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What can I expect from guitar lessons?

Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 05:41 AM
Acorn4 25 Apr 12 - 07:20 AM
Blues=Life 25 Apr 12 - 07:29 AM
kendall 25 Apr 12 - 07:47 AM
Blues=Life 25 Apr 12 - 08:05 AM
foggers 25 Apr 12 - 08:12 AM
s&r 25 Apr 12 - 08:22 AM
GUEST 25 Apr 12 - 08:23 AM
Tim Leaning 25 Apr 12 - 08:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM
Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 25 Apr 12 - 08:46 AM
breezy 25 Apr 12 - 08:47 AM
Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 09:04 AM
Bernard 25 Apr 12 - 09:18 AM
Acorn4 25 Apr 12 - 09:36 AM
MikeL2 25 Apr 12 - 10:51 AM
Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 11:39 AM
Bernard 25 Apr 12 - 12:32 PM
GUEST, Sminky 25 Apr 12 - 12:48 PM
Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 01:02 PM
GUEST 25 Apr 12 - 01:06 PM
kendall 25 Apr 12 - 01:12 PM
Acorn4 25 Apr 12 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,DTM 25 Apr 12 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,999 25 Apr 12 - 02:56 PM
Northerner 25 Apr 12 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,josepp 25 Apr 12 - 03:53 PM
Crowhugger 25 Apr 12 - 04:11 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 25 Apr 12 - 04:57 PM
Bernard 25 Apr 12 - 07:50 PM
Ross Campbell 25 Apr 12 - 08:23 PM
Don Firth 25 Apr 12 - 09:49 PM
Northerner 26 Apr 12 - 02:30 AM
banjoman 26 Apr 12 - 05:27 AM
Tunesmith 26 Apr 12 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,kendall 26 Apr 12 - 08:30 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 12 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 26 Apr 12 - 03:47 PM
PoppaGator 26 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM
Don Firth 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM
Northerner 26 Apr 12 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,999 26 Apr 12 - 05:20 PM
Northerner 26 Apr 12 - 05:39 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 06:22 PM
Northerner 26 Apr 12 - 06:50 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Apr 12 - 07:39 PM
gnu 26 Apr 12 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,Stim 26 Apr 12 - 08:11 PM
Northerner 27 Apr 12 - 05:15 AM
kendall 27 Apr 12 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,Stim 28 Apr 12 - 08:21 AM
Stringsinger 28 Apr 12 - 01:41 PM
GUEST,g4guitar 03 May 12 - 12:19 AM
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Subject: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 05:41 AM

Hi! I've booked myself in for a course of guitar lessons at a local college, starting tomorrow evening. I already tell stories, read my own poems and sing unaccompanied folk songs but would like to accompany myself on some of the songs (not all of them).

When I was young my parents bought me a classical guitar and paid for lessons but it was all classical music and I was taught nothing about folk song accompaniment. I went for guitar lessons at local college a few years ago but it was all taught by tab and I don't think he was a very good teacher. I didn't make much progress. This time I have booked lessons at a different college and the classes are at a school walking distance from my home. The college has already been in touch to see if I need any support (I am slightly visually impaired) and the teacher has phoned me to give brief advice re getting a new guitar (I want to get a steel string acoustic guitar). My old classical guitar is at the music shop getting new strings and a service (they picked up a small repair needed). I should pick up my guitar this afternoon. I have bought some guitar books to help myself.
                                                                              What level of tuition can I reasonably expect in a group? I am not well-off and even if I eventually have to get one-to-one tuition I have to use other routes first. What can I do to get the most out of the classes? I believe this teacher is a more experienced musician than the one at the other college.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Acorn4
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 07:20 AM

Any tutor can only show you what to do. The essential part is the practice - as long as the course is covering the style(s) you want, the rest is basically down to how much time you're willing to put in.

