Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Tips for learning how to play guitar?
Old 10-20-2020, 01:52 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
DFW_M5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: DFW
Posts: 6,207
Tips for learning how to play guitar?

I've been staring at a Stratocaster electric guitar and amp sitting in the corner of my man cave for many years. It was a christmas present for DD when she was a teen, and while she learned to play an acoustic guitar she had no interest in the electric. My DS took it for several years and he didn't do much to learn and gave it back to me to store. Well at age 71, the curiosity of whether an old dog could learn to play bit me. I am wondering if any of you learned to play later in life and have any good tips for the best way to go about this, besides practicing every day which I know is a must. It seems there are a million online learning programs and many youtube videos, but I have no idea of good ones vs ones that will be a waste of time. Is it best to work on finger exercises first, learn to read music, just learn cords, etc. This may well be an exercise in frustration and futility, but I am determined to give it a good effort. All advice would be welcomed.

By the way, I did order a device called Chord Buddy which appeared on Shark Tank. It was inexpensive and looked like an interesting approach, but I also want to take a more traditional approach to learning.
__________________
Doing things today that others won't, to do things tomorrow that others can't. Of course I'm referring to workouts, not robbing banks.
DFW_M5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-20-2020, 02:42 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: the prairies
Posts: 2,830
I've been playing guitar and bass for decades. My recommendation is to take lessons for a little while at least so that good technique can be learned and bad technique can be corrected before it is ingrained.

You're 71 and if you just want to be able to strum some songs I don't think it's necessary to learn to read music (unless you want to). Find a good teacher who can show you the basic open chords, barre chords, and a little bit of theory so that you can figure some stuff out on your own.
Music Lover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 04:22 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
DFW_M5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: DFW
Posts: 6,207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
I've been playing guitar and bass for decades. My recommendation is to take lessons for a little while at least so that good technique can be learned and bad technique can be corrected before it is ingrained.

You're 71 and if you just want to be able to strum some songs I don't think it's necessary to learn to read music (unless you want to). Find a good teacher who can show you the basic open chords, barre chords, and a little bit of theory so that you can figure some stuff out on your own.
If these were no-Covid times, I would probably seek out a local teacher, but do not want to take a chance on being with a teacher in close proximity in a small music room. For goals, I just want to be able to play some songs mostly for self entertainment and see where that takes me. I probably do not have enough motivation to learn how to read classical sheet music, but a tab or chord chart should be doable.
__________________
Doing things today that others won't, to do things tomorrow that others can't. Of course I'm referring to workouts, not robbing banks.
DFW_M5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 04:42 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2,205
OP, I am no great guitarist. I think the first thing you should do is honestly assess how you intend to harvest enjoyment from the guitar. Playing like Clapton on your Strat? Probably not going to happen.
I have finally, after 50 years of harboring fantasies of playing like Doc Watson, Eric Clapton, or even my college roommate, taken the approach that I advise poor golfers to take. I'm actually a pretty good golfer, and I tell them to enjoy the day, expect a lot of bad shots, enjoy the good ones, and don't be too "performance" driven.

So when I got back up north from Florida last April in the midst of the COVID hysteria, I unpacked the old Taylor acoustic and started to Travis pick some John Prine stuff. Some is relatively easy, some just seems that way when he does it. The point is I have found many lessons on YouTube, and I pick away, never intending to play in front of people. After all of these decades I have finally found the avenue to enjoying the process. I don't know that I'll ever play in front of people. Doesn't matter. I play for myself.

Try to find a process you enjoy.

Good luck.
HadEnuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 04:46 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
cbo111's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 676
I've been "learning" to play acoustic guitar for nearly 50 years. I've owned three different guitars during this period. I went as far as signing up for Guitar 101 way back in college. But the woman who taught the course made us all sing along to the basic songs we were attempting to learn. This bugged the crap out of me, so I dropped the class after a few weeks. My only advise (that I was too weak to follow) is once you start learning, do not stop. My mistake was picking it up for just long enough for the finger pain to ease as I developed those finger calluses. Then I would abandon ship for years at a time, and have to start over again.
cbo111 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 06:02 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: No fixed abode
Posts: 7,963
Just for fun you could get a copy of Rocksmith or Guitar for Dummies software. They are the best two I've seen. You won't be learning music theory, but you'll learn to play some songs (lead, rhythm, or bass). Amd most importantly, if you do it for an hour a day or whatever you'll develop dexterity that will allow you to move on to other techniques. It's appropriately socially distant, and a fun way to learn your away around the fretboard.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Anonymous (not Will Rogers or Sam Clemens)
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 06:16 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
steelyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NC Triangle
Posts: 4,657
Have your guitar nearby, some place you pass by often, and think of it as fun, not a challenge.
__________________

steelyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 06:22 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
Birdie Num Nums's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 986
And make sure you keep the fingernails of your fretting hand clipped...often. It's no fun trying to learn new chords with fingernails that get in the way and frustrate you.


