How do I start playing the guitar properly?

Discussion in 'Musicians' started by soung1234, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. soung1234

    soung1234 Member

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    If you don't want a long story then pull out now...

    OK I've had an acoustic and an electric guitar for ages now, but haven't touched them for a while... I wanna start playing seriously, but I need advice on how best to proceed. I know some chords, so I can play along to songs that have chords on them. Also I can read tab, and can play all those 'standard' songs that every half-assed guitar player knows - stuff like tears in heaven & some others in the eric clapton unplugged tab book like signe, lonely stranger, etc, nothing else matters, more than words, some chilli peppers, stuff like that.

    But I dunno where to go from here. Tabs are great but it's getting kinda tedious, and it just feels like I'm not really improving my guitar skills, as all you're doing is following it blindly.

    Now I don't really want take lessons - I wanna learn my own way. I've trawled through alot of guitar books, and each seems to have a different way of going about things - chord theory, chord progressions, music theory, scales, different scale thoeories, it's confusing...

    I love almost all guitar music, from Tommy Emmanuel to Eric Clapton to Metallica, so I would like to learn various styles, from folk to blues to rock to metal.

    So what are some recommendations for going about this? I really dont know much about 'proper' music, do I really have to learn how to read sheet music, with all that shitty notation you have to decipher? I was thinking of just learning some scales, all across the fretboard, so maybe I can start playing some nice solos like clapton, or insane ones like Kirk Hammett? Are there any books or online resources you can recommend? Or any tips at all about how I should proceed with this?
     
  2. Flecktone

    Flecktone Member

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    it's very early, so i'll make this as coherent as i can.

    the best thing you can do...

    get some lessons.

    you don't need them forever, but a solid foundation from a proper teacher is worth its weight in gold.

    I've been playing guitar for 10 years now and not wanting to talk myself up, but i'm pretty good (at least getting there). I started out with about 8 lessons from a really good teacher who just gave me the basics, how to hold the guitar properly, how to finger the chords, which string is which, how to tune etc....

    the rest of it i've picked up from tabs, or just by jamming along with my favourite tracks.

    www.olga.net is your tab bible, and great for nutting out the logistics of the best way to traverse the fretboard.


    you don't need to know how to read music but it doesn't hurt to learn... ok, i lie, it does hurt and can be increadibly frustrating - but it is really good to know. Music is just a language - you can hear it and speak it without being able to read or write it, and vice-versa.


    but aside from technique, or skill or talent, the big - number one - numero uno - the big 'f**k-off' secret to music is:

    1 word, 8 letters:

    P R A C T I C E

    that word again:

    P R A C T I C E

    just once more

    P R A C T I C E

    :weirdo:

    you can find a million an one excuses why you don't need to practice, but the ONLY reason you're not going to progress is because you don't have an instrument in your hand making sound that very second.


    hope some of that helps.

    :leet:
     
  3. Flecktone

    Flecktone Member

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    Also, relating to chords.

    learn all your basics and how to move from any one to the other

    Emajor, Eminor, F Major, G Major, A Major, A minor, B Major, B Minor, C major, D Major,

    with scales or melodies, learn to use all 4 fingers on the left hand, running chromaticaly is the best way:


    e--------------------------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4--
    B---------------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-------------
    G-----------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-----------------------
    D------------------------0-1-2-3-4----------------------------------
    A------------0-1-2-3-4----------------------------------------------
    E--0-1-2-3-4--------------------------------------------------------


    up and down, forwards and backwards.

    if you're you're as messed up as me, and enjoy torturing yourself with impossible chords - do so.


    e----------------------------
    B----------------------------
    G---6--4---6-------5--7------
    D---2--2---2-------2--4------
    A---x--x---x-------3--5------
    E---5--5---5-------5--7------

    they hurt so good (on my acoustic anyway) and sound so purdy.

    also, don't be afraid to take up banjo...

    :leet: ok, maybe that's just me...
     
  4. OP
    OP
    soung1234

    soung1234 Member

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    I know this... the thing is when I play along to a tab while it may sound like the real thing, I don't 'understand' what it is I'm playing... I'm thinking maybe if I learn to read music I'll know, and then go from there in terms of playing variations and making up my own solos etc... I guess I'll just have to knuckle down and just memorise all the bloody notes...
     
  5. -=ButFli=-

    -=ButFli=- Member

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    Learn your scales. Google 'pentatonic minor' and learn it.

    Anyone can fake a solo with a pentatonic minor scale. In fact I dare say it's impossible not to fake a solo with it.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    soung1234

    soung1234 Member

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    waddiya mean fake a solo... if you know your scales then you know what you're playing? Wouldn't learn off a tab be 'faking' a solo?
     
