Discussion:
Self study/Teacher
(too old to reply)
Artnut
2008-01-09 07:10:07 UTC
Permalink
Hi all,

A few days back I was reading that Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Saul Hudson
aka Slash are all self-taught guitarists. Is this true? Can someone please
tell what initial difficulties they faced while learning the guitar? All I
know was EC was so frustrated with his guitar learning as it failed to
produce the desired sounds, he nearly threw away his guitar.
What I hear from general conversations is that having a teacher is
indispensable. And how does one know if indeed that teacher is a great
himself?
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?

Regards,
Arty
Cliff
2008-01-09 10:56:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Hi all,
A few days back I was reading that Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Saul Hudson
aka Slash are all self-taught guitarists. Is this true? Can someone please
tell what initial difficulties they faced while learning the guitar? All I
know was EC was so frustrated with his guitar learning as it failed to
produce the desired sounds, he nearly threw away his guitar.
What I hear from general conversations is that having a teacher is
indispensable. And how does one know if indeed that teacher is a great
himself?
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
Regards,
Arty
Hi,

I started learning back at the end of the 70's and still am. I'm
mainly self taught except for basic music lessons at school and a few
private lessons for about six months.

I'd been playing for a couple of years before I took any lessons. I
stopped the private lessons because the guy , who was well qualified,
just wanted to teach riffs and chord progressions of popular tunes
with no reference to any of the theory behind that stuff.

Answering the question "why" has been the hardest part of teaching
myself. Most of the books, that were available, showed how to play
riffs or scale patterns but usually did a bad job of explaining which
chords a riff could be used against. Information was all to often
presented in a manner that did not allow you to relate it to anything
else you knew. gaining clarification of these sort of points has
always been the biggest problem of being self taught. On the other
hand the trouble I had to go to to find information, has made it seem
all the more valuable to me so I treasure it like gold dust.

Groups like this have really helped me clarify points that have
troubled me for years so thanks to all who contribute.

Cliff
RichL
2008-01-09 13:58:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Hi all,
A few days back I was reading that Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Saul Hudson
aka Slash are all self-taught guitarists. Is this true? Can someone please
tell what initial difficulties they faced while learning the guitar? All I
know was EC was so frustrated with his guitar learning as it failed to
produce the desired sounds, he nearly threw away his guitar.
What I hear from general conversations is that having a teacher is
indispensable. And how does one know if indeed that teacher is a great
himself?
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
Regards,
Arty
I wouldn't say a teacher is indispensable. Really, in the end, it depends
on how you learn best.
Cliff
2008-01-09 15:59:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Hi all,
A few days back I was reading that Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Saul Hudson
aka Slash are all self-taught guitarists. Is this true? Can someone please
tell what initial difficulties they faced while learning the guitar? All I
know was EC was so frustrated with his guitar learning as it failed to
produce the desired sounds, he nearly threw away his guitar.
What I hear from general conversations is that having a teacher is
indispensable. And how does one know if indeed that teacher is a great
himself?
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
Regards,
Arty
I wouldn't say a teacher is indispensable.  Really, in the end, it depends
on how you learn best.- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I never missed a teacher, just someone to answer the odd question. As
I said, you invisable-guys inside this computer have filled that gap
nicely ;-)

How big are you guys anyway? And why can't I hear you playing during
the day? Do you only practice after I've gone home? Modern technology
really is great.

Cliff
Derek
2008-01-09 17:18:30 UTC
Permalink
No it is not true. I met an old black gentleman 4 years ago who had
been Jimi's teacher. The whole "self taught" thing is mostly nonsense
imo.

Very few people study music/instrument in a vacumm, we all have
lessons, whether formal or informal all along.

The big difference between now and a generation ago was there were
much more opportunities to apprentice with a musician.

With a huge reduction in gigs, guitar learning has moved more and more
into academic types of settings.

There are tons of tools for learning now, whether software, videos,
websites, etc.

So if someone learns from a combination of instructional software,
books, and videos that a number of professional musicians and editors
created, should they consider themselves "self taught"?
Fred
2008-01-09 18:31:00 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 9 Jan 2008 09:18:30 -0800 (PST), Derek wrote...
Post by Derek
No it is not true. I met an old black gentleman 4 years ago who had
been Jimi's teacher. The whole "self taught" thing is mostly nonsense
imo.
Very few people study music/instrument in a vacumm, we all have
lessons, whether formal or informal all along.
The big difference between now and a generation ago was there were
much more opportunities to apprentice with a musician.
With a huge reduction in gigs, guitar learning has moved more and more
into academic types of settings.
There are tons of tools for learning now, whether software, videos,
websites, etc.
So if someone learns from a combination of instructional software,
books, and videos that a number of professional musicians and editors
created, should they consider themselves "self taught"?
I think people learn from many sources. It might be a combination of private
lessons, group lessons, having friends that play guitar, and instructional
books/DVDs. The trick is learning how to learn and using as many resources as
you can find and afford.


Fred
--
NewsGuy Accounts Go Jumbo!
NewsGuy Express increased from 30 to 50 GB of download capacity
http://newsguy.com/overview.htm
RichL
2008-01-09 20:42:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Derek
No it is not true. I met an old black gentleman 4 years ago who had
been Jimi's teacher. The whole "self taught" thing is mostly nonsense
imo.
Very few people study music/instrument in a vacumm, we all have
lessons, whether formal or informal all along.
The big difference between now and a generation ago was there were
much more opportunities to apprentice with a musician.
With a huge reduction in gigs, guitar learning has moved more and more
into academic types of settings.
There are tons of tools for learning now, whether software, videos,
websites, etc.
So if someone learns from a combination of instructional software,
books, and videos that a number of professional musicians and editors
created, should they consider themselves "self taught"?
Classic straw-man argument.

Any form of learning requires input in the form of appropriate instructional
materials. You just don't sit on a sofa and suddenly *know* how to play
guitar. The original question concerned whether a teacher is required. For
some, a teacher is not required.

Back when I was learning to play, we had no software, we had no videos. We
had books (I used the Mel-Bay series) and we had vinyl records. Fortunately
I had a decent pair of ears and a thirst for knowledge that had me playing
every record I could get my hands on and attempting to learn every lick I
could. After I had a whole mess of chords under my belt and was well on my
way to being a half-decent lead player, I decided to take lessons. But
after two straight lessons of doing nothing but practicing scales, I decided
they weren't worth the time and effort.

I learned basically the same way through high school, college, and a Ph. D.
program in physics. Particularly in subjects I enjoyed, I would read the
text ahead and work through the problems. Partway through college, the
profs recognized that I learned faster this way and I was given the
opportunity to take a number of "self-study" courses for credit. (These are
much more common now than back then.) In grad school, of course, you make a
transition to this mode of learning anyways.

If you learn without a teacher, you are self-taught. That's the commonly
accepted connotation of the term. It's probably much easier now than back
when I first started (1963), with all the stuff available on the web.
Derek
2008-01-09 20:56:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Classic straw-man argument.
Not sure how I set up a straw man. I said i think the whole "self
taught" think is overrated and exaggerated for whatever reason.

Like the urban legend that Jimi was self taught. Just not true.

I asked if we submit ourselves to teaching videos, web sites (both
text and video), books, cds, etc can we claim self taught?
Post by RichL
Any form of learning requires input in the form of appropriate instructional
materials.  You just don't sit on a sofa and suddenly *know* how to play
guitar.  The original question concerned whether a teacher is required.  For
some, a teacher is not required.
Agreed. I remember as kids, my cousin lifting tunes all day long off
of his records, became a killer player. Had to figure out later what
he was doing so he could teach it.

Didn't take more than 2-3 lessons so he didn't have a language for
what he was doing much.
Post by RichL
Back when I was learning to play, we had no software, we had no videos.  We
had books (I used the Mel-Bay series) and we had vinyl records.  Fortunately
I had a decent pair of ears and a thirst for knowledge that had me playing
every record I could get my hands on and attempting to learn every lick I
could.  After I had a whole mess of chords under my belt and was well on my
way to being a half-decent lead player, I decided to take lessons.  But
after two straight lessons of doing nothing but practicing scales, I decided
they weren't worth the time and effort.
Which gets at one of the OP's questions about whether or not a teacher
is a good one.
Post by RichL
I learned basically the same way through high school, college, and a Ph. D.
program in physics.  Particularly in subjects I enjoyed, I would read the
text ahead and work through the problems.  Partway through college, the
profs recognized that I learned faster this way and I was given the
opportunity to take a number of "self-study" courses for credit.  (These are
much more common now than back then.)  In grad school, of course, you make a
transition to this mode of learning anyways.
Indeed you do, I have been back to grad school twice. I would say you
are the exception, not the rule.

Not too many self taught Ph. D.'s out there, argreed?
Post by RichL
If you learn without a teacher, you are self-taught.  That's the commonly
accepted connotation of the term.  It's probably much easier now than back
when I first started (1963), with all the stuff available on the web.-
So what if the teacher is on a video, whether vhs, dvd or web based?
That is what I am trying to get at.

With all the advances in learning, and tools available where do we
draw the line and say I am or am not self taught?
RichL
2008-01-09 22:17:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Classic straw-man argument.
Not sure how I set up a straw man. I said i think the whole "self
taught" think is overrated and exaggerated for whatever reason.

Like the urban legend that Jimi was self taught. Just not true.
_________

You met a guy who *claimed* to have taught Jimi. Doesn't make it true. And
with all the famous players who call themselves self-taught (Clapton,
Lennon, McCartney are a few who come to mind) coupled with my own
experience, I can't believe they're all lying!
_________

I asked if we submit ourselves to teaching videos, web sites (both
text and video), books, cds, etc can we claim self taught?
_________

Like I said, I think you're changing the accepted meaning of self-taught. I
interpret it as not using a formal teacher.
Post by RichL
Any form of learning requires input in the form of appropriate
instructional
Post by RichL
materials. You just don't sit on a sofa and suddenly *know* how to play
guitar. The original question concerned whether a teacher is required. For
some, a teacher is not required.
Agreed. I remember as kids, my cousin lifting tunes all day long off
of his records, became a killer player. Had to figure out later what
he was doing so he could teach it.

