T Nation

Guitar Advice/Recommendations?


This about the only musical thing I’m good at. Music theory is music theory. It’s all math and a pattern. The notes that make up a C on guitar are the same that make up a C on piano.

It’s pretty odd when you bring a chick over and she sees them hanging in the wall… only to ask you to play a song. Uh… sure, here’s Santorini… completely out of rhythm and indistinguishable in parts. But, damn, could I hit all the notes just not with adequate time in between to sound good.

FFS - I didn’t know music had a beat until I was in my teens.


No joke, I learnt the tablature of “cocaine” by Eric Clapton and played it like I imagined how it would flow for years without ever hearing the song, then when I finally heard it, it was like my mind had an epiphany
I told my music teacher at school and he said it’s a common occurance for record producers to be given a song, a beat and a chord that has already been produced that they don’t know, and try to create it. Some producers like Felix jaehn (remember the song Omi- cheerleader?) are masters in it


Pick a basic sounding song you like, get the tablature and get after it.

Can you read tablature? If not - learn. It’s the easiest thing ever.

I wouldn’t worry about music theory yet. Just pick a few songs you like and get going.

If you were/are the same age as me, I’d recommend Oasis and Nirvana tunes as you’d know all the songs and they’re easy as anything. Everyone in my generation who picked up a guitar in the 90s cut their teeth on Oasis and Nirvana songs. Oasis tunes are all first position chords; Nirvana tunes are all basic power chord stuff.


I have had this conversation so many times:

Her - OMG you’ve got a guitar. Can you play?
Me - A little, yeah. I’m not that good. (I say this with false modesty having played guitar and been a lead singer in bands for almost 2 decades now)
Her - Will you play me something?
Me - Oh, I dunno… I mean, I’m a little shy…
Her - Please?
Me - Well, ok…

And I then proceed to belt something out and totally blow her mind. Works every time.

Pretty sure music was invented to seduce women. I’m part of an ancient tradition.


Learn a couple of Eagles songs using lesson or tabs from net. They can be played on whichever type you get - electric or acoustic. Pretty basic in structure, slow in tempo, but very listenable.

If you don’t enjoy the process, move on.

Cheapo acoustics are usually hard to play btw.


I always teach my students on acoustics first.
First of all, unless you’re Tommy Emmanuel, talking about “limitations” of acoustics vs electrics with regard to beginners is ridiculous, considering 99.9% of people will never scratch the surface of what one can produce with an acoustic.
Second of all, and more importantly, you have to build up your finger strength. It’s nice to be able to barely touch an electric and get a good sound but people who have never played guitar and piano have incredibly weak fingers (I don’t care if you’ve been working with your hands your whole life, it’s a different type of finger strength) and need to be trained.
Third, if you can’t produce a proper sound from a no-frills instrument, you have no business letting a piece of equipment assist you in making noise.

Chords A-G major and minor
Scales A-G major, minor and pentatonic
Pick up as many songs as you can
Learn SHEET MUSIC, not tabs. If you’re starting from scratch, and learning piano and guitar, there’s no reason to stick with tabs. They’re shitty, limited, and usually completely wrong.
Bar your index across all the guitar strings until you can play all of them with no muting, and work your way up to holding that for 3+ minutes.

And finally, the one thing I tell all my students:
Practice does NOT make perfect. Practice makes PERMANENT. If you learn something the wrong way, it will take twice as long to unlearn bad habits and relearn the right ones, so take it slow and do things right the first time.

Been playing guitar for 18 years, have played in gigs and festivals from NYC to Virginia for years, been playing piano for 22 years, competed in classical competitions from the age of 12 and played at Carnegie Hall at 17 years old. Have taught music on and off for the better part of a decade, and have also played organ for churches and funerals since I was 18.


I like youtube also, helps a lot


Sadly, all I got was good looks, charm and intelligence.

I can’t even tell if someone is singing out of tune. Makes watching the Anerican Idol fun.


Slight threadjack; you obviously know what you are doing. Are there any tricks for an experienced player to quickly learn (relatively simple) sheet music? Think 7 pages in 3-4 days


What genre of music do you play? What got you into music in the first place?


As in you already know how to read sheet music and want tips on memorization, or you need to learn sheet music AND memorize 7 pages? Either can be done in that timeframe.


Learn the music; don’t need to memorize


Started off playing like nu-metal (it was the 90s!) but have mellowed in my old age. Now it’s mostly blues/rock kinda stuff. Older shit like Led Zep or Thin Lizzy. Like a bit of everything though. Was playing in a really cool kinda folk jam session on Thursday which was great fun.

Was just always really into music and my parents were kind enough to let me try out every single musical instrument (some of the highlights were the chanter and the accordion!) before I discovered the guitar. The cool thing about the guitar was the time I started playing it was the time I discovered guitar music. I was listening to shit like Nirvana and Oasis which is the easiest shit to play ever, so pretty much straight away I could actually play the music I like, which was very motivating.

What do you play yourself? I’m guessing it must be pretty heavy from some of the videos you post?


you any good at playing by ear? I would just listen to the music a ton and play along.



I play stuff like metallica, orbituary, toxic holocaust and some softer stuff like my chemical romance, the animals, deep purple, ACDC etc, like you I play guitar, but I can also do a bit of piano, musical talent seems to run through the family, I’ve been told I have “perfect pitch”


Whilst this may be the best route to being any good, you only need four verse bars and the chorus from 8ish songs to get some ass and tabs are the fastest way there lol


Sorry, wasn’t on the past couple days - if you post a picture of a page of the music I can give you a short walkthrough perhaps


my deadline got extended by a month; I should be able to figure it out. Thanks for the offer


Honestly a how-to in sheet music is never anything I’ve had to google as I was classically trained, but it must be all over the internet, so you’ll do fine in that timeframe.
Also a good idea: buy a hymnal of any Christian denomination and play a song every day. Not as a religious thing, I’m not religious myself, it’s just lots of basic chords with tons of variations, and it will help you learn to sight read. This means that provided the piece isn’t super complicated, you don’t have to learn the song, you can just play all of it on the spot while reading the music. Tabs don’t notate the length of notes, or switching time signatures, or dynamics, or tempo, or a ton of other things. With sheet music you can play it on the spot without ever hearing the song.


It may not be necessary to start on an acoustic, I think it’s generally a good approach, but not necessary. I did.

Aside from that, for all things related to guitar gear, see Phillip Mckinght on youtube.

He has the answers to EVERYTHING.

He tours guitar manufacturers.
He is a new guitar dealer.
He has people on his channel who build effects pedals.
He is one step short of a luthier.

He has (many) videos regarding your question. Here is a good one that not many people have access to (this info):