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How did you learn to play the guitar?


Liystalander

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used to put my parents vinyls on the turntable in the living room and play along.

my dad and his buddies would watch me play sabbath and UFO tunes and egg me on while they would kick back on some beers, and my mom would just sit there and smile

i still learn this way, but in my room and along with my stereo

 

been playing 10 years now, picked up my uncles les paul custom at age 9 and i was hooked

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Started out with a year of major air guitar playing (you know the drill, head phones and a Deep Purple record, and you become a Guitar God without even holding a guitar...), then got my Squier Bullet Strat. I did some basic exercises from a book a friend recommended to me (the exercises mainly consisted of upstrokes and downstrokes blah blah). Then I asked my best friend what to do next (he had been playing guitar for 5-6 years at that time), and so I found some chord and scale patterns on the Internet and I got tired of them, and then I found tabs for Slash's rendition of the Theme From The Godfather and Steve Vai's Eugene's Trick Bag (yeah, it wasn't as blistering and fast as in the movie Crossroads, it pretty much sucked but helped me a loooot). All that was a year and a half ago, and now I'm working on my alternate picking (more for accuracy than speed) and sweep picking (for accuracy and speed...), trying to learn songs with Guitar Pro on the side and trying to improvise something every now and then. Personally, I'm way too impatient to sit down with a teacher. I would either smash his guitar across his head or put his head through his amplifier (hey I love my SG, I would never hurt it).

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First guitar in Spain back in 1962. Learnt flamenco from some Andalucian pickers - we picked grapes and trod them to make wine, we picked guitars to pass the time after dusk. You never could meet a happier ten year old.

 

Hung out with some fine pickers in the London scene through the 60's and 70's, taught me two things about music.

[1] There is only one thing gives me more pleasure, and that involves a different music making.

[2] Doing it for a living will break you, destroy you or kill you unless you are very lucky. Or a tart.

 

Took a lesson at school once. Asshole wanted to teach me "Michael Row The Boat Ashore", but there were two problems. I could play it better than he could and I had just seen Hendrix up close and personal at the Haverstock Hill Country Club (my local music and hide-from-father place back in '67) and as a feisty acoustic guitar playing 15 year old I wanted some of that.....

 

Never looked back.

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I've been kind of curious about this as well...

 

It seems like most of you are self taught except for some lessons and stuff from close friends...

 

See I currently go to lessons down at the local music store and pay 18 bucks a week for a half hour lesson. I don't see it helping that much since basically everything he's taught me so far can be found in this book I have to teach me guitar... I'm just not sure if this guy is worth 18 bucks for half an hour when I can learn the same thing from a book? Is it that important to have an actual teacher? I mean I have a cousin and a good friend who play so I still have people around to tell me if I'm doing it wrong

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I have been taking lessons for about a year and a half now. I use the Mel Bay guitar method series. Right now I am on Grade 2. I have to say that I tried to use some other books, but I have learned more in the last year using the Mel Bay books than I ever did trying umpteen different self instruction books. Also, I have a good teacher so that is definitely a major plus. So though I am never gonna be Randy Rhodes, being able to look at song books and recognize 30% of the musical notation that is in the book is kinda cool. Just knowing how to read music kinda sets a musician apart from those that don't. Doesn't make them better mind you, but as I move through the books I feel like I've accomplished something.

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I started out on drums in Junior High school and quickly moved over to saxophone. I became the top all-state sax plyer 3 years in a row so I guess I have at least a handful of talent. After graduating I decided to join the Air Force band, but they didn't think I was fit for service due to a chronic lung condition so I went on the road in cover bands instead.

 

While on the road the guitarist showed me some bar chords, the bass player showed me some chops, and the keyboard player showed me hand position, chords, etc. So I learned to play cover songs on all these instruments for all the songs that didn't have saxophone parts.

 

Through the years I picked up flute, wind synthesizer and even played bass professionally for a while during the psychedelic era (when saxophones unfortunately took a back seat). Bass is a lot of fun. I also kept my studies in music theory up with some private lessons and the Berklee Correspondence course (no longer offered, but that was pre-internet classes).

 

In the 1970s I bought a Gibson ES-330 thinking it was a 335. In one of the bands I was in, the guitarist had a 335 but he only let me play one of his other guitars when I doubled on guitar so I didn't know the difference. Turns out I like the 330 better anyway - light weight - acoustic sound for practice - and those wonderful sounding P90s.

 

About a year and a half ago I decided to get serious on lead guitar and bought a Kramer-Focus-Faux-Strat and put in a couple of hours a day with Mel Bay, some other guitar music theory books, and what I could find on the 'net that suited me. I didn't like the longer scale and shorter radius of the Strat-ish design so I traded that in for an Epiphone Casino. My ES-330 has become a collectors item, and since I switch between sax, flute, wind synth, guitar, vocals, percussion controller and sometimes keyboards on stage in my duo, and since I sometimes have to switch instruments in a hurry, I didn't want to trash the Gibson.

 

The previous owner of my Casino put Seymour Duncans in it so it actually sounds better than my Gibson.

 

So a year and a half later, full of hard work and practice, utilizing my bass chops and general music theory I can play rock, country, blues, and light jazz solos out and impress my guitar playing friends (as long as I don't attempt what I don't know yet).

 

Notes

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I've been kind of curious about this as well...

 

It seems like most of you are self taught except for some lessons and stuff from close friends...

 

See I currently go to lessons down at the local music store and pay 18 bucks a week for a half hour lesson. I don't see it helping that much since basically everything he's taught me so far can be found in this book I have to teach me guitar... I'm just not sure if this guy is worth 18 bucks for half an hour when I can learn the same thing from a book? Is it that important to have an actual teacher? I mean I have a cousin and a good friend who play so I still have people around to tell me if I'm doing it wrong

 

$18 for a half an hour is actually very inexpensive for lessons. If I had to do it all over again, I would stick to the lessons so that my technique was a LOT better and so that I'd learn to sight read. So, my recommendation is to stick with the lessons as well as trying to learn other stuff on your own.

 

I consider myself to be a guitar player but not much of a musician. My brother is the one who stuck with bass lessons and learned music theory and, as a result, he is much more versatile and a better player than I am. Conversely though, he likes having me in the band because I'm the one who can "dirty it up" when he and the other guitar player come up with something that sounds too pretty and I also tend to (unintentionally) come up with some unconventional parts so it does balance us out.

 

Sorry for the tangent. Stick with your lessons.

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