I want to start learning how to play the guitar

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InfiniteGeass

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Can anyone help?

What's a good starter guitar?

What accessories should I buy?

What's the best way to learn?

Any other tips?

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maskedarcstrike

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I'm curious if there's any guitar players that play Rocksmith and what their opinion is on this.

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ilovebees

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@infinitegeass: Yeah I can help you out as best I can. The best way to determine a good starter guitar is to find a guitar center if possible and try different guitars and see what's comfortable. Accessories would mostly depend on if you're going electric or acoustic. Picks and some sort of tuner would be essential. Everybody learns different ways, I taught my self just using tabs from the internet and watching people cover songs on youtube. Feel free to ask me for more detail if you need it.

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nonused

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For a starter guitar, it depends. If electric, I'd recommend a Fender Squire. Those things are cheap and fairly reliable. If acoustic, just buy a used, nylon string. Or, if you're feeling daring, get steel strings.

I'd say low ball your first purchase. If you find that you really like playing, maybe pony up the cash for a $500 acoustic.

Don't worry about accessories just yet. Maybe a tuner, if the guitar doesn't have one built in (which, if it's cheap, it won't). Don't get a tuner that you plug into; just one with a speaker that picks up the pitch. In fact, if you have an iPhone (maybe Android too, I don't know) there's an app for that. If you're buying electric, you might want an amp. But if you really must get one, get a tiny one speaker.

Best way to learn is trying to play the songs you love. Simple as that. Go to Ultimate Guitar and learn how to read tabs (it's not hard). It's gonna suck in the beginning. Like, you probably won't be able to hear any sounds coming out of the instrument (unless you're using nylon strings, they're much softer than steel). And, dear God, start with something easy. Don't think you can just start playing Dream Theater or Metallica right out of the gate. That'll make you want to give up real fast. Start with something like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Smoke on the Water". You're not gonna impress anybody, but that's not the point. Those songs'll help you build up the callouses you need to keep playing. And then you can move on to more advanced stuff.

Have fun and good luck.

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ShaggE

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#6  Edited By ShaggE

I've been learning using Rocksmith for a few months, and it's definitely working, but it's not sufficient by itself. It has a habit of putting the cart before the horse (I shouldn't be learning slides and tremolos before I can even hit basic chords from memory), and it doesn't teach theory. But in conjunction with Justinguitar.com or a similar site, I can't recommend it enough.

Edit: Also, even if you decide to totally self-learn, look into at least a handful of live lessons just to break yourself of bad habits before they become hardwired into you.

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captain_max707

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If you can afford it, I would recommend lessons over anything else. Any local music shop should have some information on where you can find a teacher, and should that fail the internet can probably help too.

For a starting guitar, the Fender Squires are good, and if you want an acoustic the Baby Taylor Dreadnought is fantastic and cheap. Make sure you like the feel of whatever you buy before buying it. Get a tuner for sure.

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Missacre

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Like others here said, you have to take it nice and slow, and not delude yourself into thinking you can play Cliffs of Dover after a week. You have to start slow and learning easy songs and work your way up from there, you'll have a great time learning the intricacies of guitar playing and music in general.

For a guitar, you'll want to start off with something cheap. A Fender Squier is a good beginner's choice if you want to go electric. Also, a cheap small amp and a tuner maybe. Of course, you can't forget a good guitar strap and extra picks, because trust me, YOU WILL LOSE THEM, and if you're lucky, you'll find them years later in a dark corner of your room, or in clothes you haven't worn in ages. Effects pedals can wait, though you should maybe get a good overdrive pedal, if you're so inclined.

The best way to learn is to read and hear absolutely everything you can get your hands on. Never turn down a free lesson, even if it's not in a style you like. You might learn some things to incorporate and maybe even make your style sound better. Also, I would suggest learning at least some music theory, and if it's possible, maybe take a class on it at a rec center or something. It can do wonders for songwriting, especially if you know what you're writing. At first, focus only on trying to play clean and making sure you hear every note and chord clearly. Playing fast comes later. After all, what's the point of playing a song fast if you can't hear the notes clearly?

I hope this helps at least a bit. Good luck.

