How to start learning

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by vabbs25, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    Hi friends,

    I have an acoustic guitar. I am trying to learn it on my own since yesterday(I have picked it up after few months, had practised a little long back). I have come to following conclusions after watching a few videos and reading some online tips:

    Step 1: Strengthening your fingers by practising finger excercises.
    Step 2: Learning and practising various chords
    Step 3: Practising shifting between the chords
    Step 4: Learning songs' chords

    I have a request for experienced players. Can you please guide me whether my conclusions are correct? Definitely, I might have missed a lot of things here. So what modifications do I need to do in this? Please help me to proceed further.

    Thank you all
  2. cooldesert

    cooldesert New Member

    Step 1: Strengthening your fingers by practicing finger exercises.
    This is pretty important. But you must not sit hours doing it. This should be a daily activity for about 10-20 minutes, kind of warm up.

    Step 2: Learning and practicing various chords
    This is required when you start on guitar that you learn basic chords like C, G, E or Am. But after a stage you must start concentrating on music theory and how to construct chords. This should only be done when you are able to play basic chords.

    Step 3: Practicing shifting between the chords

    Step 4: Learning songs' chords
    Yes, but take easy songs.

    Now, my suggestion would be divide your learning into stages. For example,

    Stage 1:
    - Finger exercises, daily 30% of time.
    - Learning open Chords finger positions. start with just 2 open chords and later add more, daily time 20%.
    - Practicing chords, movement between chords, basic strumming strumming patterns, daily time 50%

    Once stage 1 crossed, select a song based on the chords you learned, check for its strumming pattern, try the strumming pattern to practice and then play along with song.

    It sounds easy when I write, but believe me, at first you need lots of patience, time and practice. Be patient, keep practicing as this is the only way you can develop brain memory and finger memory.

  3. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    Thanks a lot VS. I fully agree with you that this requires patience and practice and will not come to me in a day or two. Now, I also know what to look for (like open chords, strumming pattern etc.), rather than blindly going on reading some book or blog. Thank you so much once again.

  4. aseem_m

    aseem_m New Member

    I agree with VS. I'd like to add to that.

    1. You might also want to look at learning basic scale shapes and practicing those up and down the neck.

    2. Do a good amount of practice with a metronome or drum machine / loop. Timing is one of the toughest things to get a hang of. Don't neglect that.

    3. I'd suggest you split your time in one third - technique, one third - playing a song you like and one third - fooling around with no plan. Experimenting and messing around is the only way to come up with your own ideas and style. Technique is important but it's a stepping stone towards playing the songs you love. Treat it accordingly. There are too many technical skilled guitarists around with little sense of musicality. But it's for you to decide what kind of guitarist you want to be.

  5. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    Thanks VS and Aseem.

    I have an old Hobner.

    Unfortunately, a small plastic part (fixed in the slots of guitar bridge) over which strings are passed is broken. I have posted the pic and highlighted the issue. I dont know what it is called. I asked in many shops in Bangalore, but I get only one reply, "We dont service Indian guitars". This guitar was not purchased in Bangalore.

    Due to this, I can't practise.

    Can you suggest any solution? Please let me know.

    Attached Files:

    • IGT.jpg
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  6. aseem_m

    aseem_m New Member

    Guitar stores turning you away for having an Indian made guitar? That's really sad. I'm not from Bangy so can't guide you. The piece you need is a string saddle. The cheap ones are made of plastic. I got my saddle changed for 100 bucks so that'll give you an indication of the cost. Search around the gear talk forums. I'm sure there'll be a list of stores for Bangy. Or else ask.

    The only problem I can foresee is that this saddle is different from the regular ones which are basically one single piece of plastic under all the 6 strings. I don't know if you'll be able to find a replacement for that. In any case, ask around. A guitar tech should be able to make something customized for you. Worst case scenario - you'll have to make something yourself.

    Nothing fancy needed. The saddle just keeps the string in place. And you can still practice with 5 strings. Heck, Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones regularly plays a 5 string Telecaster. Take that string off because if it is grinding against the edges of the bridge then it'll likely break soon.
  7. aseem_m

    aseem_m New Member

  8. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    String saddle

    Thanks a lot for your help Aseem.

    Even I was thinking of solving the problem myself but am concerned about its effect on the sound.

    After knowing that it is known as 'saddle', I searched for it on Furtado's site.

    Buy Granada Acoustic Guitar Saddle 85mm X 11.5mm X 3mm Ivory Sd007 Online | Best Granada Guitar Bass Hardware in India | Furtados Online

    Though it is a different one, if I try to fit this on the bridge with some modifications, will it affect the sound of my guitar?

    Or, if I get something fabricated which will act as a common saddle for all the strings?

  9. aseem_m

    aseem_m New Member

    A saddle is a saddle. Whether one piece or 6 small ones. Whether it's bone or a TUSQ or a plastic one.
    The tone and sustain does vary slightly with different materials and construction but it's very tough to spot.