Two of my favorite guitar learning/song learning sites are: JustinGuitar and JamesJames.
Birdie Num Nums is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 06:35 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 410
I taught myself how to play during COVID, and I am not half bad at this point - just ask my grandkids!

I tried out all kinds of YouTube videos, but landed on Justin Sandercoe of JustinGuitar.com as being the best. I felt like I had an in-person guitar teacher, and his Aussie accent is a big bonus as well.

He teaches acoustic and electric guitar, plus ukelele. I have purchased five of his guitar books and find them terrific in that they are filled with tips on how to improve your playing.

My strumming game is pretty darn good too at this point, I gotta say.
ElizabethT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 07:24 PM   #10
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdie Num Nums View Post
And make sure you keep the fingernails of your fretting hand clipped...often. It's no fun trying to learn new chords with fingernails that get in the way and frustrate you.


Two of my favorite guitar learning/song learning sites are: JustinGuitar and JamesJames.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElizabethT View Post
I taught myself how to play during COVID, and I am not half bad at this point - just ask my grandkids!

I tried out all kinds of YouTube videos, but landed on Justin Sandercoe of JustinGuitar.com as being the best. I felt like I had an in-person guitar teacher, and his Aussie accent is a big bonus as well.

He teaches acoustic and electric guitar, plus ukelele. I have purchased five of his guitar books and find them terrific in that they are filled with tips on how to improve your playing.

My strumming game is pretty darn good too at this point, I gotta say.



Clicked on this post to recommend JustinGuitar.

Amazing free content on his site.
More than enough to really get you going.

Brace yourself, you'll never "win" at guitar/music. There is always something else to learn/create/do. This of course what makes it a great hobby and equally frustrating.
compounder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 08:45 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
WestUniversity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 561
I learned by ear and by playing. Learn the major chords and then the minor chords and start playing. Use only open chords at first. Learn the bar chords later on. You can get chord charts of virtually any song simply by googling it. The song will at the least have the chord indicated by letter at each point of change in the song. Some charts will actually show a picture of the chord and the necessary finger positions.

It will take time and practice to remember the structure of each chord, and to get callouses built up on your finger tips. If the steel strings are too hard on your finger tips consider a nylon string guitar. Itís easier on your finger tips, but a warning, itís harder to keep tuned because the strings stretch so easily.

Get practiced at making the chords and strumming. Once you can play a song and change chords with out looking to see if youíve done the chord correctly start working on finger picking. There are several basic picking patterns you can look up on the web.

Truly IMHO, I think itís one of the easiest instruments to learn...
__________________
Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in private and public life have been the consequence of action without thought... - Bernard Baruch
WestUniversity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2020, 08:51 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
Birdie Num Nums's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 986
And a guitar capo is your friend. Always have a good one in your kit.
Birdie Num Nums is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 06:06 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Koolau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Leeward Oahu
Posts: 4,575
Someone mentioned Youtube videos. There are several that teach specific songs. I played around on guitar years and years ago, but don't even own one now. BUT I enjoy watching the videos. I seem to learn a lot about the song and the player - not so much how to actually play (since I don't have a guitar - duh!)

Here's a favorite: YMMV

__________________
Ko'olau's Law -

Anything which can be used can be misused. Anything which can be misused will be.
Koolau is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 06:20 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Koolau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Leeward Oahu
Posts: 4,575
Oh, and for a bit (quite a bit) more advanced lesson, how about CROSSROADS as played by Cream (Eric Clapton). This shows the string bending and some other tricks. Enjoy, even if you don't actually try it since YMMV.

