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Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar

GUEST,Amy P. 26 Feb 05 - 02:08 PM
Capo da Monty 26 Feb 05 - 02:40 PM
Bev and Jerry 26 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 26 Feb 05 - 03:06 PM
cptsnapper 26 Feb 05 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,CStrong 26 Feb 05 - 03:24 PM
Spot 26 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Obie 26 Feb 05 - 03:28 PM
iamjohnne 26 Feb 05 - 03:28 PM
the fence 26 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM
GUEST 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM
Amos 26 Feb 05 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,Wesley S 26 Feb 05 - 05:52 PM
Mark Cohen 26 Feb 05 - 06:17 PM
Hamish 27 Feb 05 - 03:26 AM
Strollin' Johnny 27 Feb 05 - 03:41 AM
burntstump 27 Feb 05 - 04:58 AM
Auggie 27 Feb 05 - 07:35 AM
breezy 27 Feb 05 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Amy P. 27 Feb 05 - 06:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 27 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Scott E. 27 Feb 05 - 10:34 PM
Peace 27 Feb 05 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,Ross G. 28 Feb 05 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Jim 28 Feb 05 - 10:58 AM
M.Ted 28 Feb 05 - 04:45 PM
Brendy 28 Feb 05 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Will F. 01 Mar 05 - 11:46 AM
Grab 02 Mar 05 - 08:38 AM
alanabit 02 Mar 05 - 02:57 PM
Cool Beans 02 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM
Clifton53 02 Mar 05 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Jim 03 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,MTed 04 Mar 05 - 12:22 AM
GUEST,Dave W. 04 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Gioflowers 06 Mar 05 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Bob R. 06 Mar 05 - 02:21 PM
Peter T. 07 Mar 05 - 12:56 PM
PoppaGator 07 Mar 05 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Seaking 07 Mar 05 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Seaking 07 Mar 05 - 05:08 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Mar 05 - 07:46 PM
PoppaGator 07 Mar 05 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,Jim 08 Mar 05 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Patrick Costello 08 Mar 05 - 12:52 PM
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Subject: Growing Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Amy P.
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:08 PM

I can play my acoustic guitar now and my chord changes are getting much smoother! I have worked hard for months and can't wait to start playing and singing in public. Just thought I'd share my good news. I taught myself since I can't afford lessons at this time. I can play folk songs in the key of G,E,D,C and A! I am so happy!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Capo da Monty
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 02:40 PM

Good on ya! Many of the best folk singer/guitarists are self-taught.
Get along to the nearest folk venue; perform yourself and watch others. Its a good way of moving onwards and upwards.
The folk scene needs you too!
Stay happy.

CdM


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM

That hard work you did will reward you for the rest of your life. You'll never regret the time you put into it. Now get out there and share.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:06 PM

Welcome to the madhouse. I was there forty years ago, and it still gets better and better. Capo's comment about folk clubs is spot on. You'll have the best fun you can get, and build the best memories.

Good luck
Don T.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: cptsnapper
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:20 PM

For anyone else who's just starting or beginning to make their way in playing it's important to know when NOT to play: you don't have to fill every available moment with sound. And never say "I can only strum." There's nothing wrong with strumming.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,CStrong
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:24 PM

And you'll go through times when you learn quickly and are super-inventive, and other times when you can't even play as well as you did yesterday.

Smile through all. You have a lifelong companion.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Spot
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM

Amy..I've been playing for some 45yrs , completely self taught and neither know nor care about lessons, theory and suchlike..You can already play in more keys than me!! I have had so much pleasure from my guitar and have played in bands , solo and duos with a pleasing modicum of success...go for it and enjoy...

          Regards to all...Spot


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:28 PM

Best wishes Amy! I too am self taught . With those keys and a capo you can play damn near anything.
         Obie


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: iamjohnne
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:28 PM

That is wonderful. This is something you will enjoy the rest of your life. Even if you never play a gig, the music you make will make you feel wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: the fence
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM

Enjoy!!!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 03:47 PM

I have been playing guitar since the early 1960s when my brother who was in college at the time would come home on weekends and teach me songs on the guitar that he himself had just learned. Today, I make my living playing guitar and mandolin. I "only strum" or flat pick but do yourself a favor-learn to finger pick. It will take you much further with the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Amos
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 04:08 PM

Well done, Amy, and congratulations on a great start.


