Author Topic: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)  (Read 3722 times)

SouthLand

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Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« on: November 22, 2016, 12:33:10 PM »
I'm interested in learning to play the guitar (acoustic; I'd like to learn something very traditional and simple so I can teach myself). I have very very very very limited musical skills. I learned, like, one song on the banjo once and that's it. And I've long ago forgotten that! So I'm totally at ground zero.

What are some good resources for teaching myself to play so I can learn without having to pay for lessons?

Proud Foot

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 12:54:09 PM »
I would start with youtube.  I'm sure you can find some sites that will offer free cord charts too. 

Dicey

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 01:00:44 PM »
Yup. Everything's on YT. Amazing resource.

GuitarStv

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2016, 01:32:57 PM »
If you want to learn any instrument, it has to be fun.  Sure, there's going to be rote memorization, mechanical finger positioning drilling, finger strength building, even some boring music theory stuff that you've got to choke down to eventually become proficient at your instrument.  A mistake that many beginners make though is to put that stuff up front.  You just end up discouraged and give up.

First thing to do is come up with a list of twenty or so songs that you really like that have a guitar in them.  Then figure out which ones are the simplest (fewest chords, slowest playing, etc.).  Then go about learning to play along with a recording.  You'll probably only get bits of the song at first.  That's OK, as long as you're having fun playing those bits.  This is a crucial stage . . . because you need to be enjoying the guitar enough to overlook the uncomfortable mechanical part (building callouses and hand strength) of learning to play.  You need to play an awful lot before things start to become easy, and sound right every time you pick up the instrument.

Once you've got a few dozen riffs and basic chords under your belt you're officially a novice.  Now it's time to slightly branch out into the rest of the world of playing:
- learn to play with other people
- learn those other chords, scales, modes, styles of music
- learn some wacky unusual guitar techniques (slide, rhythmically beating on your acoustic, two handed tapping, etc.)
- learn to play songs 100% perfectly all the way through
- learn to write your own music

The sky's the limit.  Just keep it fun and you'll be fine.

lizzzi

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2016, 01:40:44 PM »
Or find yourself a simple, "Teach Yourself to Play Guitar" book, and just start at the beginning and go through it. You can do a lot with three major chords, a minor chord or two, and a capo. And as GuitarStv says above, make sure you like your songs. No matter how simple and how basically they are played, the songs have to resonate with you. There will be a lot of mechanics, a lot of theory, and so forth, in your future, but always start by playing a simple tune that makes your heart sing. Then you can build on that, but you will always be making music and not just being a robot.

Half-Borg

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2016, 02:45:27 PM »
Learn to read tabs, there is probably an online explanation, but seriously, reading tabs is so easy, you can figure it out yourself.
Notes suck though.
You can look them up here. Maybe you need to try a few of your favorite songs until you find good ones.
For added benefit, download TuxGuitar and download the GuitarPro files.

syednaeemul

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2016, 03:12:24 PM »
In my opinion the absolute best place to learn to play is www.justinguitar.com

erae

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2016, 03:46:44 PM »
^came here to suggest justin, but will +1 instead. his materials are free and well-designed. my husband sounds GREAT after following justin's program and has said numerous times that he wants to buy his books because he feels bad getting such thoughtful instruction for free.

GreenEggs

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2016, 05:32:28 PM »
Good topic, from another want-to-be guitar player.   

use2betrix

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2016, 01:51:27 PM »
Learn to read tabs, there is probably an online explanation, but seriously, reading tabs is so easy, you can figure it out yourself.
Notes suck though.
You can look them up here. Maybe you need to try a few of your favorite songs until you find good ones.
For added benefit, download TuxGuitar and download the GuitarPro files.

This. Learn to read tabs (insanely easy) then find some easy songs to learn and start progressing. Learn chords, scales, etc. all of those can be read and learned in tab format.

zenyata

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2016, 06:18:28 PM »
Yep agree with the previous replies - especially Justin guitar and learning tabs.

I was in the same boat as the OP about 4 years ago - totally knew next to nothing regarding music (and also considered myself about hopelessly uncoordinated).

I've taken no formal lessons but youtube etc. is great - there are times where I catch myself and think "wow I can't believe how much I can play now..."

I also really recommend Songsterr.com which provides tabs but with a subscription allows you to slow down the pace of following along and better learning the rhythm in addition to just which string / fret combo to play... with tabs alone that was (continues to be) my biggest hurdle.

Also as far as guitars - I started out with a steel string acoustic which really established those fingertip calluses but I eventually got a nylon string classical which I think is easier to play (and I like playing classical tunes a lot - although by any standard I'd be considered a classical guitar hack and I would like to eventually take classical lessons - that's my ER project ;)  )

SouthLand

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2016, 10:03:48 PM »
Wow! Thanks so much for all the great resources and tips folks. I appreciate it. ^^ I think the thing to do now is get a guitar and just start practicing!

21runner

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 01:32:23 PM »
In my opinion the absolute best place to learn to play is www.justinguitar.com

+1

FLBiker

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 02:53:01 PM »
I play rhythm guitar and sing, and here's how I did it.

1) Find a few songs w/ few/easy chords (Knocking on Heaven's Door, Wicked Game, Kiss from a Rose, Every Rose Has it's Thorn - these were some of the first songs I learned)
2) Play those songs
3) Add a few more chords, more songs
4) Repeat

Personally, I was really driven by liking to sing, so any sort of practice that was based on scales didn't work.  I took classical guitar lessons a couple of times and never got anywhere.  Once I started strumming and singing, though, I never looked back.  It's great fun!

Metric Mouse

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Re: Learning to Play the Guitar (Without Paying for Lessons)
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2016, 06:40:58 AM »
I play rhythm guitar and sing, and here's how I did it.

1) Find a few songs w/ few/easy chords (Knocking on Heaven's Door, Wicked Game, Kiss from a Rose, Every Rose Has it's Thorn - these were some of the first songs I learned)
2) Play those songs
3) Add a few more chords, more songs
4) Repeat

Personally, I was really driven by liking to sing, so any sort of practice that was based on scales didn't work.  I took classical guitar lessons a couple of times and never got anywhere.  Once I started strumming and singing, though, I never looked back.  It's great fun!

This is pretty much my method. Except I learned catchy songs like "Help Me" and "Santa Monica" and "Stubborn Love" - different age group, I guess.