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RonGalaxy

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Everyone will give you different advice on this topic. All I can tell you is what I did and let you go off from that

Took a guitar class in 9th grade, which was only really good for having an excuse to play during school. Started on a classical guitar (the ones they had in school). Then I bought a fender squire tele at my local guitar place. From there on I bought an acoustic and went on and off with both (to this day)

But, most importantly, I practiced a shit load; probably around 3-4 hours a day. I would listen to a lot of music and learn to play songs, and my style developed from that. I can't read music, and know shit about music theory, but I have a great ear and good technique, and I'm happy with my playing.

I should also mention for the first 2 years of learning, I only picked with my thumb; which was a pretty good jumping off point for developing pretty decent fingerstyle techniques. I eventually learned to play with a pick, but I much prefer strumming/picking with my fingers.

I guess I would recommend starting with acoustic, because once you can play acoustic decently, electric is a fucking cake walk. Also, your first elec guitar will probably have a rosewood fretboard, which is fine, but know that it is much easier to move around the frets when they're made out of maple.

And don't rely too much on the pentatonic scale. Too many musicians crutch themselves on it. don't fall into that trap.

And don't you dare use drop tunings. If your gonna play metal, always use standard tunings (d or c standard are both great for metal). Its another crutch that breeds shitty music/musicians

There's a lot more to know/learn about guitar, but if you have the drive and passion to learn, it will come easy.

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gumdealer

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If you aren't going to take classes it's be a long road, and most people end up giving up. When I first started I picked up so many bad habits because I was figuring it all out myself. Youtube is full of people giving guitar lessons, so that is one way you could go.

If you do want to get into Rocksmith as a tool try to pick up the bundle that comes with a guitar, I've heard it is a decent beginner guitar and you can find it for under $200 now. Rocksmith should not be the only way you learn, it's tutorials are basic and it never really tells you what you are doing wrong. It is a good supplement though, and it will build your confidence by letting you play songs at your own pace. Plus it has a built-in tuner, which is one less accessory you will have to worry about at first.

But the one thing that really helped me out when I first started playing guitar? Go buy a chordbook with your favorite songs in it and practice it every day. Nothing is going to top good old fashioned hard work.

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InfiniteGeass

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natetodamax

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Definitely go with the Fender Squire. That seems pretty similar to the one I learned on. I paid $200 for mine and it came with an amp (you need an amp if you're gonna play an electric, otherwise you can't really hear it very well). I took lessons for a few weeks, and it really helped teach me the basics needed to play just about any song. Play along with the music you enjoy (tabs are really easy to read, just go to 911tabs) and try to learn a variety of songs so you get used to playing differently. One of my favorite things to do is to create a set list of a bunch of songs and just play through them, improvising solos, etc.

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Missacre

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Whitestripes09

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#14  Edited By Whitestripes09

Depends how serious you want to get with it. If it's just going to be a hobby of just playing the instrument you can easily teach yourself and use tabs. If you want to get into actual music theory and actually learn what you're doing then I suggest taking a class or private lessons. One thing to consider is that you're going to actually have to actually spend time probably everyday playing the instrument if you want to get good. Start out slow, Nirvana is a good and common start along with many classic riffs like smoke on the water, sunshine of your love, or crazy train. Yeah they're not very impressive and playing these at Guitar Centers will get you a chuckle or glare.

Equipment wise get something cheap. You don't want to get something super expensive and then figure out you dont like it. Just know that you will probably spend anywhere from $50 to $300.

All electric guitars are steel string and will give you blisters on your fingers from playing (dont worry, after awhile the nerve endings on your finger tips will go dead and you'll build calluses). You will more than likely will want to buy an amp for your electric guitar as well. In my opinion, electric guitars are probably the most enjoyable. There's more variety to the sounds that you can make with effects and in some cases you can make it so that just strumming a string sounds groovy.

Acoustic guitars can use either steel or nylon strings. Nylon is much easier on the fingers. Acoustic guitars also range a lot in price due to how they are made. Typically nylon string guitars are cheap since they are typically marketed to beginners.

