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Learning acoustic guitar

FlayFlay Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
My brother just got an acoustic guitar from a friend's dad, and he's cool with me using it. So I'm going to learn to play.

I haven't got a great deal of music experience. I played flute for a while years back, but that's completely different and I never got seriously in to it anyway, so there's not much to draw from there. So yeah, I'm starting from scratch.

The only specific thing I'm looking for is a few good online resources, preferably with lessons for beginners and maybe some music sheets. Otherwise, if you have any tip or advice or what have you, please share it here.

EDIT: Well hey there, I forgot about accumulated forum knowledge.

Flay on

Posts

  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Flay wrote: »
    My brother just got an acoustic guitar from a friend's dad, and he's cool with me using it. So I'm going to learn to play.

    I haven't got a great deal of music experience. I played flute for a while years back, but that's completely different and I never got seriously in to it anyway, so there's not much to draw from there. So yeah, I'm starting from scratch.

    The only specific thing I'm looking for is a few good online resources, preferably with lessons for beginners and maybe some music sheets. Otherwise, if you have any tip or advice or what have you, please share it here.

    EDIT: Well hey there, I forgot about accumulated forum knowledge.

    www.justinguitar.com
    www.guitarnoise.com

    http://www.metronomeonline.com/
    http://www.aptuner.com/cgi-bin/aptuner/apmain.html

    Rook on
  • i n c u b u si n c u b u s Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Tabs are a good way to pick up songs pretty quickly if you don't know or want to read sheet music. It's basically a way to read music using numbers. There are a variety of tabs sites on the internet and its as simple as finding a song and going for it. Basically there will be six horizontal lines which correspond with the actual strings on a guitar. The numbers on the lines say which fret or square on the neck of the guitar the note should be played on. If the number is alone it is a solo note and if there are numbers stack on top of eachother they should be played together at the same time as a chord. I usually use this site for all my tabs but occasionally will have to search another site for a tab I want. This is about the easiest way to learn short of paying a music teacher to show you although I would def recommend going to a couple lessons to get yourself the basic knowledge even if you plan on teaching yourself. It all really depends on how serious you are about picking the instrument up and the basic "the more you practice the better you'll get" rule is in effect here.

    Here is an example of a tab: The intro to Smells like Teen Spirit

    INTRO:
    Guitar (clean):
    e|
    |
    |
    |
    |
    B|
    |
    |
    |
    |
    G|
    3-3-|-0
    6-6-|
    3-3-|-0
    6-6-|
    D|-3--3-3-xxxx-3-3-|-06--6-6-xxxx-6-6-|-3--3-3-xxxx-3-3-|-06--6-6-xxxx-6-6-|
    A|-3--3-3-xxxx-1-1-|-06--6-6-xxxx-4-4-|-3--3-3-xxxx-1-1-|-06--6-6-xxxx-4-4-|
    E|-1--1-1-xxxx
    |---4--4-4-xxxx
    |-1--1-1-xxxx
    |---4--4-4-xxxx
    |

    The horizontal lines are the strings staring with the lowest on the bottom which will be the closest string to you and the highest string at the top. This particular section is all chords which means the notes stacked on top of eachother must be played at the same time and repeated according to how many times its repeated above.

    i n c u b u s on
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  • DangerbirdDangerbird Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Well, my suggestion to you would be to learn all the basic first position chords.

    A, Am, E, Em, G, C, D, Dm.

    Theres a surprising number of songs you can play with only using these chords.

    After you have these chords down to memory, start learning barre chords and the rest of the neck will open up to you.

    Dangerbird on
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Since you're playing an acoustic I'll say this:

    Learn to fingerpick.

    Fingerpicking will get you laid. It also sounds really cool, and if you forget your pick it's no big deal.

    Duffel on
  • FoodFood Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Fingerpicking is the way real men play guitar. I must say, however, that it has never led directly to me getting laid.

    I would probably start out just playing with a pick until you have the basic chord shapes down, though. Fingerpicking would just add a needless layer of complexity this early on in your learning.

    Food on
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Food wrote: »
    Fingerpicking is the way real men play guitar. I must say, however, that it has never led directly to me getting laid.

    I would probably start out just playing with a pick until you have the basic chord shapes down, though. Fingerpicking would just add a needless layer of complexity this early on in your learning.
    Well, I was exxagerating a little bit.

    But not much.

