Author Topic: Learning to play guitar...  (Read 1759 times)

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Offline T-ski

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Learning to play guitar...
« on: January 09, 2020, 09:31:17 AM »
forgive me if this is in the wrong section, but the "Musicians" section didn't look as active, so....

I want to learn to play the guitar.

Sounds simple enough but I could use some good suggestions pertaining to equipment, lessons, etc.

Heres my story.  I'm 47 years old, played sax through high school (mostly for fun, not much practicing).  I did play the cello way back in 5th grade, but I doubt anything has been retained since then.

I'd just like to learn some basics, piddle around and just see if its something I can do.

Thanks for any leads you can give me.
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Offline Vmadera00

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2020, 12:17:25 PM »
That's awesome. I'm sure you already know this, but patience is your friend when it comes to picking up a new instrument (or your first).

Before I give suggestions, what kind of guitar are you looking to pick up? Electric, acoustic or classical? Depending on the type I could make suggestions and extra accessories you will need.

Offline Samsara

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2020, 12:36:50 PM »
I'm with T-Ski, just a few years younger. Glad he started this thread.

I'm personally looking for electric. I love acoustic, but I heard electric is better for folks who want to play casually, as it isn't as rough on the fingers. But I am open to whatever. I just want to learn. I played a little bit (just learning tab) back in law school to pass the time. But I never really got anywhere other than playing some intros of my favorite Queensryche songs. I'd actually like to learn chords and how to play.
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Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 12:49:43 PM »
That's awesome. I'm sure you already know this, but patience is your friend when it comes to picking up a new instrument (or your first).

Before I give suggestions, what kind of guitar are you looking to pick up? Electric, acoustic or classical? Depending on the type I could make suggestions and extra accessories you will need.

Acoustic.

I forgot to mention in my first post that I'm left handed.  I don't know what kind of issues this may cause, but I hope in todays world it won't matter.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2020, 01:05:32 PM »
I don't play much anymore, and haven't for years.  But I have a cheap Squier strat and practice amp for noodling around when the urge strikes.  I can't really offer suggestions for an acoustic.  But I will briefly make the case for going electric, and you can do with it what you will:  Any song that you want to play on an acoustic, for purposes of just learning or playing along in your home, you can do on an electric just playing clean with no distortion.  And the learning curve is a bit easier just because of the string gauge and other physical differences that make an electric far easier to learn for beginners who don't have time to develop the additional finger strength, dexterity, and calluses that you need to play acoustic.  Plus, when you find yourself just wanting to play a nasty hard rock or metal riff, you can just switch over to some distortion and have fun with it, which you can't do with an acoustic.

If you buy into any of that, here are my recommendations:
-Amp:  You can get a decent practice amp that will be PLENTY loud for the home and have effects and even a tuner built in, and not spend a lot of money.  I love Line 6's Classic Spider, which you can get for about a hundred bucks:  https://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6/Spider-15-Classic-15W-1x8-Guitar-Combo-Amp-1500000013914.gc?source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKCAiAu9vwBRAEEiwAzvjq-0l58xh8xSBn3uJOUNeYCz_0vPYYAtSg8-Sd2nLEhPwK9cfQXSZFvRoCd9cQAvD_BwE  It has great cleans, distortion, and other effects, as well as tuner, built in so you don't have to buy extra gear.
-Guitar:  You can get a decent practice guitar for $100-$200 if you really want to go cheap.  At a beginner's price point, the sound is what it is, and it'll be "decent" for just about anything that is a recognizable name, so I wouldn't worry about that.  I would just go into a big music store (Guitar Center, or whatever you have in your area), and try out a few in whatever price range is comfortable.  If you are self-conscious about not knowing how to play, don't worry about it.  You don't even have to plug it in.  You can just quietly strum on it in the corner without hardly anyone noticing.  The important thing is how it feels.  And if you strum on a few, you will get a sense of what is comfortable for you.  I would advise playing a few that are within and slightly outside of your price range, and taking notes on what feels good, and then shopping online to see if you can find a better price.

