Cassotto tries to learn to play the guitar

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Cassotto, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    Starting now, I have some long holidays in which, among other things, I'd like to set out to learn to play the guitar. As I've said somewhere else, I intend to approach this learning process by trying to learn songs I like, trying to train my ear to recognise the chords to a song, and trying to learn some technique. I've been given sound advice on the advisability of setting definite short-term goals that I can achieve and that will give me a measure of my progress.

    I've thought that it might be a good idea to write sort of a log including what I'm learning at each point, and what I've achieved. If I get discouraged, I can always come, reread old posts, and compare where I was then and where I am now. And I've thought I might do that here, online, as that would allow me to ask for help from other users if I get stuck with something... Supposing someone reads this. I'm not so conceited as to believe everyone will come and read what I write, but I do hope someone does now and then (and I hope you don't think I'm too conceited for writing this on a public forum instead of in a notebook at home - I can always forget about this if it doesn't work for me or if I see it's a stupid idea after all).

    So let's start. I'll accept any sort of advice if you're kind enough to tell me I'm doing something wrong, or there's something I might try.
     
  2. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I'm a beginner. I started playing the fool with the guitar many years ago, and I even attended lessons for almost five years, but I didn't learn much. After several years in which I haven't played at all, I've decided to start again.

    I suppose that when you start playing the guitar, it's important to know what you want to achieve. Of course, I suppose all of us want to be very good players and be able to express ourselves and say what we want to say with the guitar. Right now, my goals are more modest. I'd like to be able to play some of the songs I like, hoping, at the same time, to learn things I can use differently afterwards.

    I've decided to start trying to learn two different things, one of them which I believe to be within my reach, another probably beyond my reach at present (which I don't consider completely foolish, since that's a long-term project). I've found good videos for both on YouTube.

    The first of them is the Beatles' 'Cry for a Shadow', starting with the solo guitar. I do believe I'll be able to do that, even if it doesn't sound clear and smooth, but somewhat sloppy instead. I've always been better at melodies than chords.

    The second one is what Scotty Moore played in Elvis's 'That's Alright Mama'. As I said, I don't think I'll be able to learn that yet, from what I've seen in the video (even though I read on this forum that it's technically simple). So why am I trying? Because I think it may be the first step towards learning to play that type of chords, half-barre chords or whatever they are. I can play some barre chords, but always with the index finger all across the fretboard. But I see very often chords where only the first four strings are played, I want to learn some of those, and I think it'll be more rewarding when learning them as part of a song I like.

    I'm starting on those two things today. I'll come back when I have something to say about how I'm doing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    DannyB, ishtar and dak55 like this.
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Set small goals. Keep it simple at first. You won't develop a massive talent overnight, and it will be seriously frustrating at times. Sometimes, you'll need to walk away from it and rest awhile. Sometimes you'll want to scream in frustration. Your fingers WILL hurt at first. Start simply, then add more as you progress. Get a chord book. Learn three chords, then three more. Learn scales. They seem tedious at first, but they'll help your dexterity and fingerboard awareness after awhile. Then, one day, you'll manage to play that song, master that chord progression. The feeling of accomplishment is well earned. Like it is said, Rome wasn't built in a day. Playing music takes time to learn, but it will last you for the rest of your life.
     
    Cassotto, Gregor and pmac11 like this.
  4. johnny g

    johnny g Synchromatic

    899
    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    I started out playing 45's and singing with them first. Then my dad showed me CAGED chords. Now you have You tube , chord books and a host of would be folks giving guitar lessons on line. Find some songs you like that you can sing in your best Key then learn the chords. Some folks will get it quicker and others. Keep at it. Hope this don't discourage you, but I think some people have it and some don't. The rest of us just have to work hard at it just to sound good.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  5. dak55

    dak55 Synchromatic

    Age:
    65
    986
    May 31, 2018
    Mills River NC
    Even the musically gifted need this.:D
     
  6. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    183
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Wabash Slim is dead on when he says to "set small goals. Keep it simple at first". I'll add, set goals that you're sure to win. eg. slow things down and only work in small segments ie learn a chord or two, then add a third and so on. (the melody notes are in the chords so chords are something you must have). Learn a small section of a riff rather the whole thing at once . By creating a game you're sure to win, each practice session will have a greater feeling of accomplishment, you'll have more fun and won't get as discouraged as you will by attempting too much and bombing out. Best of luck and keep us updated as things start to come together.
     
    johnny g and Cassotto like this.
  7. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I've stopped playing for a while after one hour and a half, and have come to have a look here. Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to provide advice. And advice cannot get much wiser than what you've written. The problem is that sometimes it's difficult for me to tell whether trying something is too much for me or not. But I suppose I can always give up and try something else until I become better and can try it again. I've got a degree in classical piano, so I'm conscious of how much time it takes, and how slow progress often is. I'm pretty sure I'm one of the persons who, in johnny g's words, don't have it, so my goal is not being a great guitarist, but the best guitarist I can.