Didn't take more than 2-3 lessons so he didn't have a language for
what he was doing much.
_________

I think that's one difference. My "self-teaching" books had lots of theory.
Again, if you're in the right frame of mind, you don't need a formal teacher
for this stuff either.
Post by RichL
Back when I was learning to play, we had no software, we had no videos. We
had books (I used the Mel-Bay series) and we had vinyl records.
Fortunately
Post by RichL
I had a decent pair of ears and a thirst for knowledge that had me playing
every record I could get my hands on and attempting to learn every lick I
could. After I had a whole mess of chords under my belt and was well on my
way to being a half-decent lead player, I decided to take lessons. But
after two straight lessons of doing nothing but practicing scales, I decided
they weren't worth the time and effort.
Which gets at one of the OP's questions about whether or not a teacher
is a good one.
Post by RichL
I learned basically the same way through high school, college, and a Ph. D.
program in physics. Particularly in subjects I enjoyed, I would read the
text ahead and work through the problems. Partway through college, the
profs recognized that I learned faster this way and I was given the
opportunity to take a number of "self-study" courses for credit. (These
are
Post by RichL
much more common now than back then.) In grad school, of course, you make
a
Post by RichL
transition to this mode of learning anyways.
Indeed you do, I have been back to grad school twice. I would say you
are the exception, not the rule.

Not too many self taught Ph. D.'s out there, argreed?
_________

At some point, at least in the scientific and engineering fields, you have
to move past what's already known and examine uncharted territory. You're
shifting into that self-taught mode when you do that. None of the stuff you
do at that level is in books or the minds of teachers.
Post by RichL
If you learn without a teacher, you are self-taught. That's the commonly
accepted connotation of the term. It's probably much easier now than back
when I first started (1963), with all the stuff available on the web.-
So what if the teacher is on a video, whether vhs, dvd or web based?
That is what I am trying to get at.
_________

I think one essential difference is that none of these media can tell you
what you're doing wrong. They can show you stuff you haven't seen or heard
before.
_________

With all the advances in learning, and tools available where do we
draw the line and say I am or am not self taught?
_________

I'll admit there's no longer a clear line. Some of these media get close to
having a formal teacher, but there are essential elements missing. Now if
they came up with one where they showed you something, and if you did it
wrong a buzzer would go off, you'd have something! Actually, that's where
I'd draw the line if I had to draw one.

But to me the difference is the burden being on *you* to figure things out,
as opposed to having someone leading you by the hand.

But what's really different now compared with when I learned is the visual
element (i.e., videos). But back then, as now, we could watch other players
and try to figure out what they were doing. Is that "being taught"? Maybe
in a narrow sense, but (a) you're taking the initiative and (b) the
"teacher" is unaware he is teaching!
iarwain
2008-01-09 17:29:25 UTC
Permalink
No one learns the guitar on their own, really. Everybody picks up
their information somewhere, whether it's from playing with their
friends, watching other guitarists on TV, going to see other bands,
reading, listening to music, or communicating on the internet. If
you're good at picking up what is around you, you don't really need a
teacher.

I've always been pretty independent so I've been mostly self taught.
I had only a brief brush with lessons which basically confirmed that I
was on the right track. I can see that having a teacher could save
you some time figuring certain things out. But sometimes I think that
if you have to fight for something and pick it up yourself you might
remember it better than if you just have someone tell you.

Another thing to remember is there are good teachers, bad teachers,
and mediocre teachers. Having a good teacher would make a world of
difference I imagine. But when you're starting out you probably
wouldn't know what would make a good guitar teacher.
MI5-Help-Line
2008-01-09 18:59:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Hi all,
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
I would say learning from scratch with a teacher would
have allowed me to read music. I started way back in the early 70's
and basically learned from others and playing with record.

Way .. way .. before the tab system was even used.
Guitar Magazine had articles on playing tips but I don't
recall them being very useful because I didn't know theory
or read the sheets.

I can generally figure out an entire song now by ear , but
I'm more interested in creating my own stuff now than using others.
It's all building blocks.

--> I'm still learning ... It is a never ending process.
DeeAa
2008-01-09 19:07:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
Uh, I don't think it'd be a good idea to just start learning by
yourself. Does/has anybody REALLY done that?

Me, I started learning by building a guitar, and then I played one-
string melodies by ear first. Some friends showed me some simple riffs
like 'Spotlight kid' or whatever.

But then I got like a dozen lessons from a local shredder with my
friend together, and he taught us how to play basic barres, Smoke On
The Water, Paranoid, Heaven and Hell, Still of the Night etc. and a
bunch of heavy metal finger exercises and classical-sounding shred
things and lotsa riffs.

That really taught me most of my background. Then I found this book
'heavy metal guitar' by Troy someone, which came with a cassette, and
it showed ALL the pentatonic tricks, bends, basic rock cliches,
hammerons, false harmonics and stuff like that. It really was a great
book and I did basically everything it had. Then I also got its
sibling 'h.m. rhythm guitar' and from that I discovered 7ths and 9ths
and lots and lots of chords too.

After that I played CCR, Grateful Dead, Eagles, whatever, on an
acoustic, and learned a whole bunch of chords...and wrote and recorded
and whatever hundreds of songs ultimately.

But somewhere along the way I quit learning from others and after that
I've been self-taught. I guess. I just felt that if I learned a whole
lot of tricks from others, I'd never develop my own approach.

And I'm still learning, basically by just making songs.
Cliff
2008-01-10 09:07:11 UTC
Permalink
On 9 Jan, 19:07, DeeAa <***@dnainternet.net> wrote:


Uh, I don't think it'd be a good idea to just start learning by
yourself. Does/has anybody REALLY done that?

snip
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I started to play to pass a basic end of school music exam at the age
of 16. I'd never played an instrument but it was learn one or sing!

I'd been taught the rudiments of reading music and chord construction
so I bought a guitar and a book on simple fingerstyle. A couple of
months latter I played Scarbourgh Fair for the exam and got a not very
good grade but, good enough to pass. No other guitarist were involved.
Surprising what you can do given the right motivation like: fear of
singing in public ;-)

Cliff
iarwain
2008-01-09 20:13:34 UTC
Permalink
When I was growing up and learning to play, I made friends with
another fellow who was also ravenous to learn everything he could
about guitar. Every time one of learned something, we showed the
other. We learned a lot that way - two heads are better than one,
after all.

When we tried to learn songs off the record (no tab in those days) we
would each try to figure it out then compare notes and then try to
determine which way was actually right. Usually one of us caught some
nuance that the other didn't. So it helps to have someone to jam
with.

I don't see how having lessons could HURT you, and probably would be
of help, even though I'm mostly self taught myself. I think the main
thing is whether or not you have the passion to want to learn. If you
don't have it, the lessons won't make you a good player. If you do
have it, there's nothing that's going to stop you from learning,
teacher or not.
RichL
2008-01-09 22:21:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by iarwain
When I was growing up and learning to play, I made friends with
another fellow who was also ravenous to learn everything he could
about guitar. Every time one of learned something, we showed the
other. We learned a lot that way - two heads are better than one,
after all.
When we tried to learn songs off the record (no tab in those days) we
would each try to figure it out then compare notes and then try to
determine which way was actually right. Usually one of us caught some
nuance that the other didn't. So it helps to have someone to jam
with.
I don't see how having lessons could HURT you, and probably would be
of help, even though I'm mostly self taught myself. I think the main
thing is whether or not you have the passion to want to learn. If you
don't have it, the lessons won't make you a good player. If you do
have it, there's nothing that's going to stop you from learning,
teacher or not.
Agreed. The only down side is if you have a bad teacher, you're wasting
time that would be better spent in self-exploration.

When I was learning (also mainly self-taught), I had a couple of friends who
wanted to learn too and we'd play together. Unfortunately, they fell behind
pretty quickly. I think they didn't have that passion, they just wanted to
play so people would think they were cool. They didn't stick with it very
long. So I was basically on my own from that perspective.

But I did have George Harrison and John Lennon :-) I'd listen to those LPs
for hours and try to learn to play everything they did. More than anyone
else, they were my teachers! Later, Jimi fulfilled the same role.
Derek
2008-01-09 23:06:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by RichL
Post by Derek
Like the urban legend that Jimi was self taught. Just not true.
_________
Post by RichL
You met a guy who *claimed* to have taught Jimi. Doesn't make it true. And
with all the famous players who call themselves self-taught (Clapton,
Lennon, McCartney are a few who come to mind) coupled with my own
experience, I can't believe they're all lying!
No, actually he was invited by the head guys at the guitar camp and
was introduced to me by a 40 year + studio pro and college jazz
teacher.

I have never thought to doubt the veracity of the claim.
Post by RichL
I'll admit there's no longer a clear line. Some of these media get close to
having a formal teacher, but there are essential elements missing. Now if
they came up with one where they showed you something, and if you did it
wrong a buzzer would go off, you'd have something! Actually, that's where
I'd draw the line if I had to draw one.
Fair enough, feedback is an important part of the teaching process,
but one could argue not necessary.
Post by RichL
But to me the difference is the burden being on *you* to figure things out,
as opposed to having someone leading you by the hand.
But what's really different now compared with when I learned is the visual
element (i.e., videos). But back then, as now, we could watch other players
and try to figure out what they were doing. Is that "being taught"? Maybe
in a narrow sense, but (a) you're taking the initiative and (b) the
"teacher" is unaware he is teaching!
Every player who steps in front of a camera with a prearranged script
and a producer in the room is intentionally teaching.

You are talking about performances, yeah different for sure. Reminds
me of reading stories about older bluesmen covering their left hand
with a hanky so young guys in the audience couldn't see what they were
doing.

I am talking about instructional stuff only.

I just think in today's world with so many resources out there, saying
one is self taught is a bit suspect.
rmjon23
2008-01-10 07:34:54 UTC
Permalink
I was a complete nutcase when I started playing. I always wanted to be
a rock guitarist, but never did anything about it. I had a bunch of
friends who felt the same. We played air guitar like madmen. "Dude!
Pick up the needle and put that Blackmore solo on again!" Then a
friend had a dad who had a Fender Tele he'd sell for $200, so I bought
it, not even knowing a chord or how to tune. Right after that, one of
my heroes, Michael Schenker, was interviewed in Guitar Player. He said
when he was in his early teens he practiced for four hours a day, and
if he missed a day he'd play eight hours the next day to make up for
it. So that's what I did. But practice WHAT? I made up finger
exercises and desperately tried to figure out something that sounded
coherent.

I'm weird, so I went to the library and checked out Walter Piston's
famous textbook, _Harmony_. I studied that like a mofo, and tried to
make sense of it. I also had some Guitar Player magazines lying
around. I tried to make sense of them. A friend who was a fine player
was kind enough to show me how to tune with harmonics. And I remember
he'd never heard Judas Priest, and I'd just bought _Unleashed In The
East_ and I played it for him, and he really liked the guitarists. He
figured out by ear "Green Manalishi" in like, two listens. I was
astounded. It was like watching a magician up close. He was kind
enough to sit and show me really basic aspects of what Priest was
doing.