EDIT:  On the guitars, you might even snap a pic of what you like as you are trying some out, and then post some here, and people can give you feedback on pros/cons that you might not have picked up on yourself.

That's my two cents.
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Offline axeman90210

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2020, 01:12:08 PM »
Welcome to the journey. I'm just a few months back into playing after a decade off, so basically starting from scratch (except on the gear front :hat) We're at a point now where budget guitars are of better quality than they've ever been. Still, I'd shell out a couple extra bucks for your entry level Squier or Epiphone over some no-name guitar on Amazon or something like that.

As far as lessons, I can't recommend Justin Guitar highly enough. His website (free) has a whole series of courses from just starting out beginner through intermediate and advanced topics and he'll have you playing songs you know right out of the gate. If you do go this route I'd recommend getting a capo with you guitar as some of his beginner songs do need one.
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Offline wolfking

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2020, 01:44:15 PM »
Get something basic and cheap to start with is my suggestion.  That way if for some reason it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted a lot of money.  Any cheap acoustic guitar would do.  Perhaps start off with nylon strings as they are easier on the fingertips than steel string.  It just makes the transition a little easier as you are learning.

When I started learning 20 years ago private lessons were the big thing but looks like there's enough on youtube to cover that.  Not sure who would be the best though for beginners.

The last thing is practice.  When I was learning the guitar was in my hands whenever I wasn't at work/school.  Hours and hours a day.  It's the only way to improve.

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2020, 01:46:12 PM »
forgive me if this is in the wrong section, but the "Musicians" section didn't look as active, so....
  True, I'm surprised at the lack of activity in the musicians section and how many won't give the time of day,  or feedback..

  The best advice to beginning guitar. Go the extra mile and buy a good quality guitar, one that stays in tune and has good playing action on the fretboard. Don't settle for less, otherwise you'll get frustrated and possibly quit.
 There are however decent guitars that won't gouge the pocket book. Acoustic guitars are good for building hand strength and are recommended for learning on.  "Jasmine" by Takamine are really good guitars for the $100 range. Also Laurel Canyon guitars are affordable with great tone. 
 Electric guitars are equally as important. Find a good quality one and it opens up an endless world of creativity and fun!   :coolio
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Offline The Walrus

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2020, 01:47:00 PM »
Buy yourself a beat up six string in a secondhand store. You won't know how to play it, but you'll know for sure that one guitar will feel good in your hands. Won't take long to understand.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2020, 01:53:18 PM »
Buy yourself a beat up six string in a secondhand store. You won't know how to play it, but you'll know for sure that one guitar will feel good in your hands. Won't take long to understand.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2020, 01:57:16 PM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

I currently have an Ovation shallow body acoustic, and a Fender Strat electric (having previously owned a Les Paul Standard).  I was killing time in a pawn shop about six months ago, and there was a red Squier strat with dual humbuckers that played like a DREAM.   Shooting the shit with the proprietor, and sure enough, I walked out with the guitar for $50 cash.   

Oh, and more than the guitar itself, you might consider taking whatever you buy in to your local guitar shop and have them set it up.   Not always, but sometimes you can adjust things like string height to suit you better without having to wait or shop around for a "perfect fit". 

I know I can look at a couple of the local places here for you if you'd like.

Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2020, 01:59:57 PM »
Welcome to the journey. I'm just a few months back into playing after a decade off, so basically starting from scratch (except on the gear front :hat) We're at a point now where budget guitars are of better quality than they've ever been. Still, I'd shell out a couple extra bucks for your entry level Squier or Epiphone over some no-name guitar on Amazon or something like that.

