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 Post subject: Guitarists, what direction did you take learning the guitar?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:29 am 
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Wondering how you went about learning the guitar. Did you practice chords first?scales? Try to learn some songs by playing tabs?

I first picked up the guitar about 11-12 years ago and honestly I cant really play a song. I can play bits and pieces of some songs, and maybe a couple Ramones tunes. Now I havent played it regularly in that time. Deployments and such have gotten in the way and there were other times where I didnt pick up the guitar for weeks. Now I am starting to get back into it. I started out with a friend showing me some basic chords A, B, C ect.

Now here I am 11-12 years later and I can only still do those same basic chords and power chords. I am really pissed at myself that I should be light-years better than I am. I have always wanted to be in a band but I need to get way better before I can think about that.

I really lack direction. I recently got a local teacher here to help with that. I told him my finger speed/accuracy and "soloing" (for lack of a better term) needs major work. He put me on the spider drill as he called it which I have been practicing alot latley. Told also me about the blues scale, and the notes on the fretboard.

So how did you guys learn? Was there anything that stands out as really helping you get better? Other than the obvous answer - practice. What did you practice? Anything really help you accelerate?


Thanks guys!


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 Post subject: Re: Guitarists, what direction did you take learning the gui
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:50 am 
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Learning basic chords and getting a feel for rhythm is a big thing. The "spider drills" that you speak of, are they just chromatic movements using each finger on each corresponding fret (ie. 1-5 frets on each string) moving up the neck? If so, this is a killer practice that Randy was big into, and I was taught it very early on. Make sure to glue your thumb mentally to the back of the neck and let your finger strength build up. If you do this for like an hour a day every day for a few months you'll be able to move around WAY fast. From there it's all muscle memory and theory. But that's all running before you can "walk".

String action, guitar type, and pickup style are also important, as well as proper equipment. I dont know exactly what you're working with, but to any "beginning student" these would be my guidelines. The bare bones for a semi-serious guitar student should be (depending on your $$$) a 30 or 40 watt practice amp with a 10" or 12" speaker, (anything less is basically a souped up boom-box) a guitar with humbuckers, and all the works / decent enough tuners / proper adjustment. The rest is just layered into effects. Most quality modern practice amps have some other options, but bare bones is good too (the [url]Peavey Vyper http://magpiemusic.com.au/store/compone ... 02fabe.jpg[/url] comes to mind). a couple ten foot cables are always good to have around, and maybe a stomp-box or two when you start to figure out your sound. Shop used for sure if you're not sure how deep you want to get into this, you can get some killer deals on gear in pawn shops and music stores. Places like Guitar Center are great, but a lot of the times the sales staff isn't very experienced and will just sell you a "guaranteed piece of sh*t"

Another big thing is getting chords down. Once you learn all the basic rock chords (think Angus Young stuff, like A to G to E to D to A again) and get some rhythm moving behind it (metronomes / drum machines are killer at this stage) then you'll really get a knack for things. My personal way of learning when I was younger was one of Digitech's RP series pedals. It was an old RP100 that i bought for $80 my freshmen year of high-school, used. It had a billion different amps and things, and a drum machine. I would plug my headphones into that thing and sit there for hours upon hours just jamming to different drum loops. Finally i would plug this contraption into my line in on my old windows computer and record different numbers of drum loops and record chords to it, just basic pentatonic and blues stuff. This gave me a "jam track" of sorts to improv to. Sometimes if I really liked it I would use the old "harmonic shifter" and turn my guitar signal down 12 steps at 100% to make bass tracks in my drum loops. Power chords and speed are your best friends at this point. From there I would figure out the key signature and apply various "shapes" of scales that I had committed to memory into the track for solos and leads.

Learning "pocket" cover tunes is fine, but don't obsess over too many covers or you'll never really get beyond that, unless that's your ultimate goal. For instance, everyone knows how to play smoke on the water and stairway, but nobody REALLY makes that their goal when they pick up guitar. Instead learn styles, research your favorite guitarists rigs and scales that they use in their leads, find out what string gauges and things they liked, and understand how these things form their sound, and contrast with your own. These kinds of things will steer you into your musical direction. Find a musical idol that you completely worship in all dimensions. For me (and 99% of anyone on this website) it's Randy Rhoads. When you respect and get into someone that deeply it motivates you to be like them in a very positive fashion. This isn't necessarily to say that you should be a clone of them, but find a common ground that inspires you to pursue things further. Playing guitar for 12 odd years and not being able to play much of anything isn't a lack of skill, it's a lack of motivation. Your frustration will be your guide, and hopefully in time will lead you around full circle. Seek out a guitar teacher if these things don't give you enough guidance, because 1 on 1 teaching is really one of the only ways to grasp the guitar if you can't "just figure it out".

My favorite website - http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/guitar_scales.php Instead of bulking up on theory books and things that don't exactly teach you much of anything, it's better to have a giant musical reference like this website. It literally seems to have EVERYTHING.

Hope that's all of some help, kind of mishmashed from my own personal journey through music, but none the less I hope it provides you some insight.

Cheers.


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 Post subject: Re: Guitarists, what direction did you take learning the gui
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Wow man, thats a ton of info and I appreciate every word of it.

The spider drill as it was explained to me is you play four frets of each string one finger in each fret (5-6-7-8) each time you pick and you work your way down the strings (low E to High E) but you only move one finger at a time to the next string and you have to hold the other fingers on the last string you played until its time to move it down to the next string. The goal is to have the note of your pinky finger still ringing when its time to move it down a string. My ring finger seems very lethargic. I have been working hard on this little drill and have came along way in the 3 weeks since I started with it.


As for gear that I have here in Germany with me, I have an Ibanez RGR421EXFM. Fixed bridge - dual humbuckers, really nice guitar. Worlds better than the POS Epi SG400 that I sold to get the Ibanez. I do have a 2001 Made in Japan Ibanez Rg770FM back home that I didnt bring with me. As for amps I have a little 15W Marshall MG15CDR and a 15W Fender G-dec jr that has beats! I only paid $50 for it and I got it because of the beats and metronome it has. I would like to have larger stuff but I share a small apartment with 2 other guys and cant have bigger and louder gear. I play only though the headphones or acoustic as it is.

I am pretty good with power chords, and the basic A,B,C ect. chords. It jsut seems I never moved beyond this...

Your post was a big help. Again I thank you for your advice. I will work in the scales and building finger strength and speed.


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