I gave up on the guitar too early and I wanna give it another try

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Sombre

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Hey gang,

So, like many people growing up in the 2000s (or basically any decade ever), when I was a teenager, I wanted to play guitar. Like, real bad. I would listen and go to see live music of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, King Crimson etc, and I was absolutely enamored. However, like many dumb kids, I gave up far too early. I learnt some basic chord progression, but my overall learning was sloppy. I'd just learn 5 second riffs, play those, feel cool, then put the guitar down. Now, I still have chord muscle memory, and I can remember most of the basic ones.

But when I see average joes playing guitar, and playing really cool, charming pieces, I am envious. I think what actually resparked this desire to play was actually seeing Vinny play "More than Words". I've always just known Vinny from a far as this cool gamer dad, but when I see him play guitar, it makes me think...well shit, why not me?

I'm moving thousands of miles away from home in September, and I want a creative hobby I can pick up in my downtime when I'm at home alone, and I'm really REALLY keen to start playing guitar again.

But...I mean where do I begin!? There's hundreds of video tutorials on youtube, which is better than when I was a 13 year old in 2002 and the only way was either a textbook, or Lee Reville, a local guitar teacher who'd come into our high school to teach an hour a week.

Help me out friends. Help a former amateur guitar player refind his love.

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ShaggE

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I hear ya, man. I've just this year made the decision to hunker down and finally take singing lessons after relegating it to a pipe dream my whole life. And really, that's the advice I'd give: lessons. Not only to break any self-taught bad habits and get live feedback, but to keep the motivation going. And nothing's more motivating than not wanting to waste the money sink, haha.

Not to shoot down self-teaching, that's a perfectly viable path too. But yeah, if you can get a good, reasonably priced teacher, it can be invaluable.

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csl316

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#3  Edited By csl316

I learned almost 20 years ago, but looking at the internet now seems like there are endless resources. Which can be overwhelming.

You really can't go wrong with learning songs off tabs. Learning guitar is about nailing short term goals, which a reasonable song lets you do. That's how I learned, then 2 years in I took lessons for a year that helped a lot (and helped me break bad habits). A good lesson book can help give you some direction, or I'm sure there's a Youtube series to do the same.

When you're ready for some self-criticism, record yourself and listen to find what your shortcomings are.

There are so many paths, but learning songs taught me so much about applying techniques in a practical sense. You can pull up a metronome and run scales all day, that can only help you in the long run. But learning songs and playing along to them teaches you about rhythm, as well.

Or get a copy of Guitar Hero III and that exact guitar to practice picking (as that's what got my picking technique to shred levels, believe it or not).

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Rebel_Scum

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A good starting point might be to pick a song you like that you think is within your ability to play from start to finish and just learn it. Rinse and repeat.

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mellotronrules

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@sombre: what kind of music do you enjoy- or rather, what's the guitar music you're listening to and then think, "man- i wish i could play that."?

make a list, and then you can start to attack the techniques you'll need in order to play. there's something to be said for following a lesson syllabus- something akin to what this article recommends. but honestly if it's a matter of reawakening the skills that have gone dormant- find the stuff that's fun to play along to a recording and not too demanding to get your sea legs back.

i'm kinda in the same boat- i was getting pretty competent before hitting my late 20s and letting it all go. now after a period of atrophy i'm looking to blow the dust off and get back into it.

i used to play a lot of thrash and melodic metal- but you can't just jump back into that cold turkey, so my plan is to relearn a bunch of green day because 1) it's relatively simple and quick to pick up, 2) it's great for getting your rhythm and calluses back, 3) it's fun as hell to play along with.

the other thing i'd recommend (once you pick some songs to tackle) is find a program like guitar pro or power tab that can ingest tabs and then slow them down using a metronome. practice clean and slow to a metronome and then kick it up incrementally until you can nail it at speed. that got me through 95% of what i wanted to learn, and (humble brag) i was a pretty competent player.

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csl316

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@mellotronrules: Those tab programs started getting more prominent later on for me, and they're really fantastic.

Started learning by printing out tabs, now I have the Ultimate Guitar Tab Pro app on my phone. What a world.

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mellotronrules

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@csl316: yeah for sure, those programs were game changers for me. if you want to be a clean player there's nothing better than slowing down a tricky bit and chipping away at it with an accompaniment and metronome- and that's where tab software/services shine (not to mention it's awesome to have all the different instrument tracks in one discrete file).

and yes, i 100% have a binder full of yellowing late 90s/early 2000s tab printouts in my parent's basement somewhere.

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nateandrews

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Some great advice in here. I’ve been playing for about 13 years but only took lessons for a couple months at the beginning. They were extremely helpful for getting the very basics of playing down. From there I spent all of my time with the guitar playing along to music I enjoyed, which has already been suggested here. You’ll learn a ton by doing that, especially if you try out different genres of guitar music.

Even after 13 years there are still blind spots for me that I hope to correct soon. I couldn’t tell you much about scales or the “theory” of playing, and I’ve never written a song past a few riffs here and there. I guess that goes to show that you can have a great time playing for years like I have without necessarily becoming an expert in every part of it. But I always encourage people to explore as many areas as possible.

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cikame

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If Satriani and Vai are the inspiration then that's kind of a tough thing to work up to, when i first started learning guitar it was to play stuff from Tool, Rammstein and Red Alert's Hell March, and after plinking around for a few days i was pretty much a Nu Metal rhythm guitarist :P. I never had any interest in solos or long lead guitar marathons like Vai but i'm comfortable enough after playing for so long that i could work it out fairly quickly, but since i don't like that stuff i wouldn't have the desire to learn it, so really the only advice i have is keep playing, learn the songs you love and that you know inside and out, use tabs to figure out the meat of it, look at live performances or covers to figure out the rest.