As far as lessons, I can't recommend Justin Guitar highly enough. His website (free) has a whole series of courses from just starting out beginner through intermediate and advanced topics and he'll have you playing songs you know right out of the gate. If you do go this route I'd recommend getting a capo with you guitar as some of his beginner songs do need one.

googles "capo"..... thats how novice I am.  :lol
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Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2020, 02:00:52 PM »
great suggestions so far, keep 'em coming!
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Offline Vmadera00

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2020, 02:02:40 PM »
Left handed guitars are still hard to find, but not impossible with today's internet :D

I agree with Bosk, it would be better to buy an electric just for the flexibility of sound and easier on the fingers. But I also know there are certain sounds you just can't get with an electric (even with acoustic simulators). But if you are just starting, I don't think that is something you would care about or even notice. But here is what I would recommend for an acoustic:

Ibanez AW54LOPN; It goes around $200, but it is probably the best quality you would get for an "intro" guitar. If you want something a little better, Ibanez AEG18LII, Yamaha FG820L or Breedlove Discovery all 3 guitars go around $300, have a good neck profile that makes it a little easier to play that the first option.

Also, if you want to take care of your guitar, do not buy it without a gig bag and a humidifier. Acoustic guitars are very sensitive and could dry out easily, causing the wood to crack and the guitar to sound awful.

If you decide to follow Bosk suggestion and buy an electric, you can't go wrong with a squier, epiphone or Ibanez guitar ($200 or under). However, I would recommend to stay away from "starter pack" "Beginner pack" or any type of guitar pack. The value is good but the guitars are awful even for beginners. Those guitar are poorly built and could end up hurting/damaging your fingers after just a few minutes of playing (mainly because the frets need adjustment and shaving).

As technology gets better, so do amplifier and Bosk is also correct about the line 6. Most guitar players prefer tube amp for the more natural and punchy sound, but for someone who is starting, modeling amp is the way to go since you can get a lot of different tones out of it without pedals and effects.

In terms of lessons, I taught myself how to play and read tabs, but there are tons of free lessons on youtube and other websites. I would recommend getting the app "Jamplay". It's a good reference to learn and visualize chords and scales. I'm sure there are other apps but that's the one I use for free backing track.

Offline Vmadera00

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2020, 02:10:37 PM »
Buy yourself a beat up six string in a secondhand store. You won't know how to play it, but you'll know for sure that one guitar will feel good in your hands. Won't take long to understand.

I would only recommend used guitars if they are electric. For acoustic guitars is better to buy new. An electric guitar could feel brand new with a good standard setup, and acoustic guitar would need a lot more work depending on the condition.

Offline The Walrus

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2020, 02:12:25 PM »
Buy yourself a beat up six string in a secondhand store. You won't know how to play it, but you'll know for sure that one guitar will feel good in your hands. Won't take long to understand.

I would only recommend used guitars if they are electric. For acoustic guitars is better to buy new. An electric guitar could feel brand new with a good standard setup, and acoustic guitar would need a lot more work depending on the condition.

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Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2020, 02:13:26 PM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

 Sure, you can get a good deal. The only thing I don't like about Pawn shops is that they are gaining off of somebody else's loss. I feel it's borderline bad "ju-ju" if I buy a guitar from them. Someone elses passion lost because of tough times.

Btw,  Squires are crap. Don't be fooled by their cosmetics and cheap prices..
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Offline Vmadera00

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2020, 02:20:37 PM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

When I used to work at Guitar Center, one time we got a $6,000 Gibsons custom shop stolen from us. Luckily we were able to track it and found it at a Pawn Shop tagged as an "Epiphone Les Paul" for $400. Sometimes they don't even know what they have.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2020, 02:22:21 PM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

I would NOT recommend buying at a Pawn shop for a beginner who does not know what he is buying.  Quick way to end up with a lemon.
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Offline axeman90210

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2020, 07:12:21 PM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

I would NOT recommend buying at a Pawn shop for a beginner who does not know what he is buying.  Quick way to end up with a lemon.