You will also want to get a tuner and a chord chart booklet. If using tabs, ultimate guitar tabs dot com is a must.

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penfold01

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I very recently had the same desire. I ended up getting the Squier Affinity HSS over the one you linked because it had different pickups that sounded more like what I wanted and a contoured body that I liked. From my experience the best thing to do is decide what the most you want to spend is and then go put hands on stuff in your price range until you find something that feels comfortable and sounds ok. You'll probably want an amp, but if you've got a mac with a line in you can use garageband as a software amp that works fine for practice. As for learning I've been using justinguitar.com and it seems fine so far. Better to get fundamentals down before you go off giving yourself a bunch of self-taught bad habits.

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RonGalaxy

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#16  Edited By RonGalaxy

@infinitegeass: its probably a good beginner guitar, yes. But I'll reiterate what @ilovebees said. Go to a local music store, and look at a bunch of guitars in your price range. If you don't have any music shops nearby, buying online is alright. Just make sure to read the reviews for the guitars you're interested in.

And make sure you get an amp if you're going electric (though I recommend starting with acoustic. Cheaper, easier maintenance, easier to go from playing acoustic to electric)

If you do decide to start with electric, I'm not really sure what amp I'd recommend. I use an orange crush 20L (orange is the brand, crush 20L is the model) for practice, but its 100 bucks last I remember (which is a bit steep for a beginner amp). I like it because the distortion is actually really good for being built into the amp, and it has a port to plug in headphones (you just need a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter and it will work with all headphones).

Also, purely my opinion, but strats suck. I'm a telecaster man through and through

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csl316

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#17  Edited By csl316

First and foremost, don't overspend on your first guitar. I think my first electric/amp combo cost me $150, then my next guitar cost $300. Contrary to popular belief, spending a grand won't make you better. I started buying higher end gear once I felt I earned it (through hours and hours and hours of practice).

Guitar stores tend to have beginner bundles but don't let them sell you more than you need to start. For an electric, you just need a guitar/amp/cord/pick. You don't need stuff like compressors or wah pedals right off the bat.

You should buy a tuner, which shouldn't cost more than $20. Practicing with an out-of-tune guitar isn't recommended. But come to think of it, there are free phone apps and websites that you can use. Just do a Google search for tuners to make sure your guitar sounds right.

These days, Ultimate-Guitar.com is the site I've been using for tabs (though figuring songs out yourself is good development for your ear). If you don't know what tabs are, they just show you which fret to hit on which string. Great for teaching you ways that songs and riffs are constructed. And they have community lessons up there.

Learn what you wanna learn. Play along to songs you like. Mess with your amp settings til you find a tone you like. Playing should be fun, despite the frustration that comes when learning something new (alternate picking a dozen years ago seemed impossible to me). It's something you'll naturally gravitate to doing instead of thinking "ugh, I gotta practice for 45 minutes today."

Last thing, don't say "I wanna know how to solo in 3 months." Playing guitar is a lifelong thing, and you're always learning and improving. Set smaller goals to keep a sense of achievement going.

Oh, and really the last thing, look up some lessons online about proper picking technique, how to position your fretting-hand thumb, etc. Building good habits early on is way better than trying to fix bad ones later.

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tread311

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#18  Edited By tread311

I went through this a couple of years ago. Check out Rondo Music and their Agile line for decent quality but fairly cheap guitars. I have an AL-2000 and it's pretty nice. As others have said you should find a decent tuner and amp as well but don't spend a ton here. A smart phone app could probably suffice as a tuner to start. For learning, Justin Guitar is a really good place to go. His beginner lessons are great.

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Nick

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I started with a steel stringed acoustic guitar because I didn't know what I was doing, and then when I tried I nylon stringed guitar for the first time, it felt like cheating.

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stonyman65

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#20  Edited By stonyman65

Can anyone help?

What's a good starter guitar?

What accessories should I buy?

What's the best way to learn?

Any other tips?

