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Beginning guitar...

Old 12-03-04, 07:56 AM
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Beginning guitar...

Hi all,

I am interested in learning how to play the guitar...and I want to build hand strength...what exercises do you guys suggest I do to build both left and right hand strength?

I'm looking at purchasing a grip master and a squeeze ball...
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Old 12-03-04, 09:01 AM
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I'm pretty sure you just answered your own question.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:40 AM
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Those are decent but just playing the guitar frequently will help more......So I wouldn't sit in my living room doing those hand exercises instead of playing but if it's something to do during your commute, then that sounds like the two best choices.

Good luck with it.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:53 AM
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Originally posted by gp98
Those are decent but just playing the guitar frequently will help more......So I wouldn't sit in my living room doing those hand exercises instead of playing but if it's something to do during your commute, then that sounds like the two best choices.

Good luck with it.
I agree. It's important to build hand strength, but you also need to build up callouses by actually playing.
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Old 12-03-04, 09:57 AM
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Yes, playing is the way to go. Skip the gripmaster.
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Old 12-03-04, 11:01 AM
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^ Agreed, agreed and agreed. Just dive in and keep at it until your fingers are bleeding... Eventually, that'll stop.
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Old 02-07-05, 09:10 AM
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I just started taking lessons. My fingers are killing me, but I can start to notice some differences already. I can tell that those are notes that I am playing, and not gibberish.
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Old 02-11-05, 12:25 PM
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So anyone got any recommendations about some easy to play songs to start off (and nothing corny like Michael Row The Boat Ashore)? Any pages with the info would be great too...
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Old 02-11-05, 10:31 PM
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I've been playing since I was 17 (I'm 35 now). It's important to have "hand strength" but you also don't want to choke the life out of the instrument. You want to keep a firm grip but at the same time you really don't need to press down extremely hard on the strings. Depending how high you have the action set will also help alot.

Just keep at it and practice, practice, practice!!
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Old 02-11-05, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by movieking
So anyone got any recommendations about some easy to play songs to start off (and nothing corny like Michael Row The Boat Ashore)? Any pages with the info would be great too...
My usual recommendation is to get a 'Beatles for easy guitar' type booklet. The songs will be slightly 'dumbed down' and transposed into easier keys sometimes, but you'll learn a bunch of great songs, and along the way you'll learn tons about music theory and song construction from two of the greatest songwriters who ever lived.

Other artists who have written great but not all that complicated songs are people as diverse as Dylan, Oasis, Neil Young, and Lou Reed/VU.

For example, you can play Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" as simply as repeating:

Am G F G

over and over again. "Waiting For My Man" by the Velvets is:

G C

repeated several times followed by:

G B C A

Neil Young's "Helpless" is nothing but:

G D C

over and over again and if you alternate:

G D Am G D C

and repeat, you're playing "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Dylan.

"Live Forever" by Oasis is:

G D Am C D for the verse, and

Em D Am C for the chorus.

(Better guitar players, please note I've simplified some of the above slightly).

Email me if you want more info.
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Old 02-14-05, 12:39 AM
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wendersfan is 100% correct.

start playing any accoustic/slow oldies songs...The Beatles are the perfect group to learn to play from (pre 1967 - when guitars drove the songs and less studio magic was used). They are very easy to learn yet extremely hard to master.

I would also suggest having a guitar in hand whenever you are at the computer...It needs to be with you all the time so you can get the feel (and the calouses). Make up songs, switch chords, try to learn a scale..just have the guitar in hand! Good luck!
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Old 02-14-05, 01:28 AM
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Also, Stairway to Heaven (the slow part) is a relatively easy song to acquant yourself with finger-picking. It'll also get you used to using your pinkie.
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Old 02-14-05, 09:42 AM
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guitarnoise.com is a great site. Go to Songs for Beginners and scroll down to the bottom of those and begin. I have to admit that I can't stand the first song that they do (Horse With No Name) but it's great after that.....
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Old 02-14-05, 10:02 AM
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http://guitar.about.com/
Look at the top left corner under "Essentials"
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Old 02-14-05, 10:16 AM
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I hear Playing a guitar with wide neck helps to build strength.
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Old 02-14-05, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Giantrobo
I hear Playing a guitar with wide neck helps to build strength.