    Seriously though, Food is right, you won't necessarily learn to fingerpick before you pick up your first few chords. But I do encourage you to start practicing it not long after that. I learned fingerpicking in my first few months of guitar lessons and I was actually a better fingerpicker than I was using a pick. It'll be more difficult to learn if you try it a year or so after you've been playing and have gotten into strumming habits and stuff.

    Duffel on
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    If you go acoustic.. don't ever use a pick.

    Demerdar on
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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    What is the rationale behind that? My fingertips are pretty small and I find it difficult to be a surgeon on the strings without a pick.

    I am also a complete noob. But, I am interested since people here seem to be endorsing it.

    Jasconius on
  • UnderdogUnderdog Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    What is the rationale behind that? My fingertips are pretty small and I find it difficult to be a surgeon on the strings without a pick.

    I am also a complete noob. But, I am interested since people here seem to be endorsing it.

    I'd like smaller finger tips. Then maybe my stupid hands would actually be able to let the notes ring a bit while I pick other strings.

    Personally, I enjoy fingerstyle over strumming. Likely because the friend that got me started on guitars is a big fingerstyle fan but I genuinely enjoy the rhythm you get with finger picking. Plus it's more challenging, which is a draw for me.

    Underdog on
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    What is the rationale behind that? My fingertips are pretty small and I find it difficult to be a surgeon on the strings without a pick.

    I am also a complete noob. But, I am interested since people here seem to be endorsing it.
    Fingerpicking just has a different sound to it, because you pluck each string individually instead of strumming them.

    It's almost a different style of playing as opposed to a different technique.

    EDIT: Behold! The power of fingerpicking!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ9PRzIyzFA

    Duffel on
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Demerdar wrote: »
    If you go acoustic.. don't ever use a pick.

    Bullshit. Just because you're using an acoustic guitar doesn't mean you can't rock out, and to really rock out with some nice loud chords, you'll need a pick. It's quite possible to strum loud, full chords with your fingers but it takes much longer to learn, and to develop the finger resistance - and it's not as strong and bright. And, most importantly, it doesn't have the dynamic back-and-forth rhythm of chord strumming. If you're going to play some acoustic covers of rock songs, you need a pick. If you're going to play some lung-splitting power folk like Neutral Milk Hotel or something, you'll need a pick.

    Strumming with a pick is also really helpful in developing your rhythm and technique, and gives you a really solid foundation for adding electric guitar playing to your repertoire - something every acoustic guitarist usually does, eventually, and for good reason.

    That said, I would always suggest learning to play with your fingers as well because it gives you way more options, and you'll be able to play songs by awesome dudes - Dylan, Iron and Wine, etc. Generally though I would still suggest learning the pick first, especially if you have trouble motivating yourself to learn - the pick means quicker, more recognizable results.

    Evil Multifarious on
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Demerdar wrote: »
    If you go acoustic.. don't ever use a pick.

    Bullshit. Just because you're using an acoustic guitar doesn't mean you can't rock out, and to really rock out with some nice loud chords, you'll need a pick. It's quite possible to strum loud, full chords with your fingers but it takes much longer to learn, and to develop the finger resistance - and it's not as strong and bright. And, most importantly, it doesn't have the dynamic back-and-forth rhythm of chord strumming. If you're going to play some acoustic covers of rock songs, you need a pick. If you're going to play some lung-splitting power folk like Neutral Milk Hotel or something, you'll need a pick.

    Strumming with a pick is also really helpful in developing your rhythm and technique, and gives you a really solid foundation for adding electric guitar playing to your repertoire - something every acoustic guitarist usually does, eventually, and for good reason.

    That said, I would always suggest learning to play with your fingers as well because it gives you way more options, and you'll be able to play songs by awesome dudes - Dylan, Iron and Wine, etc. Generally though I would still suggest learning the pick first, especially if you have trouble motivating yourself to learn - the pick means quicker, more recognizable results.

    If you're going to be playing with a pick, you might as well be playing a fucking electric TBH. The acoustic was practically made for the finger picker, with the nice nylon strings and such.

    By all means, use a pick when necessary, and when beginning to learn. However, finger picking will yield fantastic results with an acoustic.

    Demerdar on
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  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The most commonly played acoustic guitars by popular musicians, including amateurs, don't have nylon strings, they have steel strings, which are made for strumming and plucking with a pick (although they can be finger played). I would bet his brother's guitar is a steel-string.

    Nylon string acoustics are generally referred to as classical guitars, in my experience.