Then I bought a bunch of books: _Styles For The Studio_, by Leon
White; _Improvising Rock Guitar_, with Pat Thrall on the cover; _The
Heavy Guitar Bible_ by Daniels, and maybe a couple other books. I
studied those and made up my own stuff and tried to cop licks and
chords off records for four hours a day, like Schenker. Then I got
into a garage band with my brother and friends. I remember a guy
watched us rehearse and asked if I gave lessons. I asked him how long
he'd been playing. He said five years. I'd been playing for about four
months and didn't tell the guy. I was completely nuts over guitar, and
there were probably days I practiced for 10 hours. I actually kept
track of how much time I practiced, 'cuz I wanted to BE Schenker, and
I didn't want to cheat myself.

I saw this amazing player named, IIRC, Ruben Garcia, in a backyard
party band and the guy killed. I heard he gave lessons. I took one
lesson from the guy. He was a terrible teacher and his band members
were hanging around their disgusting apartment room, and I felt really
ripped-off by giving this guy $10 for about 45 minutes.

But a few months later I realized how valuable that one lesson was,
because all Garcia (or was it Sanchez?) did was shred, two feet away
from me. He insisted on me learning how to keep my left thumb in the
middle of the back of the neck so that my wrist was facing toward the
audience. I found that incredibly awkward, but forced myself. He
performed some pentatonics with chromatics, every note picked with
strict down-up strokes. It was a blizzard of clean-fast scale
patterns, and he just went up and down the neck like a goddamned
machine. It imprinted on me. I was blown away. I thought he hadn't
done anything for me. He was really just practicing while I watched.
But I got a lot out of that. He inspired me in a huge way. Later I got
the same buzz by going to the Troubadour and sitting right in front of
Paul Gilbert or Warren Dimartini or Mark Kendall, and a few other guys
who were great but who seem to have disappeared. (Anyone heard of
Craig Collins Turner?)

Later I taught for 10 yrs in a music store in the San Gabriel Valley.
I'd played in bands and recorded a few things. I only took one lesson
my whole life. I mostly learned from the theory I taught myself, and
by developing my ear by copping solos and chords from records. After
I'd been playing for two years or so, and had a few students on the
side, I realized how freakish I must be, because I had only taken one
lesson (where you pay a guy), but I learned tons and tons of theory
from a college textbook written by a 20th century classical
composer...and I learned from _books_, period. Most guys DO NOT go
that route. Everyone's different. Find your own way. And see if you
can practice for 28 hours a week at least!

If there was anything I should've done earlier than later, it was to
practice with a metronome. I didn't do that until I bought Kreutzer's
book of violin exercises and an old-fashioned metronome, and tried to
play stuff up to speed. That was like taking steroids for my chops.
But I'd been playing for four years before I caught on to that.

When I look at all the resources a young player has today, it's as if
I tried to learn in the Mesozoic Age. Now there are videos of amazing
players everywhere, all kinds of great books, stuff online, software
programs, etc. An embarrassment of riches!
Artnut
2008-01-10 08:02:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by rmjon23
I was a complete nutcase when I started playing. I always wanted to be
a rock guitarist, but never did anything about it. I had a bunch of
friends who felt the same. We played air guitar like madmen. "Dude!
Pick up the needle and put that Blackmore solo on again!" Then a
friend had a dad who had a Fender Tele he'd sell for $200, so I bought
it, not even knowing a chord or how to tune. Right after that, one of
my heroes, Michael Schenker, was interviewed in Guitar Player. He said
when he was in his early teens he practiced for four hours a day, and
if he missed a day he'd play eight hours the next day to make up for
it. So that's what I did. But practice WHAT? I made up finger
exercises and desperately tried to figure out something that sounded
coherent.
I'm weird, so I went to the library and checked out Walter Piston's
famous textbook, _Harmony_. I studied that like a mofo, and tried to
make sense of it. I also had some Guitar Player magazines lying
around. I tried to make sense of them. A friend who was a fine player
was kind enough to show me how to tune with harmonics. And I remember
he'd never heard Judas Priest, and I'd just bought _Unleashed In The
East_ and I played it for him, and he really liked the guitarists. He
figured out by ear "Green Manalishi" in like, two listens. I was
astounded. It was like watching a magician up close. He was kind
enough to sit and show me really basic aspects of what Priest was
doing.
Then I bought a bunch of books: _Styles For The Studio_, by Leon
White; _Improvising Rock Guitar_, with Pat Thrall on the cover; _The
Heavy Guitar Bible_ by Daniels, and maybe a couple other books. I
studied those and made up my own stuff and tried to cop licks and
chords off records for four hours a day, like Schenker. Then I got
into a garage band with my brother and friends. I remember a guy
watched us rehearse and asked if I gave lessons. I asked him how long
he'd been playing. He said five years. I'd been playing for about four
months and didn't tell the guy. I was completely nuts over guitar, and
there were probably days I practiced for 10 hours. I actually kept
track of how much time I practiced, 'cuz I wanted to BE Schenker, and
I didn't want to cheat myself.
I saw this amazing player named, IIRC, Ruben Garcia, in a backyard
party band and the guy killed. I heard he gave lessons. I took one
lesson from the guy. He was a terrible teacher and his band members
were hanging around their disgusting apartment room, and I felt really
ripped-off by giving this guy $10 for about 45 minutes.
But a few months later I realized how valuable that one lesson was,
because all Garcia (or was it Sanchez?) did was shred, two feet away
from me. He insisted on me learning how to keep my left thumb in the
middle of the back of the neck so that my wrist was facing toward the
audience. I found that incredibly awkward, but forced myself. He
performed some pentatonics with chromatics, every note picked with
strict down-up strokes. It was a blizzard of clean-fast scale
patterns, and he just went up and down the neck like a goddamned
machine. It imprinted on me. I was blown away. I thought he hadn't
done anything for me. He was really just practicing while I watched.
But I got a lot out of that. He inspired me in a huge way. Later I got
the same buzz by going to the Troubadour and sitting right in front of
Paul Gilbert or Warren Dimartini or Mark Kendall, and a few other guys
who were great but who seem to have disappeared. (Anyone heard of
Craig Collins Turner?)
Later I taught for 10 yrs in a music store in the San Gabriel Valley.
I'd played in bands and recorded a few things. I only took one lesson
my whole life. I mostly learned from the theory I taught myself, and
by developing my ear by copping solos and chords from records. After
I'd been playing for two years or so, and had a few students on the
side, I realized how freakish I must be, because I had only taken one
lesson (where you pay a guy), but I learned tons and tons of theory
from a college textbook written by a 20th century classical
composer...and I learned from _books_, period. Most guys DO NOT go
that route. Everyone's different. Find your own way. And see if you
can practice for 28 hours a week at least!
If there was anything I should've done earlier than later, it was to
practice with a metronome. I didn't do that until I bought Kreutzer's
book of violin exercises and an old-fashioned metronome, and tried to
play stuff up to speed. That was like taking steroids for my chops.
But I'd been playing for four years before I caught on to that.
When I look at all the resources a young player has today, it's as if
I tried to learn in the Mesozoic Age. Now there are videos of amazing
players everywhere, all kinds of great books, stuff online, software
programs, etc. An embarrassment of riches!
Wow RMJON, that was indeed a great inspirational writeup. I googled many
times for guitar lessons and I was very disappointed to see some sites. Some
proved of little help as somewhere down the line they presume the student
has some knowledge of music. For me, it was indeed a Herculean task to
interpret what the site said because of no one around to help with what's
written. I can say many sites show you ABCD of guitar and then they think
you can go on your own upto XYZ by signing up ordering their softwares.

I even heard that not all guitarists know how to read music in the notation
form. Tabs were created for the ease of internet learning but tabs lack in
one major thing is it cannot show the time breaks, gaps, as some say that
tabs can be played if one has heard the song before.

Hats off to you for being so persistent in your efforts to learn. Perhaps
God was on your side when you were learning because when I play, I think
even the ethereal bodies around me must be vanishing in the thin air! And
how do I know if my chords are producing the intended sounds. My electronic
tuner tells me the guitar is tuned but my playing doesn't bring out any
music. Its cacophony :-(

For a layperson anything sounds good or bad. And I must admit that
frustration sets in easily. I took few lessons for chords but realized it
wasn't worth the time and money because the chords, scales are available
free online.
Maybe you know even Eric Clapton was soo frustrated with his learning that
he nearly threw away.

So how does one go about it? You say 4hrs, hell for me 4mins is too much if
its just strumming without any melody coming out of it.