  7. Flecktone

    Flecktone Member

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    it sounds like you're after some basic musicianship,

    you want to know what the notes are, and how they relate to each other, how to 'construct' the scales/chords/arpeggio's -

    ie

    Emajor
    e---0--
    B---0--
    G---1--
    D---2--
    A---2--
    E---0--

    the notes from lowest to highest would be E-B-E-G#-B-E giving you the 3 notes of the E major chord E-G#-B
    which also translates to I-III-V (one, three, five)


    Over the top of that chord you can use any notes of the E major scale

    E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E



    versus

    Eminor

    e---0--
    B---0--
    G---0--
    D---2--
    A---2--
    E---0--

    which would be - E-B-D-G-B-E, giving you the notes of E minor E-G-B which is also I-bIII-V (one, flat 3rd, 5)



    If you just want to learn Solo's then it's just a matter of learning melodies and how to squeeze the most out of them.

    if you want to learn how to solo, you basically need to look at improvisation - which can be just wanking around the fretboard till something cohesive comes out - or an incredibly refined art and talent.


    I'd say go and find a reputable teacher and sit down with them, tell them what you want to do, and i guarantee you they will point you in a better direction than OCAU :)
     
  8. scon

    scon Member

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    Yep, I'll jump on the lesson bandwagon, if you go and get one lesson, say once per month, you'll get alot more direction and it will improve your musicianship immensely.
     
  9. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Member

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    anyone here provide lessons in sydney ?
     
  10. Lasmi

    Lasmi Member

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    You don't learn scales, you learn the 5 scale patterns, then you learn where to start each pattern for which scale, then which note to drop for augmented/diminished etc.

    ie. For C major you use pattern 1 starting at G

    e------------------------------3-5
    B------------------------3-5-6----
    G------------------2-4-5----------
    D------------2-3-5----------------
    A------2-3-5----------------------
    E--3-5----------------------------

    One of the most popular patterns (still in Cmajor or Aminor) is the 4th (i think) starting on B

    e-----------------------------------7-8-10
    B------------------------------8-10-------
    G-----------------------7-9-10------------
    D----------------7-9-10-------------------
    A---------7-8-10--------------------------
    E--7-8-10---------------------------------

    I can't remember the others now but you could probably work them out by finding the C scale going up the fret board.

    To get your technique happening play the below warmup everyday, changing picking or where you start as you see fit. The important thing is playing it perfectly, no matter how slow you go. Any mistake then stop and start again. It's a great warmup and warmdown that really gets your fingers moving properly.

    e---------------------------------------------------
    B---------------------------------------------------
    G-------------0-----------------------0-------------
    D---------0-1---1-0--------------0-2---2-0---------
    A-----0-1-----------1-0------0-2-----------2-0-----
    E-0-1-------------------1-0-2------------------2-0-3

    up to the four finger, then go 0-1-2 then 0-1-3 then 0-1-4 then 0-2-3 etc.

    You'll struggle to find a decent music teacher who'll teach you more than a few songs and licks, most of which you can do on your own. Find a teacher, get them to show you the 5 patterns and make sure you're technique is ok then dump them and practice your heart out and when you think you're good enough start playing with a band then live...busking, markets, pubs, whatever you have to do to get in front of a audience as you instantly become a better musician.
     
  11. -=ButFli=-

    -=ButFli=- Member

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    You can just bust out the minor pentatonic, play any notes in any order and it will sound OK. You're faking it because you're not actually playing a solo that you've planned out, you're just improvising. Not that improvising is a bad thing, just the the minor pentatonic, to me, gets pretty boring pretty quick so if you're going to be composing you're own solos you're going to get better results using more complex scales.

    There's only 5 scale patterns? :Paranoid: There's like 5 different patterns just for the minor pentatonic! (don't quote me on that)
     
  12. OP
    OP
    soung1234

    soung1234 Member

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    i see... but with any rock/blues solo, isn't it just 'notes in any order', using a combination of different scales? I would like to eventually be able to compose solos (in my dreams), but reading over some of these posts, I'm thinking I'll start of with basic scale patterns I can find in a few books I've got lying around... Does that mean I'll have to memorise all the notes of each fret of the guitar as well? That goes with the territory of learning scales, I guess?

    I'm starting to get an idea of what I need to do, I really can't be arsed with a music tutor... I guess as you mentioned I'll study up on theory, like the notes of each chord, that I-III-VI stuff, doubling, etc, and then I'll be able to 'wank around on the fretboard' and take it to the next level...
     
  13. OverDriven

    OverDriven Member

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    not at all, once you start remembering scale patterns on the guitar most of it comes naturally, and you will start to remember certain notes.
     
