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Any Guitar Players Here?
Old 03-24-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
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Any Guitar Players Here?

Just curious if anyone here plays the guitar? I've been thinking of starting a hobby and have always wanted to take up a musical instrument. I've been torn between drums and the guitar but lately have been leaning towards the latter.

Any guitar players on the board and any constructive feedback (i.e. guitar costs, how long did it take you to get good and not have people cover their ears, etc.)....

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:23 PM   #2
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If you take up drums, and get good, you will likely have more gigs than if you get good at guitar. That is, drummers are usually in high demand.

However, every time you have a gig with a drum set, you have to take it apart, load it into the car, and set it up at the gig. This can get old.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:30 PM   #3
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If you take up drums, and get good, you will likely have more gigs than if you get good at guitar. That is, drummers are usually in high demand.

However, every time you have a gig with a drum set, you have to take it apart, load it into the car, and set it up at the gig. This can get old.
Thanks Al. Not really looking for any "gigs", just wanted to pick up a hobby and I've always liked music. I recently saw the movie "August Rush" and the acoustic guitar-influenced songs are just awesome!
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:33 PM   #4
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Any guitar players on the board and any constructive feedback (i.e. guitar costs, how long did it take you to get good and not have people cover their ears, etc.)....

Thanks.
I've played on and off for 30+ years and it's an excellent hobby. I began as a way of getting my mind off studies in grad school, then kept it up as a stress reliever. My stress, that is, others might argue my playing increased theirs.

First thing, decide between a classical and a steel string. Classical is easier on the fingers for a beginner, steel is best for most folk and rock. I began with a steel string, played that for a few years, then picked up a classical and I rarely use the steel string any more. I finger pick the classical, which is easy on the fingers, is mellow, and allows me to put it down for a few months then pick it up and begin playing again without having to break in the fingers again. On cost, I'd say 300-400,m maybe 500, should buy a good beginner's guitar, something like a basic Yamaha classical. Search the threads, there was a discussion at one time of specific guitars.

On how long it takes to "get good," there is no answer. You can begin in a few days to get good enough to feel you are playing the guitar, and if you ask a professional classical guitarist they would say they are still trying to get good. It's more of an inner feeling. But I'd say if you are dedicated, within a few months you should be able to play basic chords, strums, and some finger picking patterns to play simple songs and sound pretty good.

Best of luck, it's a great instrument.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:45 PM   #5
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I've played on and off for 30+ years and it's an excellent hobby. I began as a way of getting my mind off studies in grad school, then kept it up as a stress reliever. My stress, that is, others might argue my playing increased theirs.

First thing, decide between a classical and a steel string. Classical is easier on the fingers for a beginner, steel is best for most folk and rock. I began with a steel string, played that for a few years, then picked up a classical and I rarely use the steel string any more. I finger pick the classical, which is easy on the fingers, is mellow, and allows me to put it down for a few months then pick it up and begin playing again without having to break in the fingers again. On cost, I'd say 300-400,m maybe 500, should buy a good beginner's guitar, something like a basic Yamaha classical. Search the threads, there was a discussion at one time of specific guitars.

On how long it takes to "get good," there is no answer. You can begin in a few days to get good enough to feel you are playing the guitar, and if you ask a professional classical guitarist they would say they are still trying to get good. It's more of an inner feeling. But I'd say if you are dedicated, within a few months you should be able to play basic chords, strums, and some finger picking patterns to play simple songs and sound pretty good.

Best of luck, it's a great instrument.
Thanks for your feedback. I'm leaning towards acoustic (rather than electric) and thanks for the great tip about the classical string.
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:46 PM   #6
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Pawn shops are a great place to find a good guitar at a reasonable price. I picked up an Ibanez performance classical with an all maple body for around $200 a couple years ago. You can find used drum sets for $400 and up. I've still got my ludwig set from the '70s.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:13 PM   #7
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I teach fingerstyle guitar. If you like the sound of steel string acoustic that's what you should start with. Passion is a great motivator. While the nylon strings of a classical guitar are easier on your fingertips, the fingerboard is wider and it takes more muscle to hold strings down. It's sort of a trade off.

You will have a much wider selection choice when shopping for instruments if you go with a steel string. Don't cheap out on this purchase. A really cheap guitar is usually hard to play and very frustrating for beginners. You'll probably need to spend about 300 dollars for a decent student guitar.

Consider finding a community schools course or rec program class for adults in your area to get started. These can be low pressure, cheap and good fun.

A really good teacher or class should have you doing some tolerable basic playing in fairly short order. I have some students who have been pretty good players after a year - but they have been highly motivated and practice! Practice and tenacity are a pretty good substitute for talent.