    Evil Multifarious on
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Yup, steel string.

    I did go out an buy some picks yesterday, but I was planning on learning both kinds of playing.

    Flay on
  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The most commonly played acoustic guitars by popular musicians, including amateurs, don't have nylon strings, they have steel strings, which are made for strumming and plucking with a pick (although they can be finger played). I would bet his brother's guitar is a steel-string.

    Nylon string acoustics are generally referred to as classical guitars, in my experience.
    Doesn't it have to be strung in a certain way to be a classical guitar? I think the headstock on a true classical guitar is different.

    And I think you're right, a classical guitar always has nylon/gut strings, never steel. Whereas an acoustic can have either string type and has a solid head.

    Duffel on
  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Fingerpicking is awesome. There are a lot of simple fingerpicking songs that sound much more complicated than they really are. Blackbird by the Beatles is one of the first songs I learned on guitar (I play classical guitar) and is WAY easier than it sounds. Good way to impress people.

    Smug Duckling on
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  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I managed to play the first line of breezy, which I've always wanted to be able to play on guitar.

    :D

    Flay on
  • DangerbirdDangerbird Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    When giving tips to someone just starting out, I think its better not to say "YOU HAVE TO DO IT THIS WAY", or "YOU SHOULDN'T DO THIS".

    Aside from having proper technique, there aren't many rules when it comes to playing guitar. I know that sounds cliche, but its true.

    For someone literally picking up the guitar for the first time, trying to force fingerstyle on them may be too much for a new player to think about.

    Thats why I suggest you just learn basic chords first. And actually try to understand what makes the chord what it is. When you eventually start learning barre chords, it'll all make much more sense to you, trust me.

    Dangerbird on
  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Fingerpicking is awesome. There are a lot of simple fingerpicking songs that sound much more complicated than they really are. Blackbird by the Beatles is one of the first songs I learned on guitar (I play classical guitar) and is WAY easier than it sounds. Good way to impress people.

    This. It's a lot of movement, and perhaps weird finger positions, but pretty simple overall.

    I actually learned it while I was learning the Brokeback Mountain theme and realized they were similar.

    cooljammer00 on
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  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Demerdar wrote: »
    If you go acoustic.. don't ever use a pick.

    Yeah, "Make sure you're intentionally making yourself worse at the instruments by not learning certain techniques" is some of the worst advice I have ever heard.

    Seriously, the fuck?

    Use a pick when appropriate because there are times when it is the correct thing to do. Also learn fingerpicking. While you're at it, clawhammer's been adapted to guitar reasonably, learn that too.

    Khavall on
  • KhavallKhavall British ColumbiaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    The most commonly played acoustic guitars by popular musicians, including amateurs, don't have nylon strings, they have steel strings, which are made for strumming and plucking with a pick (although they can be finger played). I would bet his brother's guitar is a steel-string.

    Nylon string acoustics are generally referred to as classical guitars, in my experience.
    Doesn't it have to be strung in a certain way to be a classical guitar? I think the headstock on a true classical guitar is different.

    And I think you're right, a classical guitar always has nylon/gut strings, never steel. Whereas an acoustic can have either string type and has a solid head.

    Classical guitar is practically an entirely different instrument. The fretboard is different, the construction is different, the headstock is different. Also playing wise they're pretty different. For instance, wrapping your thumb is fine on non-classical guitar. You never ever do it on classical.

    The reason you don't use steel strings on a classical guitar isn't because of any sound reason, it's because the way classical guitars are constructed can't support the higher tension of steel and it will warp and permanently damage the instrument.

    Khavall on
  • exisexis Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'd suggest using a pick unless you're playing something which really requires finger-picking, or sounds noticeably better being plucked/strummed with a finger instead of a pick. Picks give a sharper, clearer sound, and can help offset having difficulty making proper contact when fingering notes. I learned with a pick, and still usually play with a pick unless I specifically want a softer sound. It often comes down to preference, but personally I usually don't like trying to strum full chords, especially barre chords, without a pick.

    I get almost all of my tabs from ultimate-guitar.com. They also have some pretty handy lessons. I'd start with how to read tabs. It's up to you whether you really want to learn about music, which you'll probably appreciate in the long term, or just learn a collection of songs. I took the latter course, and kind of regret having spent so much time playing guitar without learning any theory behind it.

    exis on
  • AtheraalAtheraal Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_jzSv7G6vQ

    Yeah, learn picking as well.

    Atheraal on
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