Arty
rmjon23
2008-01-10 10:13:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Post by rmjon23
I was a complete nutcase when I started playing. I always wanted to be
a rock guitarist, but never did anything about it. I had a bunch of
friends who felt the same. We played air guitar like madmen. "Dude!
Pick up the needle and put that Blackmore solo on again!" Then a
friend had a dad who had a Fender Tele he'd sell for $200, so I bought
it, not even knowing a chord or how to tune. Right after that, one of
my heroes, Michael Schenker, was interviewed in Guitar Player. He said
when he was in his early teens he practiced for four hours a day, and
if he missed a day he'd play eight hours the next day to make up for
it. So that's what I did. But practice WHAT? I made up finger
exercises and desperately tried to figure out something that sounded
coherent.
I'm weird, so I went to the library and checked out Walter Piston's
famous textbook, _Harmony_. I studied that like a mofo, and tried to
make sense of it. I also had some Guitar Player magazines lying
around. I tried to make sense of them. A friend who was a fine player
was kind enough to show me how to tune with harmonics. And I remember
he'd never heard Judas Priest, and I'd just bought _Unleashed In The
East_ and I played it for him, and he really liked the guitarists. He
figured out by ear "Green Manalishi" in like, two listens. I was
astounded. It was like watching a magician up close. He was kind
enough to sit and show me really basic aspects of what Priest was
doing.
Then I bought a bunch of books: _Styles For The Studio_, by Leon
White; _Improvising Rock Guitar_, with Pat Thrall on the cover; _The
Heavy Guitar Bible_ by Daniels, and maybe a couple other books. I
studied those and made up my own stuff and tried to cop licks and
chords off records for four hours a day, like Schenker. Then I got
into a garage band with my brother and friends. I remember a guy
watched us rehearse and asked if I gave lessons. I asked him how long
he'd been playing. He said five years. I'd been playing for about four
months and didn't tell the guy. I was completely nuts over guitar, and
there were probably days I practiced for 10 hours. I actually kept
track of how much time I practiced, 'cuz I wanted to BE Schenker, and
I didn't want to cheat myself.
I saw this amazing player named, IIRC, Ruben Garcia, in a backyard
party band and the guy killed. I heard he gave lessons. I took one
lesson from the guy. He was a terrible teacher and his band members
were hanging around their disgusting apartment room, and I felt really
ripped-off by giving this guy $10 for about 45 minutes.
But a few months later I realized how valuable that one lesson was,
because all Garcia (or was it Sanchez?) did was shred, two feet away
from me. He insisted on me learning how to keep my left thumb in the
middle of the back of the neck so that my wrist was facing toward the
audience. I found that incredibly awkward, but forced myself. He
performed some pentatonics with chromatics, every note picked with
strict down-up strokes. It was a blizzard of clean-fast scale
patterns, and he just went up and down the neck like a goddamned
machine. It imprinted on me. I was blown away. I thought he hadn't
done anything for me. He was really just practicing while I watched.
But I got a lot out of that. He inspired me in a huge way. Later I got
the same buzz by going to the Troubadour and sitting right in front of
Paul Gilbert or Warren Dimartini or Mark Kendall, and a few other guys
who were great but who seem to have disappeared. (Anyone heard of
Craig Collins Turner?)
Later I taught for 10 yrs in a music store in the San Gabriel Valley.
I'd played in bands and recorded a few things. I only took one lesson
my whole life. I mostly learned from the theory I taught myself, and
by developing my ear by copping solos and chords from records. After
I'd been playing for two years or so, and had a few students on the
side, I realized how freakish I must be, because I had only taken one
lesson (where you pay a guy), but I learned tons and tons of theory
from a college textbook written by a 20th century classical
composer...and I learned from _books_, period. Most guys DO NOT go
that route. Everyone's different. Find your own way. And see if you
can practice for 28 hours a week at least!
If there was anything I should've done earlier than later, it was to
practice with a metronome. I didn't do that until I bought Kreutzer's
book of violin exercises and an old-fashioned metronome, and tried to
play stuff up to speed. That was like taking steroids for my chops.
But I'd been playing for four years before I caught on to that.
When I look at all the resources a young player has today, it's as if
I tried to learn in the Mesozoic Age. Now there are videos of amazing
players everywhere, all kinds of great books, stuff online, software
programs, etc. An embarrassment of riches!
Wow RMJON, that was indeed a great inspirational writeup. I googled many
times for guitar lessons and I was very disappointed to see some sites. Some
proved of little help as somewhere down the line they presume the student
has some knowledge of music. For me, it was indeed a Herculean task to
interpret what the site said because of no one around to help with what's
written. I can say many sites show you ABCD of guitar and then they think
you can go on your own upto XYZ by signing up ordering their softwares.
I even heard that not all guitarists know how to read music in the notation
form. Tabs were created for the ease of internet learning but tabs lack in
one major thing is it cannot show the time breaks, gaps, as some say that
tabs can be played if one has heard the song before.
Hats off to you for being so persistent in your efforts to learn. Perhaps
God was on your side when you were learning because when I play, I think
even the ethereal bodies around me must be vanishing in the thin air! And
how do I know if my chords are producing the intended sounds. My electronic
tuner tells me the guitar is tuned but my playing doesn't bring out any
music. Its cacophony :-(
For a layperson anything sounds good or bad. And I must admit that
frustration sets in easily. I took few lessons for chords but realized it
wasn't worth the time and money because the chords, scales are available
free online.
Maybe you know even Eric Clapton was soo frustrated with his learning that
he nearly threw away.
So how does one go about it? You say 4hrs, hell for me 4mins is too much if
its just strumming without any melody coming out of it.
Arty- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Well, I'd say there are a lot of little tricks to bump your playing up
a quantum and get you out of your rut. You mentioned chords. Take a
four-chord pattern. Let's say: Am, C, G, and D.

1.) Tap your foot and play them in the standard positions you see in
every "beginner" book.

a.) Play the chords for 4 beats (taps of the foot) each, then two. (If
some creative impulse takes over, go with it.)

b.) Play those chords in varying orders and use your ears to decide
what you like. Experiment.

c.) Now play the notes of the chords separately. "Arpeggios," right?
Experiment like mad with picking sequences that not only go from
lowest string to highest and back down, skip strings and practice
certain permutations that sound good to you. For EX: on the Dmajor
chord, go open D string, G string, D again, B string, D again, E
string, D again, (notes: D, A, D, D at 3rd fret, Dagain, F#, D again,
D note, etc. See that simple pattern? Then try D open, G string, B
string, D open, E string, B string. Note how a rhythm suggests itself.

d.) Do this same kind of thing with the other three chords, and then
combine strumming with arpeggios.

e.) Without worrying what the "names" of the new chords will be,
MUTATE each chord a bit and, using your own ears, decide what you
like. For EX: using the D major chord again, put your pinky down on
the 3rd fret, high E string (temporarily replacing the F# note with a
G note). Sounds pretty cool? Most people think so. Now try taking your
middle finger off the high E string entirely, so when you strum or
arpeggiate the chord your hear open D string, 2nd fret G string, 3rd
fret B string, open high E string. Sound good? Aye! Now combine all
three in some pattern you cook up after experimentation.

f.) Using the same D chord, move your index finger down one fret on
the G string (that is: 2nd fret, G string to 1st fret G string), then
follow that by playing the G string open, all the while keeping the
other notes of the D major chord the same. Vary in rhythm, and combine
strumming with arpeggios. Dampen/mute with your right hand for
dynamics. Combine this idea with all the stuff you've already done so
far.

g.) Taking any one of the shapes/fingerings for these four chords,
experiment by sliding them up two or three of maybe five or seven
frets and judging for yourself what sounds cool. When you find
something that you like, experiment...using strumming and
arpeggiating, of course! And rhythmic variations you feel. Play sorta
"fast" and then very slowly.

h.) Using basic knowledge of the neck, write down the three different
notes that go into the chemistry of each of your four chords. NOW:
find at minimum three (3) other places on the neck you can play those
same notes as chords. You will be playing the "same" chord, but in a
different "voicing", so the hand shapes will be different. At first
this seems like math homework, but it pays off big-time. At this point
you may be accidentally playing stuff that sounds vaguely like famous
songs you've heard. Or not. It's really about you experimenting.

i.) Give these new voicings the same experimental treatment you gave
the ones at the bottom of the neck (frets 1-3). Strumming and
arpeggiating and tweaking a note by a fret or two here and there, etc.
Playing the chords in altering sequences, using two chords more often
than the other two, etc.

j.) Practice sliding one chord up and down the neck. EX: take the
Aminor and slide it up two frets. Then hit that chord and slide it
back down "home" to the original Aminor chord. Slide that up three
frets. Back down. Etc. Note anything that sounds good to YOUR ears and
play around with rhythm, strumming, a brief moment of silence,
arpeggiating, tweaking notes, etc.

k.) "Write" a song now, using all you've taught yourself. It doesn't
have to be great, just sorta challenging for you to play...and FUN!

2nd little experiment: Using the C major scale (A string: 3rd fret,
5th fret, 7th fret; D string: 3rd fret, 5th fret, 7th fret; G string:
4th fret, 5th fret, 7th fret; B string: 5th fret, 6th fret, 8th fret;
High E string: 5th fret, 7th fret, 8th fret), sound out from memory or
sing out loud "Happy Birthday" (traditional version people sing at b-
day parties), "Yankee Doodle," and "Auld Lang Syne." Why these three?
Why not? You can find your own alternate favorites, but these three
are so well-known, and besides, after years of experimenting like a
mutha with them, they WILL come up in social situations (well, at
least two of them will), and you will have an extremely well-rehearsed
version of some sort to wow a small crowd with them. For starters.

a.) From long experience, this exercise can go on for years, with you
always experimenting with single-note techniques and harmony. At
first: however long it takes, work out these classic melodies until
you're pretty sure you have a reasonable facsimile of them.

b.) Use vibrato! One way you can work on your vibrato is by taking any
one note in the melody - esp one the melody gives extra "time" to, for
EX: the B note you play for "you" when "Happy Birthday" has just
started. (It might be the 6th note overall, depending on your how you
interpret it.) take that B note, and taping your foot, play 8th notes
and bending that note slightly up and down (amybe up a 1/2 step so
that the bent note sounds exactly like a C note, but the most
important thing is to do your bends evenly and in time with your
tapping or metronome!), saying ("one and two and three and four and")
in time to your tapping. Do the same thing with triplets (say "one
trip-let, two trip-let, three trip-let, four trip-let"); finally try
16ths notes (saying "one-ee-and-uh, two-ee-and-uh, three-ee-and-uh,
four-ee-and-uh").

c.) Pick each note in the melody twice, three times, or four times.
Then use variations, giving some notes only one pick, others more than
that.

d.) Use hammer-pulls when you can. EX: You may play "Yankee Doodle"
starting on the 3rd fret, A string. You pick that first note twice,
("Yank-ee") but you can get the 3rd-7th notes of the melody using only
left-hand gymnastics. And note: the next note is G on the low E
string. That's still in the C major scale...There are all kinds of
hammer-pull combinations in those three classic melodies.

e.) Bend up to a note rather than fret it. EX: in "Auld Lang Syne"
bend the 7th fret G string note up a full step and release it back
instead of playing the notes D-E-D. Use vibrato! The 8th fret, B
string note calls for some major bending madness in this tune!

f.) Play the entire melody in the "thirds." This means each note of
the melody is "harmonized" by the note that is either a major or a
minor 3rd below the melody note, as found in the C major scale. EX: In
"Happy Birthday" the 5th fret, D string note (a "G" note") is
harmonized by the 7th fret, A string note (an "E" note). That's for
the first note(s) of the melody. This is followed by 7th fret D string
(an "A" note) harmonized by 8th fret, A string (an "F" note).The first
"third you played (with the G and E notes) were a minor 3rd sound. The
second notes (A and F) were a major 3rd sound. All the notes in the
melody can be harmonized like this, and I recommend you use your ear
first before figuring it out logically. There's more adventure and
happy accidents that way.

g.) Play every note in the melody by sliding UP to it from below. That
means going from a lower fret to the note in question. EX: say you
decide to start "Happy Birthday" with the 5th fret, D string (a "G"
note). Slide VERY quickly from the 3rd fret on the D string to that G
note twice, then slide from the 3rd fret to the 7th fret, then back to
the 3rd to 5th fret slide. Also try sliding from some note ABOVE (that
is, from a higher-numbered fret to the note in question). DO not
accent the note you begin the slide from; accent the note that's
really in the melody. This creates a sort of bluesy, swaggering feel,
but it all depends on the way you do it.

h.) Practice trills (rapid hammer-pulls) between any two notes on one
string in any of the melodies. See if you can apply one of two to make
a good effect.