  14. -Motley-

    -Motley- Member

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    ummmmmmmmmmm,

    plug it in,
    turn it up,
    and if the nieghbors complain,
    then u know you're playing it properly :D



    (sorrry, this was asking for it)
     
  15. TX3

    TX3 Member

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    When you start playing, your best friend is the power cord, don't bother trying all these scales and shit because you set yourself up to fail miserably for a while, or you just get along with the fact that you suck for ages.

    Start with power cords then move to alternate picking and palm muting and shit, then try some clean note songs, the first one I learnt was Ode To Joy which uses only 7 notes and theres no major hand movements. Then when I got faster at that I started with other songs like Nirvana - Come As You Are and Metallica - Enter Sandman.

    I have even noticed recently that I have gotten better at playing, espcially Nothing Else Matters, Sanitarium and Master Of Puppets and this is after 7 years of playing :tongue:
     
  16. shredder

    shredder Member

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    Sunday morning megapost time. Read at own risk - completely unstructured and rambling with random interjection of lies, propaganda and lesbian pornography.
    OLGA is alright, it was my tab resource for years when starting out, but it pales in comparison to the teaching power of interactive tab programs of the past few years like Powertab and Guitar Pro. Being able to hear the tab played back via midi while the notes are highlighted, and being able to slow it down to whatever BPM you like, etc, is just huge. And they include the music & rhythm notation so through observation you can pick up knowledge about that too, as you learn things.

    The major tab archives for these programs have been shut down, but an enterprising searcher can find zip/rar files full of literally thousands of tabs covering pretty much everything you can think of.
    You don't necessarily need to 100% read music. All I can read, is the rhythm part.
    [​IMG]
    I know what repeating 8th's sound like over a given beat, I know what 16th's sound like, etc etc. I can play back any given rhythm in my head (for a given value of 'any' :p ). And that has been hugely beneficial to my understanding of music, especially when it comes to fast solos. Because you can have the whole rhythmic structure playing through in your head before you even play it, you're not just blindly following tab numbers and desperately trying to figure out how to play it - you already know how to play it, it's running through your head, you've just gotta physically make it happen - which is where your technique training, practice, and experience comes in.

    So that's rhythm/timing.

    Melody is the same in it's own way - the great players will know what a lot of what they play is going to sound like, before they even play/hear it. And as with rhythm, it's about knowledge, familiarity and experience. Understanding what makes up a scale, and a chord is the first step to advance your knowledge. Practice brings familiarity. Time brings experience. And of course a lot can be learned from other players, seeing what they do and how they do it, taking ideas and incorporating them into what you do, while putting your own spin on them - seeing what scales they use, knowing from your theoretical knowledge what other scales/notes could have been used, and eventually hearing in your head what they would sound like without even having to play them.

    Learning to read the melody part of musical notation (the vertical positions of the notes on the staff) would I think be quite valuable too. I haven't done it. :p But it would give you a semi- structured and systematic way of approaching melody in the same way that the rhythmic notation aspect does for it's area. Whether you want to go down that road is up to you - I would say that it would be beneficial in some ways, but if you don't... then join the club - it's a big one, and you won't be in bad company. :)
    This is where most people start when they get into lead theory. Learn the minor pentatonic scale, shape 1, and play the notes in whatever order you can force your fingers to jump around in. You start to learn common easy licks and endings and things, maybe even seeing what good players do when the underlying chord changes (starting with resolution to the root note), etc. You start to learn some more basic scales (maybe using the CAGED system described below, or maybe your own or some other way).

    Then you add some chord theory, and realise that when you're playing over an E minor (for example) chord, the individual notes of the E minor chord which are common to the E minor scale you're playing (or that note an octave higher or lower or whatever... or a note bent UP to that note... or whatever you can think of, cue creativity), are notes that sound good to linger on or to start on/end on with a solo lick. So it's not quite random any more. Then you might say, ahh but this other scale I've learned is an E minor-based scale (say "E harmonic minor" scale) as well and only one of it's notes is different from the E minor scale - so if I use that note instead, it'll give my solo licks a subtly different 'flavour' while still being musically 'right' (depending on backing, if any).

    And eventually, after bloody years ;) you will have picked up (or actively searched out) and practiced lots of different musical 'flavours' over different backings, and will know how to handle chord changes (do I stick with the same scale through the whole progression? change to a different scale when the chord changes? which notes are best to use when changing? if I want to utilize notes that -aren't- musically right but still make it sound good, how do I do it? etc) and a ton of other things. All of this leads to the ideal musical state where you can basically play a guitar entirely in your head, knowing what everything will sound like and being able to physically translate it into actual playing with ease, pulling from a large pool of technical and musical tools/concepts, combined with a personal creativity that's your own and that you've honed over time. This naturally corresponds to being a total guitar god, and having the adoration of all (mainly the women). OK I lie, mainly the men. The women will only like you because the men will all envy you. ;)
    Oops just read that last bit. Oh well the button's been pushed, can't take it back now.