Youtube is also well worth a look to augment your class sessions - there are so many good tutorials online these days, but be choosy here


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 07:29 AM

Having taken one-on-one lessons, and having taught in a group, I will say that you get a lot more out of the individual lessons. However, group lessons can work, too. The key to any attempt to learn an instrument is that you get out of it what you put into it. It's not enough to practice an hour a week. When you first start, it's 10-20 minutes a day (gotta build those callouses). Once your fingers get toughened up, it's 20-30 minutes a day. Then more. The key is playing every day.
I also can not emphasize enough the need to have a good, playable, steel string guitar with good strings and a good set-up. I've had people bring in "Dad's old guitar" that was hard for ME to play, and then they would complain that learning to play was "too hard." A bad guitar is a bad guitar. And I'm not a big fan of trying to learn steel string guitar on a classical. Tough to do.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 07:47 AM

What's wrong with using a classical guitar for folk music? Many do.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Blues=Life
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:05 AM

"And I'm not a big fan of trying to learn steel string guitar on a classical."

"What's wrong with using a classical guitar for folk music? Many do."

Not what I said.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: foggers
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:12 AM

A good musician is not necessarily a good teacher. A good teacher has ways to explain things and to get you engaged in a way that caters for your learning style too. I agree the comments about the need for you to have a good practice regime and a playable guitar.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: s&r
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:22 AM

A teacher should be able to correct you if you go wrong, encourage you when you play well, and motivate you.

Not all teachers do this.

Stu


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:23 AM

Sore fingers and a lighter wallet.

Now I've managed to squeeze all the crap humour out, I'd say it's a good decision and the answer to all things guitar is:

PRACTICE, Practice, practice


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:28 AM

Guidance then Practice...
I find I get a better perspective on how i am doing /sounding if I record my self and really listen to the playback..
Good Luck


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM

Are you in the north west northerner - if so there is an organisation called Folkus (run by North West Arts) - they will help you with advice about the whole guitar business. Stuart and Rusty Wright are the people to talk to.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:45 AM

Thank you for the advice. Practice is obviously the key here. I've found the YouTube lessons and they look helpful. I have small hands and steel string guitars have narrower necks I believe. I also prefer the sound of a steel string acoustic guitar to a classical guitar. I do have another guitar, I think it is also a classical guitar but it needs some repairs; however its neck is narrower and I prefer its sound. I have just collected my classical guitar from the shop and will get the other one repaired. For now at least I have a guitar to take to classes and practise on.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:46 AM

If you really want to hip to folk & storytelling, buy a shruti box instead. Guitars are so 1955...


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: breezy
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:47 AM

can you tune your classical guitar by yourself?

can you get your fingers onto the strings and play notes ?

I have taught beginners in groups, large groups !

Do you have any knowledge of scales and keys and how chords relate each other?

All good used guitars will have some damage, it gives them character !

Learn to get it in tune then learn the chords of E A and B7th

Oh and a capo is esential.

If you have a guitar that is hard to play and difficult to tune then the journey will take some determination .

All the best

yep the crap jokes been covered

Cyril Tawney used a nylon job and didnt give a shit if a string broke


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 09:04 AM

Hi! Folkus is in the north west and I am in the north east; I suppose there will be other organisations. The shruti box sounds interesting so I can think of that at some time. I will learn to tune the guitar again. I've bought an electronic tuner but may find my eyesight makes it difficult. I used to tune the guitar using pitch pipes so I've got a set of those as well. Thank you all.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 09:18 AM

I've always told my pupils to think of their lesson as part of a drink of cordial...

The lesson is the concentrate, but the drink isn't complete until you add water in the proper ratio... which is the DAILY practice.

There is no harm in learning the basics on a nylon-strung guitar - in fact, you'll be playing reasonably well a lot sooner because the strings are easier on your fingers. Moving from a nylon-strung to a steel-strung isn't so difficult - and you may (as I do) decide you like to play both for different things.

You'll soon know when the instrument is holding you back - just accept that you learn to crawl before you learn to run.

I'm afraid that electronic tuners have made people develop 'lazy ears' - I can (and often do) tune someone's guitar at the folk club far quicker by ear than they were doing with a tuner. I do accept that tuners have their uses, especially in a group... they're not for me, though!


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Acorn4
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 09:36 AM

The big hands/small hands thing is a case of swings and roundabouts - small hands mean that you are less likely to mute strings you don't want to with sausage fingers, but you don't get the stretch.

I play a Seagull acoustic because, having fairly large mits, the fretboard is just that fraction wider for accurate fingerpicking. So the choice of instrument is important.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: MikeL2
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 10:51 AM

Hi

As has been said above practice is the key.

