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  1. #1
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Learning to Play Guitar
    Many moons ago (a decade or more worth) I tried to learn to play guitar, but I never stuck with it. And still being young, the guitar turned out to be one of the many things I pawned back then.

    Now, all these years later, I'm really wanting to try again and stick with it (all this CMT Crossroads stuff I'm watching right now is making it worse). But it's something I've thought seriously about the last couple of years.

    I'm going to go tomorrow and look at guitars (acoustic) and I'm wondering if there are any good DVDs or anything that teach guitar. I know many exist but I have no idea if any are good. I figure out of 30,000 people, someone had to have learned to play guitar here.

    Also curious if anyone has bought into the Estaban thing, and whether it was legit or not. Like with most things on TV, I'm skeptic, but the prices and all are usually decent.

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  2. #2
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    I'll also take any recommendations on acoustics (within a reasonable price range). And whether an acoustic/electric is worth it. Or should I just stick with a standard acoustic (that's all I really want, but if I ever have the need to go plugged....).

    This is more for a "backyard" playing with friends, drinkin' beer, 'by a fire' kind of thing, though.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    One piece of advice I can give for sure. Watch out for the height of the "action" - which is now high the strings are above the frets where you'd have to do the fingering - holding down the strings for notes and chords.

    With a high action (cheap guitars are prone, but not all) you have to push hard and you don't want to do that. You want a low action so it's easy to press the strings down to get a clear note.

  4. #4
    Full Member Crocket's Avatar
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    Good luck with the lessons

    Several yrs ago I was given the most adorable Goya Mandolin, complete with music books.
    BUT...I have this problem with both my hands that prevent me from playing (MY HANDS ARE ALWAYS ON MY KEYBOARD AND MOUSE LOL )
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  5. #5
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    In a lot of circles, the Martin is considered the best acoustic guitar. Not cheap, at least to me.

    Prices start in the $600.00 range and the sky is the limit. They also hold their value and some models actually appreciate in value.
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  6. #6
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    There are a ton of great acoustics out there that aren't Martins. Martins have the reputation they do because of their history, and they are good instruments, but you have to be a fan of the sound.

    My suggestions:
    1. Buy something clean and used for your first instrument. You'll get a TON more bang for your buck. I have been playing for 24 years and I still buy used when I can. There's too much upside not to! My first guitar was a '72 Guild that I got in the early 80's and I still have it. I just last month purchased a '92 Guild that originally sold for $3k, and I picked it up for only $1,600. It looks BRAND NEW!!!!
    2. If you're looking used, have a guitar tech (available at many shops) inspect the guitar. Ask him to check the action, make sure the neck doesn't have a twist or a bow, and check the frets. Then you MUST have him confirm that the intonation is good. (On an acoustic guitar there isn't a whole lot you can do about intonation, and if the intonation is out the guitar will sound crappy no matter how good of a player you become).
    3. If you must buy new, consider the following brands: Takemine, Guild, Washburn, Taylor.
    3b. If it says "Squier" on it, run far and fast.
    4. Even though the big box retailers advertise price, 99% of the time a small local shop will be able to compete AND you'll have the benefit of much more experienced mentors, as opposed to 16 year old heavy metal players. Support your local music scene!
    5. If you're in a wet area this isn't a concern but if you're in a dry place you'll need a humidifier.
    6. Buy a good guitar tuner and learn how to use it.
    7. Spend the extra $80 on a flight case.

    As far as method books and DVDs, that's largely up to preference. I would recommend also learning how to read chord charts and buy a couple of song books from artists you like. Just strum with your favorite CDs!

    Feel free to PM me if you have other questions.
    Joseph Lilly
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  7. #7
    Web Ho - Design B!tch ~Michelle's Avatar
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    My husband has a very nice Fender acoustic/electric.

    Guild, Gibson, Taylor and Epiphones are all good too.
    ~Michelle
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  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Joe gave great advice!

    Basically, go into the shop and play 'em! You might be able to find a lower price online, but at least go and play the model you are thinking of. Look for something that's easy to play, stays in tune, easy to hold, and sounds nice. And don't just strum the thing for 30 seconds either, make sure you can stand playing it for a good while.

    Buying used is a great way to go, but for new acoustics I'd also recommend Ibanez.

    And go for the acoustic/electric. They generally are not much more expensive and being able to plug the thing in when you start getting gigs is great.
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  9. #9
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to go out looking around tomorrow. There's a music shop right across the street, according to their site they only have Alvarez, Yamaha and Ibanez, as far as acoustic/electric goes.

    They've got a Yahama that's the same color I want to paint my truck, lol (blue faded to black).

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    When buying a first guitar, ignore all brands and just focus on what 'feels' right.

    I've been playing for about a decade and my guitar has now melted into the shape of my hands. That's what you're looking for first and foremost, it just 'feels right' in your hands.

    There are a million other factors to consider, but when you're new this is really the only thing that matters.

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    One quick comment if you haven't already made a decision mobilebadboy...

    A good cheap acoustic guitar will be more expensive than a good cheap electric guitar. Not to discourage your desire to play acoustic but an acoustic is harder to play than an electric. Your fingers need to be tougher and you need to be more accurate with your fingering to make a good sounding chord. Electrics are much easier to play.

    Anyway...the point is if you are going to try to learn on an acousitc make sure you get a good one...with really good action and one that stays in tune. One of the hardest parts about learning guitar is getting it into tune (buy a tuning machine for sure). Buy used as Joe or somebody suggested but expect to pay at least $500 to $1000 for a good, easy to play acoustic. If your playing doesn't work out you can always sell it and probably get your money back.

