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I want to be a Guitar Hero

ZombotZombot Registered User
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I've always wanted to play an instrument and I figure now is a good time to start.
I've picked the guitar as my choice of instrument.

I want to start off with an acoustic first.
What I would like to know is the price range for beginner guitars and what to look for purchasing (I'm left handed if that matters in the price).
Is it possible to learn how to play from a book or do I need to get an instructor?

Zombot on
Spoiler:

Posts

  • romanqwertyromanqwerty Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I don't think left handedness increases price, but it might limit selection. How much are u willing to spend. Do you want an acoustic that will last you practically forever, or just one to learn on. A classical nylon string is slightly easier to play, but i recommend getting a steal strung one because they will develop more finger strength and you can do more on them.

  • ZombotZombot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    That helps me a bit.
    Is it possible to learn from a book though?

    What are some good beginner guitars?
    I'm looking for something in the $200-300 range.

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  • GihgehlsGihgehls Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Lots of left handed people play regular guitars. I think you would be doing a disservice to yourself if you bought a left-handed guitar, because then you couldn't just pick up and play anyone elses guitar. I really think you should tinker around on a normal one for a while and only switch to a lefty if it is way too hard.

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  • JeedanJeedan Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Gihgehls wrote: »
    Lots of left handed people play regular guitars. I think you would be doing a disservice to yourself if you bought a left-handed guitar, because then you couldn't just pick up and play anyone elses guitar. I really think you should tinker around on a normal one for a while and only switch to a lefty if it is way too hard.

    I've heard advice against this. Apparantly as a left hander you can only get so far doing this before you hit a wall.

  • whuppinswhuppins Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I think people are losing track of the fact that a lot of acoustic guitars, especially cheap ones, are completely symmetrical. No Stratocaster-style headstock, no specially milled frets or bridges. I think the nut might be the only part that may be specially fit to the different string gauges, and that's a 50-cent piece of plastic in most cases. What I'm saying is that you can make a lot of guitars 'left-handed' simply by stringing them backwards.

    Yes, going after a left-handed model will drastically reduce the selection you have to choose from, but there are plenty of ways to make it work if you're just looking for a cheap starter acoustic. Go to the store and check out one that looks OK; ask the dude who works there what would happen if you strung it backwards.

    If you don't want to go after a left-handed setup, you can always learn to play right-handed (if you're just now starting to learn, why not?), or be a badass and play on an upside-down right-hander like Hendrix (well, not really, but still... bad ass).

    About classical guitars, a lot of people say they're easier to play than steel-string or "folk" guitars, but I just don't buy that. I've been playing for 12 years and I've spent a lot more time on a classical guitar than a folk guitar, and they each have different challenges. With classicals, you generally don't have to push as hard to fret a string (steel-strings have a much more taut feel), but, you have to push the string farther to get it down to the fretboard. In other words, classical guitar strings are strung higher above the neck. So, while you're not doing as much physical work fretting the strings, it may be just as hard, if not harder, to play because there's more space between the strings and the fretboard.

    Another thing about classicals is that their necks generally do not taper as much as you get down toward the head. Since as a beginner you'll be staying mostly below the fifth fret, this means that you'll have a noticeably wider, chunkier neck to work with. I don't want to say it's harder than a steel-string, but I'm not ready to say it's easier either.

    Edit: Forgot to mention, my first guitar was a Goya classical acoustic, and it ran in the $100 range. I'm all for cheap pawn shop guitars for beginners, or even stuff that you can get on the shelf at Best Buy or Sears.

    Oh, and as far as learning, lessons are obviously one of the best things you can do to improve your playing, but most people have the capacity to learn from a book as well. Oh, and people love to make fun of that Esteban guy, but I've been very impressed with the results I've seen from the folks who buy his videos and books. My brother picked up some of that stuff when he was learning, and after 6 months or so, he was about as good as I had been after 5 years or so of playing by ear. I'm still better than him, but as far as the basics go, some form of lessons will definitely get you to that "competent" stage a lot more quickly.

  • Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I've also heard a lot of bad things about left handed people playing righty guitars. I wouldn't do it. Think about it. All the scales and chord shapes are designed to be the most efficient and comfertable, and you're going to be playing them all backwards. Not a good idea if you ask me. Also, if your left handed and play a righty guitar, your teacher (I'm assuming you'll get at least one lesson eventually) is going to have a hell of a time teaching you.

  • whuppinswhuppins Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Chop Logic wrote: »
    I've also heard a lot of bad things about left handed people playing righty guitars. I wouldn't do it. Think about it. All the scales and chord shapes are designed to be the most efficient and comfertable, and you're going to be playing them all backwards. Not a good idea if you ask me. Also, if your left handed and play a righty guitar, your teacher (I'm assuming you'll get at least one lesson eventually) is going to have a hell of a time teaching you.
    Are you talking about lefties playing righty guitars upside down (low E closest to the ground)? Hendrix-style, as I mentioned in my post? Because, yeah, nobody should try to learn guitar that way, unless they're, well, Jimi Hendrix.

    But remember that lefties have the option of playing right-handed guitars normally, i.e., forcing themselves to learn right-handed. I'd recommend that if you're just starting out. Playing guitar is going to be awkward at first anyway but after six months, it should feel as natural as it does for any other guitarist. Actually, I just now realized this, but my brother is left-handed, but plays guitar right-handed. Never had any problems picking it up. So there you go.

    Sorry to nitpick your phrasing Chop Logic, but it's vague to say "left-handed people playing righty guitars" because that can mean two entirely different things.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    If you want books, there's this Mel Bay fellow who is supposed to be pretty good.

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  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Do not learn to play guitar as a "right hander" if you are left handed. I believe the most important hand is your picking hand. You may not think about it, but your picking hand is the gateway to making notes (excluding hammer ons and pulloffs). I suppose you could just play right handed if you really wanted to, but you'll have to put a lot of effort into your picking.

    parabol
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  • Food?Food? Registered User
    edited August 2007
    On a somewhat related note, how much does it generally cost to get a "tune-up" for a guitar? My Epiphone SG is sorta old, and it a) gets more out of tune the higher the fret, and b) the 19th and 20th fret of the high E string are the same note.

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I'm a lefty that plays right handed. I've played for about 16 years now. I've been in several bands and played with a lot of different people and have always held my own against them.

    Just play air guitar, freeze, and figure out which way you're naturally trying to hold a guitar.

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  • ZombotZombot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I just want to thank everyone for their advice.
    I went out a bought a nice Yamaha acoustic today.

    I decided to go with the right handed.
    Time to see just how ambidextrous I am.

    Spoiler:
  • TubeTube Says some shit Administrator, ClubPA admin
    edited August 2007
    Jeedan wrote: »
    Gihgehls wrote: »
    Lots of left handed people play regular guitars. I think you would be doing a disservice to yourself if you bought a left-handed guitar, because then you couldn't just pick up and play anyone elses guitar. I really think you should tinker around on a normal one for a while and only switch to a lefty if it is way too hard.

    I've heard advice against this. Apparantly as a left hander you can only get so far doing this before you hit a wall.

    I know a lefty who plays right handed and is one of the most accomplished guitarists to walk the earth. YMMV

  • Bob The MonkeyBob The Monkey Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jeedan wrote: »
    Gihgehls wrote: »
    Lots of left handed people play regular guitars. I think you would be doing a disservice to yourself if you bought a left-handed guitar, because then you couldn't just pick up and play anyone elses guitar. I really think you should tinker around on a normal one for a while and only switch to a lefty if it is way too hard.

    I've heard advice against this. Apparantly as a left hander you can only get so far doing this before you hit a wall.

    I know a lefty who plays right handed and is one of the most accomplished guitarists to walk the earth. YMMV

    is it dave

    I've got money on it being dave

    it helps that I know he is a lefty who plays right handed

    (also, learn to play right handed. any 'oh no you will hit a wall' is just superstition)

  • Bob The MonkeyBob The Monkey Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Seriously though, "if you're left handed you'll hit a wall"?

    If you're right handed you'll hit a wall. It's just a matter of stepping back, assessing your playing and your practise methods, then working through it.

    It sounds like some left handed guy reached a plateau and, rather than put the effort in to work past it, assumed it was because he was left handed. Which would, of course, be patently false.

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