For a beginner guitar, I would suggest something like a Squire Affinity Strat or Tele, or if you can swing it a Fender made in Mexico strat or tele, an Epiphone Les Paul Standard or G400, or one of the Ibanez RG321 series. For an amp, I would go with the Roland Cube series, specifically the Micro Cube or X15 They key here is to not spend a ton of money, but get something decent that is going to last at least a year a two until you know you want to keep playing and have enough skill to justify buying better gear I'd say this would around the $200-$300 range for something worthwhile . The best advice I can give is to go to your local music store and try out a bunch of guitars and see what you like. It would also be a good idea to bring a friend with you who knows a bit about guitars and can give you some help. Also, going to pawn shops and smaller music stores with used gear can be really cool too because you can sometimes get better (used) gear for the same price it would cost of a low-end new guitar. For example, a few years ago I scored a used Japanese-made Jackson DK2 Firestorm for $400 that was selling around $800 new. You can't beat a deal like that that. Once you get the guitar, spend a few more bucks and have a tech set it up for you. A good setup is extremely important.

As for accessories, a good chromatic tuner (Korg CA-30 is all you'll ever need), strings (gauge and brand of your choice - I would suggest you stick with lighter gauges until you develop finger strength) and picks of your choice. And of course and amp if you are playing electric and instrument cables to hook everything up. That's about it.

As far as learning music and how to actually play i STRONGLY suggest you get a guitar teacher that can give you hands-on lessons and teach you about music theory as well. It's one thing to just know how to play guitar - it's quite another to actually understand music and what you are playing and why. There are great books and tons of videos online (I wish I had half the stuff we do today when I started playing a decade ago. You guys are lucky) and you can probably figure it out more or less, but having someone there to answer questions in the beginning is invaluable. Of course once you get a grasp of what you are doing you can figure out the rest yourself.

And the most important advice I can give: Don't give up!

Send me a PM on the site and I'll give you my email to send over some tabs and stuff to start you out if you want.

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FCKSNAP

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I don't recommend Rocksmith because it isn't very accurate. I feel that the game's tuner is a little off and I've tried all three platforms it's available on. Honestly, it's fun but the current version doesn't actually teach you guitar because the scales and chords are presented in an arcadey way that doesn't promote actual learning. The minigames that are supposed to reinforce scale/chord progression memorization are too quick with a high difficulty curve that you pay more attention to the game and the colored strings as opposed to the actual scale/chord shapes.

Just look up some songs on UG and then get some scales and chord dictionaries or reference books. The "Learn Scales/Chords" books always suck.

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Gantrathor

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#22  Edited By Gantrathor

The other people here seem to have good advice on what you should buy, so I'll try to give my own little slice of advice with things that helped me, even though it's very little. Never was very good at giving advice.

First thing I would say is learn as many chords as possible. It will give you a better ear when listening and learning songs, and it will make your own songs more diverse.

Also, your fingers will hurt really bad when you first start playing, regardless of whether or not you are using steel strings. Calluses will form on your fingers after practicing for a few weeks, and it won't hurt anymore.

Learn how to read tabs. There are hundreds of videos and resources on the internet that teach it, and it's very simple. I also recommend learning how to read sheet music, just as an extra skill to have, though it's not super important unless you're going to a fancy music school or taking a lesson that requires it. Some books are written only in sheet music, so it's a pretty good skill to have. It also makes you look fancy, or cultured, I guess I should say. *pinky up*

You should also listen to as much music as possible, like, a metric-shitload of it, even in genres that you may not care for. Listening to a lot of music while you're learning will help you understand music more, and it will give you more diverse influences if/when you start writing music of your own.

Also, at first, it's totally okay to teach yourself using books, PC programs, the internet, etc. But I highly recommend that you start taking lessons at some point. You will start forming bad habits if you teach yourself for too long. A good guitar teacher can teach you far, far more than anything on the internet ever could.

When I was 15, my dad started paying for me to go to lessons; I had been self taught for 5 years before that. I thought I was a super hotshot guitar wizard already, but the guitar teacher made me realize how little I actually knew. It humbled me pretty hard, and it helped me a lot.

And seriously, SERIOUSLY, don't start playing unless you are fully committed. Learning a musical instrument takes years and years of practice. You will feel like you wasted your time and your money if you start playing and then bail out.

