What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby thunderman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:37 am

I have back into it for about a year now, I was never any good before I stopped playing 15 years ago. What can I do to get better besides playin songs over and over again? I mean, that is what I am doing every day, but is there a "method" on what to do to get better? Lessons?
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby jdsmodulus » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:51 am

I would think you should make a choice about learning "music" or just guitar. Lessons are great if you can find a good teacher. Learning basic theory is essential. Music is a life long lesson and for me, the Dead are the best teachers. You must draw off all things guitar though. Good luck and keep at it. :smile:
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby thunderman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:07 am

My sister is an opera singer and a full blown music junkie :-) I try to pick her brain quite a bit!

I guess I am trying to find a formula, do I study chords and learn all the scales first? Do I learn the Jerry solos? Do I learn songs? Do I do this while singing?

is there a "good way" to learn?

Thunder

jdsmodulus wrote:I would think you should make a choice about learning "music" or just guitar. Lessons are great if you can find a good teacher. Learning basic theory is essential. Music is a life long lesson and for me, the Dead are the best teachers. You must draw off all things guitar though. Good luck and keep at it. :smile:
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby jefkahn » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:38 am

I think your approach depends on what you want to be able to do with guitar and how far you want to go with it. These are some options:

1. Do you just play along with Dead songs? Get a chord book (or better yet, use RUKIND tabs), learn some basic chords, and strum along. Try to learn by ear by mimicking some of Jerry's lead lines, or use tabs to figure out what he's playing.

2. Do you want to learn guitar well enough to jam with others? I think you could combine a study of basic music theory (which includes learning some scales, such as major and pentatonic) with a study of common chords (open chords and barre chords), and practice those on guitar until you feel comfortable quickly changing from chord to chord and finding the right notes in a scale (for lead work).

3. Do you want to write your own songs? Learning theory is helpful, although I doubt the Beatles knew much of theory when they started writing. But theory is going to be a good way to facilitate the process.

4. Do you want to be so killer you knock others down with your licks? Don't ask me, I haven't figured that one out. :)

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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby waldo041 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:50 am

thunderman wrote:I guess I am trying to find a formula, do I study chords and learn all the scales first? Do I learn the Jerry solos? Do I learn songs? Do I do this while singing?

is there a "good way" to learn?


unfortunately there is no exact formula to point you to. if there were you would have found it already, as we all would have pointed you to it. the best way to learn to play guitar is to play the guitar constantly. you have to make the chords and scales so natural that they just roll out of your head thru your fingers. the only way to do that is PRACTICE!

practice the chord forms in all the positions. if need be, draw them out on paper so the shapes become the chord names in your head.

practice the scale forms you learn, and again if need be, draw them out on paper until you have the patterns committed to your brain.

learn and practice songs you like, AND the ones you do not like.

learn and practice solo's you like, AND the ones you do not like.

practice trying to relay the melodies you hear in commercials, songs, and in your daily life to the guitar neck. those are the things that usually get planted in your head that you end up whistling or humming half the day. get them out of your head and instead of whistling or humming them, play them on your guitar. they don't need to be long, or time consuming, just try and get those tones and phrasing relayed out of your head and to the fretboard. this is more of an ear excercise, and helps you with deciphering the different register of the guitar.

these are just tiny examples of things you can do to start your journey back into learning how to play. JD's point on music theory is an excellant tool also. consider it the rule book, you have to learn them in order to learn how to break them. and i say that so you understand that you may not fully grasp music theory in the beginning, but do soak it all in, and with time it begins to all flow together. the "breaking" of the rules by your favoriter players, will throw your learning music theory off. just know now that you need to learn the rules, then you'll understand how and why they are breaking them.

above all else, did i mention practice?!!!!

good luck!

peace,
waldo
Last edited by waldo041 on Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby thunderman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:51 am

#2

#4

I have a friend who lives down the street who is a drummer, we played last night and I quickly realized I needed to get better!

jefkahn wrote:I think your approach depends on what you want to be able to do with guitar and how far you want to go with it. These are some options:

1. Do you just play along with Dead songs? Get a chord book (or better yet, use RUKIND tabs), learn some basic chords, and strum along. Try to learn by ear by mimicking some of Jerry's lead lines, or use tabs to figure out what he's playing.

