The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #93371   Message #1797776
Posted By: Grab
31-Jul-06 - 11:52 AM
Thread Name: Beginner Guitar Tips?
Subject: RE: Beginner Guitar Tips?
"Know what fingers go where" and "be able to change between those chords smoothly" are two different things.

Best advice - get a metronome. Then play the chords to your song exactly on the metronome's beat. You'll hate its guts within about 10 seconds, but it works. Not only does it tighten up your right-hand strumming, but it also ensures that you know exactly how long the left-hand changes take. Someone once said that all beginners play in 5/4 time - "strum strum strum strum *change chord* strum strum strum strum *change chord*" - and there's an element of truth in that, because often you don't realise yourself how long the changes are taking.

I have to say that if you can play all those chords smoothly and change between them smoothly after only 2 weeks, you can consider yourself a guitar genius. Seriously. For most people, getting all those chords down to a reasonable level is a good 2-3 months work for most people. I guess it comes down to what you call "being able to play them" - my definition would be a solid 4-strums-to-a-bar at the speed of, say, "Yellow Submarine" (for a song that everyone knows).

Book-wise, if you can get the Russ Shipton series then they'd be a good bet for you. They're very much fingerstyle-centric, and they worked well for me.

For another thing, I'd suggest getting a plectrum and at least trying plectrum stuff. It's a whole different skill, and you might like it. The essential skill with a plectrum is trying to keep the plectrum at 90 degrees to the string, instead of letting it float backwards and forwards as you strum - if you can control that, then you can control your tone.

You say you're going to go looking for a guitar teacher soon. If you do, don't go more often than once every 2 weeks. What you want is not so much someone to tell you what to do every step of the way, as someone to watch you doing what you've learned and then nailing bad habits before they get established.