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My guitar teacher thinks I'm the village idiot.

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paulthenurse

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So since I was 18 I've wanted to learn to play the guitar but I never got around to it. So a couple of months ago I was at the dive shop getting tanks filled and there is a music store next door. I load the tanks in the truck and walk into the music store and walk out 20 minutes later with a guitar. So I futz around for a month trying to figure it out and decide that that won't work so I go to the music store two blocks away and sign up for a month of lessons. I had lesson #4 yesterday. I dropped my pick three times in a half hour lesson, twice into the freakin' hole in the guitar. I've been working on "Birthday" by the Beatles since day one. After three weeks of lessons I played it for Al and asked her if she could guess what I was playing. Not a clue. Don't blame her, I wouldn't have been able to guess myself if I didn't have the book in front of me.


MY fingers just don't want to do what this dude is trying to get me to do. They don't work that way. I practice for a while and I have cramps in my left arm for an hour My fingertips hurt. I actually miss sometimes now when I start IV's on challenging cases at work cause my fingers have lost that magic touch. I can bang my hands on the table with the best of them but I just can't bend my mind around anything more complicated than a One and Two and Three and Four strumming pattern. You want me to skip a three and it just won't happen.

And the whole time my boy John is telling me how great I'm doing. "You got it. That's good. Keep that up. Nope, move your third finger, yup, that's right. Next fret, there you go... Great!"

Either this dude is stone deaf or he drinks himself to sleep at night.

And then, to make things worse, he takes my guitar and plays a few Clapton licks on it while he's tuning it for me. (Yet another fundamental skill I have yet to master), so I can't even say it's a cheap POS guitar.

/rant I need to go practice then go to bed.

PTN
 
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Keep at it. I'm surprised he has you using a pick after only 4 lessons though. I'm waiting on my guitar so I can start as well. Keep at it. You can't expect to play well with 4 lessons. Just remind yourself, this guy is a guitar teacher. I'm sure he's seen much worse!
 

WillPall

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Hang in there. I was in the same boat for a couple months then completely gave up for a year. Picked it back up and for some reason had no problem playing. Ended up playing in the jazz band for school and several bar bands around town.

It's a very rewarding hobby. Although, I don't find it quite as rewarding as brewing.
 

Walker

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give it time. it takes a looooooooooong time to get the basic stuff down.

I taught myself to play starting when I was 19, and since I didn't know what 'proper' technique was, I learned it all wrong.

I finally decided to try and take some lessons about 5 years after I started playing, and the teacher eventually gave up one day saying, "You are going to have to unlearn everything you have taught youself if you want to play this thing properly."

I decided that lessons were not for me. I am not Eric Clapton, I will never be Eric Clapton, and I don't want to be Eric Clapton. I just want to play my guitar and have some fun.

Been playing now for over 15 years. I can sit and play a bunch of songs, and they are recognizable, but I am not going to make a living out of it. I just have fun jamming every Saturday night with another guy (or two).
 
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Been playing now for over 15 years. I can sit and play a bunch of songs, and they are recognizable, but I am not going to make a living out of it. I just have fun jamming every Saturday night with another guy (or two).
That's all I want. I just want to be able to pull it out at the campground and pick some songs. My cousins can both do this. My one cousin taught him self in high school just listening to the radio.
 

Walker

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another tip... if you decide to stick with it, start learning to play and sing at the same time.

I never bothered trying to sing while playing until just a couple of years ago, and I found that I couldn't ****ing do it. My hand and my mouth wanted to keep a similar rhythm, and that didn't fly.

It tookme another year to be able to do both at the same time and not sound like bob dylan banging on a guitar with a rubber mallet.
 

carrotmalt

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another tip... if you decide to stick with it, start learning to play and sing at the same time.

I never bothered trying to sing while playing until just a couple of years ago, and I found that I couldn't ****ing do it. My hand and my mouth wanted to keep a similar rhythm, and that didn't fly.

It tookme another year to be able to do both at the same time and not sound like bob dylan banging on a guitar with a rubber mallet.
I couldn't do both at once when I first started strumming. This may sound silly, but I started strumming my steering wheel to the radio while I sang along in my truck, and it transferred right over when I picked the guitar back up. Lucky for me I like old country music, so there were a boatload of 3 chord songs for me to practice with. Now I have a permanent groove in my steering wheel to match the worn spot on my stick shift where my ring finger hits on beat. :D

Keep at it.
 

elkdog

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Really, just keep at it. It feels incredibly awkward until one day it clicks and you can change chords- just takes a bit to get the muscle memory together.

