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Thread: newbie guitarist buys new guitar...

  1. #1
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    so i decided that i wanted to learn to play the guitar .. so i went to guitar center ( which was an hour away in springfield )for my nice new shiny yamaha pacifica 112 .. i paid $200 for it.. i think i got a deal..anyone think otherwise ? anyways , i also picked up the POD Line 6 for another $300 ... i was all excited to come home and learn to play guitar.. i came home... hooked it up , played a few notes and realized how badly i sucked.. so now its just sitting in the corner looking all shiny and new.. my problem is , where do i start ? what do i learn first ? i have absolutely no direction.. can someone offer some suggestions ?
    thank you bunches...
    - eddie -

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    The first and absolutely most important thing to do is to learn to tune the guitar. I know it sounds stupid, but if you don't tune it, you'll sound like crap every time you pick it up. Does the Pod have a tuner? If not, go buy one (you can get one for under $15). Also, make sure the guitar is intonated right; if it's not, it'll never be perfectly in tune all the way up the neck.

    Secondly, get a guitar instructor. Seriously. Even if it's only for a few months. Because if you don't start off right, you'll pick up a bunch of bad habits which'll be really hard to get rid of later. And if you can't afford lessons, at least get some of those beginner's instructional videos.

    Other than that, get some songbooks of your favorite artists and learn the songs, memorizing the chord forms and their names along the way. Get a book about scales and modes, preferably one of those ones with the jam tracks on CD so you can practice improvising instead of just running scales. And, if you're really ambitious, get some jazz theory books, and maybe some ear training books so you can learn to recognize intervals and do your own transcriptions.

    And finally, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Don't let a day go by that you don't pick up that guitar and play for at least a half-hour. It's like exercising: if you do it for a half-hour every day you'll begin to see noticeable results in a few weeks.

    Oh yeah, and don't forget to have fun!

    Ryan

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    I've been playing guitar for a little over 6 years and am completely self taught. Basically the way I learned to play guitar was by getting the tab for my favourite songs and playing along to the CD. By doing this you learn THE most important thing of learning any musical instrument - that is you learn what sounds right/good and what sounds wrong/bad. Learning guitar is not only about learning chord shapes and scales/modes etc it's about training your ear to find out what sounds good. Sure, you could play some crazy hybrid scale over some incredibly weird chord shape that requires you to stretch 11 frets, but unless it sounds good what is the point?

    Paul


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    So the main question is where to start and basics. Well that last dude made some good points of course. Firstly, nab a cheap chord book from good ol Mel Bay. It will show you how to tune a guitar. It will show you the basic fingerings for chords. And it will probably show you the first few scales. Having a flesh and blood instructor would speed things up greatly for you. But if thats out of the question scarf up a video.
    I have been playing for a few years (like 20)and teach a bit as it is. Granted music theory is a plus, but I will assume with you being at this site that you have an ear for one aspect or the other. One thing I tell new aspiring students: turn off the damn effects while you learn. And that goes straight to reverb and chorus. those two effects tend to warble the sound ever so slightly and cover up slight timming issues (something you will be glad for later). But by god not while you are learning fingerings. Too many folks are processor dependant "I can't play worth a bean without my 2108!"... theres a reason for that... they are right. If you have a keyboard then use it as a tuning referance. E,A,D,G,B, and E. Each fret on each string is one half step. Example: the fattest string is low E. if you press into the first fret.. it becomes an F. the second fret (metal rail) is F#.. and so on. Hey, you asked for basic.

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    Don't trust your tuning to that POD. The tuner is mediocre at best. My best indication of overall "in tune" feeling is to play various chords at various places up and down the neck and some with open strings to see if they "ring" like they should. And turn off all effects when tuning. On the POD, that's the tube amp emulation with drive set to its lowest setting with no effects and all of the tone controls set to "flat". No reverb.

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    < sigh > .. just when i got all exited that i tuned my guitar to the pod.. drstawl brings me bad news.. .. ah well .. i went out and bought ( dont laugh ) " guitar for dummies " .. and i read how to tune your guitar the " fith fret method " .. so ill try that instead of the pod.. thanks for all the great advice from all of you.. and anymore advice would be greatly appreciated..

    - eddie -

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    The POD tuner isn't useless- it's great for getting your tuning "in the neighborhood" of correct. You can even do this while monitoring a different source entirely (that means while watching TV) Then use your ears and the manual methods to tweak it to perfection.

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    Eddie, remember that the "5th fret" method (and wait till you learn the advanced 8th fret method!) will only keep the guitar in tune with itself...you still need a good tuner or other known tone source to make sure you're in calibration with the rest of the world. However since you just spent more money on your tone than on your axe, I will take pity on you and send you to http://www.unet.univie.ac.at/~a9303377/programs.htm where you can pick up a free guitar tuner program, here's hoping you don't have a Mac though.

    And here's some more free advice...start by playing some slow blues (along with songs). You will quickly learn the progressions and how to throw in different chord shapes that make the same chord but with different sounds for different effects, and the next thing you know you're maybe playing some lead stuff. You might even get hooked and stay there!

    Have fun dude, you have decades of learning ahead of you and it's all fun.


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    I would have to recommend a book called "The Heavy Guitar Bible". It's pretty cheap and most "real" guitar players would laugh at it....and it's not really geared at Heavy Metal or anything. But I swore by it when I was first learning.

    After about 6 months I could play the hell out of "Ode to Joy" and "Jimmy Cracked Corn" in my Mel Guitar Method books...but I still didn't know what I wanted to know....like what the hell are those other frets for? Since I wasn't into reading music so much, I was refreshed by the Heavy Guitar Bible which emphisises scale patterns and positioning. Once I could "visualize" the music as it came out of the guitar, things really took off. If this is how you learn, then you'll be jammin along to your favorite blues riff in no time! Well, maybe in a few months

    For chords and such, I would recommend any books that the others have mentioned.

    Oh, and you pretty much have to have that guitar in your hands at all times possible. Sleep with it. Eat dinner with it. Kiss it. Hug it. Rub your privates on it. There is no substitute for constant dinking. Any time you hear a nifty riff...try playing just the first few notes. You'll drive everyone nuts around you, but it'll pay off. Really.

    Slackmaster 2000

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    I won't try to repeat anything too much. But do find a teacher and as someone said, try out some Jazz. I wish I had! I did take some classical guitar when i was a music major, which was also good to learn. I have since ruined it all with bad habits and terrible technique. And then I discovered I was a good acoustic player but only a fair electric player. My point--if you want to learn guitar, then do. Stick with it and have some fun. But don't expect lessons to turn you into Eddie Van Halen. Ive been playing for twenty five years and the only way my guitar will sound like Eddie was playing is if Eddie was playing it. But I've learned to live with my talents, still pretend to be a rock guitarist and even write some rock and roll tunes. I also write alot of ballads. I'm pretty satisfied. If I had it all to do over again, though, I would have taken more lessons with no other students in my classes and slept with my guitar instead of looking at wondering when I'm going to start playing like Jimi Hendrix. Pick that guitar up and play, dont worry if you dound like crap today, when that guitar stuff starts to click you will be hooked for life.

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