__________________
Ko'olau's Law -

Anything which can be used can be misused. Anything which can be misused will be.
Koolau is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 06:48 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: SoCal, SE Florida, Lausanne
Posts: 1,787
I have been playing guitar, bass, keyboards since age 12 (on and off). I started at a time when there were no online tools. It takes some music theory and learning scales, chords and practicing about an hour per day to develop calluses on you fingers so you can play easily. Get a guitar tuner if you don't already have one (about $10). Once you learn chord patterns and scales you should be able to play just about any song. Pick an artist you like and search online for tablatures of songs from the artist and start practicing the songs you like. It just takes some discipline and a lot of practice to become proficient.
Freedom56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 06:56 AM   #16
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
Have your guitar nearby, some place you pass by often, and think of it as fun, not a challenge.
This. I keep a guitar in my office upstairs and the TV room downstairs. When I'm watching TV (like CNBC in the morning) or mindlessly surfing the 'net (like reading this forum! ), I pick up my guitar and run through cord progressions, scales, or play an easy song. Stuff that's easy to do while half of my attention is elsewhere. However, when it comes time to learn new chords, songs, techniques, etc., you really need to be fully focused on the task at hand . . . which is something I don't do enough of, unfortunately.
Ducati52 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 07:10 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Posts: 6,657
Buy the Beatles Complete book.

Repetition with purpose is your friend.

Write your own songs so you make no mistakes.
target2019 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 07:20 AM   #18
Moderator
sengsational's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7,365
It's a personal choice, but I like to get inspired by a particular song and play the heck out of it, but with very low expectations. So for instance I'd just pick one thing...the intro or something small, and try to get that. Youtube becomes manageable then; you'll find a few videos and one teacher of that lick will be your favorite. Then learn more and more of that song. Or not. I like to learn a complete song, start to finish, playing with the beat (drum machine, along with the record, along with a backing track, or a metronome... whatever... just so you learn how to smoothly slide over the f-ups). No theory for me, but I have tabs when I start learning a song. I usually do my own because, although I scrape youtube, I tend to pick and choose from multiple sources, and simplify or expand what I find. The tabs are then not needed as I smooth out the song, as I've got muscle memory, but if I don't play for a week or a month (back in the days when I could go on long vacations), I'd forget how I'd do something, and the tabs can help. Also, when I get a song "down", I'll record a video.

You can expect, if I'm a good example, to lose ground if you don't practice. A few years back, I got my bass out after 30 years and learned about a dozen songs, playing and vocals against a backing track. I set down the bass and picked up the ukulele and have a dozen songs on the uke now. But when I tried the bass recently, after months of no practice, I couldn't play a lot of what I formerly could. I figure it would take me weeks to even get somewhat close to my earlier proficiency.

Oh, and if you think anyone will want to actually listen while you play, put that idea completely out of your mind

If the idea of backing tracks appeals to you, I've found that you can buy a song for $5 or something on "karaoke version" site. You need to buy the more expensive version in order to be able to build your own mix. You'll probably want a mix with the electric guitar high and everything else low, for learning, and another mix with the electric guitar muted. Then you will just need to add-in the audience cheering at the end
sengsational is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 08:29 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 27,425
I play classical guitar - you really need a teacher to get started! I occasionally use online lesson videos now. But my technique is well established and I don’t need much help. Still, online teachers via Skype were common before Covid-19.

I also learned chords self taught as a teenager for basic strumming - good for many songs. Easy way to learn as a beginner. And then you start to pick out things like Stairway to Heaven, LOL. I kind of miss my old twelve string guitar. Loved the sound!

Oh, yeah, the calluses!

I had a friend learn electric guitar pretty well long ago from books and tapes. I expect video lessons for beginners are abundant and should be some very good ones.

About an old dog learning new tricks - I resumed piano after almost 40 years of not playing at all. Came back super quickly and am now well passed the level I was at 20. So I would say you definitely can!
__________________
Retired since summer 1999.
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2020, 09:03 AM   #20
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Markola's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,619
If you want to play like Eddie Van Halen, never take a lesson, invent your own techniques and build your own guitar. Otherwise, yeah, YouTube.
Markola is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
There Are Learning Remote Controls ... and Then There Are Learning Remote Controls easysurfer Other topics 23 06-06-2019 11:48 AM
Learning to play a musical instrument after Retirement? Ed B Life after FIRE 59 08-07-2017 09:33 PM
learning to play-a losing battle? vicente solano Young Dreamers 19 05-27-2009 07:29 AM
Hello from a young doctor who is not starving anymore! Looking for a play-by-play! alwaysjammin Hi, I am... 35 12-31-2008 11:02 AM
Name your dream (or preferred) Acoustic or Electric Guitar (or any instrument) chinaco Other topics 20 06-19-2007 07:19 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:49 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.