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Nurturing a new Guitar Player

saulgoldie 04 Jun 13 - 06:23 PM
Commander Crabbe 04 Jun 13 - 07:19 PM
Deckman 04 Jun 13 - 07:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 04 Jun 13 - 10:29 PM
Crowhugger 05 Jun 13 - 12:06 AM
Bert 05 Jun 13 - 05:28 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jun 13 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 05 Jun 13 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 05 Jun 13 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Grishka 05 Jun 13 - 01:00 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: saulgoldie
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 06:23 PM

Cowworkers know that I play the guitsr. One woman asked me if I could help her with tuning a guitar that she had bought, and also giving her daughter some pointers.

She brought in this...*thing* that looked sort of like a guitar. I mean, it had a body, neck, strings, frets, and tuning pegs. Yes indeed, it sure looked like a guitar. I asked her about her choice of an instrument for her daughter, and she said that she didn't want to spend too much on it. And if her daughter liked it, then she would get her a better guitar. And she told me how she had saved so much money by buying it from Amazon instead of Mal*wart. Oh, and it had a thick coat of girlie pink paint and flowers.

Well, I tried to tune it. I very tentatively tightened a couple of strings ever so gently. And I tuned it low. Sure enough, though, I broke a string. Actually, it was a string the looked like a guitar string. Interestingly enough, it came with a backup set, undifferentiated, of course. So I installed what I thought should be the right string, and it broke again. I said I would get her a set of strings to replace the ones I broke. Then...

(Later) As I reflected on the experience, I concluded that the right thing to do would be to tell her honestly that I couldn't make it work like a guitar, and I gave her several alternatives to encourage her daughter, any of which I would be glad to help her with.

Choosing a better entry level guitar that would have resale value if daughter didn't care for it, as well as actually sound and feel like an actual guitar. Or try renting from a music store. And I was an inch (or 2.54 centimeters) from actually loaning her a guitar. But I quickly saw the peril in that path, and quashed the notion. She almost imperceptibly frowned, and thanked me for my help.

Now, did I do anything wrong or fail to do something I should have to help her encourage her daughter? I throw myself on the mercy of judgement by Mudcatters.

Saul


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 07:19 PM

You probably did the right thing. If the pink flowery thing was virtually unplayable it would probably have made her fingers hurt like hell which would have put her off playing it.
it's probably not going to help telling the mother that she bought a heap of junk either. s there no hope that the pink flowery thing could be set up to play reasonably well?

My second eldest grand daughter has just expressed an interest in learning to play guitar. So I found her a cheap entry level guitar which was going second hand for £25. When I tried it it was only just playable but a truss rod tweak, a new saddle and set of extra light strings and it plays and sounds reasonably well.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 07:56 PM

Your clue was when she did "she didn't want to spend too much on it." I might have resonded with: "Does that mean that you don't value your daughter's musical education?" That might have started a valuable conversation.

been there ... done that ... but nevermore!


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 10:29 PM

its tricky. some people simply haven't got much money to splash about. The thing is there are lots of playable guitars around nowadays - the important thing is to gget s guitarist to choose you one. And there are plenty of good natured guitar players around lots more than when I was a kid.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Crowhugger
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 12:06 AM

You did the right thing, including the choice not to lend a guitar. It's unfortunate that this co-worker Parent didn't come to you before the purchase. You telling Parent how it is won't make Child any less or more unable to play the darn thing to anyone's eventual satisfaction. Did Parent happen to mention what Guitar Teacher said about Pinky?
In your situation, if I were approached by Parent again I might make a lunch room date to let Parent experience the difference between learning a couple of chords on my guitar and trying to finger anything at all on Pinky the Cheese Slicer (depending on office politics).
Getting Pinky set-up properly might make it physically playable, it may not. Someone who does this sort of work perhaps can also judge whether the painted body has enough resonance left to make set-up worth the bother and money. I wouldn't bet on either of these, but lucky accidents do sometimes happen.
Depending on the age of Child, dressing to match her guitar may be just the ticket to bridge the timespan after pain sets and before calluses develop.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:28 AM

I always grab up any cheap guitars that I can find. A few weeks ago I gave a half size cheapie to a guy who wanted to learn. I'd picked it up years ago for about $10 to use as a travel guitar and never used it. It had a reasonable tone and I put a new set of strings on it for him.

If he does learn he can buy himself a Martin later; if not, he has at least had some fun trying.

So I've always got a guitar or two to donate in such situations. Of course half the fun for me is picking up a piece of crap and getting it playable; trouble is that it is not worth shipping them anywhere.

So don't ever pass up that tatty old thing in the thrift store, you never know when you might need it.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 05:31 AM

Bert....you are a wonde4rful person. I am most impressed that anyone would be that nice.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 08:53 AM

That's a tremendous thing to do for someone, Bert. My hat's off to you.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 09:23 AM

Crowhugger

"It's unfortunate that this co-worker Parent didn't come to you before the purchase"

Spot on there. The other unfortunate thing in this is that there are so many "music" shops willing to sell unplayable pieces of c**p (not just guitars)to people and take advantage of the purchasers lack of knowledge. It is a bad business decision by the store, and ends up with people who could be return business thinking "I can't get the hang of this, it's too hard, I won't bother". Shame.


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Subject: RE: Nurturing a new Guitar Player
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 01:00 PM

If a string breaks, it is probably the fault of the string, unless the instrument has extremely sharp edges contacting the string.

Any instrument of correct measures (frets and fretboard) is suitable for beginners, the sound is not very important. Such instruments are not expensive at all, they may cost little more than a decent set of strings. In some areas of Spain almost every child has such an instrument (a "cigar box"), much like recorders in other countries.


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