Have FUN!!! Improvement on guitar, no matter how much you practice,
seems just slow enough so that it seems like you're never improving.
But you are. Be willing to "suck" for awhile, but note how much better
you are on the next first of the month than the last.

If you're a rock/blues lover. (You mentioned Clapton.) The three
melodies I recommended for experimentation are all VERY major-
sounding. The Cream riffs you learn eventually will probably be more
minor-y sounding. Knowing the major scale as a feel makes the minor
scales sound that much darker and bluesier and more mysterious.
Artnut
2008-01-10 16:03:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
Post by rmjon23
I was a complete nutcase when I started playing. I always wanted to be
a rock guitarist, but never did anything about it. I had a bunch of
friends who felt the same. We played air guitar like madmen. "Dude!
Pick up the needle and put that Blackmore solo on again!" Then a
friend had a dad who had a Fender Tele he'd sell for $200, so I bought
it, not even knowing a chord or how to tune. Right after that, one of
my heroes, Michael Schenker, was interviewed in Guitar Player. He said
when he was in his early teens he practiced for four hours a day, and
if he missed a day he'd play eight hours the next day to make up for
it. So that's what I did. But practice WHAT? I made up finger
exercises and desperately tried to figure out something that sounded
coherent.
I'm weird, so I went to the library and checked out Walter Piston's
famous textbook, _Harmony_. I studied that like a mofo, and tried to
make sense of it. I also had some Guitar Player magazines lying
around. I tried to make sense of them. A friend who was a fine player
was kind enough to show me how to tune with harmonics. And I remember
he'd never heard Judas Priest, and I'd just bought _Unleashed In The
East_ and I played it for him, and he really liked the guitarists. He
figured out by ear "Green Manalishi" in like, two listens. I was
astounded. It was like watching a magician up close. He was kind
enough to sit and show me really basic aspects of what Priest was
doing.
Then I bought a bunch of books: _Styles For The Studio_, by Leon
White; _Improvising Rock Guitar_, with Pat Thrall on the cover; _The
Heavy Guitar Bible_ by Daniels, and maybe a couple other books. I
studied those and made up my own stuff and tried to cop licks and
chords off records for four hours a day, like Schenker. Then I got
into a garage band with my brother and friends. I remember a guy
watched us rehearse and asked if I gave lessons. I asked him how long
he'd been playing. He said five years. I'd been playing for about four
months and didn't tell the guy. I was completely nuts over guitar, and
there were probably days I practiced for 10 hours. I actually kept
track of how much time I practiced, 'cuz I wanted to BE Schenker, and
I didn't want to cheat myself.
I saw this amazing player named, IIRC, Ruben Garcia, in a backyard
party band and the guy killed. I heard he gave lessons. I took one
lesson from the guy. He was a terrible teacher and his band members
were hanging around their disgusting apartment room, and I felt really
ripped-off by giving this guy $10 for about 45 minutes.
But a few months later I realized how valuable that one lesson was,
because all Garcia (or was it Sanchez?) did was shred, two feet away
from me. He insisted on me learning how to keep my left thumb in the
middle of the back of the neck so that my wrist was facing toward the
audience. I found that incredibly awkward, but forced myself. He
performed some pentatonics with chromatics, every note picked with
strict down-up strokes. It was a blizzard of clean-fast scale
patterns, and he just went up and down the neck like a goddamned
machine. It imprinted on me. I was blown away. I thought he hadn't
done anything for me. He was really just practicing while I watched.
But I got a lot out of that. He inspired me in a huge way. Later I got
the same buzz by going to the Troubadour and sitting right in front of
Paul Gilbert or Warren Dimartini or Mark Kendall, and a few other guys
who were great but who seem to have disappeared. (Anyone heard of
Craig Collins Turner?)
Later I taught for 10 yrs in a music store in the San Gabriel Valley.
I'd played in bands and recorded a few things. I only took one lesson
my whole life. I mostly learned from the theory I taught myself, and
by developing my ear by copping solos and chords from records. After
I'd been playing for two years or so, and had a few students on the
side, I realized how freakish I must be, because I had only taken one
lesson (where you pay a guy), but I learned tons and tons of theory
from a college textbook written by a 20th century classical
composer...and I learned from _books_, period. Most guys DO NOT go
that route. Everyone's different. Find your own way. And see if you
can practice for 28 hours a week at least!
If there was anything I should've done earlier than later, it was to
practice with a metronome. I didn't do that until I bought Kreutzer's
book of violin exercises and an old-fashioned metronome, and tried to
play stuff up to speed. That was like taking steroids for my chops.
But I'd been playing for four years before I caught on to that.
When I look at all the resources a young player has today, it's as if
I tried to learn in the Mesozoic Age. Now there are videos of amazing
players everywhere, all kinds of great books, stuff online, software
programs, etc. An embarrassment of riches!
Wow RMJON, that was indeed a great inspirational writeup. I googled many
times for guitar lessons and I was very disappointed to see some sites. Some
proved of little help as somewhere down the line they presume the student
has some knowledge of music. For me, it was indeed a Herculean task to
interpret what the site said because of no one around to help with what's
written. I can say many sites show you ABCD of guitar and then they think
you can go on your own upto XYZ by signing up ordering their softwares.
I even heard that not all guitarists know how to read music in the notation
form. Tabs were created for the ease of internet learning but tabs lack in
one major thing is it cannot show the time breaks, gaps, as some say that
tabs can be played if one has heard the song before.
Hats off to you for being so persistent in your efforts to learn. Perhaps
God was on your side when you were learning because when I play, I think
even the ethereal bodies around me must be vanishing in the thin air! And
how do I know if my chords are producing the intended sounds. My electronic
tuner tells me the guitar is tuned but my playing doesn't bring out any
music. Its cacophony :-(
For a layperson anything sounds good or bad. And I must admit that
frustration sets in easily. I took few lessons for chords but realized it
wasn't worth the time and money because the chords, scales are available
free online.
Maybe you know even Eric Clapton was soo frustrated with his learning that
he nearly threw away.
So how does one go about it? You say 4hrs, hell for me 4mins is too much if
its just strumming without any melody coming out of it.
Arty- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Well, I'd say there are a lot of little tricks to bump your playing up
a quantum and get you out of your rut. You mentioned chords. Take a
four-chord pattern. Let's say: Am, C, G, and D.

1.) Tap your foot and play them in the standard positions you see in
every "beginner" book.

a.) Play the chords for 4 beats (taps of the foot) each, then two. (If
some creative impulse takes over, go with it.)

b.) Play those chords in varying orders and use your ears to decide
what you like. Experiment.

c.) Now play the notes of the chords separately. "Arpeggios," right?
Experiment like mad with picking sequences that not only go from
lowest string to highest and back down, skip strings and practice
certain permutations that sound good to you. For EX: on the Dmajor
chord, go open D string, G string, D again, B string, D again, E
string, D again, (notes: D, A, D, D at 3rd fret, Dagain, F#, D again,
D note, etc. See that simple pattern? Then try D open, G string, B
string, D open, E string, B string. Note how a rhythm suggests itself.

d.) Do this same kind of thing with the other three chords, and then
combine strumming with arpeggios.

e.) Without worrying what the "names" of the new chords will be,
MUTATE each chord a bit and, using your own ears, decide what you
like. For EX: using the D major chord again, put your pinky down on
the 3rd fret, high E string (temporarily replacing the F# note with a
G note). Sounds pretty cool? Most people think so. Now try taking your
middle finger off the high E string entirely, so when you strum or
arpeggiate the chord your hear open D string, 2nd fret G string, 3rd
fret B string, open high E string. Sound good? Aye! Now combine all
three in some pattern you cook up after experimentation.

f.) Using the same D chord, move your index finger down one fret on
the G string (that is: 2nd fret, G string to 1st fret G string), then
follow that by playing the G string open, all the while keeping the
other notes of the D major chord the same. Vary in rhythm, and combine
strumming with arpeggios. Dampen/mute with your right hand for
dynamics. Combine this idea with all the stuff you've already done so
far.

g.) Taking any one of the shapes/fingerings for these four chords,
experiment by sliding them up two or three of maybe five or seven
frets and judging for yourself what sounds cool. When you find
something that you like, experiment...using strumming and
arpeggiating, of course! And rhythmic variations you feel. Play sorta
"fast" and then very slowly.

h.) Using basic knowledge of the neck, write down the three different
notes that go into the chemistry of each of your four chords. NOW:
find at minimum three (3) other places on the neck you can play those
same notes as chords. You will be playing the "same" chord, but in a
different "voicing", so the hand shapes will be different. At first
this seems like math homework, but it pays off big-time. At this point
you may be accidentally playing stuff that sounds vaguely like famous
songs you've heard. Or not. It's really about you experimenting.

i.) Give these new voicings the same experimental treatment you gave
the ones at the bottom of the neck (frets 1-3). Strumming and
arpeggiating and tweaking a note by a fret or two here and there, etc.
Playing the chords in altering sequences, using two chords more often
than the other two, etc.

j.) Practice sliding one chord up and down the neck. EX: take the
Aminor and slide it up two frets. Then hit that chord and slide it
back down "home" to the original Aminor chord. Slide that up three
frets. Back down. Etc. Note anything that sounds good to YOUR ears and
play around with rhythm, strumming, a brief moment of silence,
arpeggiating, tweaking notes, etc.

k.) "Write" a song now, using all you've taught yourself. It doesn't
have to be great, just sorta challenging for you to play...and FUN!