Good teachers don't teach you how to play ....they teach you how to practice.

At first attending group classes may well be OK but as you progress it will be more beneficial to find a good teacher.....more expensive though.

Patience & practice my friend.

Good luck.

Cheers

Mikel2


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 11:39 AM

Thank you all. I have now picked up my classical guitar from the music shop; it's been repaired. Eventually I will take my other guitar in and get it serviced. So at least I have a guitar to practise on again now...


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 12:32 PM

Fat fingers are only a problem if you let them be... and I should know!! Pork sausages spring to mind...! Yet I play mandolin - up on the dusty frets!!


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 12:48 PM

Good teachers don't teach you how to play ....they teach you how to practice.

Hear, hear! Nobody can teach you how to play the guitar, but a good tutor can show you how to teach yourself.

The late, great Bert Jansch had ONE guitar lesson in his life (which degenerated into a drinking session), everything else was his own creation.

Enjoy the journey.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 01:02 PM

Thank you all. I do get the feeling that I will largely need to teach myself. I will take the classes as far as they take me and try to add on a few lessons with a teacher on a one-to-one basis after that.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 01:06 PM

Are you in an area with folk clubs, sessions, sing-arounds etc? I am a self-taught musician (on guitar, banjo and dulcimer) and have found that some folkc clubs here in UK sometimes do beginner sessions, slow jams or other kinds of get-togethers where experienced players might be approached for hints and tips. That could be a low-cost way of getting further input to help your progress.

Learning an instrument in a group is a challenge for teacher and learners alike; the group tends to progress at the rate of the slowest learner. I usually approach it by focusing on the one or two things that I really want to get out of the session and if others are more advanced than me I may "switch off my ears" when the discussion goes faster than I can follow, so that I don't get bombarded with too much information and then lose the bits I thought I had gained.

The issue of a practice regime is worth more thought. A short amount of daily practice is best (your brain needs regular exposure to the new skills you are aiming to learn in order to grow some new synapses to capture it!). Practice slowly in order to work on accuracy first. ONLY when you have got something accurate and clean (e.g. a chord change from one shape to another) should you then try and pick the speed up. If you try and practice at speed from the get-go all you will do is practice your mistakes and not your new skills!

Some people (including me)like to record their practice and listen back to it as it gives you a different insight on how you are sounding, and the recordings over time make a good record to reflect on your progress.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 01:12 PM

I've had a few students and all but two wanted to run before they could walk.
Don't be fooled by great pickers, they make it look easy; it aint. If it was, everyone would be playing guitar.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Acorn4
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 01:52 PM

Doc Watson's advice is "practice like the devil!"


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 02:20 PM

Tune your guitar to DADGAD!
I've played the guitar for many years and just discovered the other week I can play 80% of my repertoire with one finger using the DADGAD tuning.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 02:56 PM

"What can I expect from guitar lessons?"

Frustration: if the divine master had meant for people to play guitar we would have exited the womb with one in hand.

Fascination: when you finally actually do the B7 on frets one and two you will feel a sense of accomplishment much like the first time you hit what you intended to with a slingshot.

Fourfawk Sake: as you're working hard to do the few things associated with playing guitar that phrase will cross your mind. Don't express it aloud in front of your instructor.

A few things associated with playing guitar

a) Holding the guitar
b) Putting your arm or pinky finger where you want it to rest
c) Holding onto the flat pick or convincing your picking hand to act          in a matter contrary to all common sense and experience
d) Getting the right 'pressure' for strumming, flat picking or finger picking
e) Remembering that your hands which work together when one of them knows what it's doing do not when neither of them knows what it's doing
f) Holding the strings down with sufficient pressure so as to prevent string-buzz
g) Holding the strings down with sufficient lightness so as to prevent deep and painful gullies from forming in your finger tips--and I mean gullies
h) Keeping the nails of your chording-hand trimmed so as to allow a good attack on the strings
i) Determining the best length of the nails for the fingers you pluck strings with and wondering what to do as your nails grow
j) Finding the flat pick for you. Not all picks are equally useful to us. The gamut runs from 'bend them 180 degrees and they don't break' to 'call the friend of yours who pumps iron to try and bend it'
k) How to get the flat pick out of your guitar because you dropped it into the sound hole and it's rattling around inside and that was the only flat pick you brought or have
l) Finding out that ungrateful a$$hole next door who yells at the top of his lungs as he nears orgasm--and you have never once complained--is hammering on the wall telling you to stfu because it's 3:25 am and he's trying to sleep while you practice

OK, so maybe that's a few lessons into your learning.