    As a beginner I wouldn't worry about it. In case you do it yourself, you just have to ensure that the saddle fits firmly into the bridge. The sound of an acoustic is generated mainly from the top vibrating. The vibrations travel from the strings to the saddle to the bridge and then to the top. If any one of those is loosely fitted, you'll lose a bit of tone.
  10. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    Ok Aseem. Good news is that those specific saddles are available at Haribhau Vishwanath in Dadar. I am yet to find out some suitable substitute yet.
  11. cooldesert

    cooldesert New Member

    Learning Guitar

    Guitar Stages Draft:
    Here's what am providing a detail overview on splitting your learning schedule. Just to give an idea. Long post. Make your own schedule just like this and give an estimated time like 6 months/year or 2 based on your time availability. I've learn't myself, the hard way, did loads of mistakes as there was no one to guide me, neither had time or resource to spend on it, just learnt from internet. But if you have someone who can guide you, it's a great help.

    Stage 1:
    - Finger exercise on first four frets/Chromatic Scale, with alternate picking.
    - Learn the open chord G
    - Learn the open chord C
    - Shifting between the chords G & C
    - Strumming Pattern: [DUDUDUDU]
    - Strumming pattern Waltz: [D D D ]
    - Metronome use recommended, if not the best is use your foot for tapping, pretty important.

    Stage 2:
    - Continue with finger exercise on first 4 frets with variations like skipping a note and multiple row/string shifting
    - Learn the open chord D
    - Shifting between the three chords
    - Add variations to strumming pattern: [D DU UP DD] for example
    - Metronome/foot tapping practice

    Stage 3:
    - Finger exercise for Warm up/first 4 frets
    - Extend fingers beyond 4 frets and you can find good examples on IGT too
    - Finger board memory exercises
    - Chord shifting between G/C/D
    - Select a song, for example Lucky Ali O Sanam uses the three chords.
    - Determine the strumming pattern, and practice along while shifting chords
    - Play along with the song

    Stage 4:
    - Warm up finger exercises/the last stage exercises
    - Practicing chords
    - Theory time, do only the following suggested, do not add much as this isn't the right time to fill knowledge inventory
    - First, simply select a note which interests you, for example G, C, D or Am
    - As we have learnt G,C,D chords, chose for example G Note
    - Determine it's major scale, for G it's G A B C D E F# G
    - To construct the chord, apply rule 1,3,5 which is G B D or G Maj chord
    - To determine triad/chords of major scale apply rule I IV V which is G, C and D chords, which you have learnt
    - Practice along with chords and variations. Add another chord to your inventory from the scale, for example Em (pretty easy)
    - Now select a song with these 4 chords, for example O Meri Jaan from Metro uses G, Em, Am and D but for time being substitute Am with C
    - Memorize scale, and only once or twice play the scale on fret positions you comfortable with

    Stage 5:
    - Warm up of all 4 stages exercises
    - look out for 'Guitar Patterns' on IGT/Google
    - Determine the pattern for the fret positions you have learnt/comfortable
    - Practice the scale as per the pattern but practice daily for few times(say 5 or 7) rather than days or hours
    - while practicing memorize the notes you playing and the positions, but do not take huge effforts in doing for now
    - Now, determine the pentatonic scale for the scale you have learn't by now and practice that scale with pattern. While playing the pentatonic, at this stage, learn the fret positions, try fitting the notes vertically and horizontally, simply do whatever best you can do.

    Stage 6:
    - Warm up.
    - Chords, strumming practice, song practice and play along.
    - Extend your major scale and pentatonic scale to other frets.
    - Now, determine it's Minor scale. Minor scale can have variance and not including here to confuse you. For simplicity, reduce the 3rd note of the scale by a half note and you have the minor. For G it's G A Bb C D E F# G
    - Practice different chords positions and learn barre chords (research as if I explain then this post will be too extended)

    Stage 7:
    - Warm up, hand stretching exercises
    - Extend your theory to other scales. For example: the rule to determine the M scale is W W H W W W H on a chromatic scale. Pick a note and extend the notes.Take C and D. When C Major, then you also look for it's 'Relative Minor' Am scale. The formula mentioned above, you can construct formulas yourself based on types of scale.
    - By this time, you know what to do next. Cheers & Happy strumming.

    - Keep patience, do not distract yourself. At times, guitar is frustrating at initial stages but need patience to cross that stage. Best I can say is, have an inspiration to keep moving, like for example "Girls love guitar/guitarists" (saying in positive and cheerful way, take the point as to impress someone you like)
    - Keep things simple for time being, learn only what's required as the theory behind music is unlimited
    - Some people will play really well, and while watching them do not try to copy them and lose your patience. Everything has a stage. Finger memory and Brain mapping takes time. It's more difficult than a programming language, I believe.
    - If some day, you do not have interest, don't force yourself, simply leave it and try next day.
    - Scales is a complex subject and needs lots of patience and time to learn or master. Do not spend days, hours or months on it.
    - Practicing with metronome or drum beats improves a lot.
  12. vabbs25

    vabbs25 New Member

    Hi VS,
    Please excuse me for the late reply.
    Thank you so much for this elaborate practise regime. As of now, I am practising only finger exercises because my guitar doesn't have the first string :( Hope to get it fixed soon and start with the chords' practise.
    I am having Mel Bay's guitar scale chart. So, along with finger exerci***, I also practise scales using that chart with the view that it will help my fingers get used to movements.
    As far as music theory is concerned, I am not neglecting it. Trying to learn it through "Music theory for Dummies". And what I have realized is that more you "try" to play, more you grasp it. Of course, there will be lot many things to be learnt in this journey. And I am sure, with friends like you, Aseem and others, this will be very enjoyable and worth embarking on.
    Thanks once again.

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