A


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 05:52 PM

What I love about the guitar - or any instrument - is that it's a journey not a destination. You'll never be finished - there will always be something more you can learn. And one of the best ways to learn more about your instrument is to go out and play with others. Have fun.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 06:17 PM

Good work, Amy, and thanks for letting us all know about your success. I too was self-taught, and though I feel like I haven't progressed much above mediocre, I've enjoyed every minute I've played the guitar.

In addition to the suggestions made above, you might think about finding a "slow jam" that includes melody players. For years my guitar playing consisted of singing and playing solo. One year I went to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and joined Bruce Molsky's band lab in which I had to learn to be the backup rhythm player for a bunch of fiddles and banjos. That was the first time I'd ever played music with other people...and it was a blast! (Well, except for playing the clarinet in junior high school orchestras and bands.)

I also found that learning from a good teacher made a big difference for me, and still does. Even if you're financially limited, maybe you have some skills or items that you could barter. Two or three lessons on how to do a "boom-chuck" flatpicking rhythm could open up a whole new musical world.

But whatever you choose to do with your new-found skill, welcome, and congratulations!

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Hamish
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 03:26 AM

It's also important to keep building up confidence, so try and make each performance in public a positive one. Like the late great Isaac Guillory said "always play within your limitations, then nobody will know you have any." The time to stretch yourself is back home practising. There's so many other factors which come into effect when in the spotlight that you need to do what you can do. And that way you will have fun and come back for more and learn and grow, and, and... (virtuous circle ensues until superstardom. Or at least a degree of self-fulfillment). I think what I'm trying to say is what Bev and Jerry said rather more succinctly: "get out there and share"!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 03:41 AM

Wise words indeed Hamish - Isaac was absolutely right and it should be Rule #1 for any performer.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: burntstump
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 04:58 AM

So many learners give up because they can't keep their guitar in tune,invest a few pounds / dollars on an electronic tuner, it will make your learning more pleasurable and better for those listening too.

Well done!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Auggie
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 07:35 AM

Well, it would have been easy for Isaac to say that. He truly had no limitations when it came to playing.

I've played 39 years Amy, all without benefit of lessons. One good way to steal licks and tricks is to sit in front and watch the fingers of someone you find talented. If you have enough chutzpah and depending on the venue, you can also ask, between sets or after shows. A surprising number of (non-big name anyway) musicians don't mind.

Congrtats. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: breezy
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 09:37 AM

Some times a lesson or two will open your mind to a few ideas.

Guitar workshops can be enlightening


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Amy P.
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 06:43 PM

Thanks for all your warm responses everyone!

love,
Amy


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM

yes that's true, sometimes you can learn from watching people who can't play as well as you. Christy Moore reckoned he only used seven chords. I can't believe that's right, but he did many a terrific gig, by knowing the techniques he did use very well.

Wish he was still treading the boards as regularly as he did.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Scott E.
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 10:34 PM

Amy,

Keep working hard. Good times are ahead. Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Peace
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 10:38 PM

Great, Amy. Great.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Ross G.
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 10:37 AM

play daily and i agree with someone else who said to learn to finger-pick too. keep the faith. RG


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 10:58 AM

Well done Amy - keep working and loving the music. That quote from Isaac Guillory "always play within your limitations, then nobody will know you have any" needs some qualification - I'm sure he meant to include the words "in public". Sound advice.

Know your limitations, and work towards eliminating them. You never can of course, but the journey is always rewarding. If you set yourself limitations, they will sit heavy on your shoulders.
When venturing down the dusty end of the fretboard, and getting frustrated trying to get your fingers around that Augmented chord with the flattened 5th, just remember how tough it was mastering the F chord -but don't EVER tell yourself you'll never get there.
I second the advice on starting to learn fingerstyle - do it as early as possible.
Good luck


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 04:45 PM

You say you can't afford lessons--my advice is to find people who play and show them what you can do and ask them to show you things--the best lessons often don't cost you anything but a little bit of time--

Find someone who plays well and show them what you 've taught yourself, then ask them for some help in correcting any problems you have--there are always "little" things, like making smooth transitions between chords, getting the full sound out of a chord, getting and keeping your fingers in the right places, that get in the way of your progress--


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Brendy
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 07:24 PM

Good on you, Amy. Good advice up the thread, there.