Strength is not as important as comfort. There are some guitars that I don't feel comfortable playing even after all these years. Then there are some I pick up and feel like they were made just for me. There are some model Rickenbackers that I just don't feel comfortable playing even after all these years.

You have to find the right guitar for you. I'd suggest trying out a Fender Telecaster. They have a nice, thin neck that's easy to play. One of the problems is that they sound a bit thin, and you need alot of power or a good pedal to beef it up a bit.
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Old 02-14-05, 10:28 PM
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oh yeah, "smells like teen spirit" is an easy song to learn as well, as well as "wish you were here"
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Old 02-15-05, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Captain Harlock
Strength is not as important as comfort. There are some guitars that I don't feel comfortable playing even after all these years. Then there are some I pick up and feel like they were made just for me. There are some model Rickenbackers that I just don't feel comfortable playing even after all these years.
I prefer necks like those found on Ibanez guitars. As much As I looooove Les Pauls I'm not all that crazy about their "Classic" neck feel.


You have to find the right guitar for you. I'd suggest trying out a Fender Telecaster. They have a nice, thin neck that's easy to play. One of the problems is that they sound a bit thin, and you need alot of power or a good pedal to beef it up a bit.

I'm a Gibson fan so all Fender stuff sounds "thin" too me.
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Old 02-15-05, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Giantrobo
I prefer necks like those found on Ibanez guitars. As much As I looooove Les Pauls I'm not all that crazy about their "Classic" neck feel.

I'm a Gibson fan so all Fender stuff sounds "thin" too me.
I'm also a big Gibson fan, but for someone just begining a Telecaster might be more within someone's price range. Alot of Gibson guitars have gone through the roof in recent years.
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Old 02-16-05, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Captain Harlock
I'm also a big Gibson fan, but for someone just begining a Telecaster might be more within someone's price range. Alot of Gibson guitars have gone through the roof in recent years.
Yeah I know what you mean. You can get certain Fender Telecaster models for under $500. But one can still find recent and decent Gibson models under the $1000 range. The "Voodoo" line, the "Worn Finish", and The "X" line are all sub $1000 Gibson guitars with pretty good reviews.
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Old 04-20-05, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Giantrobo
I prefer necks like those found on Ibanez guitars. As much As I looooove Les Pauls I'm not all that crazy about their "Classic" neck feel.





I'm a Gibson fan so all Fender stuff sounds "thin" too me.

Yeah, I love my Les Paul Standard but that 60's neck can be a pain the ass. That's why I love my new Zakk Wylde Les Paul so much. It has an unfinished mapel neck that is thin and closer to an Ibanez and Jackson neck so it's superfast. The Epiphone version is so close to the Gibson all you have to do is change the pickups to actives and you are ready to roll. I was going to buy the Gibson but even the salesman agreed that the Epi was so close that there was no reason to spend the extra $$$.
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Old 05-09-05, 06:57 AM
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OK, another question/request for learning to play guitar:

I need to learn some different strums. The strum that I use now is:

down down up up down up

This fits an amazing amount of songs, but I want more. What other common strums are there? Are there any websites that might be a good help? I checked some of the ones on this thread without much luck.

Thanks
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Old 05-09-05, 11:57 AM
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Just play along rhythmically to songs you like - you don't even have to hold down chords - just practice strumming to the rhythm of different songs - you'll pick it up and get better as you go along. Also, try to play with other people as much as you can - that's how I learned strumming.
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Old 05-09-05, 12:01 PM
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I agree with slop. The other thing to keep in mind is that the downstroke is usually on beat and so you can often tell if it's an upstroke or a downstroke based on the rhythm.

Also, look at tabs that show you strum patterns (like on the guitarnoise.com site I mentioned above) and that will help you become more familiar with different patterns and be able to identify them better.
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Old 05-10-05, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by slop101
Also, try to play with other people as much as you can - that's how I learned strumming.

I agree 100%.

I didn't have any like minded friends who played so I never got any good. I think playing with others live is CRITICAL to learning.
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