Hopefully this, and the other advice in this thread, will help you out. (I'd wager that mine is the least helpful. As I said, not very good at giving advice.

It's a big commitment, but it's also a ton of fun once you feel adequate with your playing.

I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you do well.

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Aterons

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I am a beginner when it comes to guitar myself and I think the most important thing is thinking of why you want to play guitar and how much time do you want to spend learning.

Because the reason is around the lines of: "I really want to play like this guy" or "I really want to get chicks via my guitar playing skills" or "I want to be in a band and create music that people will listen to" than I can tell you that you will likely loss motivation, I know a lot of people that started for these reasons including my sister and a cousin of mine and they all just quite soon enough because their "goals" seemed way to distant and hard to them once they saw how hard it is to play.

I simply got in with the attitude of "I want to sing songs" because I am the kind of guy that always murmurs a melody, starts the drunk singing, sings along with whatever I listen...etc, so after about 1 month of learning chords the fact that I sat down with a guitar for around 30 to 90 minutes and just sang whatever, even if it was really simple and really bad, was something that almost came naturally. Thus I managed to practice literally every day for months, and even though what I did wasn't very good for learning I managed to learn bit by bit via the simple fact that I put a lot of time into it. The same would apply to Rocksmith i'd think, even if the game is indeed really bad for learning because it teaches you stuff the wrong way and encourages a lot of bad habits, if you can just sit down and play it 2 to 5 hours a day like you would do with a normal game than you will learn stuff simply because you play a lot.

The 2nd way to do it would be to think of it as learning, much like you would think of a college class, in which case it might be a bit more hard to keep up because you aren't enjoying it very much. The upside to this is that you can simply have a 20-30 minutes daily or once every 2 days program to practice stuff. This also implies getting an online course ( you can find a lot of very good free courses online ) or paying for a professor ( whatever you do don't waste money on an online course, the best of them are actually free ).

As far as guitar goes I am not good enough to talk about what guitar you should get, I did however get a lot of advice from people that play guitar in this matter. The one that I stuck by was from an uncle that play professionally and has been both playing and teaching and his opinion was basically: "If you get an acoustic guitar get a cheap one and only after you learn how to play it start looking for a serious one, because "good" acoustics are really on a person to person basis and to determine if you like one or not you need to be able to play at a decent level. So just get a shitty acoustic and once you learn how to do stuff on it go into different music stores and try some pricier ones to see which one you like".

As far as electric goes I think the best guitar for beginners is one from Fender Squier ( The affinity if you can afford it and if you are on a low budget get Squier Bullet ) and most people recommended it to me, but it's much easier to start on an acoustic if you make sure the strings are light or extra light.

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Sinusoidal

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So much advice. I'll throw in a little more. If you're not going to spend at least say... $400 on a guitar, don't start with a steel stringed acoustic. Cheap steel-stringed acoustics are the hardest on your fingers, the hardest to make sound good and the most common kind of guitar. Many a beginning guitarist is discouraged by the amount of effort required to make even a simple first position chord sound good on one of these pieces of garbage and then never becomes anything more than a beginner.

Electric or nylon-stringed classical guitar is the better way to learn, and are cheaper than a nice steel-stringed acoustic. There are some awesome sounding, tiny practice amps available these days too. I've got one of these:

No Caption Provided

It sounds amazing for a $30 piece of gear. I use it to record at home since I can't turn up my Laney tube amp loud enough to sound good without getting a lot of complaints from the neighbours.

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#25  Edited By FunkyS

My advice for buying a first guitar is to get something as close as possible to what you want to sound like for your budget. I know it sounds obvious but I have loads of students who get disillusioned with their nylon string guitars because they don't sound like "Band X" that is all electric instruments.

Similarly, if you want to play heavy rock or metal (or just want a thicker tone overall) then getting an instrument with humbuckers is better than a single coil equipped strat. Personally I think getting something like a Yamaha Pacifica with HSS configuration is the best option for a beginner to electric guitar.

Also, you can still get a lot of fun out of the instrument at all levels of commitment you just have to be realistic with your goals. You're not going to be the next Guthrie Govan if you play once a week but you might be able to slowly learn your favourite song.