The old folks' beginners thread

Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > The old folks' beginners thread

sgautier8th

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Joined: 12/29/18

Posts: 176

Tales From The Crypt:

To all the "Older" folks that are just picking up guitar (I'm 51) just checking in to see how everyone is doing. I've gotten hung up a bit (last couple of days) trying to follow along with Lisa M and make melodies out of scales (open and grid). I practice the song a number of times and then I get all finger-tied when I try to play it along with Lisa and the Band.

How long should it take to learn 12 bars of 4/4 and be able to play them through twice "in time with the Band" at a 106 tempo without making any mistakes? I've spent about 3 hours of practice on the same lesson and I'm still only perfect on 10-20% of my attempts! Anyone else having issues with this?

Last night I used the JamTracks to practice for the first time - awesome. Also, found the "loop" function on the video lesson and figured out how to use that too - also awesome!! (Also found the little "?", which told me how to use the loop function!)

Lisa M - thank you again for being such a thoughtful and patient teacher!

#1

Tales From The Crypt:

To all the "Older" folks that are just picking up guitar (I'm 51) just checking in to see how everyone is doing. I've gotten hung up a bit (last couple of days) trying to follow along with Lisa M and make melodies out of scales (open and grid). I practice the song a number of times and then I get all finger-tied when I try to play it along with Lisa and the Band.

How long should it take to learn 12 bars of 4/4 and be able to play them through twice "in time with the Band" at a 106 tempo without making any mistakes? I've spent about 3 hours of practice on the same lesson and I'm still only perfect on 10-20% of my attempts! Anyone else having issues with this?

Last night I used the JamTracks to practice for the first time - awesome. Also, found the "loop" function on the video lesson and figured out how to use that too - also awesome!! (Also found the little "?", which told me how to use the loop function!)

Lisa M - thank you again for being such a thoughtful and patient teacher!

ab4zt

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Joined: 01/05/19

Posts: 1

Hi there. I am 55 and while I have fooled around with guitar off and on for many years, I never took up a structured lesson/practice plan until this year, so I am more or less a beginner. I have been at it for about three months.

One thing that I have found truer than anything else is that practice practice practice is the key. One of the songs I have chosen to learn is “Imagine” (made easy). I have been practicing/playing it for about 3 weeks and I still can’t make a reliably clean chord change from Dm to F, although it seems it should be pretty easy. Still, I do notice that I am getting better just by practicing it every day. It helps to focus on the one item you have trouble with, so I practice that chord change especially as opposed to the entire song every time.

One thing I have noticed is thatas I have “learned to learn”, new things come easier. The natural minor scales came easier than the major scales, I guess because my brain is now better at connecting the sound with the note pattern.

Some me days are terribly frustrating: “I thought I had that down!” But that is inevitably followed by days where I really do have it down. It can be difficult for us, the learners, to recognize the progress we are making because we hear every note we play. But if you stop and look back you can appreciate how far you have come, and that is very motivating.

Persistence, patience, practice. Keep up the good work!

#2

Hi there. I am 55 and while I have fooled around with guitar off and on for many years, I never took up a structured lesson/practice plan until this year, so I am more or less a beginner. I have been at it for about three months.

One thing that I have found truer than anything else is that practice practice practice is the key. One of the songs I have chosen to learn is “Imagine” (made easy). I have been practicing/playing it for about 3 weeks and I still can’t make a reliably clean chord change from Dm to F, although it seems it should be pretty easy. Still, I do notice that I am getting better just by practicing it every day. It helps to focus on the one item you have trouble with, so I practice that chord change especially as opposed to the entire song every time.

One thing I have noticed is thatas I have “learned to learn”, new things come easier. The natural minor scales came easier than the major scales, I guess because my brain is now better at connecting the sound with the note pattern.

Some me days are terribly frustrating: “I thought I had that down!” But that is inevitably followed by days where I really do have it down. It can be difficult for us, the learners, to recognize the progress we are making because we hear every note we play. But if you stop and look back you can appreciate how far you have come, and that is very motivating.