It'll be a lifelong relationship.
Your guitar will eventually play you.

B.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Will F.
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 11:46 AM

Keep up with it and congratulations! Lots of good tips here!

Will


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Grab
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 08:38 AM

Nice one!

I'd second the recommendation to try fingerpicking. Once your chords are starting to sound smooth strummed, fingerpicking will sharpen them up still more. If you're strumming, a finger that doesn't go down cleanly or a slow change between chords gets concealed. If you're fingerpicking, you're only playing one note at a time and you can't miss it! So strum in public and fingerpick in private... ;-)

And again, time to hit the folk clubs now. One of my main regrets is that I spent so long playing indoors and didn't discover folk clubs until I'd been playing guitar a while. It's amazing how watching and playing with other people raises your game, and it also exposes you to music you wouldn't otherwise have heard.

Lessons are good, but beware of spending money there. I found the best way with lessons was to go to a teacher for fine-tuning something I could already do. Learning basic techniques like finger-picking, most of the time it takes to do it is getting your fingers to do what you want them to, and a teacher really can't help with that. Once you're in control of it, go to a teacher and he/she can give you that final 5-10% of technique that'll get your playing solid and reliable or improve your tone. No point going to them for the 90-95% that you can do yourself.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: alanabit
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 02:57 PM

A good teacher did wonders for me. I made it possible though by practising for two hours every day. I found that once I had learned to read, the speed at which I learned multiplied several fold. The notes aren't everything. Your ears are always the best judge of what is right. I just find though, that paper tends to retain detailed information for longer than my brain does!
All the previous advice is excellent. After thirty three years I am nowhere near to any sort of destination, but I am enjoying the ride. Good luck with it all and welcome into our world.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Cool Beans
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM

Congratulations, Amy! I envy you the ride ahead. Playing guitar has been very fulfilling for me for 40 years. When you love it, practicing never feels like practicing.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Clifton53
Date: 02 Mar 05 - 05:47 PM

Lots of good advice above Amy, I wish you the best. Maybe some video lessons can help, there are a slew of them on the market now and some are very reasonable price-wise, and you can use it any time of day and go back over it at will. Elderly Instruments,(WWW.Elderly.com) offers at least a hundred of them and indicate whether they are for beginners, intermediate or advanced players.Your local dealer should also have something suitable.Shop around.
Playing along with recordings is also very helpful. Find a few songs that you know you are in tune with and pick or strum along.

Hey, welcome to the club, it's a lifelong membership, free of charge.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 12:36 PM

"Know your limitations, and work towards eliminating them. You never can of course, but the journey is always rewarding."
Now what I meant to say was "You never can (COMPLETELY)" meaning you can never master the instrument (Segovia said that) but the quest for the Holy Grail is always rewarding. Issac Guillory got as close to it as anyone.

Always make a distinction between practicing and consolidating. Over 40 years I know I spent too long on the latter rather than the former, and I started fingerstyle only after 20 years of playing - again too long on the consolidation front!

Be careful when learning fingerstyle - if you use TAB it can hamper progress if you don't 1st learn the chord shapes within which the individual notes can be played. For example, check out this link:
http://www.tabpower.com/s38989.html
It shows note for note tabulation of Eva Cassidy's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
The author says "learn the shapes" first, but you would take for ever learning them without knowing the proper chord shapes she used (which are pretty basic). He says it's difficult to play and only for advanced players. Well, it ain't so tough if you can play the chords, and have a reasonably competent Clawhammer fingerstyle!

I know of several guitar players who are learing to play using tab, and they invariably use the WRONG fingers to play individual notes & chords, simply because they are "learning by numbers" before learning the basics (Run before Walk syndrome)
Good luck again Amy


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 12:22 AM

The thing is that good teacher will get you there a lot faster--for instance, no book can teach you proper fingering technique, simply because there is no one there to see if you've got it right or not--


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Dave W.
Date: 04 Mar 05 - 02:09 PM

Try www.ezfolk.com for extra guitar tips.

