance!!
Personally I learned a bunch of songs till I got comfortable playing the guitar till I learned scales. Then once you start learning em, everything falls in together and it all makes sense!

But.. that's me >_>
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Its okay to learn to play fun songs too. as long as you focus on learning your theory and keep up with it all in stride.

I wouldn't skip those early lessons if I didn't need to, one day you might want to play the star spangled banner, and everything you learn now will have an effect on your playing later.

The best advice I can give you is to start out practicing your scales with a metronome, there is no substitute for learning rythm and timing, and if you have that, you will progress faster and probably find yourself better than others who started at the same time as you.
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Well im assuming since you said you played the piano that you know how to read the notes on the treble cleff and it shouldn't be hard for you to remember the notes so you might not have to study the book as much. You should breeze through it though so you could see the basic notes and you should be able to go from there. For example on the e string first fret its the f note and if you go to the 2nd fret its an f sharp so it'll be the same like the piano and the notes will look the same. If you really don't want to practice that book because i'll admit i used to be so bored practicing those books during lessons, just practice some scales and try and build some finger strength.
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Berklee's Modern Method for Guitar, Band tab books, stuff like that, and have fun. Guitar is really easier than piano in ways though, like scales, everything has a box or cage shape to it. . . but a higher amount of playing ability is demanded of you if you want to be successful, but then again the last successful pianists were like Bach, Mozart, I think the latest since then was killed during the WWII
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and then make a sandwhich in your house and walk out.

You should still go through the early exercises, just because you've got no interest in them doesn't elevate you above needing to learn them - they're not so much about the songs themselves, just about getting used to the mechanics of the instrument. Your existing knowledge should give you a head-start in some areas, but in terms of physically playing you're still new. Those are incredibly simple songs so try them...if you sail through them and have no problems then you've wasted little time and know you can stretch yourself a little. If you find yourself struggling with them then it'll prove that you were wrong to discount them.

There's no way you'll be on those beginner lessons for a year though, I'd imagine you'll bust through it in a month or two.
Actually called Mark!

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