The reward is the ability to accompany yourself or friends on songs. In two years with application and practice you will be the best guitar player ever. That will last until you have been playing for four years and it will strike you that you really don't know a darned thing about guitar. Then you will practice more with a focused concentration and in a few years, voila--someone will come over and ask you how you did that thing you just did. You will say, and wisely so, "Practice."
l)


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:21 PM

Thank you for all the advice. Perhaps it's a good thing that my next door neighbour used to teach music so she can hardly complain about my guitar as I have to hear her piano. It's just a pity that she didn't play the guitar.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:53 PM

I'm critical of the "practice practice practice" advice. There's such a thing as over-practicing. A good hour a day should do it. That's plenty. I mean, practice as much as you want. If you want to do 3 hours then do 3 hours. But don't force yourself to do 3 hours. And you have to practice daily. Trying to cram 6 days worth of lessons into 8 hours the day before your next lesson doesn't cut it. And don't think your instructor can't tell the difference. He can. You're way better off doing an hour a day for a week than 8 hours the day before--it's a huge difference.

As far as lessons go, you should be learning to read music proper and not just tabs--that's bullshit. I wouldn't pay anyone to teach me tabs, for Christ's sake. You need to get to the point where you know instantly what any note is on the paper AND where that note is on the guitar AND where all octaves of that note are. You should know where every C is, for example. You should be able to name each note as you play it and you need to practice it by saying those notes aloud as you do it. Same with chords--say them out loud when you play them.

In learning to walk bass in jazz, a prerequisite is being able to name every note aloud as you play it. It's necessary to your progress to be able to do that. It's not enough to know it implicitly. And I think it's a very good idea to learn music from someone that is university educated in music. It doesn't mean they know anything necessarily but the chances are good he knows more than some dude whose musical education consists of playing in bar bands for 20 years.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 04:11 PM

Lessons are definitely about both inspiring you and teaching you how to practise. A great teacher does both so as you won't even notice, but then after the instruction period is over (e.g. during a summer break) with any luck you find yourself continuing to make progress because (a) you learned how to practise and (b) it's way too much fun to stop, even if you WOULD rather run than walk.

That is not so likely to happen if either the teacher is just so-so or if your heart really isn't in it that particular instrument.

I had piano lessons as a kid, which is where I learned how to practise, but guitar was where I solidified that ability: How to work patiently over days, weeks & months to master patterns, turn them into reflexes. Then more days, weeks and months combining those bits and pieces into something pleasing. As others have already said, plan on practice and lots of it!

In addition to lessons and personal practice I would urge you to make every effort to network and jam with people who play guitar the way you want to play. Ask for tips. People are often happy to show you, slo mo, how they do this or that little riff, then you just go home and work on it. What you pick up from lessons and people and recordings and how you put them together will fuse into your own unique style.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 04:57 PM

Well my advice differs from some but I understand that you wish to be able to accompany yourself on some songs. First try to learn 3 basic chords as that is usually enough to do most folksongs. G,C,and D is what many people learn first. (key of G major) Practice with a song that you know well starting in G. When it no longer sounds right try changing to C. If that doesn't sound right change to D. Most songs will go G to C to D and back to G, or G to C to G to D to G or some similar progression. If the pitch in G is not right use a capo. If you capo the second fret and play the same G progression you will be in the key of A but still using the same three chord finger positions.
Keep it as simple as possible at the start and when you can get these three chord changes and can do your first song take a deep bow. You have just broken the first guitar frustratuion barrier! You can now start to learn and practice for the rest of your life but self-discouragement will be defeated!


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 07:50 PM

There are a few songs that can be successfully sung to just one chord, and quite a few more that only need two chords... there's a thread here on the subject, with loads of examples.