    I'll rush to the chemist's to get some Tupractis before they close, and get back to the guitar. I'll let you know how I'm doing!
     
    Armygirl likes this.
  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    If you've got a degree in classical piano, then you're quite ahead of the game in learning guitar. I'm a piano player (not a pianist) first, before guitar. I can play some classical, but 6 months worth of lessons didn't do much except give me some useful basics. I play instinctively by ear. I hear it, I play it. Simple. I've been playing piano for over 60 years, and guitar for 50. I've made it up to terrible. Still, I have fun.

    You already know music. Guitar in some ways is simpler than piano, and in other ways it's harder. You'll have to develop different finger memory, but it's not too problematic. Being a piano player, in some ways guitar seems backwards---your right hand and left hand both seem backwards at times. It'll work out eventually. You already know the value of practice and repetition. You can read music, which puts you far ahead of many others, and you know theory. You'll do fine. Just keep at it, and enjoy yourself.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  9. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    Alabama
    I think it's best to keep it very simple.
    Learn some open chords and practice strumming along with songs you know.
    Then learn to play the melody lines with single notes.
     
    Gregor and Cassotto like this.
  10. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Enjoy your journey.
    Hopefully it will take longer than you summer holidays.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    And don't forget to use your ears, cassotto ! ;)
    Too many guitarists uses their eyes... o_O

    A+!
     
    new6659 and Cassotto like this.
  12. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Synchromatic

    Age:
    53
    670
    Nov 11, 2018
    Paris, north down Montmartre hill
    Great idea to write a log. I'll subscribe and try to check frequently.

    Starting with half barré chords is fine. (You have to be a superhuman as Johnny Ramone to play 2 hours of barré chords in a row, with the neck almost at the level of your knees). Also, that leaves a few fingers free to add notes or licks, and makes it easier to move quicker.

    I should also engage in learning to actually play the guitar. I'd started using it only to write songs and make some rhythm noise when performing with a band. And never went beyond. Never had any course. And when I try to learn a song, I may only check the chords to get the right tonality. Then I play it my way, based upon memory. As I mostly play alone now, I end doing a mix of the arrangements for several instruments + my own shortcuts due to inability. Usually at upper tempo than the original.

    And that's only my recently owned Gretsch guitars that gave me the idea to slow down and try playing better. Most probably because of that great sound. Still wonder which way I could improve, also knowing that I have little spare time.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  13. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    60
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    ......you have way to much time on your hands my friend ...... but it was funny :p
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  14. Cassotto

    Cassotto Gretschie

    Age:
    45
    149
    Jun 16, 2019
    Spain
    I learnt to play many open chords years ago, and barre E and Am chords, but little else. After that, I attended guitar lessons for some time, but it didn't work out, probably because the teacher's approach wasn't right for me (something I've only suspected afterwards). Now I've got a new Gretsch, and there's no way it's going to be just a decorative knickknack in my room. And yes, of course it'll take longer than my summer holidays, but I hope it'll allow me to get off to a good start, and then I'll just try to keep it rolling.

    I've already got a couple of questions, in case someone's kind enough to help me.

    I've managed to learn (more or less) the solo guitar in 'Cry for a Shadow', up to roughly 30 seconds into the song (that is, the first phrase repeated twice with slight variations). Of course, it can be much more polished, but the framework is there. Learning this properly will allow me to play most of the song, as this phrase is repeated very often. But when bending the second string and releasing it, I don't seem to be able to prevent the third string from sounding. How can I avoid this?