2. Do you want to learn guitar well enough to jam with others? I think you could combine a study of basic music theory (which includes learning some scales, such as major and pentatonic) with a study of common chords (open chords and barre chords), and practice those on guitar until you feel comfortable quickly changing from chord to chord and finding the right notes in a scale (for lead work).

3. Do you want to write your own songs? Learning theory is helpful, although I doubt the Beatles knew much of theory when they started writing. But theory is going to be a good way to facilitate the process.

4. Do you want to be so killer you knock others down with your licks? Don't ask me, I haven't figured that one out. :)

Jef
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby astroman99 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:53 am

patterns...up...down...train your ear to follow and hear, hum,
if you can hum it, you can play it!
practice, or I call it therapy. :lol:
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby Grateful.Ed » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:14 am

You need to play with good musicians, either jams or lessons.

Lot's of things in books need to be demonstrated for feel, timing, pauses, etc. Some of the video lessons out there come a close second.

I always play with musicians better than me :lol: , and I always learn something new.


BTW - JG has said this is a few books I've read, so it's got that goin' for it!
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby NashvilleMike » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:51 am

waldo041 wrote:AND the ones you do not like.

This is actually the hardest one for me.
It all rolls into one and nothing comes for free
There's nothing you can hold for very long
And when you hear that song come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life was just a dream
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby Maybeck09 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:25 am

I agree with the post to play with better musicians when possible. Woodshed in your own time. Learning the songs you love will be easier than the ones you don't so start there. And when possible, just like picking up any difficult skill, hang with better musicians and soak it up. You will be sweating to keep up, but the stretch you will get to take back to woodshedding is killer. You'll always realize that the bar is higher and can aspire to be better. Plus you can learn so much from patient folks who will pass along tips or that you can see and hear when jammin together. Try playing violin, learning golf, skiing, a new language, etc- any tough new skill all of those benefits from pushing yourself and hanging with better players- you'll grow by bounds there. Good luck.

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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby Stevo123 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:19 am

Woodshed, woodshed, woodshed. The main thing for me that made the fretboard start to seem manageable was hours and hours of (more or less mindlessly) playing up and down diatonic scales in rhythm. Take chord progressions and learn how to play them with as many possible permutations of chord forms. Do it with 2 or 3 note chords only so you can hear how each voice in the chord moves individually. Practice strum patterns until your right hand is like a metronome.
Learning to jam is a whole different monster of a skill from just being able to play through songs and if you want to get good at it you have to find musicians at or above your level you can regularly jam and grow with. It's is rare to find a situation like that because the higher level musicians won't want to jam with you until you reach a certain level, and the lower level musicians that are dying to jam with you will frustrate you because they won't be good enough to actually jam.
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby mijknahs » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:05 am

#1 - Play music with other people.
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby waldo041 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:16 am

mijknahs wrote:#1 - Play music with other people.



while i totally agree this is a great step in the process, it should not be the first step. one needs to get a grasp of the instrument or playing with others and jamming will do nothing for ones learning other then watching someone better then you play a guitar. the first step really needs to be sitting down and practicing and learning all about it you can soak in either with a teacher or woodshedding. once you get a grasp of it, then playing with others will help apply what you have grasped and gives you a better footing at improving on it.

peace,
waldo
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby thunderman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:32 am

What is this woodshed you speak of?

I LOVE all these posts!

P.S. What music books did Jerry write?


Stevo123 wrote:Woodshed, woodshed, woodshed. The main thing for me that made the fretboard start to seem manageable was hours and hours of (more or less mindlessly) playing up and down diatonic scales in rhythm. Take chord progressions and learn how to play them with as many possible permutations of chord forms. Do it with 2 or 3 note chords only so you can hear how each voice in the chord moves individually. Practice strum patterns until your right hand is like a metronome.
Learning to jam is a whole different monster of a skill from just being able to play through songs and if you want to get good at it you have to find musicians at or above your level you can regularly jam and grow with. It's is rare to find a situation like that because the higher level musicians won't want to jam with you until you reach a certain level, and the lower level musicians that are dying to jam with you will frustrate you because they won't be good enough to actually jam.
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Re: What is the best way to learn to play guitar better?

Postby dleonard » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:43 am

IMO, lessons are good if you have no knowledge of theory, and are trying to get knowledge of theory.

Other than that, as long as you have the will, I don't think there's any lessons (besides the jamming with people world) that can't be done without a good instructional book(accompanied by a cd that plays the lessons) or a dvd.
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