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Guitar Lessons: Spend Less Get More

My Name is Harry Grant, hgrant@otenet.gr. If anyone wishes to contact me they may. I'll do my best to respond. 

Do we really need another guitar site?

I believe we do ... a vantage point to give guitar students needing guidance an overview.

Plus this site does not sell guitar lessons. It examines them for worthiness. All guitar lessons are not created equal.

This site helps you pick the right lesson for your current needs. Most beginners need a couple of years or more doing the grunt work also called learning the basics.

You need 3 things to do that: the will, a guitar and a good reference book. A nurturing environment would be nice too.

People selling guitar education make it seem like guitar is easy. Guitar isn't easy. Aspects of it can 'come together' which is what makes it so popular but overall mastery of the instrument takes hard work.

While its true there are occasional young prodigies it always turns out that they worked at it obsessively over years. Malmsteen, Bonamassa, Vai, EVH, SRV, Johnny Lang, Trucks and so on. These are the exception.

Sure singers can keep it simple and accompany themselves with 3 or 4 chords. There is plenty of room for casual play. Over one million guitars are sold every year. Someone is buying.

The Good News is that for those us that want to use the guitar as a mean to express our emotions and stretch out on the instrument much fret board tutelage is available.

Additionally a warning: for the affluent, pitfalls and snares are laid by those with their own best interests at heart.

On the one hand, all you really need is a couple of righteous guitar method books at home, with maybe a digital presentation or three and your guitar and over time and with a little help from your friends, you could learn the basics. Reaching that so called intermediate stage where you might know what you are doing but lack experience and confidence.

On the other hand, every day, every month, online, in magazines and in news letters its a new product, its a new toy, its a new color. It never ends. A new this, a new that. Relentless product leading to more and more cutthroat marketing leading to a lack of brotherhood but seemingly more competition and better equipment prices.

The Silver Lining: Guitars & Guitar Equipment is cheaper and better than ever before.

There are some very nice "Learner" guitar amplifiers by major manufacturers like Fender, Peavey, Line 6, and Roland which allow you to sound like your guitar instructor. 

In a guitar lesson there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to match your guitar teachers sound except when they make no mention of their signal chain what so ever.

Depending on your age and size  A decent guitar the right size for your hands and body may be an issue! For the small, remember this: Eric Clapton started on a Ukulele. There are Three/Quarter 3/4 Guitars for smaller players. There are Travel Guitars like affordable Baby Taylor's and even the headless Hohner G3. I play mine every day.

Additionally You will develop if you keep at it and stay focused. If you are young there are complimentary instruments like the drums the young prodigy can be engaged in while growing into an full scale electric guitar. The Ukulele, the drums, the piano, the banjo.

Young Bucks and Amazons, worrying about your particular guitar style goal is for year three or four.

On the other hand the Blues I-IV-V genre is relatively easy to conceptualize. Blues can serve a well spring from which many have taken heart and gone onto widen their musical horizons. Including yours truly.

A song book by itself is all very well but wont provide you the foundation which you need. Unless its the Beatles and even a Beatles song book with chord charts and rhythmic notation can only take you so far.

A reference book, including a scale book, is required because beginners need easy accessibility to guitar lore at their hearth side. So awake or asleep they can listen to tunes they are working on.

Gaining fluency, can take 'years' depending on approach: lackadaisical or applied sustained effort. Over time, consistence, and your positive mental attitude will make or break you.

The wise know there is no one single perfect path to guitar badness. Except the path of daily devotion.

The amount of study necessary to learn the crafting of music will vary with the individual.

Parents and students need a plan and a schedule. Take the long view and enjoy yourself while putting in the hours.

Practice regularly but keep things in perspective. There will be good days and ho hum days. Don't make unrealistic goals. Have some fun or it wont get done!

Intervallic knowledge allows you to express yourself more fully and achieve greater musical satisfaction.

As Mr. Billy Gibbons himself says" Learning your I - IV - V is important".