BTW - drummers ARE more employable, but you won't be able to practice during nap time
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:30 PM   #8
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I thinking about getting Guitar Hero for my new Wii system does that count ?
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:01 PM   #9
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Been playing for 40 years and still learning. My advice is to find a good teacher and see if you can't rent or lease a guitar before buying one. Currently own and play a Tayor 814 and an Amercian fender strat, have proabably owned over twenty plus guitars throughout the years. Learn on a decent instrument, not some piece of crap with a high action (distance between the strings and frets). Making your own music is good brain exercise and a greater stress reliever.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:00 PM   #10
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I've been strumming a dozen or so chords on guitar occasionally for about 20 years and people still cover their ears

My 13 y/o daughter on the other hand has been playing electric bass for only a month and is already sounding good. (she has the advantage though of already knowing music via playing clarinet at school - and of not being tone deaf like her dad )

Ever thought of bass?
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:30 PM   #11
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You will never be lonely again even if you just learn basic backup chords to start. Melody instruments - fiddles, mandolins, banjos are always looking for "rhythm slaves". You'll be the most popular girl at the jam! Just need to listen to the music and decide on the style you like. Do you sing? Maybe folk song groups - or how about bluegrass? Or Irish music- playing in the pubs. Then you can go to festivals, jams and music camps. Nothing beats sitting out under some trees with a bunch of friends and playing music.8)
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:21 AM   #12
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The joke was that if you have a 'friend' or relative that you don't particularly care for, get their kids a drum set.
One neighbor had a divorced daughter with young son living with them. The father got a drum set for sons birthday. He played with it in the house for a few days... then his grandfather started moving it out to the driveway when he wanted to play. Luckily that only lasted a few weeks.

Back to the thread subject. I was a garage band guitarist in my youth. Everyone learned the basic cords 'GCD' for the basic r&r music.
I recommend the guitar. Get as good a quality as you can. Renting is a good idea for starters if you can find it. Pawn shops are a good place to check for quality instruments for a good price.
Take lessons so you get the basics down. I still strum a few cords now and then... and it's on my list to take back up again. Once you get the basics you can go out and find 'fake books' so you can play your favorite songs easily.

Once you learn how to play, you will amuse yourself and can entertain (hopefully) your friends and family for years to come. It's a great hobby.
Best of luck to you.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:35 AM   #13
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Long-time guitar player here.

A bit of advice. I assume you are thinking about an acoustic steel string.

Buy an inexpensive guitar that plays decent and get the action set up... just ask the retailer to recommend someone.

The reason for an inexpensive guitar is that most people do not continue after they see that it s more difficult than they expected.

Ultimately, if you stay with it and intend to play often... you will want to buy a better instrument. You can expect to spend around $1k +/- to get a nice instrument.

An electric guitar is a whole different expereince than an acoustic.

I would suggest keyboard (piano) instead... if you are starting from scratch. You can get a fairly nice electronic keyboard for under $1k.

IMO - I think a keyboard is easier to play than a guitar.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Calgary_Girl View Post
Just curious if anyone here plays the guitar? I've been thinking of starting a hobby and have always wanted to take up a musical instrument. I've been torn between drums and the guitar but lately have been leaning towards the latter.

Any guitar players on the board and any constructive feedback (i.e. guitar costs, how long did it take you to get good and not have people cover their ears, etc.)....

Thanks.
Hi, I'm AJ and I am a recovering drummer. This is my story, and I'm sticking to it...

I played drums (no musical training - VERY dangerous...) from about the age of 15 through 40 in various bands, starting with high school garage bands and eventually into successful weekend warrior bands playing everything from weddings to clubs. It was/is a great hobby to meet people, engage yourself in something challenging and productive, and even make a few bucks on the side.

In my late 20's I bought a used Epiphone acoustic, but never picked it up until my late 30's. Pretty much self taught from books and playing by ear, picking up some from musical friends, etc. I love playing America/Beatles/Eagles/REM/J Taylor and other pop songs for my own enjoyment, and with friends when available. Now in my early 50's, I am SO not a virtuoso, but I still play regularly (approx 40-50 nights a year) as a solo singer/guitarist and occasionally with a couple of friends as a duo or trio. Over the years my musical income has paid a lot of bills and helped put our 2 kids through college.

Point being, you can take it as far as you want to, within your limitations of time, effort, and ability. You don't have to play gigs. I would recommend the guitar or piano/keyboard if it is something you think you'll do mostly for your own enjoyment. Drumming is fun, but you really have to have other musicians to jam with as playing along with IPOD/headphones gets a little tiresome after a while. With piano/guitar, you can do your own thing or play with others.

