T Nation

Guitar question...

Hey everyone…I know this is really off topic but here goes…
I just started to take guitar lessons and I am like wtf? How long did it take you guys before you started to get the feel. I feel like I am never going to get the hang of this thing…
Anyone have any suggestions on how often I should practice, or any good tutorials (cd rom etc…)? I am dedicated but man, I am losing my mind.
Thanks in advance.

Play as often as you can and make friends with guitarists that are better than you. I felt that I always made the most progress when playing with someone who was much better than I was. And remember that it should not feel like work, it should be something that you enjoy.

I have been playing for 15 years now and I would say that I started getting a feel for it after 2 years; this was relative to electric guitar and playing leads. Like anything, it just takes patience and practice.

The one thing you can do besides practicing whenever possible is to listen to guitar players that are simple and yet musically brilliant. Stevie Ray Vaughan would be a good start.

Try any exercize that stretches your fingers. Also use a grip strengthener. Then, try to play for about an hour a day. I’ve been playing for close to 20 years and the hardest thing to get used to was the finger positioning. It took a good 6 months of practice.

Ditto to Lucid’s point.Listen to everyone,but don’t try to play like them.That never works.Hang around your local music store on Sat.afternoon,thats when the hot local players seem to come out and most aren’t shy about sharing what they know.
It took me about 1 1/2 yrs before I felt I had a decent grip on it.

Guys, thanks for the responses! I’ll without a doubt give those suggestions a try!
Thanks again,

Its still kind of early yet since you just started playing… but, the sooner you start looking away from the fretboard while you play, the better off you’ll be. Play by sound, not by where the notes are on the guitar…

I taught myself how to play, and thats what I tell everyone I know who takes it up.

Other than that, I just learned and played as many songs as possible.

have someone teach you a couple modes/scales and get good at fretboard movement and overall dexterity.

also, for rhythm listen closely to the drumlines of songs and try to strum along with them (mute the strings).

learning and mastering these 2 aspects allowed me to start to have fun (6 years ago). and if you have some time, learning a little theory couldn’t hurt

Jerry Cantrell of alice in chains is another good one to watch.

just like a lot of things, the better you get, the more fun it is.

Try to play EVERY DAY for at least 15 minutes bare minimum. If you can’t do that, you will get worse. If you can only play 15 minute to a half hour, you will “maintain”.

Above a half hour, and you start to move into actually improving.

This is just generally speaking, of course.

How much should you practice each day? 8 hours would be good.

Hey mike,
You didn’t specify exactly what kind of guitar style you were playing? I figure you’re probably sitting there playing mary-had-a-little-lamb on the B and E string right about now. Here’s a quick list of my needless advice.

-Start off with music you like. Pick an easy song you can sing along with, learn the chords and jam that bitch into the dirt. You need to keep it interesting and play a few songs you like, so you don’t lose your love for the instrument.

-When you can’t get a chord/riff/scale etc… put the guitar down for a few hours and come back to it. Even wait a day before you pick it back up again. You’ll be surprised at how good you’ll be the next time you pick it up.

-Last but not least, keep alive the love of music. Approach it as a journey not a destination. It took me a few good years before I was jamming my Takamine like Sugar Ray Leanard…err uuhh I mean Stevie Ray Vaughn… yeah

man… play? what? You dont have to play, just sling it over your back and walk around school saying you play, but you have a hangnail and don’t want to aggrivate the injury, once the ladies get suspicious, play a chord or two, they’ll swoon. Chicks will be all over you… for some reason teenage girls cant tell a poser from someone who can actually play

thread hijack: how many of you do NOT know how to play stairway to heaven, or at least some part of it?

every time i pick up a guitar i get asked if i can play it. thats the guitar playing equivalent to “how much can you bench?”

FUN FACT- A few years ago, Guitar magazine had a list of best and worst guitarists. The winner of “Worst Guitarist to ever sell a million albums” was The Edge from U2. So you don’t have to be good to be famous and wealthy!

Wallstrt- Check out this weeks’ Rolling Stone. In an interview with Stevie Van Zandt, Springsteen’s guitarist, he says that the best way to get better is to play other people’s songs, players who are better than you. This applies to bands in general. Just try to emulate. Of course, this prob isn’t a big help to you right now :slight_smile: Still…

my buddies in HS tried to play their own shit and that didn’t last long, they were horrible.
Don’t try to emulate Eddie Van Halen /Stevie Ray/ etc right away, like they did. Start with simple power chord stuff.

“Stairway to Heaven” -quite possibly the most overrated song ever.

Excellent suggestions…thanks! Right now I am learing both acoustic and electric so what I do is each night play about a half hour of some chord progressions, a half hour of practicing barre chords and some scales then to top it all off I just play some relatively easy songs to have some fun. I really love it but I never figured it to be so hard…
Again, thanks for the input everyone. By the way, what’s the axe of choice for you guys? My dream right now is a Gretsch 6120 hollow body. When I start to sound decent maybe I can talk my wife into buying it for me (or maybe not…)

Thanks again,

Learn some songs that you like, and play along with the CDs/tapes. Do this all the time. Have a guitar on your lap whenever you’re just sitting around the house, watching tv or listening to the radio, and just try to play along with everything.

Ah, just my thing. I’m doing my research in motor learning and performance, specifically in music performance.

Practice every day. Your brain consolidates memories for performance during sleep. Shorter, more frequent practice is better than longer, infrequent sessions.

World-class performers have logged 10,000 of hours of directed practice (not just fooling around). They rarely practice more than 4 hours per day; there is a limit to how much is beneficial. They rarely practice more than 1-2 hours at a time. You simply can’t focus effectively for longer than that.

If you’re not trying to be a professional, do whatever is fun for you and motivates you.

Personally, I like the fact that my guitar is a piece of shit. In fact, it isn’t even mine! I used to own a Takamine acoustic/electric that cost a pretty penny, but I had to sell it when I went overseas.(I needed boots)
Now I jam on my roommates guitar. It’s a futhamuckin’ Yamaha from Costco!

You should learn to take pride in your ability to play, not the quality of your guitar.

It’s all to common to see a dusty ol’ Gibson sitting in the corner of some guys apartment. Now, it’s a nice guitar, but the guy can’t play it worth a damn!

So focus on your playing, and if anyone scoffs at your choice of axe, in the words of Tenacious D, “Rock their fucking socks off!”

Tenacious D is awesome! Some of there songs actually have some neat guitar riffs too. Good to play at a party or around the fire.

Iv been playing guitar for about 7 years, I play at least an hour a day. I find it to be a good stress release.

I have been playing for six years. I would say it takes at least a year before you can play something that sounds decent to other ears.

After a year you really start becoming a “guitarist” and picking up different skills, methods. Practice all the time. A daily basis will take you farther than just here and there for hours.

When I was in junior high up until I got a license (and a life) I practiced hardcore, nonstop. Metallica day in day out. Master of Puppets is the best fucking album ever for an in-control-tight machine-gun-grip-right hand rhythm.