    Thanks to your comments, I've discovered what the CAGED system is (though learning well how it works will take more time). This has allowed me to understand that the first two chords in 'That's Alright Mama' are both A chords, the first one played like a barre E chord, and the second like a barre C chord. While I can already play barre E chords, the video I'm learning with uses xx7655, which is something I'd never played before. I have no problem playing this chord like 577655, but I need my little finger for the sixth, so I cannot use that, and I'm struggling with the new fingering. And I don't know in which of these two ways I should play it:


    IMG_3661.JPG

    IMG_3662.JPG


    It takes less time for me to place my hand in the first position, but I wonder whether flexing the first phalanx 'the other way round' is something I should avoid or not. The second photograph looks more natural, but it seems like it takes for ever to do that, as I must take my wrist from below the neck to behind the neck (I hope you know what I mean!).

    I think I'll use a colour code to mark my progress. Blue for something in progress, green for something achieved. So far:

    1) Songs:
    'Cry for a Shadow' lead guitar.
    'That's Alright Mama'.

    2) Ear:

    3) Technique:
    Knowing the CAGED system exists.
    Learning the CAGED system.

    Thanks!
     
    new6659, ishtar and thunder58 like this.
  15. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    744
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    My favorite thing to show people brand new to playing is a simple 12-bar blues shuffle in the key of E.

    I don't think there's anything else out there that is that easy to learn and sounds as good. I can generally get someone going on their own in 15-30 minutes. And ta da...you can see in their eyes when they realize "OMG I'M ACTUALLY PLAYING A GUITAR"
     
    Cassotto, Armygirl and ishtar like this.
  16. johnny g

    johnny g Synchromatic

    899
    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    Had a hard time at first with the F chord. I ask a guy who had been playing for years for advice. His advice was if you have trouble playing the F chord play a chord you like better. I never liked Bm and Liked Em. Now I know this is going to get some heat from the players on this site but it does work for me.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  17. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    You have two hands, you can mute a string with either hand, either with fingers on your fretting hand or with fingers or the palm of your picking hand.

    I do most of my muting with my fretting hand. If you are bending the string with any finger other than the index finger, you will have a free finger to lightly place on the third string.

    If you are bending with the index finger you can pay attention to how your finger touches the string. If you don’t touch it or you touch it a lot, it will not sound, it’s only when you bump it that it sounds. You can minimize how fast you remove your finger from touching the third string, or you can make it so your finger always touches the third string.

    [You can change the position of the index finger, change what part of the fingertip is pushing the string or make the finger wider by turning it.]

    Palm muting is very effective, but can get you into bad positions or hurt. It’s fiddling, but you rest the base of the thumb on the strings lower than the one you’re picking [the other side of the base of your palm would mute higher strings]. You can also use a free finger, usually the ring finger, to rest on the 3rd string, but that can be a bit uncomfortable as well.

    Another thing you may do is rest the thumb of your picking hand on the 3rd string immediately after picking the 2nd string.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    Jelly Roll Horton and Cassotto like this.
  18. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    In those chords, in the first picture, the fingers should be closer to the frets, looks like too much physical effort, use a lighter touch.

    In the second picture, possibly the thumb isn’t helping. The tips of the fingers are in a better position, it is using a lighter touch, but the flying thumb makes the index finger at too much of an angle and it will be harder to get the high e string to sound.
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  19. KuKuKu

    KuKuKu Gretschie

    352
    Aug 28, 2016
    Germany
    When I started to learn bending by myself, I had the same problem. After my guitar teacher taught me how to bend properly, it vanished by itself. On the one hand you should use as many fingers as possible to bend the string, not just one, as I did at first. On the other hand try bending by turning your wrist rather than stretching your fingers. Although my teacher said, the latter is okay, too, I decided to use the wrist, and that feels a lot smoother.

    I'm not sure if this was actually the solution to stop the upper string from ringing or if I just had practiced so much that it came naturally - perhaps it also had to do with finger positioning (at another angle maybe). So this is just a tip. Try it and see how it works out for you. Oh, and bend slowly in the beginning. Don't start with super fast Chuck Berry bendings as I did. ;)
     
    Cassotto likes this.
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Learn "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. 5 chords that need to be played cleanly, note by note. To me, that was a milestone at the time. The song supposedly originated in the 1600s in England.

    One of the harder things to learn at first was how to change chords quickly. Neil Diamond's "Cherry, Cherry" is only three chords, but you'll need to work up some speed.

    I usually practice by playing along with CDs or some other source. It gives you the feel of playing in an ensemble. There are many different sources for backing tunes.

    You already know the value of practice. I keep an acoustic near at hand for when the muse strikes me. A beater acoustic is fine for taking out to the park or the beach, or just the porch or backyard. They're quiet enough that you can play without bothering anyone, yet can be loud enough for groups.
     
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