Keep going Amy!

Dave


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Gioflowers
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 05:26 AM

Hello there;

I just bought myself a Tanglewood acoustic/electric guitar. I'm just learning to play "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay." I'm new and full of hope that I will be able to play with others someday. Does anyone know of a website where I can get easy songs to play and practice with?

Thank you all,

~ Gioflowers


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Bob R.
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 02:21 PM

Hey Gioflowers,

Try www.guitarnoise.com, and click on "easy songs for beginners". They also have a forum. Let us know if you need more help.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 12:56 PM

At some point after you have got the chords down solidly, and are familiar with standard tuning (don't forget to learn bass runs!!) you might want to consider open tunings. I played for years before I discovered that there was some other way to tune a guitar! Many people play in non-standard tuning, in part because it is really easy -- its only drawback is that 90% of everyone else plays in standard tuning, so you might as well learn that cold.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 02:31 PM

This thread has been long on best wishes and congratulations, but fairly short on specifics regarding "Guitar Skills." That's all well and good, and let me extend my good vibes to Amy P and Gioflowers and everyone else...

But:

There have been a number of excellent recent discussions about beginner skills, learning methods, specific tips, etc. Anyone reading this thread would probably in interested in those as well, but we don't have the usual list of clickable blue links to "related topics" displayed at the top of this page.

Here's a link to one such thread ~ and this one does provide a nice long list of links to additional similar threads, right at the top of the page:

"Learning to Play the Guitar"

The first several topic-links shown with this thread concern right-hand technique, including fingerpicking ~ lots of good tips for beginning-to-intermediate guitar students. Rank beginners not yet ready to try fingerpicking might be best served by reading the thread on "Folk Guitar Accompaniment," which is number eleven down the related-threads list.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Seaking
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 04:54 PM

I partly agree with Peter T and would also recommend trying open tunings after becoming comfortable with standard tunings, probably DAGDAD, but would disagree that they are easier. Yes, you can play a couple of nice basic chords with one finger but after that it gets just as complex and in minor keys it's probably easier to stick with standard tuning.

Stick with it Amy P, you deserve to be happy. Self taught is individual and definitely best - and your guitar will be a friend for life.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Seaking
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 05:08 PM

Sorry, I meant DADGAD..


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 07:46 PM

Some pieces were written in 'non-standard' tunings - they can be intensely difficult to play in standard tuning. BTW, classical violins and their were often played in various tunings at one stage - some fiddle pieces were originally in various tunings.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 08:07 PM

Like many things, playing in open and non-standard tunings is easy to do basically, but difficult to do very well.

Beginnners will hear strong opinions for and against experimenting with tunings, and will have to make up their own minds.

I'm a long-time standard-tuning adherent, but I was very intrigued with someone's online beginning guitar course, where he starts the new student in open D (or maybe open G), and then, fairly soon ~ after introducing just a few simple songs and encouraging the student to sing while playing ~ goes right into standard tuning and starts teaching another few simple songs.

The advantage to starting off with a week or two playing in open tuning: A truly rank beginner can play simple 2- and 3-chord songs with riduclous ease, which not only offers instant gratifiction and confidence, but also introduces the easiest possible barre chord.

It's much easier to fret all the way across all six strings with the index finger when you don't also have to get any other fingers involved as well, each in the right place and pressed to the fretboad with sufficient pressure. Gaining experience and developing ease in making that simple straight-across one-finger barre could make later learning of "real" barre chords much less intimidating.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 11:54 AM

"Instant gratification" - Ah yes - a sign of the times I'm sorry to say. I have some sympathy with the theory though - start simple and build confidence. Beware dependency though; open tunings are simple and seductive. As for it being "difficult to do well" I have to say it's certainly much easier than standard tuning, and that's why so many players stick with it - and then can't break out when they get bored.
Learn both is my advice - if you want to progress far beyond the limitations of most folk music.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Skills: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 08 Mar 05 - 12:52 PM

I started out with open G in my first guitar book simply because getting people playing with a few barre chords usually breaks down the whole "I can't do this" wall right off the bat.

The entire contents of that book is available online under a Creative Commons license at http://www.funkyseagull.com/folk/folk-guitar.html

-Patrick


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