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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / If you were going to start again, how would you learn guitar and theory?

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Vic Vega
Contributing Member


Happy to be at the top of the food chain
Jan 8th, 2015 01:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

What is the easiest and fastest method? CAGED? Are there any other methods that work really well?

I learned the way many of us did. I had music theory in HS and learned to play and how to apply that to the guitar from teachers, books, friends, magazines... You name it.

If you were starting from scratch, how would you learn?

Contributing Member

juneau ak.

If you must smoke, please smoke salmon!
Jan 8th, 2015 03:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great question! I would try to find a teacher that was good at working with a new student and made sure I could grasp early on how chords are made and stressed, the importance of the major scales role in the foundation of how chords are formed and used in songs as you learn how to play them . You can learn this stuff from books and dvd's but a great teacher gets you there faster IMO.



Jan 8th, 2015 03:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

Gosh, there are so many ways to learn now, and it's easier than ever. Youtube has tons of videos for beginners right through to advanced players. advanced.

There are also TONS of software programs that can REALLY help.

But as, Scott-s said above, the best, tried and true method is to find a decent teacher to get started. Someone to basically push you off the shore to set sail, so to speak.

I'll tell ya, if someone REALLY wanted to study guitar as a serious musical instrument, find a Jazz guitarist and saddle up with that person. Jazz guitarists tend to have their poop together and you can really progress with one who is a good teacher. Doing that is not for the faint of heart, though. I "blossomed" as a guitar player while studying with one, but in the process, I had my AXX handed to me during every lesson (in a good way).

Good thing was, he had an almost evangelical presentation in his teaching that made me work even harder at it and I loved every minute of it. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. It made me 10x the player I was. Guitar became a life journey, and I learned a hell of a lot about myself in the process.

Yeah, find a teacher like that...

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 06:02 PM, Jan 8th, 2015)

Contributing Member

The band is awful

and so are the tunes
Jan 8th, 2015 04:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

How a person learns (it differs) is just as important as what material the student uses. For instance, if you are disciplined and methodical, you can learn everything from Youtube. If you need motivation and direction, a teacher is necessary.

Contributing Member

Ocala, Fla

Jan 8th, 2015 09:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I started by ear and by the time I hit high school I had decent enough skills to be one of the jam band mopes too cool for jazz band.

I regret not doing high school jazz band. I mean, workshops with Maynard Ferguson, etc. I regret not pursuing a higher musical education beyond HS.

If I were to start again, the end goal wouldn't be chicks.

Warren Pederson


Jan 8th, 2015 09:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

Major scales with caged system, triads, triads and more triads. Then double stops as in thirds, sixths, etc. and building chords rather than just memorizing them. I learned through minor pentatonic boxes but wish I would have started out differently. Now I'm trying to figure all this stuff out but it is coming along. Trying to grasp honky tonk type country, not really interested in the chicken pickin shredding. I want to learn the teal tasty stuff. Oh, and I wish I had done more ear training, and started singing earlier.


South Florida

Jan 9th, 2015 10:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

There really is only one path. History of the great players tells us:

Get a guitar. Immediately join a band, rehearse and play live every possible moment. Drop out of school. Do not pursue a career. Do not have a fall back plan or life outside the art and commit to it with a death grip and let it take you wherever it goes.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Jan 10th, 2015 03:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

I had theory training since I was a kid with piano lessons. The guitar part was totally self-taught. I was lucky to be given a good set of musical ears. I had theory and harmony training in HS and college but never had structured guitar instruction. If I had it to do over again I would certainly take guitar lessons from the beginning. One can always play by ear even with instruction. I feel that I would have progressed at a much faster rate by doing it that way.



Jan 10th, 2015 06:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Among other things, a good teacher can really help you with technique:

Alternate picking, economy of movement, etc. You can practice all the licks, tricks, and drills you want, but you'll never be able to learn the proper, most efficient way to do it if you don't have someone spot you.

Not that you can't become a good player without it, but it will be a tougher row to hoe.

I remember I really gained momentum as a player when one of my instructors spent a great deal of time cleaning up my left hand.

Contributing Member

The band is awful

and so are the tunes
Jan 13th, 2015 05:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I played in bands for years before I ever took a guitar lesson. And my first lesson was about five years ago. Had a fe lessons over about a year, and what they did for me was to show me the 'why' part of harmony. I really had no clue why certain music sounded or worked the way it did until I got into scales, intervals, and chord theory. Everything before that was me simply regurgitating what I heard and liked.

I certainly don't have all this stuff locked down, and I'm still pretty much a hack player, but playing is a lot more fun because I have the beginnings of an inderstanding of why this stuff works.

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Jan 29th, 2015 08:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I,m self taught and if I had to do it all over I would not be. So many people today are able to learn in months what it took me years to learn by trial and error.
I would focus more on the mechanics of it all and the different methods rather than just accompaniment for vocals.
I can't complain about what I do but I have developed so many bad habits and shortcuts over the years I have no choice but to call it a style!



Jan 29th, 2015 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

My first lesson was my sister teaching me block chords out of folk books(12 years old). First REAl lessons,(13 years old) I got from a local blues player that taught at local store. He taught me scales and positions. I was forced to learn chord theory/chord spelling when I picked up steel guitar at 25.This was self taught, I just digested all I could on the subject, and learned the number system. The number system helped me memorize the notes on the steel guitar neck.

In the middle of all of this, my aunt hooked me up with lessons from a guy at another store that taught classical and reading(15 years old). If I had it to do all over, I would have taken the classical guy more seriously...He didn't rock hard enough for my young pallet!


South Florida

Jan 30th, 2015 05:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

It occurs to me that in my case I had already had piano lessons and learned some music theory before I ever really got into guitar. So the ideas of major and minor and intervals was something that I just adapted to the guitar from the piano.

In my mind music theory is easier on the piano because it's linear and there is only one way to play a note or do a scale.

The guitar has a different logic.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jan 30th, 2015 05:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

I was a drummer in school and still play the instrument. I can read rhythm and bass clef as a result of that and it was a huge help in learning guitar.

With guitar I'm self taught and played in bands for years. In the last few years I have taken a few lessons and it has helped with a few scales and modes I have wanted to use.

I think everyone should learn to play piano however. Do this first or with guitar for theory and reading. If I had only learned to play keys as a child how much easier it all would have been.



Jan 31st, 2015 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

This is tough to think about because you have to figure out what you'd want the end result to be.
Closet player? Full time pro? Same gig as you're doing?
Also assuming we're as far as we're going to get,and that's kind of depressing,or at least negative.
Personally,I would have loved to have gone to Berklee and met like minded,and educated musicians to go pro with.

Good thread.


LA , Calif

Lost on the blue ball
Mar 9th, 2015 09:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

I am self taught and to be honest I could never get into lessons . What I didn't know I found ways to figure it out. I don't think I would change my approach.


Back In The UK!

Swinging The Lead
Mar 13th, 2015 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have always found playing with better players the tonic.

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Mar 14th, 2015 02:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm with Larry. Once I got a keyboard the theory was so much easier to learn and understand because of reasons stated. My guitar teacher at the time talked me into buying one. For learning, along with a metronome, it was a very good investment.

Contributing Member

USA, Lubbock

Anybody got a band-aid?
Mar 14th, 2015 03:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

I would be way more open minded. I also would listen better. I simply didn't or couldn't equate listening to functioning. It had to be on the page of notes or tab otherwise it didn't exist.

Contributing Member


I like guitars and amps
Mar 14th, 2015 04:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'd mix in some piano to visualize better.

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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / If you were going to start again, how would you learn guitar and theory?

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