'Old MacDonald Had A Farm' will work on one chord, for example - it's better if you can use more, but it gives instant success with just the one chord.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 08:23 PM

If you are in the North-East, then Folkworks http://thesagegateshead.org/about-us/folkworks/ is the local agency promoting workshops and classes in folk and traditional music. I attended a couple of group workshops in their early days, one tutored by Ian Carr and the other by Martin Carthy. Found both very useful in different ways, but I guess I was already playing fairly complicated stuff by then and knew what I wanted to get from their lessons. When I was starting off, I was lucky enough to have a few friends at similar levels to compare and contrast progress with. I also learned some finger-picking from Brian Miller at Strathclyde University's Folk Club and found various musicians I was listening to had "tablature" books for their guitar accompaniments. There seemed to be many more guitar specialists around back then (Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Stefan Grossman, Duck Baker, Leo Kottke, Davy Graham, John James, Archie Fisher, Hamish Imlach, Barbara Dickson, Gordon Giltrap, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Steve Tilston, ISB, John Martyn, John Fahey, Dave Goulder, Cyril Tawney), and seeing and hearing people play and watching their hands was one way of figuring techniques out. YouTube as suggested above makes huge amounts of tutorial material accessible, but you need to exercise some quality control, a lot of stuff that is up there is just plain wrong!

A year or two back a friend mentioned difficulty learning on a steel-strung guitar, but complained that all the nylon-strung guitars offered had the thick classical neck, which was awkward in other ways. Co-incidentally, a few weeks later I met somebody at a local session who was playing (very effectively) a narrow-necked nylon-strung guitar, a bit like the parlour guitars that were popular in the nineteenth century. It was an Ibanez AEG10E-NT Electro Acoustic Guitar like this one. I found one eventually second-hand and it's an interesting change from the twelve-string I usually play. Similar models are produced by other makers, Yamaha and Fender certainly and probably more.

Whatever you go ahead with, I would echo the recommendations above to get your guitar properly set up by someone who knows what they're doing. I struggled for years before figuring that out.

Ross


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 09:49 PM

I've been using classic guitars since 1955 and have found them to be very good for folk song and ballad accompaniment. But then, I don't do blues or bluegrass (not because I don't like blues and bluegrass, it's that my interest is more in ballads). Most general audiences don't really differentiate between nylon-string classics and steel-string guitars, and I find the wider fingerboard easier to play on. But then, I keep my thumb behind the neck, not wrapped around it in a strangle-hold.

Also, I prefer the sound of a good classic. It blends very well with the human voice. AND—with the sort of songs I sing (ballads mostly)—I find a sort of atavistic kinship with the lute. Minstrel tradition.

I was born and raised in a big city and came to singing folk songs and ballads in my early twenties, and frankly, I find city folks attempting to sound like they just stumbled down from the hills to be a bit—phony. But you're mileage may vary.

If you've already had some classic guitar lessons, just stick with the hand positions you were taught (left hand thumb behind the neck, right hand fingers at a more-or-less right angle with the strings). Then learn the basic first-position chords. Lots of chord books available, or heaps of chord diagrams to be found on the internet.

Start out with simple strums or picking patterns like "Burl Ives Basic:" right thumb (p) plays the three bass strings (alternately one at a time, not all at once), i, m, and a play 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings respectively. For a two or four beat rhythm, play the thumb on ONE followed by all three fingers together on TWO and do the same for THREE and FOUR (thumb-fingers-thumb-fingers). For a three-beat, thumb-fingers-fingers (ONE TWO THREE).

Burl Ives made a lifelong career out of playing little else for song accompaniment.

But you can vary it all over the place. Once you can accompany a fair number of songs with Burl Ives Basic, you can try things like arpeggiating the chord. Hold the chord with the left hand and play the strings individually with the right-hand fingers. Use your imagination. Many combinations possible. And there are books available. The Carcassi Method has arpeggio patterns until hell won't have it!

Then, bass runs—single note scale-wise passages from one chord to the next. Experiment. Dink around.

What are my qualifications? In addition to making a fairly decent career as a singer of folk songs (concerts, coffeehouses, television), for about thirty years I taught classic and/or folk guitar in private lessons and classes of up to a dozen people in folk guitar. Some of my former students wound up performing professionally. [So I guess I couldn't have screwed them up too badly.....]