    Look into the CAGED system - 5 movable patterns that cover all of your basic major scales (which are just major pentatonic scales with two extra notes after all), with a different chord shape corresponding with (well, forming a part of) each of the five scale shapes. The 5 chord shapes being of course, those that you know as the basic open C, A, G, E and D chords (with finger barres added where appropriate to substitute for the nut when you're not in the open position). The simplicity of having only 5 shapes to cover the whole fretboard is a bonus, and learning the scale's relationship to the basic parent chord shape is very valuable and helps with the soloing theory I talked about above. The CAGED system works with minor scales too (the scale shapes are the same as with major, but the root notes are in different places, and the corresponding chord shapes are different).
    Yeah it comes over time too. You know what the notes of the open strings are, E A D G B E, that's a start. Then you know that a chromatic scales goes A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# (in other words there is always a 2-fret gap between A and B, C and D, D and E, F and G, G and A... but only a one-fret gap between B and C, and E and F), and you know that everything just repeats over starting from the 12th fret, then you're halfway there. You'll also probably start to know a few common notes dotted around the neck, like where all the E's are, and where all the A's are, both by memory and deduction (e.g. if you know that 5th fret, 6th string is A, and you know the basic octave fingering pattern, then you know that 7th fret 4th string is also A... and B is always gonna be 2 frets above that, so you basically know where a couple of B's are too.. and so forth). Just learning and analysing a few basic chord shapes, knowing how the chord is composed on the fretboard (and in terms of the individual notes position in the chord's parent scale) will help too. At first you'll need to think for a second to figure out what note you're on, but it's not as daunting as it may seem when first faced with a possible 144 individual fretting positions.

    Everything links together to form one big picture, you just need to spend some time looking at the separate elements before you see it.
    Yep it sounds like you are on the right track.

    I would always argue when somebody says that a teacher has no benefits - they can have huge benefits to your progress. If you've found some benefit in any of this words-only post, or anybody else's, then that is evidence enough. But that doesn't mean that everyone should have one for maximum enjoyment in the big picture. You'll never know what paths you might have taken on your own if you stick to somebody else's direction, just like you'll never know how 'technical'/fast or conventionally musical you might have been if you went to the best possible teacher. And you're not exactly bereft of resources (online, or videos, tabs, books, friends who play, music you listen to, etc). If you're doing alright with the basics, and are having fun with it all, then that's the main thing. Take what tuition you want, to get where you want to be (and maybe for you, that's none). For me it was not a lot in terms of actual physical teachers (though I did a bit of reading and learning etc on my own - not excessively). Playing with other people/musicians, sooner rather than later, is also essential if your goal is to be in a band and play on stage.

    This is all a bit rambling I know... I wanted to moderate my comments above about doing your own thing - in that no matter what you do you will always be copying other people and doing things other people's way, to an extent. The music you listen to will be a major element of the music you make. Every solo you ever hear is being stored in your brain - the brain is subconciously processing and archiving the things it finds interesting and compiling your own personal musical ideas and preferences and prejudices. Theory adds structure and guidelines, beneficial (pretty much essential) in many ways for most people, but on the (arguable) downside it's possible to learn theory to the extent that in the end you just sound like a carbon copy of every other person in the world that's learned that same theory. Learn theory but stay aware of the development of your own musical identity too, don't be afraid to experiment. There's some bloody weird music out there which is a testament to just how broad your limits are, you can bet that every writer of every bit of weird music out there loves their creation in their own way.

    Sorry, I lied about the lesbian pornography - and no, you can't have your ten minutes back.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2006
  17. Tex Zero

    Tex Zero Member

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    Yeah. Except it looks like our friends at the MPAA have decided that olga.net is now illegal. Can't have all you guitar pirates stealing tabs can we. FFS. :mad:
     
  18. BurningFeetMan

    BurningFeetMan Member

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    Personally, I love to improvise!

    Step A) Direct winamp to ~ 20gig of HD music

    Step B) Crank speakers, turn up guitar

    Steb C) Play along to random songs.

    :thumbup:

    Sooner or later, you'll hit a song, and go, "hey, this is kinda fun"... and hit loop. All of a sudden, you'll be writting your own crazy solo's to techno tunes that haven't seen the light of day in 10 years...

    THEN, if you really want a challange, get a tempo-pitchshifter for winamp. It'll speed the songs up (or slow them down) to assist you in your random song guitar play along challange!

    Finally, if you start writting your own stuff, record! That way, you'll never ever forget anything. Just remember to back up to CD once every few months, and you'll be set.

    EDIT: I want it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ022eXOK2Q&search=manson guitar
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006

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