2nd little experiment: Using the C major scale (A string: 3rd fret,
5th fret, 7th fret; D string: 3rd fret, 5th fret, 7th fret; G string:
4th fret, 5th fret, 7th fret; B string: 5th fret, 6th fret, 8th fret;
High E string: 5th fret, 7th fret, 8th fret), sound out from memory or
sing out loud "Happy Birthday" (traditional version people sing at b-
day parties), "Yankee Doodle," and "Auld Lang Syne." Why these three?
Why not? You can find your own alternate favorites, but these three
are so well-known, and besides, after years of experimenting like a
mutha with them, they WILL come up in social situations (well, at
least two of them will), and you will have an extremely well-rehearsed
version of some sort to wow a small crowd with them. For starters.

a.) From long experience, this exercise can go on for years, with you
always experimenting with single-note techniques and harmony. At
first: however long it takes, work out these classic melodies until
you're pretty sure you have a reasonable facsimile of them.

b.) Use vibrato! One way you can work on your vibrato is by taking any
one note in the melody - esp one the melody gives extra "time" to, for
EX: the B note you play for "you" when "Happy Birthday" has just
started. (It might be the 6th note overall, depending on your how you
interpret it.) take that B note, and taping your foot, play 8th notes
and bending that note slightly up and down (amybe up a 1/2 step so
that the bent note sounds exactly like a C note, but the most
important thing is to do your bends evenly and in time with your
tapping or metronome!), saying ("one and two and three and four and")
in time to your tapping. Do the same thing with triplets (say "one
trip-let, two trip-let, three trip-let, four trip-let"); finally try
16ths notes (saying "one-ee-and-uh, two-ee-and-uh, three-ee-and-uh,
four-ee-and-uh").

c.) Pick each note in the melody twice, three times, or four times.
Then use variations, giving some notes only one pick, others more than
that.

d.) Use hammer-pulls when you can. EX: You may play "Yankee Doodle"
starting on the 3rd fret, A string. You pick that first note twice,
("Yank-ee") but you can get the 3rd-7th notes of the melody using only
left-hand gymnastics. And note: the next note is G on the low E
string. That's still in the C major scale...There are all kinds of
hammer-pull combinations in those three classic melodies.

e.) Bend up to a note rather than fret it. EX: in "Auld Lang Syne"
bend the 7th fret G string note up a full step and release it back
instead of playing the notes D-E-D. Use vibrato! The 8th fret, B
string note calls for some major bending madness in this tune!

f.) Play the entire melody in the "thirds." This means each note of
the melody is "harmonized" by the note that is either a major or a
minor 3rd below the melody note, as found in the C major scale. EX: In
"Happy Birthday" the 5th fret, D string note (a "G" note") is
harmonized by the 7th fret, A string note (an "E" note). That's for
the first note(s) of the melody. This is followed by 7th fret D string
(an "A" note) harmonized by 8th fret, A string (an "F" note).The first
"third you played (with the G and E notes) were a minor 3rd sound. The
second notes (A and F) were a major 3rd sound. All the notes in the
melody can be harmonized like this, and I recommend you use your ear
first before figuring it out logically. There's more adventure and
happy accidents that way.

g.) Play every note in the melody by sliding UP to it from below. That
means going from a lower fret to the note in question. EX: say you
decide to start "Happy Birthday" with the 5th fret, D string (a "G"
note). Slide VERY quickly from the 3rd fret on the D string to that G
note twice, then slide from the 3rd fret to the 7th fret, then back to
the 3rd to 5th fret slide. Also try sliding from some note ABOVE (that
is, from a higher-numbered fret to the note in question). DO not
accent the note you begin the slide from; accent the note that's
really in the melody. This creates a sort of bluesy, swaggering feel,
but it all depends on the way you do it.

h.) Practice trills (rapid hammer-pulls) between any two notes on one
string in any of the melodies. See if you can apply one of two to make
a good effect.

Have FUN!!! Improvement on guitar, no matter how much you practice,
seems just slow enough so that it seems like you're never improving.
But you are. Be willing to "suck" for awhile, but note how much better
you are on the next first of the month than the last.

If you're a rock/blues lover. (You mentioned Clapton.) The three
melodies I recommended for experimentation are all VERY major-
sounding. The Cream riffs you learn eventually will probably be more
minor-y sounding. Knowing the major scale as a feel makes the minor
scales sound that much darker and bluesier and more mysterious.

============================

RMJON23,

Words are just not enough to express my gratitude to you for giving such
wonderful tips. Since am pretty much a greenhorn yet as far as guitar is
concerned, it will take time for me to imbibe the tips you listed. But as
you implied, there ain't no substitute for practice, thats what I intend to
do...practise practise and more practise.

Btw, I wanted to know if there's any "right age" to learn. Its a fact that
with age, the learning process slows down. Saul Hudson aka Slash started
learning guitar at 14. Some start by 10 and some are late comers like me who
suddenly realize life is somewhat worthless if one can't even play any
musical instrument. And then getting out of the stupor, we start scouting
for related info! Better late than never, as they say.

My heartfelt thanks once again to you and others who have shed some light on
this issue.

Regards,

Arty
Derek
2008-01-10 16:20:01 UTC
Permalink
If you want the names of a couple of sites I personally know are good,
here you go.

workshoplive.com Beginner thru advanced. Put out by the same people
who do National Guitar Workshop, summer guitar camp.

jimmybrunoguitarinstitute.com Jimmy is a monster player, and
absolutely shreds. His stuff is excellent, and he says beginners thru
advanced, I would think intermediate thru advanced, but maybe he has
new stuff for beginners.

As pointed out above, you get what you pay for, so if you are looking
for free, these aren't, but they are much cheaper than a weekly lesson
with a teacher.
iarwain
2008-01-10 13:46:40 UTC
Permalink
I googled many times for guitar lessons and I was very disappointed to see some sites.
I'm sure there are some good sites for learning out there somewhere,
but for the most part I think you get what you pay for. If you want
to get some good instructional material to follow on your own, you're
probably going to have to pay for it. I'm sure a lot of people here
could recommend good books on a variety of topics, from beginner to
advanced. DVDs can be helpful also, although generally speaking books
are better. DVDs seem to have some space limitations so they have to
condense information, but it's nice to be able to see what's going on.

Rmjon23, that was an interesting tale. Since you took a fairly
unusual journey to learning (like the book on harmony and the violin
exercises), I bet you have some very distinctive styles of playing.
rmjon23
2008-01-11 01:10:22 UTC
Permalink
Rmjon23, that was an interesting tale. �Since you took a fairly
unusual journey to learning (like the book on harmony and the violin
exercises), I bet you have some very distinctive styles of playing.
Well, now I really love getting slightly stoned (see recent thread, to
which I haven't contributed) and sort of wander around my library-
room, improvising for an hour straight. (Egg timer: I have a lot of
stuff to "git done.") I don't look at the neck. Sure, I end up playing
sorta Hendrix-y, SRV-ish w/Blackmore overtones (you can't escape your
influences from the very early age?), but I also draw a lot from the
Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (killuh stuff for jazz
guitarists!), and the Bach solo cello suites, which are incandescently
beautiful to me. I studied those for many years and play them with a
pick on electric, with rock vibrato. I don't play four hrs a day
anymore, so my chops are way down, but I've evolved a personal value
system in which I really don't care about technique. I want to impress
myself only.

I did go through a period of listening to players like Sonny Sharrock,
Derek Bailey, James Blood Ulmer, Allan Holdsworth, and John
McLaughlin's "Shakti" stuff, which made me also want to learn to mimic
sitar players I listened to. I had a book called _Monster Chops_ by a
madman named Jack Grassel, which blew my chops to the left side of
Pluto. I also studied Schoenberg's dodecaphonic system, and wrote
electric guitar pieces for solo tone-row, with my own set of "rules"
for composition that allowed for rock guitar techniques and
inflections. I thought I was the only guy who ever thought of this,
until I heard a few other avant players who were WAY ahead of me along
these lines. I had exactly TWO students who liked that stuff and were
interested in doing it themselves, bless those guys.

Well, eventually all that stuff did was alienate me from any kind of
audience. I couldn't find an audience for it. So I still play wild,
weird "out" stuff, just for myself. I'm jealous of guys like Scott
Mackey, who gets to play his weird atonal rock stuff with Kronos
Quartet and others. Steve Vai has done some stuff that I like along
these lines. Noise and High Weirdness!

EX: find the five most dissonant, noisiest chords you can possibly
play. Stack as many minor seconds as you can. Mix diminished 5ths and
minor 9ths liberally, stir with some augmented/whole tone scales, and
jump from the 1st fret to the 20th quickly. Play a run of octave-
displaced diminished licks on the low E, jumping to the high E and
back, down the neck...Etc. Gliss like mad and try to channel Carl
Stallings...

So, yea, I can be really strange because of the intellectual approach
of trying to make sense of ideas from books and radically non-rock
influences. But what do I play if we have guests over and someone sees
my guitar and says, "Hey! do you play? Lemme hear something!"

I play "Wind Cries Mary," usually.