"The secret to ZZTops success was only using 3 chords in a song" - is an another of my favorite quips of his. Pop music is simple and has rules. Ramones Rock is approachable. Social Distortion have a great rhythm section too. Guitar Bands. Turn it up!

Choose Value Guitar Lessons

New guitar students, even before deciding that learning guitar is something you want to spend considerable time and money doing, you should have a guitar reference book. Makes a nice gift too.

If its well written, attractive and ready to hand, it may become well thumbed and lead to responsible practice.

A map and a compass to help you reach your destination. Where ever your muse may guide you.

great book analyzing song writing mechanicsHow to Write songs on Keyboards

This book is a wake up call to that hazy and amphorous part of you which is your unformed , early, evolving musical persona. Even diamonds like our potential selves start life as lumps of coal. Our educated author Rikky Rooksby, possesses major musical juju.

He shows us, using the keyboard, instead of the guitar, what goes into to various types of songs' structures. Guitarists can only gain from this knowledge while acquainting themselves with the keyboard in a far easier to come to grips with style of teaching. Rather than learning to play as if you were going to be a concert pianist, we are shown key board fingerings for the various types of song. There is basic music theory too leading up to the three chord trick and the subsequent variations of many of your favorite hit songs. Learn how to use that keyboard gathering dust.

Its also serves as what I like to call, a musical reference book which I guarantee you'll come back to again and again. Graphically enjoyable, well expailned and without affectation.

You dont need to read music and can use the innovative piano triad charts. While away hours of time without the so-called drudgery of practice or not. An asymetrical teaching classic!

 

Guitar Rhythm complete guideRhythm Guitar Complete Guide

A C-A-G-E-D method and tied for first place and suitable for flat pickers, acoustic and electric guitar students is Bruce Buckingham's book and digital disc set Rhythm Guitar the Complete Guide. Many of us are looking for the best bang for our buck and this book and digital lesson combo set is, in my many years of experience, a top choice. More...

gutiar scale guru coverGuitar Scale Guru

This is a great introduction to C-A-G-E-D system scales and their inherent overlaying chords in a really friendly easy to See & Read, laying flat on the desk, non-confusing format. Its a great book. An inspired book.

Snap this up if you can find it. Its got large easy to read layout and graphics. It doesn't have every scale in the world. Its got what you need to understand. All the Keys certainly both sharp and flat, major, minor and a whole lot besides.
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Chop Builder for guitarChop Builder by Joe Stump

This rock-metal-shred oriented electric guitar entry from the Berklee College of Music is pretty darn good. I practice the exercises I learned from it everyday and its made a big difference in my playing. There are a couple of things to be aware of More...

 

Randy Rhoads Style GuitarHow to play like Randy Rhoads

Randy's Mom was a music teacher and still operates a music school in L.A. From a young age he was formally trained and could play Spanish type guitar as well as read music too. There is a lot of cool material here particularly for electric guitar stylists looking for practice exercises. More...

 

Mastering Fretboard HarmonyMastering Fret board Harmony I & II

These Mastering  Fret board Harmony Lessons will change the way you think about the guitar neck. They open up many, alternative voicings and take a lot of the guess work out of guitar playing. You will begin to appreciate how the notes are laid out rather than find them a chore. If you do the exercises and follow along they will give you a great overview of the notes lay out in patterns on parallel strings. This delivers advanced level techniques right to your door and no college loan to pay back... Check it Out

 

CAGED or C-A-G-E-D learn guitar systemC-A-G-E-D Guitar System DVD I, II III

Out of my collection of over 100 Guitar instructional lessons and comprising 3 separately sold presentations; the C-A-G-E-D Guitar System I, II and III by Ernie Hawkins is tied for my number one suggestion for any beginner with an acoustic guitar ! Read more

 

Guide to Better Practicing the Acoustic GuitarA Guitarists Guide to Better Practicing

Another must have entry for the best beginners guitar instructional lesson. If just starting out on guitar and wanting to start with sound fingerstyle and/or flat pick practice principles. Laid back but rooted in serious guitar music! Even if you've been playing in a desultory fashion for years your timing will get back on the good foot by studying this presentation by Peter Huttlinger. Do More...