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 02:30 AM

Thank you for all of the advice. I'm a contralto so when I played before I generally had to transpose the music into a key more comfortable for my voice. I met Maddy Prior at a residential storytelling course we were both on; she said I had a "big voice." I took that as a compliment.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: banjoman
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:27 AM

I agree that at the end of the day its very much up to yourself and what you want from the instrument. I teach banjo and always try to send the pupil away after the first lesson able to play something even if its only a small run of notes. Same for the guitar - its great to be able to "Show off" so to speak that you can play something. The other advice is to try and get into informal sessions where the odd wrong note or chord wont matter. It gets you into the practice of playing and you will probably get a lot of advice as well. Good luck


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Tunesmith
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:48 AM

Well, it's very exciting taking up a new pursuit!
1. Don't expect miracles immediately - miracles take quite a while!
2. Listen to the teacher and really try to follow what he/she says.
3. Pratice - and then practice some more.
4. Get inspired by listening/watching your favourite players.
5. Think of it as a long term project.
6. Check out Youtube. There are lots and lots of great tuition clips in every guitar style. ( there are also lots and lots of not so good clips, as well).
7. If you do stick at it, you will never regret the effort!


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 08:30 AM

Singing and playing guitar has opened so many doors I can't count them.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 03:44 PM

I beg to differ with the person who characterized tablature as "bullshit."

I've been playing for over 40 years, and while by no means a full-fledged full-time professional, I have made a few dollars as a performer.

I took classical-guitar lessons for a few months many years ago, so I *have* some experience dealing with standard musical notation. Also, I am currently involved in several choral groups and am learning to sight-read as a vocalist. So, I'm not some kind of anti-sheet-music luddite.

However,I am a great believer in guitar tablature, and have probably learned more songs and more "licks" (more technique) from tabs than by any other method. Well, tabs in conjunction with listening, of course.

In standard musical notation, any given note (as indicated by its position on the treble or bass staff) can be played at multiple position on the guitar fingerboard ~ on different strings, that is. Only tablature indicates the string to play and the fret at which to finger it.

NOw, I remember the opening post where


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 03:47 PM

Fat pudgy fingers? Ever see Segovia's hands? He INVENTED Classical guitar!


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM

(Ooops ~ that was me, above, at 3:44 pm. Forgot to log in, then accidentally posted in the middle of a sentence.)

As I was saying...

Now, I remember the opening post where Northener let us know that he/she has been unable to learn from tabs. Fair enough. But can a person that uncomfortable with tablature be expected to do any better dealing with standard notation? Really? Not at first, that's for sure.

The main thing to concentrate upon is to PLAY (i.e., practice). Next, to gain a degree of familiarity with basic theory ~ really basic stuff, like which three chords go together in a given key. Doesn't matter whether you know to call them "tonic," "dominant,"and "subdominant" or I, V, and VII, or whether you have any names for them at all. Just so long as you can start playing.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM

Sminky... "Nobody can teach you how to play the guitar, but a good tutor can show you how to teach yourself."

Wise words. And, all of the posts contain some great info. I wish this resource was available about 45 years ago.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM

Here's a very valuable tip. I wish someone had given it to me when I first started out. It would have saved me a lot of backing up and relearning.

When learning something new—practice S-L-O-W-L-Y.

In fact, get a metronome. A good electronic metronome will run you somewhere between $15 and $25 (the wooden pyramid clockwork kind are very "traditional," but they're also very pricy!). A metronome is a real tyrant, and one can learn to hate the things, but that's the point.

When you're starting to learn a picking pattern—say, like Burl Ives Basic which I describe above, or alternating bass "fingerpicking" ("Freight Train," "Railroad Bill," or dozens of other songs)—start out with a metronome setting of no faster than 60 clicks (beats) per minute. That's one click per second.

[Click] Thumb - [Click] Index finger - [Click] thumb - [Click] middle finger – repeat many, many times.

When you can do that smoothly and cleanly, move the metronome up a couple of clicks to, say , and do it again. When that goes well (smooth and clean and you can do it without feeling rushed or braiding your fingers), move it up another couple of clicks. Keep repeating this. But not in one session. Over a number of weeks, maybe, oozing the number of clicks per minute up a couple each day--but not increasing the speed until you can do it CLEANLY at your present speed—until you can make it roll faster than you would ever reasonably want to play it.