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FacelessVixen

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#10  Edited By FacelessVixen

My boring-ass Zoom meetings inspire me to fiddle around with my guitar just to play something that sounds like "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" by Behemoth. I know less than you do, so let's learn together.

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Sombre

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@cikame said:

If Satriani and Vai are the inspiration then that's kind of a tough thing to work up to, when i first started learning guitar it was to play stuff from Tool, Rammstein and Red Alert's Hell March, and after plinking around for a few days i was pretty much a Nu Metal rhythm guitarist :P. I never had any interest in solos or long lead guitar marathons like Vai but i'm comfortable enough after playing for so long that i could work it out fairly quickly, but since i don't like that stuff i wouldn't have the desire to learn it, so really the only advice i have is keep playing, learn the songs you love and that you know inside and out, use tabs to figure out the meat of it, look at live performances or covers to figure out the rest.

TBH, my dream is being able to play songs by "The Protomen".

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Pezen

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I bought a guitar about three years ago with the goal of teaching myself to play. I’ll say this; I am pretty good at not practicing things I wish I was better at. That being said, a decent app (though they charge subscription) is the Fender Play app. It teaches basics and up techniques, and then gives you a song to play using what they just taught you. I’ve been thinking of getting back into it lately myself. I just tend to be too eager so I keep jumping ahead of myself and then get frustrated that the technique they are trying to teach me recquires a more basic one I haven’t mastered yet. But that’s entirely on me.

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@sombre: Fender are offering 3 free months of their app/web lessons during this virus pandemic. A friend of mine in a similar position to you has been using it and said he's found it very helpful.

Like others here I learned from printing out tabs and hanging them up to play along to, or using programs like Guitar Pro. I hear great thinks about Rocksmith. My biggest problem with how I learned how to play is I learned the songs but almost no theory or knowledge. I can play semi-difficult songs, but I cannot write any for shit. I know how to play them, but nothing about them if that makes sense. If I could, I'd go back and learn actual theory as well as just learning my favourite songs.

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Bonbonetti

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#14  Edited By Bonbonetti

There's lots of good and free places on the web, here are some sites I like:

Great for scales: http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/

Great for chords: https://www.guitar-chord.org

Good place to start with theory: https://guitar.com/lessons/lessons-theory-introduction-to-scales/

General: https://www.fachords.com/start-here/

Also: https://www.guitarhabits.com/

If you haven't picked a guitar yet, do some research, they are good for different things. Some are better for metal than others. Think about body-and neck size. If the neck is too small for you it can become straining in the long run. Finding the right pick can make a big difference too, I definitely have my own preference when it comes to shape, size and material.

I rarely use distortion and similar effects, and only use clean or clean-ish sounds. For the music I like to play, I use Gretsch Streamliners (hollow, semi-hollow) and Hagström (solid, semi-hollow) guitars. Once I find a manufacturer I like the products of, I tend to stick with them, but that's just me. Similarly, I always use Vox amplifiers, because I have always liked them.

I would start by learning a scale that helps you learn the basic tones on the guitar, like the full C major scale. It's a good "neutral" scale with no flats or sharps. When you learn a scale, learn it for the entire neck, it's more efficient in the long-run. I would also start learning some basic chords. As a beginner you have to build up strength in your chord fingers and accuracy with your picking hand, there are tips on the web for this that are easy to find.

There's a tonne of scales and chords to choose from and learn, but do some research and learn the ones that are useful for the music you want to play. Academics at university have the time to learn everything, but for us "amateurs" time is luxury.

My own journey started with trying to be like Malmsteen or Vai, it was all about speed and shredding. I was super-impressed with their speed and multi-techniques. It was at the expense of learning chords, music theory and being a good rhythm player. Today I regret that a great deal. The obsession of being faster and faster eventually made me loose interest in playing the guitar, for me it took the soul away from it all. I only got back into playing guitar a decade or so later.

My taste in music had drastically changed when I decided to get back into it. Back when I first started I was only listening to metal, especially thrash and death metal. Since then I developed a much broader taste, with jazz, blues, classical, ambient, and so on. My main guitar inspirations today are artists like Eric Johnson and John McLaughlin. The basis for me today, are chords. I don't really care that much about solos, it's not my focus or passion.

I'm also not impressed by speed anymore. Being a good guitarist for me, today, is all about having melody and feeling. To me, a single bend by Gary Moore carries more meaning than someone shredding through a scale at 300 mph. The best Satriani songs for me today, are his slow ones.

Anyway. I hope this been useful in some way. Let us know how things have gone.

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JPPT1974

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Other than the drums I would love to play the guitar there. As really like any music except rap or heavy metal.

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Fistoh

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I learned to play by just finding tabs for songs I liked and starting extremely slow and slowly increasing the speed I would play to train my dexterity, usually using a guided video or just footage of someone playing the song to help with my timing and technique. Eventually when I was more comfortable with the neck I started reading more and watching more theory which led to practicing scales, learning improvisation, etc.

Ultimately the way to learn to play guitar is to play the guitar. The hardest parts are getting your hands to sync up, stretching out your fingers and developing the callouses on your fingertips.

I'd stray away from trying to learn some Satch or Vai though, unless you're ready to really hunker down and destroy your hands. They usually require a few more advanced techniques to increase speed that elude even some veteran guitarists. That being said, I remember learning Satch's Summer Song when I was a youngun and having a blast with that. In any case, stick with music you like but that has a simpler structure and more riff based instead of improvisation based.

Best of luck! The guitar is super fun and extremely versatile; I love it.

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s10129107

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There's a guy on youtube called JustinGuitar who is great and has a robust catalog of youtube style lessons. If you really wanna invest in yourself then getting proper lessons is probably the best way to go.