Persistence, patience, practice. Keep up the good work!

bturner0

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Joined: 07/05/16

Posts: 15

I am also 55. I have been with GT for 2 1/2 years. I've completed Fundamentals 1 and 2, Rock 1, Blues 1, in the middle of Country 1, and learned about 15 songs. I was a total beginner but have learned a lot and had a blast the entire time.

Yes, there are things that are difficult to do. I don't think I ever got through a practice lession perfectly. Playing things over and over, especially slowed down, is the only way to learn. As you go along with the lessons, you will have those aha moments when your fingers/brain connect and you can all of the sudden do it. This happened to me with the song "I Get it Now". I struggled and struggled with that, playing it clean and keeping up with the lesson until one day, I got it.

Stay with it.

#3

I am also 55. I have been with GT for 2 1/2 years. I've completed Fundamentals 1 and 2, Rock 1, Blues 1, in the middle of Country 1, and learned about 15 songs. I was a total beginner but have learned a lot and had a blast the entire time.

Yes, there are things that are difficult to do. I don't think I ever got through a practice lession perfectly. Playing things over and over, especially slowed down, is the only way to learn. As you go along with the lessons, you will have those aha moments when your fingers/brain connect and you can all of the sudden do it. This happened to me with the song "I Get it Now". I struggled and struggled with that, playing it clean and keeping up with the lesson until one day, I got it.

Stay with it.

rsg.gill

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Joined: 12/16/18

Posts: 18

57 here!

It takes as long as it takes for you - just keep working on it and be patient.

For example, I've been working on American Girl by Tom Petty. The outro is not complex but it is fast - it's taken me about 3 months to get to the point where I can play along with Tom and the band! I pretty much spent a few minutes on it every night and played with the metronome - trying to speed it up a little each time.

Good advice from everyone on the thread here.

#4

57 here!

It takes as long as it takes for you - just keep working on it and be patient.

For example, I've been working on American Girl by Tom Petty. The outro is not complex but it is fast - it's taken me about 3 months to get to the point where I can play along with Tom and the band! I pretty much spent a few minutes on it every night and played with the metronome - trying to speed it up a little each time.

Good advice from everyone on the thread here.

sgautier8th

Full Access

Joined: 12/29/18

Posts: 176

Thank you all! That is exactly the empathy and reassurance that I needed from folks that, it appears, are in the same place as me, though most of you seem just up ahead.

Spent the weekend trying to learn to strum a few songs - Country Roads, Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. I felt pretty good at strumming all three (is it me, or do songs seem a lot longer when you first try learning how to strum them?).

I then attempted to sing along. LOL :-) and OMG, this is a LOT harder than "it at first appeared!" I can pass muster (not public viewing muster) with Country Roads and Mama, but I haven't been able to get through singing even the first two lines of Every Rose, I just can't get the timing right (yet). I was excited because I used my Capo for the first time and tried different settings until I found the key that worked with my voice; and then started to work on how to adjust my voice to fit the key of the song by singing "Do Re Mi" and "Joy To The World" along the major scale.

But then I was a little depressed because I tried to sing Country Roads and Mama with my kids and it didn't work out as well as I thought that it was going to work out. It now seems that it is going to take a really long time before I can get to a place where I can sing and strum in public. But you guys made me feel better.

My short term goal is to get a handful of "campfire songs" under my belt by mid-June (10 weeks) when we have our next summer campout. Any thoughts or suggestions? Is this too optimistic?

#5

Thank you all! That is exactly the empathy and reassurance that I needed from folks that, it appears, are in the same place as me, though most of you seem just up ahead.

Spent the weekend trying to learn to strum a few songs - Country Roads, Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. I felt pretty good at strumming all three (is it me, or do songs seem a lot longer when you first try learning how to strum them?).

I then attempted to sing along. LOL :-) and OMG, this is a LOT harder than "it at first appeared!" I can pass muster (not public viewing muster) with Country Roads and Mama, but I haven't been able to get through singing even the first two lines of Every Rose, I just can't get the timing right (yet). I was excited because I used my Capo for the first time and tried different settings until I found the key that worked with my voice; and then started to work on how to adjust my voice to fit the key of the song by singing "Do Re Mi" and "Joy To The World" along the major scale.