I don't think I was born with a lot of talent, but I loved playing.
And still do. But for intrinsic reasons almost exclusively.
Fit E. Cal
2008-01-11 15:17:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by rmjon23
Rmjon23, that was an interesting tale. �Since you took a fairly
unusual journey to learning (like the book on harmony and the violin
exercises), I bet you have some very distinctive styles of playing.
Well, now I really love getting slightly stoned (see recent thread, to
which I haven't contributed) and sort of wander around my library-
room, improvising for an hour straight. (Egg timer: I have a lot of
stuff to "git done.") I don't look at the neck. Sure, I end up playing
sorta Hendrix-y, SRV-ish w/Blackmore overtones (you can't escape your
influences from the very early age?), but I also draw a lot from the
Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (killuh stuff for jazz
guitarists!), and the Bach solo cello suites, which are incandescently
beautiful to me. I studied those for many years and play them with a
pick on electric, with rock vibrato. I don't play four hrs a day
anymore, so my chops are way down, but I've evolved a personal value
system in which I really don't care about technique. I want to impress
myself only.
I did go through a period of listening to players like Sonny Sharrock,
Derek Bailey, James Blood Ulmer, Allan Holdsworth, and John
McLaughlin's "Shakti" stuff, which made me also want to learn to mimic
sitar players I listened to. I had a book called _Monster Chops_ by a
madman named Jack Grassel, which blew my chops to the left side of
electric guitar pieces for solo tone-row, with my own set of "rules"
for composition that allowed for rock guitar techniques and
inflections. I thought I was the only guy who ever thought of this,
until I heard a few other avant players who were WAY ahead of me along
these lines. I had exactly TWO students who liked that stuff and were
interested in doing it themselves, bless those guys.
Well, eventually all that stuff did was alienate me from any kind of
audience. I couldn't find an audience for it. So I still play wild,
weird "out" stuff, just for myself. I'm jealous of guys like Scott
Mackey, who gets to play his weird atonal rock stuff with Kronos
Quartet and others. Steve Vai has done some stuff that I like along
these lines. Noise and High Weirdness!
EX: find the five most dissonant, noisiest chords you can possibly
play. Stack as many minor seconds as you can. Mix diminished 5ths and
minor 9ths liberally, stir with some augmented/whole tone scales, and
jump from the 1st fret to the 20th quickly. Play a run of octave-
displaced diminished licks on the low E, jumping to the high E and
back, down the neck...Etc. Gliss like mad and try to channel Carl
Stallings...
So, yea, I can be really strange because of the intellectual approach
of trying to make sense of ideas from books and radically non-rock
influences. But what do I play if we have guests over and someone sees
my guitar and says, "Hey! do you play? Lemme hear something!"
I play "Wind Cries Mary," usually.
I don't think I was born with a lot of talent, but I loved playing.
And still do. But for intrinsic reasons almost exclusively.
Advice: Unplug.
Cliff
2008-01-10 09:17:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by rmjon23
I was a complete nutcase when I started playing. I always wanted to be
a rock guitarist, but never did anything about it. I had a bunch of
friends who felt the same. We played air guitar like madmen. "Dude!
Pick up the needle and put that Blackmore solo on again!" Then a
friend had a dad who had a Fender Tele he'd sell for $200, so I bought
it, not even knowing a chord or how to tune. Right after that, one of
my heroes, Michael Schenker, was interviewed in Guitar Player. He said
when he was in his early teens he practiced for four hours a day, and
if he missed a day he'd play eight hours the next day to make up for
it. So that's what I did. But practice WHAT? I made up finger
exercises and desperately tried to figure out something that sounded
coherent.
I'm weird, so I went to the library and checked out Walter Piston's
famous textbook, _Harmony_. I studied that like a mofo, and tried to
make sense of it. I also had some Guitar Player magazines lying
around. I tried to make sense of them. A friend who was a fine player
was kind enough to show me how to tune with harmonics. And I remember
he'd never heard Judas Priest, and I'd just bought _Unleashed In The
East_ and I played it for him, and he really liked the guitarists. He
figured out by ear "Green Manalishi" in like, two listens. I was
astounded. It was like watching a magician up close. He was kind
enough to sit and show me really basic aspects of what Priest was
doing.
Then I bought a bunch of books: _Styles For The Studio_, by Leon
White; _Improvising Rock Guitar_, with Pat Thrall on the cover; _The
Heavy Guitar Bible_ by Daniels, and maybe a couple other books. I
studied those and made up my own stuff and tried to cop licks and
chords off records for four hours a day, like Schenker. Then I got
into a garage band with my brother and friends. I remember a guy
watched us rehearse and asked if I gave lessons. I asked him how long
he'd been playing. He said five years. I'd been playing for about four
months and didn't tell the guy. I was completely nuts over guitar, and
there were probably days I practiced for 10 hours. I actually kept
track of how much time I practiced, 'cuz I wanted to BE Schenker, and
I didn't want to cheat myself.
I saw this amazing player named, IIRC, Ruben Garcia, in a backyard
party band and the guy killed. I heard he gave lessons. I took one
lesson from the guy. He was a terrible teacher and his band members
were hanging around their disgusting apartment room, and I felt really
ripped-off by giving this guy $10 for about 45 minutes.
But a few months later I realized how valuable that one lesson was,
because all Garcia (or was it Sanchez?) did was shred, two feet away
from me. He insisted on me learning how to keep my left thumb in the
middle of the back of the neck so that my wrist was facing toward the
audience. I found that incredibly awkward, but forced myself. He
performed some pentatonics with chromatics, every note picked with
strict down-up strokes. It was a blizzard of clean-fast scale
patterns, and he just went up and down the neck like a goddamned
machine. It imprinted on me. I was blown away. I thought he hadn't
done anything for me. He was really just practicing while I watched.
But I got a lot out of that. He inspired me in a huge way. Later I got
the same buzz by going to the Troubadour and sitting right in front of
Paul Gilbert or Warren Dimartini or Mark Kendall, and a few other guys
who were great but who seem to have disappeared. (Anyone heard of
Craig Collins Turner?)
Later I taught for 10 yrs in a music store in the San Gabriel Valley.
I'd played in bands and recorded a few things. I only took one lesson
my whole life. I mostly learned from the theory I taught myself, and
by developing my ear by copping solos and chords from records. After
I'd been playing for two years or so, and had a few students on the
side, I realized how freakish I must be, because I had only taken one
lesson (where you pay a guy), but I learned tons and tons of theory
from a college textbook written by a 20th century classical
composer...and I learned from _books_, period. Most guys DO NOT go
that route. Everyone's different. Find your own way. And see if you
can practice for 28 hours a week at least!
If there was anything I should've done earlier than later, it was to
practice with a metronome. I didn't do that until I bought Kreutzer's
book of violin exercises and an old-fashioned metronome, and tried to
play stuff up to speed. That was like taking steroids for my chops.
But I'd been playing for four years before I caught on to that.
When I look at all the resources a young player has today, it's as if
I tried to learn in the Mesozoic Age. Now there are videos of amazing
players everywhere, all kinds of great books, stuff online, software
programs, etc. An embarrassment of riches!
Great story! You put the work in and learned the theory and, it really
paid off. Inspirational.

Cliff
An Old Guitar Player
2008-01-10 17:30:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Artnut
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
There is no single answer to this question because it all depends on the
individual. Different folks learn better by different means. Then there is
the "talent" factor. Presumeably, if one has some innate talent, they will
progress faster than someone who has less. But this all depends on one
thing: hours of long, hard practice. The mastery of an instrument is
directly proportional to the time spent playing it.

I have been playing guitar for going on 43 years now. I first started with a
cheap nylon string folk guitar in the mid 60s. In 1971 I decided to get
serious and bought a Yamaha acoustic. There was a fellow at the counter who
introduced himself to me as a teacher. I signed up for lessons. He asked me
what I wanted to learn and I said "rock and blues." He showed me the chords
to "The Girl form Ipanema". Not what I wanted. he showed me the chords to
"Let it Be." Not what I wanted. I wanted to play like Clapton, BB King,
Santana, T.Bone Walker...all of them... Finally, on my third lesson, I said,
"show me a blues scale." He says, "You have to learn chords first." I knew
chords. I could read charts. Fuck the chords. I wanted to WAIL!!! I insisted
on learning a "blues scale." He showed me a pent minor. I paid him, thanked
him, and never went back. I bought a '61 SG Special (which I still have and
may be forced to sell soon) and learned to rock!.

I played like a madman for about five hours a day for five years. I bought 3
or 4 blues records every payday. I stole every lick I could from the Eric
Clapton with Delany & Bonnie album. I jammed with anyone I could. And this
is a HUGE factor. I boug lots of instruction books with the little plastic
"soundsheet" records in them, some of which haved been mentioned in this
thread.

Playing with people who know more than you do is one of the best ways to
learn. It forces you to reach beyond your comfort zone just to keep up. And
other players are generally glad to show you stuff. After that five years, I
was ready to play out. I was probably ready long before that, but I had the
confidence in what I knew and what I could play at that point.

I had a jump start though, because I had played drums & percussion since the
5th grade, so rhythm was not an issue. I could also read standard music
notation. So, my self instruction had this as a foundation. In the late 70s
I took some theory and harmony courses. I cannot tell anyone enough how that
helped me grow as a musician.

I have been a musician for over a half century, having started drums in
1957. I see the process of becoming a player as having several components.
The first and most obvious is technical. One needs a technical command of
the instrument. Practice, practice, practice. Once you have the technical
command, i.e., you know what to do with your fingers to get the
sound/lick/riff/phrase/etc you want, you need to "become one" with the
instument. Here is where you hook your creative impulses directly up to your
fingers with no ego in between. You just Zen it and literally become one
with the intrument. At this point you can improvise right from the inner
recesses of your being. This is not guitarslinger
"look-at-me-I-am-so-cool-I-can-shred-like-a-mofo" shit, this is a of
meditative state. Once you get there you will know it. After that, there's
ten or so years of learning how to play everything, then the rest of your
life of learning what to leave out! It's called "maturation."

Will a teacher show the "right" way to play? What is the "right" way? My
philosophy is that, if you are getting the sound you want, you are playing
it right! There are basic things to know, hand position, & using ALL your
fingers on your fretting hand, that are important to get right form the
start as you will have fewer self-limiting bad habits to unlearn later.

I consider myself mostly self taught because I didn't take lessons on a
regular basis. I thirsted after the knowledge and stole licks and
assimilated ideas wherever I could. Basically, it's different for different
folks. Having a sincere enough desire to excel coupled with practice will
produce results. If you WANT to do it, you WILL do it. Good luck and above
all, HAVE FUN!!!!!

An Old Guitar Player
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
rmjon23
2008-01-10 21:47:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by An Old Guitar Player
Post by Artnut
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
There is no single answer to this question because it all depends on the
individual. Different folks learn better by different means. Then there is
the "talent" factor. Presumeably, if one has some innate talent, they will
progress faster than someone who has less. But this all depends on one
thing: hours of long, hard practice. The mastery of an instrument is
directly proportional to the time spent playing it.
I have been playing guitar for going on 43 years now. I first started with a
cheap nylon string folk guitar in the mid 60s. In 1971 I decided to get
serious and bought a Yamaha acoustic. There was a fellow at the counter who
introduced himself �to me as a teacher. I signed up for lessons. He asked me
what I wanted to learn and I said "rock and blues." He showed me the chords
to "The Girl form Ipanema". Not what I wanted. he showed me the chords to
"Let it Be." Not what I wanted. I wanted to play like Clapton, BB King,
Santana, T.Bone Walker...all of them... Finally, on my third lesson, I said,
"show me a blues scale." He says, "You have to learn chords first." I knew
chords. I could read charts. Fuck the chords. I wanted to WAIL!!! I insisted
on learning a "blues scale." He showed me a pent minor. I paid him, thanked
him, and never went back. I bought a '61 SG Special (which I still have and
may be forced to sell soon) and learned to rock!.
I played like a madman for about five hours a day for five years. I bought 3
or 4 blues records every payday. I stole every lick I could from the Eric
Clapton with Delany & Bonnie album. I jammed with anyone I could. And this
is a HUGE factor. I boug lots of instruction books with the little plastic
"soundsheet" records in them, some of which haved been mentioned in this
thread.
Playing with people who know more than you do is one of the best ways to
learn. It forces you to reach beyond your comfort zone just to keep up. And
other players are generally glad to show you stuff. After that five years, I
was ready to play out. I was probably ready long before that, but I had the
confidence in what I knew and what I could play at that point.
I had a jump start though, because I had played drums & percussion since the
5th grade, so rhythm was not an issue. I could also read standard music
notation. So, my self instruction had this as a foundation. In the late 70s
I took some theory and harmony courses. I cannot tell anyone enough how that
helped me grow as a musician.
I have been a musician for over a half century, having started drums in
1957. I see the process of becoming a player as having several components.
The first and most obvious is technical. One needs a technical command of
the instrument. Practice, practice, practice. Once you have the technical
command, i.e., you know what to do with your fingers to get the
sound/lick/riff/phrase/etc you want, you need to "become one" with the
instument. Here is where you hook your creative impulses directly up to your
fingers with no ego in between. You just Zen it and literally become one
with the intrument. At this point you can improvise right from the inner
recesses of your being. This is not guitarslinger
"look-at-me-I-am-so-cool-I-can-shred-like-a-mofo" shit, this is a of
meditative state. Once you get there you will know it. After that, there's
ten or so years of learning how to play everything, then the rest of your
life of learning what to leave out! It's called "maturation."
Will a teacher show the "right" way to play? What is the "right" way? My
philosophy is that, if you are getting the sound you want, you are playing
it right! There are basic things to know, hand position, & using ALL your
fingers on your fretting hand, that are important to get right form the
start as you will have fewer self-limiting bad habits to unlearn later.
I consider myself mostly self taught because I didn't take lessons on a
regular basis. I thirsted after the knowledge and stole licks and
assimilated ideas wherever I could. Basically, it's different for different
folks. Having a sincere enough desire to excel coupled with practice will
produce results. If you WANT to do it, you WILL do it. Good luck and above
all, HAVE FUN!!!!!
An Old Guitar Player
Great post. The part about playing with people who are better than you
is indispensible. I think guitar players have a tougher time with
that, though, because there's so many good ones. Bass players have a
much easier time getting in with really hot guitarists and
drummers...probably because there are fewer bassists than guitarists
is my guess.