As a sometimes member of Walker's jam circle, that sort of gathering really is the most fun you can have playing music, unless you're good enough to get underwear thrown at you.
 

Boston

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Paul,
I bought my first guitar and took lessons at age 47. So you're never too old to learn. I suck but I have a lot of fun jammin' with the boys on Saturday nights. I have lots of easy Grateful Dead songs I can email you, let me know if you're interested.
 

jmendez29

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My guess is the guitar teacher isn't the only one who thinks you're the village idiot.
Oh, man. I laughed out loud so hard, I woke up my GFs baby from her nap. Now the GF is pissed at me.

PTN, I feel your pain. I picked up lessons after a falling out with my son. He didn't want to practice so I didn't want to pay for more lessons for him. But I already paid for the lessons, so I started going instead. I went for about three months before I had to quit for my son's baseball season. I felt like I was the most uncoordinated person on the face of the earth. But what helped me was to get about a half dozen or so scales and practice on those. It really helped me find the string without having to look for it. I'm still pretty far from playing a whole song and have it on time and recognizable, but it helped build a lot of confidence for me. I would start practicing on them for about ten minutes or so, then move on to trying to make music. I personally think it helped with my left hand coordination. Especially my ring finger. I swear, that thing thinks for itself.
 

Cape Brewing

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Hey Paul... I'll take the guitar off your hands for 50% of what you paid for it.

Think of this way... get half your money back NOW or none of your money back when that thing collects dust for the next six years.

You have my number.
 

MrWiggles

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Stick with it man, you cant expect to be good at all after only 4 lessons. Think of it this way, right now you are not learning how to play, you're only learning how to hold it/strum/form chords/and so on. Your fingers hurt now, but you'll build calluses. Your forearm hurts now, but you'll build muscle memory. Don't worry about tuning, just go buy an electric tuner. I say that I'm tone deaf just because I can't tune by ear. I 'taught myself' guitar a couple years ago, learned a few simple songs and what not. I had a friend of mine who played with bands help teach me, and I got pretty good. I can learn any song I want now if I just stick to it and practice. Hell, I even picked up the Ukulele for the fun of it, I just don't have much time to play anymore these days but I can pick up either my guitar or uke and jam if I feel like it. Stick to it and don't give up so soon, it is very fun and quite rewarding when you are able to play for yourself (I still don't play for friends or family, just jam with other players if even that).
 

smakudwn

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My brother teaches guitar lessons and the only time he get frustrated is when his students don't practice. Just takes time.
 

Cape Brewing

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Give up. You have fat stupid fingers.
LOL!!!!!



...and as much as I'm going to regret this 'cause I could be in for a cheap guitar here... PTN... IPhone Apps: search em'. There are a pile of "guitar tuner" apps out there. Meh... screw it, I can tell him, he's quitin' in a week anyway.

Hey Paul... I'll pick up the guitar at Masstoberfest.
 

Cape Brewing

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My brother teaches guitar lessons and the only time he get frustrated is when his students don't practice. Just takes time.
Yeah, but his students probably don't have little pork-sausage fingers that can't even wrap around the neck and still reach all of the strings. For Paul to play a basic E chord he's gotta lay it on his lap ala Jeff Healey.
 

smakudwn

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Yeah, but his students probably don't have little pork-sausage fingers that can't even wrap around the neck and still reach all of the strings. For Paul to play a basic E chord he's gotta lay it on his lap ala Jeff Healey.


HAHAHAHAHAHA. I have no idea of the makeup of my bros students fingers, i know i have very small hands and i can at least make it through a couple of chords!!!!
 

Homercidal

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Any of you guys working for the suicide hotline? No?

Good!

Paul, keep it up. It WILL get easier. Your fingers will build callouses and your arms and fingers will get stronger. You will remember where the strings are more naturally after a while too. It will come. You just have to want to learn to play.

But just on the chance that it doesn't work out, can you PM me a picture of the guitar??
 

jmo88

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I've been a music teacher for many years. Though I'm not a guitarist I'm a pretty serious classical pianist. I can tell you that relaxation is everything when learning a musical instrument. If it doesn't feel good you're probably doing it wrong and are far too tense. It's very normal for beginners. Unless you are among a very small percentage of people, it will take you several years of daily, effecient practice for a intermediate level of proficiency. Don't give up and keep listening for inspiration. Also, make sure your teacher isn't a hack. Anyone can teach guitar, but very few have pedagogy backgrounds.
 