But then I was a little depressed because I tried to sing Country Roads and Mama with my kids and it didn't work out as well as I thought that it was going to work out. It now seems that it is going to take a really long time before I can get to a place where I can sing and strum in public. But you guys made me feel better.

My short term goal is to get a handful of "campfire songs" under my belt by mid-June (10 weeks) when we have our next summer campout. Any thoughts or suggestions? Is this too optimistic?

sbokash

Registered User

Joined: 03/20/19

Posts: 1

Hey kids,

48 here and just picked up a guitar about a month ago. I'm "stuck" on getting the fingers in the right place cleanly without futzing another string. Good to know it's normal-- pushing through. Thanks for the encouragement!

#6

Hey kids,

48 here and just picked up a guitar about a month ago. I'm "stuck" on getting the fingers in the right place cleanly without futzing another string. Good to know it's normal-- pushing through. Thanks for the encouragement!

mntano01

Full Access

Joined: 04/04/19

Posts: 4

Originally Posted by: sbokash

Hey kids,

48 here and just picked up a guitar about a month ago. I'm "stuck" on getting the fingers in the right place cleanly without futzing another string. Good to know it's normal-- pushing through. Thanks for the encouragement!

I'm 45 and just started playing. I'm in the same boat with getting my fingers in place. I tend to mute other strings too when playing chords. At first I thought it might be easier with a wider neck, I'm playing a 1 11/16, but I figure it is just me not know how to tweak my fingers to get the chords right. It's odd being older and not being able to do something easily. I signed up for lessons with a local teach too so I have somebody to look at my technique to makes sure I do not develop bad habits. I can honesty say the website is a better tool for learning, but I like having the back up for half hour a week.

Good luck my fellow old guys (or girls).

#7

Originally Posted by: sbokash

Hey kids,

48 here and just picked up a guitar about a month ago. I'm "stuck" on getting the fingers in the right place cleanly without futzing another string. Good to know it's normal-- pushing through. Thanks for the encouragement!

I'm 45 and just started playing. I'm in the same boat with getting my fingers in place. I tend to mute other strings too when playing chords. At first I thought it might be easier with a wider neck, I'm playing a 1 11/16, but I figure it is just me not know how to tweak my fingers to get the chords right. It's odd being older and not being able to do something easily. I signed up for lessons with a local teach too so I have somebody to look at my technique to makes sure I do not develop bad habits. I can honesty say the website is a better tool for learning, but I like having the back up for half hour a week.

Good luck my fellow old guys (or girls).

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 987

Originally Posted by: mntano01
I'm in the same boat with getting my fingers in place. I tend to mute other strings too when playing chords. At first I thought it might be easier with a wider neck, I'm playing a 1 11/16...

I can relate to this and can say that it does get better. We have a number of guitars at home some with wider necks, some with smaller necks, but after a while our fingers just sort of figure it out. I still buzz from time to time but its not near as bad as when I started.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#8

Originally Posted by: mntano01
I'm in the same boat with getting my fingers in place. I tend to mute other strings too when playing chords. At first I thought it might be easier with a wider neck, I'm playing a 1 11/16...

I can relate to this and can say that it does get better. We have a number of guitars at home some with wider necks, some with smaller necks, but after a while our fingers just sort of figure it out. I still buzz from time to time but its not near as bad as when I started.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

sgautier8th

Full Access

Joined: 12/29/18

Posts: 176

Awesome thread, this is the community we need (though I'm not sure that 45 is old enough to be on the Old Folks thread - LOL) to keep ourselves motivated with sufficient empathy and resassurance!