That way, you get it down smoothly, solidly, and cleanly and you have a lot of speed in reserve

This same procedure holds for various other picking patterns. And it holds for scales. And, for that matter, for classical pieces.

This, for example, is how one can accomplish such things as the three-finger tremolo in classic guitar pieces like Francisco Tàrrega's Requerdos de la Alhambra or how flamenco guitarists can play scales so fast they make the strings smoke.

The fastest way to learn to play with facility is to start practicing slowly and carefully.

Good pickin'!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:59 PM

Hello everyone! I've been to my class and come away much happier. He gave us song sheets with lyrics and the chords on them. I do still like to see the music so I will do some research and see if I can find the sheet music for the songs on the Internet, and I will probably create my own tabs for the songs. The songs were in two packs; there some popular pop songs (well that's why they are pop!) and a pack of folk songs. The folk songs were a bit hackneyed for my taste but will do to learn on. He was very clued up technology wise. He had a microphone on, so it was easy to hear him. He also put up videos of performers on a screen to play along to. In addition he had a webcam up of his playing so you could see what his hands were doingm. Although my fingers were a bit slow at making the chord changes initilly my previous experience was helpful and I did manage to do a very basic strum along to "Dancing the Night Away" at the end of the evening. He has some more advanced songs in the programme so pupils come back the following year. He keeps adding to the repertoire that he offers. It is possible that I will seek some one-to-tuition eventually but this will be helpful for the moment. I am used to reading music as I did choral singing where we used sheet music for a number of years. I will just have to adapt his material and put it in a way that I like.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:20 PM

Wonderful news, Northerner. Congratulations.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:39 PM

Thank you. He also had an hour's session at the end with the more experienced students and I stayed on to see what that was all about. Basically he played and sang a more difficult song. The students had copies of the song and played along. There was a little bit of explanation but not much; it was really more of a demonstration though he did have the webcam on so you could see his hands. That particular evening is one that is really good for performing arts events - lots of good things clashing - so I wouldn't go to his classes indefinitely, just for long enough to improve from where I am. I would like to make my own arrangements eventually.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 06:22 PM

Sounds great. Makes me smile. Good luck with it.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 06:50 PM

Thank you gnu.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:39 PM

Lots of good advice there, but trying to learn any instrument and sing at the same time requires a huge amount of brain connections: I certainly could not do both at once when I started guitar, and even less so when I started melodeon. So I'd concentrate on getting the chords or other accompaniment right, then add in the singing (maybe only humming the tune at first) quite a bit later. I'd liken doing your chord changes to doing gear changes when you first start driving a car - you have to think about it a lot, but later it becomes instinctive.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: gnu
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:51 PM

Indeed, Tattie. Geetar first. Then the integration with the voice. Of course, I suppose that was implied earlier, but still good that it's said "out loud".


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 08:11 PM

I'm glad that you read music, Northerner-one thing I want to reinforce the point that josepp made about learning the names of the notes on the guitar. It can be very helpful to know them when you get to a certain point in your playing, and if you get in to the habit of thinking the note names as you play them, it will soon be second nature.

You can get to be very proficient at playing the guitar without knowing the name of a single note, but if you do that, you'll end up doing "let's see, what note was that?" with your brain while your fingers are off somewhere else,

It also helps a lot to learn the interval that you are fingering when you play a chord--where the fifth is, where the sixth is, where the third is, where the octave is, etc.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Northerner
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:15 AM

Thank you all for your advice. I shall print out this thread so that I can re-read your tips.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 07:41 PM

Tourist to a hillbilly banjo picker:
"Do you read music"? reply "Not enough to hurt my playing."

or "Hell, there aint no notes on a banjo, you just play the thing."


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 08:21 AM

Which really meant that they could read music, and it was no big deal.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 01:41 PM

It depends on the teacher. A good teacher must be able to inspire the student to achieve more. A good player isn't always a good teacher.

One thing that is really important, be in the same room with a good teacher.
That's the best method of learning.


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Subject: RE: What can I expect from guitar lessons?
From: GUEST,g4guitar
Date: 03 May 12 - 12:19 AM

I think it really depends on the teacher. Great teachers know how to get their students to excel. I have had many teachers over the years but only a handful really stood out.


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