DeafSmith

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I practice for a while and I have cramps in my left arm for an hour
I took up guitar briefly a few years ago (need to get back to it if I can find the time). I never kept at it long enough to get any good, so I'm anything but an expert, but I'll pass along this one bit of advice I picked up somewhere, I think maybe on an on-line guitar forum, which helped a lot with the cramping problem. Don't try to hold the strings down by squeezing the neck, using only the muscles in your hand and forearm. Pull straight back on the neck with your whole left arm, using your right arm to hold the guitar steady and keep it from twisting. Use your left thumb on the back of the neck mainly to steady your hand, not to squeeze the neck.
 

munklunk

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I'm in a regional touring band and have been giving lessons for years, and all I would say is to practice. Practice for an hour every day, focusing on chords, scales and technique before songs. I know its nice to play a riff that's recognizable while you're learning, but its no help to yourself to learn songs before you have mastered the technique necessary to play them.

Don't give up. Expect your progress to be slow, but if you put in the effort, and its is worth it, then you will get the results you want.
 

Cape Brewing

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WHOA WHOA!!! Ok folks, it's all nice that you're trying to encourage Paul but let's focus on what is important... ME getting a guitar out of this on the cheap.

Does THIS look like a guy who's got the patience and coordination to be a reasonable guitar player? Really?

too perfect.jpg
 

Shooter

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WHOA WHOA!!! Ok folks, it's all nice that you're trying to encourage Paul but let's focus on what is important... ME getting a guitar out of this on the cheap.

Does THIS look like a guy who's got the patience and coordination to be a reasonable guitar player? Really?
My IT guy thanks you! Really, he loves to clean off the coffee I spray all over my screen when I read these hillarious posts. Hey, at least this time it's just coffee, am I right guys?!

As for the guitar, I'm okay at strumming some chords and some basic blues scales and am actually pretty happy with that, but, even getting to my very basic level still took practice. Keep at it!
 

Rhoobarb

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... I never bothered trying to sing while playing until just a couple of years ago, and I found that I couldn't ****ing do it. ...
If it'll make you feel any better, neither could B.B. King. If you ever watch him play, you'll notice he never plays and sings at the same time.

Not that any of you ax-hacks will ever come close to playing like B.B.!:D
 

snowveil

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beating a dead horse here but...


KEEP WITH IT!


Don't expect to be able to play a song recognizably so quickly. It's all about getting a few chords down and strumming around from there. Learn some basic chord structures and strum around to give yourself some encouragement. Am -> C -> G is a pretty easy one to learn IMO that sounds good enough to think "hey, this doesn't sound like complete crap."

I started playing about 10 years ago and have played on and off for that whole time. I started with an electric, played in a band in high school for a while, then quit playing. A few years later I picked up an acoustic and pretty much haven't touched my electric since then. Playing should be something that you enjoy to do...but you're definitely going to have some growing pains until you get to the point that you can feel comfortable just switching chords around on a whim or playing and singing together.

I wished I'd spent some time learning music theory, but for what I play I don't really need it. I play/sing some songs but mostly just for myself (and serenading my current fiance....as terrible as I was at it it somehow worked :ban: at the time). I don't generally play for friends or family because for me it's not really about showing off what I can do...it's more about having a hobby that I can pick up and relax while doing.

Hell, I even picked up the Ukulele for the fun of it, I just don't have much time to play anymore these days but I can pick up either my guitar or uke and jam if I feel like it.
Dude I LOVE the uke! I got one for xmas a few years ago and there for a while I wasn't even touching my guitar. The chords are so much simpler (except E...I HATE E) and it's so little and lightweight to tote around. Transposing songs onto it is pretty simple often times and they're just plain fun to play.
 

munklunk

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I'd like to say here that everyone who plays any musical instrument can benefit from a basic understanding of music theory. Is it easy? No, it is not. But neither is brewing your own beer. Even a basic understanding will open your eyes to the relationship of notes, chords, intervals and why things sound the way they do. You will write better, understand songs better, and be able to knowingly compose with a sensible progression in mind.

Instead of saying "Am sounds really good going into C and then to G, but I'm not sure why", you understand that Am is C's relative minor and G is it's dominant fifth, and if you wanted to make it interesting, you have many option to work with.

The short of it, if you want to have an understanding of why things sound the way they do and want to be good at you musical instrument of choice, take a few lessons in theory. It's no harder to learn than understanding what type of conversions take place at a 152 degree mash for 60 minutes.
 

HenryHill

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What guitar did you get? What type of strings?

I'd like to see a pic, and I'm sure that there are a few who would like to see how short and fat those sausages are.
 
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