I ventured off-site and found the chords to the Irish Folk Song "Black Velvet Band" (I have a soft spot for Irish Folk music, but I love Country, Blues and Rock n Roll as well). Anywho, only three chords and a constant pattern. Thanks to GT (I am half-way into Fundamentals 2), I was able to listen to the song (about 50 times) and discern that 3/4 time would give me the right "beat" (3 quarter notes per measure). So I put together a little arrangement for myself where I finger-pick the high and low notes together as the first note and then the high note and then the low note in each chord (3 quarter notes) for each measure on the verses. Alternativey, for the Chorus, I pick the bass note of the chord and strum the rest of the full open chord for two notes (3 quarter notes total) for each measure. I am so incredibly impressed with myself. I still have trouble keeping up with the final quick transitions on the last line of each verse and chorus (F, G7, C for one measure each), but getting there and my wife says that it sounds great (and the dogs stopped howling at me when I play).

Trying my hand(s) at Imagine, ran through it at .5 speed (funny) and made most transitions okay. Tried it at .75 and was not quite as good, but going to practice. This is a great introductory song to start practicing the "F" Barre Chord !

#9

Awesome thread, this is the community we need (though I'm not sure that 45 is old enough to be on the Old Folks thread - LOL) to keep ourselves motivated with sufficient empathy and resassurance!

I ventured off-site and found the chords to the Irish Folk Song "Black Velvet Band" (I have a soft spot for Irish Folk music, but I love Country, Blues and Rock n Roll as well). Anywho, only three chords and a constant pattern. Thanks to GT (I am half-way into Fundamentals 2), I was able to listen to the song (about 50 times) and discern that 3/4 time would give me the right "beat" (3 quarter notes per measure). So I put together a little arrangement for myself where I finger-pick the high and low notes together as the first note and then the high note and then the low note in each chord (3 quarter notes) for each measure on the verses. Alternativey, for the Chorus, I pick the bass note of the chord and strum the rest of the full open chord for two notes (3 quarter notes total) for each measure. I am so incredibly impressed with myself. I still have trouble keeping up with the final quick transitions on the last line of each verse and chorus (F, G7, C for one measure each), but getting there and my wife says that it sounds great (and the dogs stopped howling at me when I play).

Trying my hand(s) at Imagine, ran through it at .5 speed (funny) and made most transitions okay. Tried it at .75 and was not quite as good, but going to practice. This is a great introductory song to start practicing the "F" Barre Chord !

alffvdh

Full Access

Joined: 10/04/16

Posts: 82

Yup, turning 55 in 2 days time. Been learning for about 2 years. Don't really practice enough, short span of attention, but have been making progress and learning (and forgetting) plenty of songs. A bit annoying having to re-learn something I thought I had down pat after only a couple of months without playing it!!

Mostly I've been concentrating on blues genre on an electric. Am now branching out into acoustic. Trying to learn "Kissed by a Rose" by SEAL. Am still trying to get the intro, tricky transition from two pick-up notes to a sort of "C" chord. Been working on it for 3 weeks now, still not up to speed, hope to move on from the intro one day.

Funny thing I've noticed. I try a new tune, can't seem to get my fingers to obey, start thinking I'll never get it. Go to bed, next day my fingers are starting to get there, not 100% but better than the 0% of the day before. It's as if my brain is re-programming my hands to follow the pattern as I sleep. I swear, it's happened multiple times.

Anyway, good luck to all of the "senior starters" out there. There's certainly worse things we could do with ourselves!!!!

A.L.F

#10

Yup, turning 55 in 2 days time. Been learning for about 2 years. Don't really practice enough, short span of attention, but have been making progress and learning (and forgetting) plenty of songs. A bit annoying having to re-learn something I thought I had down pat after only a couple of months without playing it!!

Mostly I've been concentrating on blues genre on an electric. Am now branching out into acoustic. Trying to learn "Kissed by a Rose" by SEAL. Am still trying to get the intro, tricky transition from two pick-up notes to a sort of "C" chord. Been working on it for 3 weeks now, still not up to speed, hope to move on from the intro one day.

Funny thing I've noticed. I try a new tune, can't seem to get my fingers to obey, start thinking I'll never get it. Go to bed, next day my fingers are starting to get there, not 100% but better than the 0% of the day before. It's as if my brain is re-programming my hands to follow the pattern as I sleep. I swear, it's happened multiple times.

Anyway, good luck to all of the "senior starters" out there. There's certainly worse things we could do with ourselves!!!!

A.L.F