If they can't tell the difference between a guitar and a piece of fruit they've got bigger problems than learning a new instrument :neverusethis:
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2020, 08:07:26 AM »
PAWN SHOPS.   

I would NOT recommend buying at a Pawn shop for a beginner who does not know what he is buying.  Quick way to end up with a lemon.

Not as argument, but for discussion purposes, I think that's true of anything above an entry level guitar.  We have three (used to have four) pawn shops around me, and one more around where my daughter used to go to high school, and I would often stop in to kill time (you can often get video games and CDs for a couple bucks, tops.  Especially CDs.)   You rarely see any Gibson guitars, and only occasionally will you see a Fender, and that's 99% of the time a Mexican strat.  I'd stay away from those if you don't know what you're looking at.  They are there for one of two reasons:  the coke dealer wouldn't take it in trade, or they couldn't move it at a guitar shop/to a collector.   

But I'll bet if I walked into those four shops today, two of them would have a Squier strat that is in very good working condition, and was a starter instrument for someone that either moved on to something better or decided that motorcycles were more fun.   Epiphone too, though less so (since the Epiphone guitars are more expensive to start with).   

Either way, he said he's looking for an acoustic, so you're probably more right than I am, in that you probably do need to be able to see if the neck is straight, or the body is warped.  But you can still probably find an Ovation Celebrity (if you don't mind the curved back) or a Yamaha for cheap.

Offline nobloodyname

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2020, 09:35:53 AM »
Buy a nice cheap electric and amp combo package. Turn the amp up to 11, strum the strings and... :metal

Sure, you could spend more, per some other recommendations, but most 'entry level' guitars really aren't bad these days. Quick example: https://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-dept/electric-guitar-bundles/epiphone-les-paul-sl-in-heritage-cherry-bundle-w-marshall-mg10cf-accessories

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Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2020, 09:45:20 AM »
while I initially thought acoustic was the way to go, you've all made me reconsider.  If electric is really a bit easier on the fingers I may go in that direction.

I also had a couple of friends recommend the ukulele to start with which I thought was interesting.
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Offline Elite

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2020, 12:15:47 PM »
Actual guitar teacher chiming in..

I would suggest for anyone picking up the guitar for the very first time (especially children) to go with a classical acoustic guitar, because it's easier on the fingers. You have a fretboard that's slightly broader than that of an electric, which gives your fingers more room to get used to what they're supposed to do and the strings are way easier to press down on a classical acoustic than they are on a steel-stringed acoustic or an electric. Also, whenever you play chords, they instantly sound good on an acoustic, whereas electric guitars tend to sound terrible when used by anyone who has no idea about volume & tone knobs, how hard to hit the strings and how to properly dial in your amplifier to get the sound you want.

I recommend an acoustic, because you can start out by going through all the basics, be it simple fingerpicking, open chords, more advanced chords, playing with a pick or learning how to read musical notation. No, you can't really play metal riffs on an acoustic, but frankly, you're not going to be there for a while anyway. On top of that, cheap acoustic guitars tend to be better (from my experience) than cheap electrics. Definitely don't go with the cheapest you can get, but let yourself be informed by someone knowledgeable in a dedicated store.

Have fun! And set some goals for yourself to progress :)
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2020, 12:58:59 PM »
Know it all.   :)

(I'm totally kidding; I appreciate the point of view, because most of my playing has been very much trial and error.)

Offline Herrick

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2020, 05:50:22 PM »
I farted around on guitar throughout my 20s. I eventually bought that Learn & Master Guitar series. I think it's very good. So that's what I'd recommend if you don't get a teacher.

I rarely play guitar anymore though. I'm a bass player at heart I guess.
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Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2020, 01:51:29 PM »
took my first trip to the local music stores to check things out this past weekend with mixed results.