    I got my daughter a CD from eMedia called Guitar Method and it is really good for beginners. Tuner, videos, sound and good songs to learn... all built in. I highly recommend it but there are probably many others.

    Good luck...

  12. #12
    Fear and Arrogance jrrl's Avatar
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    The Seagull S6 series of acoustic guitars is both inexpensive and very nice. I've been very happy with my S6+ cedar cutaway, when I get the chance to play it. That is not as often as I'd like, but such is life. Good sound, low action. Very comfortable.

    -John.
    There's a reason army's wear uniforms even though it makes them easier to spot. Sometimes that's what you want. Uniforms suggest organization, power, and numbers. These, in turn, inspire fear. And, as any good operative knows, there is no more effective weapon than fear.

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  13. #13
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    Yeah...most of that Seagull stuff is high quality for its price.

    My other piece of advice is to NEVER buy a guitar just because you like the way it looks. People (yourself included) will be a LOT more impressed with a raggedy ol' guitar that sounds great than a great-looking guitar that sounds crappy. If it is of high quality AND looks great, that's a bonus, but if you have to pick one of two, pick the sound over the look.

    Adambha your point is well taken but how will a beginner know what feels right? They'd be just as awkward on a 2007 ibanez as they would on a '63 ES335.
    Joseph Lilly
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  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lilly
    Adambha your point is well taken but how will a beginner know what feels right?
    Excellent point Joe.

    And I will echo the comments about Seagull guitars, great quality for the price.

  15. #15
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Plenty of good advice already given.

    Yamaha is generally a good buy - their cheapest models aren't so good but once you get up towards $200 or more they give you a lot of value for your money, and if you take care of it it will last forever.

    Don't even THINK of Esteban. His hat is pretty cool though.
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  16. #16
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Also - PM sent - I have an article on one of my sites with advice on buying a beginner guitar without getting burned, but I don't want to post an affiliate URL out in the open here.
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  17. #17
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Never mind. For some reason there is no way to send you a PM.
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  18. #18
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh
    Plenty of good advice already given.

    Yamaha is generally a good buy - -
    I don't know about electric guitars (my brother, a metal guitarist would), but I own a (classical nylon stringed) Yamaha G 231 (Google it) -- it's a nice guitar & reasonably priced so I would tend to agree with what David said about a Yamaha being a good choice.
    Last edited by Rhia7; January 8th, 2007 at 07:00 PM.
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  19. #19
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Joe, I was just kidding about the color of the guitar. It was just interesting because it matched what I wanted to paint my truck, and I could picture myself sitting on the tailgate matching and all, lol.

    I haven't gone looking yet, but will probably be heading out and about this weekend to do some searching (now that I finally got my '06 taxes out of the way).

    The only reason I want an acoustic for starters is because I live in apartment complex with neighbors above and behind me. But I inquired about acoustic/electrics for the case I'm somewhere else with an amp, or when the time comes I move out of here (which won't be anytime soon).

    I can always buy a regular electric down the road, but I first tried on an acoustic and was happy with it so I thought I'd go that route again.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Witzer
    In a lot of circles, the Martin is considered the best acoustic guitar.
    I sold a '30s vintage Martin guitar for a friend on eBay a couple of years ago for just under $6K. It had (repaired) bullet holes in it. Just adds to the value I guess...lol

    I've thought about taking up the guitar for years, but still have'nt.

  21. #21
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobilebadboy
    Joe, I was just kidding about the color of the guitar. It was just interesting because it matched what I wanted to paint my truck, and I could picture myself sitting on the tailgate matching and all, lol.

    I haven't gone looking yet, but will probably be heading out and about this weekend to do some searching (now that I finally got my '06 taxes out of the way).

    The only reason I want an acoustic for starters is because I live in apartment complex with neighbors above and behind me. But I inquired about acoustic/electrics for the case I'm somewhere else with an amp, or when the time comes I move out of here (which won't be anytime soon).

    I can always buy a regular electric down the road, but I first tried on an acoustic and was happy with it so I thought I'd go that route again.
    Just making sure. Probably 80% of the beginners I have taught selected their first guitar based upon looks, and that percentage goes up if the student received the guitar as a gift.

    In fact, my niece is a pretty good (but young) sax player. She wanted a "red sax." I found her a REALLY REALLY nice used sax (google "Selmer Mark 6") but she didn't want it because it wasn't red.
    Joseph Lilly
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    It took me ten years or so, but I'm finally at the point that I don't need to buy anymore guitars or guitar gear! I've got a Les Paul electric, a beatiful Gibson J-50 vintage acoustic (best sounding thing I've ever played!) and a nice Hill classical. Plus an amp and a couple pedals and I'm done.

    Now, that would be at least 5 guitars removed from my first. Like people have said, make your first a good one. Judge it on playability and sound and not looks. But be prepared to buy another in a few years!
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  23. #23
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    rock on
    practice, practice, practice - your fingers will hurt at first, but it gets better as they develop some extra tough skin. Doesn't matter what tool you use to learn, you just need to play a lot to get your fingers used to making the changes and also used to how to strum the strings.

    Also, you will suck for awhile so be prepared to play through that period of development - just like in affiliate marketing.

    rock on - or classical on
    Last edited by OICUAM2; January 11th, 2007 at 02:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
    CPA Network Rep Joe Lilly's Avatar
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    when your fingers get raw you can coat them with superglue...it's like an artificial callous. just don't touch anything until it is dry!
    Joseph Lilly
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  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lilly
    when your fingers get raw you can coat them with superglue...it's like an artificial callous
    To build actual callouses you can just use rubbing alcohol, which will help them build.

    And remember, the callouses form when you're *not* playing, so be sure to take a break and not play every single day.

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