Also Old Guitar Player mentioned Zen. This is huge stuff to me. The
day when I said to myself, "I'm gonna stop THINKING the way I haveeen
while I play and just try to let myself FLOW..." was the day all my
playing got better, more creative and more intuitive. You just make
yourself NOT CARE about making a mistake. You trust yourself to land
on your feet, like a cat. There probably is not such a hard and fast
separation between the right and left hemispheres as was supposed in
so many books written between 1970-1990; however, we can still think
about the matter of DEGREE in which we're in a linear mode of
"thought" and a non-rational "intuitive" mode. There seem to be all
kinds of tricks and gimmicks we can do to get into a the intuitive
mode...but it won't really matter if we haven't done our woodshedding.

There was a question about the right age to start. I would not worry
about it. I think Holdsworth started in his late teens, and the guy's
just otherworldly.

It's true that probably most great musicians started playing some
instrument before they hit puberty.

A year or so ago I read a neuroscience article, and someone had done a
study on the motor cortexes of musicians who started playing when they
were young children, vs. musicians who started later. The development
of the motor cortex - esp. the part that represents hands and fingers
- was noticeably larger in the group that started early. It was
surmised that they have an easier time with attaining very advanced
levels of technical facility on their instruments because they started
early. But it wasn't cut/dry. If anyone knows of this study, please
post it in alt.guitar. If I find it I'll post it here.

But the basic answer to the Q is: no matter what age, START NOW!
Fit E. Cal
2008-01-11 09:13:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by rmjon23
Post by An Old Guitar Player
Post by Artnut
If one has to learn by himself, ideally how long it would take him as
compared to learning through a teacher?
There is no single answer to this question because it all depends on the
individual. Different folks learn better by different means. Then there is
the "talent" factor. Presumeably, if one has some innate talent, they will
progress faster than someone who has less. But this all depends on one
thing: hours of long, hard practice. The mastery of an instrument is
directly proportional to the time spent playing it.
I have been playing guitar for going on 43 years now. I first started with a
cheap nylon string folk guitar in the mid 60s. In 1971 I decided to get
serious and bought a Yamaha acoustic. There was a fellow at the counter who
introduced himself �to me as a teacher. I signed up for lessons. He asked me
what I wanted to learn and I said "rock and blues." He showed me the chords
to "The Girl form Ipanema". Not what I wanted. he showed me the chords to
"Let it Be." Not what I wanted. I wanted to play like Clapton, BB King,
Santana, T.Bone Walker...all of them... Finally, on my third lesson, I said,
"show me a blues scale." He says, "You have to learn chords first." I knew
chords. I could read charts. Fuck the chords. I wanted to WAIL!!! I insisted
on learning a "blues scale." He showed me a pent minor. I paid him, thanked
him, and never went back. I bought a '61 SG Special (which I still have and
may be forced to sell soon) and learned to rock!.
I played like a madman for about five hours a day for five years. I bought 3
or 4 blues records every payday. I stole every lick I could from the Eric
Clapton with Delany & Bonnie album. I jammed with anyone I could. And this
is a HUGE factor. I boug lots of instruction books with the little plastic
"soundsheet" records in them, some of which haved been mentioned in this
thread.
Playing with people who know more than you do is one of the best ways to
learn. It forces you to reach beyond your comfort zone just to keep up. And
other players are generally glad to show you stuff. After that five years, I
was ready to play out. I was probably ready long before that, but I had the
confidence in what I knew and what I could play at that point.
I had a jump start though, because I had played drums & percussion since the
5th grade, so rhythm was not an issue. I could also read standard music
notation. So, my self instruction had this as a foundation. In the late 70s
I took some theory and harmony courses. I cannot tell anyone enough how that
helped me grow as a musician.
I have been a musician for over a half century, having started drums in
1957. I see the process of becoming a player as having several components.
The first and most obvious is technical. One needs a technical command of
the instrument. Practice, practice, practice. Once you have the technical
command, i.e., you know what to do with your fingers to get the
sound/lick/riff/phrase/etc you want, you need to "become one" with the
instument. Here is where you hook your creative impulses directly up to your
fingers with no ego in between. You just Zen it and literally become one
with the intrument. At this point you can improvise right from the inner
recesses of your being. This is not guitarslinger
"look-at-me-I-am-so-cool-I-can-shred-like-a-mofo" shit, this is a of
meditative state. Once you get there you will know it. After that, there's
ten or so years of learning how to play everything, then the rest of your
life of learning what to leave out! It's called "maturation."
Will a teacher show the "right" way to play? What is the "right" way? My
philosophy is that, if you are getting the sound you want, you are playing
it right! There are basic things to know, hand position, & using ALL your
fingers on your fretting hand, that are important to get right form the
start as you will have fewer self-limiting bad habits to unlearn later.
I consider myself mostly self taught because I didn't take lessons on a
regular basis. I thirsted after the knowledge and stole licks and
assimilated ideas wherever I could. Basically, it's different for different
folks. Having a sincere enough desire to excel coupled with practice will
produce results. If you WANT to do it, you WILL do it. Good luck and above
all, HAVE FUN!!!!!
An Old Guitar Player
Great post. The part about playing with people who are better than you
is indispensible. I think guitar players have a tougher time with
that, though, because there's so many good ones. Bass players have a
much easier time getting in with really hot guitarists and
drummers...probably because there are fewer bassists than guitarists
is my guess.
Also Old Guitar Player mentioned Zen. This is huge stuff to me. The
day when I said to myself, "I'm gonna stop THINKING the way I haveeen
while I play and just try to let myself FLOW..." was the day all my
playing got better, more creative and more intuitive. You just make
yourself NOT CARE about making a mistake. You trust yourself to land
on your feet, like a cat. There probably is not such a hard and fast
separation between the right and left hemispheres as was supposed in
so many books written between 1970-1990; however, we can still think
about the matter of DEGREE in which we're in a linear mode of
"thought" and a non-rational "intuitive" mode. There seem to be all
kinds of tricks and gimmicks we can do to get into a the intuitive
mode...but it won't really matter if we haven't done our woodshedding.
There was a question about the right age to start. I would not worry
about it. I think Holdsworth started in his late teens, and the guy's
just otherworldly.
It's true that probably most great musicians started playing some
instrument before they hit puberty.
A year or so ago I read a neuroscience article, and someone had done a
study on the motor cortexes of musicians who started playing when they
were young children, vs. musicians who started later. The development
of the motor cortex - esp. the part that represents hands and fingers
- was noticeably larger in the group that started early. It was
surmised that they have an easier time with attaining very advanced
levels of technical facility on their instruments because they started
early. But it wasn't cut/dry. If anyone knows of this study, please
post it in alt.guitar. If I find it I'll post it here.
But the basic answer to the Q is: no matter what age, START NOW!- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Yeah, just about killer slingers start 11-13. Shrug. I finished
college and got flying for the US Navy after AOCS in Pensacola.
Sometime during college I picked up playing...age 21? I fucked around
w/ it for 20 years and then got
dead serious, technically, etc. somewhere after several relo's,a
divorce, re-marriage, job changes, etc. It's ALL about focus,
tenacity, drive and desire. Excuses are not for do-ers. Do. :-)
www.geocities.com/mvm55555

Age 51 in April.
An Old Guitar Player
2008-01-11 17:42:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by rmjon23
Also Old Guitar Player mentioned Zen. This is huge stuff to me. The
day when I said to myself, "I'm gonna stop THINKING the way I haveeen
while I play and just try to let myself FLOW..." was the day all my
playing got better, more creative and more intuitive. You just make
yourself NOT CARE about making a mistake.
Back in the day, and I mean 1969-70, I used to go to Steven Gaskin's Monday
Night classes at the Family Dog dance hall on the Great Highway in San
Francisco. Steven hipped me to the energy thing, the psychic component of
playing music. Attention is energy (psychic energy, prana, orgone, odic
force, vibes, whatever you want to call it...). What you pay attention to is
where you are putting your energy. When you are playing music and have an
audience, they are paying attention to you (hopefully!), giving you some of
their energy because you have their attention. You take this energy and turn
it back into more music. The audience grooves and pays harder attention, you
get more energy back and send it back to the audience in the music you are
playing. It is a feedback loop.

Now, when the band is locked into a groove and getting off on it and the
resulting music goes out to teh audience and they get off on it, more energy
comes back to the band and the same feedback loop happens with the band and
the audience. This is the place where NO ONE in the band can do anything
wrong. It is like magic and those who have experienced this know exactly
what I mean. When you are in that place, eveyrone is in a meditative state.
It is a state of communion in the truest sense of the word. And much better
than going to church!!

An Old Guitar Player
--
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