Luckily enough, one shop had a used left handed Squier in stock for about $200 and he said he could get me an amp for a pretty good deal as well.  felt okay in my hands although I really don't have anything to compare it to.  I'm still on the fence about acoustic/electric and my wife is pushing me towards the acoustic as she said its "sexier".

The other shop didn't really help me as much and just handed me a card with the guitar guys name on it.  They didn't have any left handed electrics in stock and the only acoustic he had was over $500.

the journey continues...
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2020, 02:07:19 PM »
took my first trip to the local music stores to check things out this past weekend with mixed results.

Luckily enough, one shop had a used left handed Squier in stock for about $200 and he said he could get me an amp for a pretty good deal as well.  felt okay in my hands although I really don't have anything to compare it to.  I'm still on the fence about acoustic/electric and my wife is pushing me towards the acoustic as she said its "sexier".

The other shop didn't really help me as much and just handed me a card with the guitar guys name on it.  They didn't have any left handed electrics in stock and the only acoustic he had was over $500.

the journey continues...

Bro, you could have saved us several pages here if you led with that.  :) :) :) (I kid!)

Keep shopping; in my view, you'll know it when you see/play it (though $200 for a Squier is a little high, IMO. I got my Mexican sunburst Fender for $225.). 

Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2020, 01:02:27 PM »
stopped in at one more shop and this was available.  seemed nice but not sure I want to spend $275 for it....https://www.oscarschmidt.com/product/og10ceftblh/

any opinions?
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Offline Vmadera00

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2020, 01:43:07 PM »
I am not familiar with this brand, but it's an Electro-Acoustic guitar, which usually cost more than a regular acoustic.

The pre-amp it's not bad though. it's the same pre-amp used in some Sashburn guitars (which don't sound so bad when plugged in).

Offline T-ski

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2020, 02:04:06 PM »
I am not familiar with this brand, but it's an Electro-Acoustic guitar, which usually cost more than a regular acoustic.

The pre-amp it's not bad though. it's the same pre-amp used in some Sashburn guitars (which don't sound so bad when plugged in).

was told the brand Oscar Schmidt is the budget line for Washburn.
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Offline The Curious Orange

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2020, 04:54:39 AM »
My advice on playing guitar:

A is good. E is good. D is a bit tricky, but it is your friend. G is hard at first, but stick with it and you'll get there. Am and Em are nice, and you might even pick up a D7 or something at the same time. So far, so good, this guitar thing is pretty easy, isn't it?

C is hard.

F is impossible, give up now. Seriously, give up. Do not go any further. This chord will drive you insane. Go stick your left hand in an industrial mangle or something, you'll be better off.
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Offline Elite

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2020, 06:36:32 AM »
Learn silly, generally useless chords first, then expand on that :tup



(not a response to the previous post, but just nonsensical advice)
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Offline me7

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2020, 07:14:35 AM »
My advice on playing guitar:

A is good. E is good. D is a bit tricky, but it is your friend. G is hard at first, but stick with it and you'll get there. Am and Em are nice, and you might even pick up a D7 or something at the same time. So far, so good, this guitar thing is pretty easy, isn't it?

C is hard.

F is impossible, give up now. Seriously, give up. Do not go any further. This chord will drive you insane. Go stick your left hand in an industrial mangle or something, you'll be better off.

This very much sums up my experience trying to learn the guitar as a child.

Offline DoctorAction

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Re: Learning to play guitar...
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2020, 01:26:44 AM »
My advice on playing guitar:

A is good. E is good. D is a bit tricky, but it is your friend. G is hard at first, but stick with it and you'll get there. Am and Em are nice, and you might even pick up a D7 or something at the same time. So far, so good, this guitar thing is pretty easy, isn't it?

C is hard.

F is impossible, give up now. Seriously, give up. Do not go any further. This chord will drive you insane. Go stick your left hand in an industrial mangle or something, you'll be better off.

 :rollin

This is so true. 32 years in and I still play F on just a selection of strings rather than all 6.
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