If you have a friend who is a player, or local music store you are comfortable with, they can help you select a good beginning guitar. Something that tunes and plays well is important, and I second the idea of not spending too much at first ($200-300), as the attrition rate is high. When you want to step uo, you can always trade your first guitar in, or keep it for campfire sing alongs.

Learning takes time and patience, but in my case, once I started, a passion took over and I played it every chance I got - though at first, your fingers will get pretty sore until you build up those callouses!

Playing an instrument has been a great source of entertainement and fulfillment in our family and for many friends. I highly recommend it if you're interested.
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:20 AM   #15
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Wow...thanks to everyone for their replies. You've all inspired me to take up the guitar . I was sitting on the fence between the classical vs. steel string and I'm leaning slightly toward the steel (even though it sounds as though my fingers will pay the initial price for it ).

DH plays the bagpipes (if you can believe that) and he wants me to play the drums so we can play together....uh, I told him he might have to forget that idea.

Has anyone seen the movie August Rush? They have some terrific guitar-inspired songs and my goal one day is to learn a few of the songs from the movie (after I get REALLY good that is....)
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:54 AM   #16
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Late to this party...

Been playing 40+ years, still only mediocre...

I'd recommend guitar over drums from a "hobby" perspective. Hard to play drums around the campfire...

For a moderately priced guitar, look for Ibanez, Takamine, or Yamaha. Pawn shops are good, but you need a reasonably good "eye" when buying used to make sure there's no damage, like loose bridge, warped neck, cracked head/neck, etc.

Lessons are good, and will get you going faster. You should decide, though, how serious to be. No reason to spend a lot of time learning to read music, if you're going to play basic folk/rock/country.

I once saw a concert pianist being interviewed. His take on rehearsal:

"After one day off, I can tell. After two days off, the conductor can tell. After three days off, the audience can tell..."

He never mentioned taking a month off...
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:17 AM   #17
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Has anyone seen the movie August Rush? They have some terrific guitar-inspired songs and my goal one day is to learn a few of the songs from the movie (after I get REALLY good that is....)
Haven't seen the movie, but watched the trailer and they were playing some simple acoustic steel string guitar stuff that you should be able to play acceptably within a few months.

If you just want to play for personal entertainment and as a hobby, I think you're taking the right approach -- find some music you really like, and set an objective of being able to play it well enough to satisfy yourself. That's how I did it, beginning with John Denver music, then moving to some other folk and blues, and moving on from there.

I'd like to repeat what HFWR and others said, taking lessons is a good idea, but be careful in the method you choose. Unless you want to be a concert guitarist, I would avoid methods of reading individual notes. It's difficult, frustrating, and most beginning guitarists would not stick to it. Instead, choose a method that emphasizes basic open chords, strumming patterns, and some finger picking styles. That is much faster, more rewarding, and within a relatively short time you will be able to play a whole lot of folk and rock music. I'm sure teachers like Janet can give you more specific advice, but that's been my experience FWIW.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #18
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Haven't seen the movie, but watched the trailer and they were playing some simple acoustic steel string guitar stuff that you should be able to play acceptably within a few months.

If you just want to play for personal entertainment and as a hobby, I think you're taking the right approach -- find some music you really like, and set an objective of being able to play it well enough to satisfy yourself. That's how I did it, beginning with John Denver music, then moving to some other folk and blues, and moving on from there.

I'd like to repeat what HFWR and others said, taking lessons is a good idea, but be careful in the method you choose. Unless you want to be a concert guitarist, I would avoid methods of reading individual notes. It's difficult, frustrating, and most beginning guitarists would not stick to it. Instead, choose a method that emphasizes basic open chords, strumming patterns, and some finger picking styles. That is much faster, more rewarding, and within a relatively short time you will be able to play a whole lot of folk and rock music. I'm sure teachers like Janet can give you more specific advice, but that's been my experience FWIW.
Thanks again. This is exactly what I'm thinking of doing - trying to learn to play a few songs that I really like.

DH has talked to his bagpipe teacher and she had a former student that gave up the 'pipes to focus on guitar a few years ago who may be willing to give me lessons. I'm leaning towards private lessons rather than through a music store since most of the employees are 18 yr olds that have probably played for only a year
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:40 PM   #19
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Haven't seen the movie, but watched the trailer and they were playing some simple acoustic steel string guitar stuff that you should be able to play acceptably within a few months.
Very cool guitar scene from August Rush that I would love to learn someday. In the movie, it looks like the kid is playing but it's actually Kaki King's hands.

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Old 03-25-2008, 02:10 PM   #20
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Another song from August Rush I'd love to learn:

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