 

Acoustic Guitar Rhythm RiffsProgressive fingerstyle rhythm riffs for Acoustic Guitar

Bob Brozman what a player and of so many acoustic styles! Happily this is a great testament by Bob and his total 'all body' approach to Progressive Acoustic Rhythm Guitar. Andy McKee, Jon Gomm, Antoine Dufour, Mike Daws are also names associated with this whole new percussive style. More...

 

Guitar Rhythm Styles and techniquesRhythm Styles and Techniques!!!

I'm psyched about this particular guitar lesson and have practiced it more than any other. Its a great warm up too and you learn something new every time. I can personally vouch for the exercises within. These are the fundamental practice concepts you need to use in order to develop your guitar rhythm. But in a way you don't mind doing over and over.
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The Fundamental things apply...

Lesson one:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
--- Calvin Coolidge 30th US President

As a dedicated guitar student, and feeling I had information of interest, worthy of sharing, with guitar players just like me, who spend money to further their guitar experience.

I jotted down a few of my most remarkable observations about my guitar lesson collection.

I guarantee beginning guitar players, at least, will find it useful.

The guitar education Industry is leaning towards paid subscription and on line lessons and could the below list be part of the reason why guitar students are looking for a better lesson?

I also hope to establish a customer rights bench mark for the guitar education industry with bare minimum standards & rules:

  • Always give us a pamphlet or .PDF
  • Immediately tell us the instructors signal chain and amp settings.
  • Don't be afraid to teach us basic music theory.
  • Always show us both of the instructors hands. If you want to show us his face or an artistic shot do a PIP.
  • Consider a diagonal split screen its easier on our eyes.
  • Many of us wear glasses and do not have the vision that you think everyone has.
  • Frame the shots so I always know what fret the instructor is on. Don't get too tight.
  • Use 3 cameras. Do Not zoom in and out or pan the shot. It makes us dizzy.
  • Make Full Screen a reality.
  • Spare us the poorly designed digital players.
  • Always explain the backing track and teach us the chords. Have them in the .PDF with chord charts and scale pattern charts standard.
  • We want more right hand, what is the pattern strum, How many bpm? All down, Alternating? Tell us!
  • Count the time out loud for us several times.
  • If there is fingerpicking or open tunings tell us on the cover. Show us at least  3 exercises for same within the lesson. Have them in the .PDF.
  • Have a layman meaningful lesson difficulty rating system printed out on the cover and make it industry standard.

The writing on the wall suggests the DVD is obsolete. I disagree. 10 years ago, I signed up for a paid thing and found I never used it. Of course it wasn't as slick as todays offerings.

Its my feeling, and as a general rule, practically speaking paid subscriptions best use is after you have learned the basics.

I could be wrong but its nice to keep your options open and a pity to waste What's already on sale and a good deal.

Learning guitar is more economical with a book(s) and a few DVDs. Live human help is even better. Say a talented family member.

Cross Platform is as Cross Platform Does

How many of you have done a guitar lesson on your iwatch or iphone screen or tablet even? If given a choice wouldn't you use a full size monitor?

Herein I organize and ruminate about over a hundred, mostly electric guitar lessons. Its taken me close to 3 years on and off to seriously watch and play along to all the lessons and to sum it up.

While there is no way anyone can assimilate 100% of all that so quickly, it has improved my playing. Practicing the right exercises every day has been the real reason though.

Still I do not claim to be a virtuoso guitar player or have all the answers or even all the questions. But I get better every day I practice and sometimes even when I don't. Its called momentum - this you generate yourself - its the secret sauce.

Initially learning guitar is like swimming, you have to keep moving or sink. Occasionally you catch a good wave and play above your level.

So, just like you, probably, I examine each guitar lesson with an aim to answering a couple of basic questions.

1. Am I ready for this or do I still need to learn to physically & theoretically apply the underlaying musical  concepts? Do I need more practice perhaps?

2. Does the lesson supply the above practice exercises and concepts I need or is it merely a teaser lesson causing frustration?

I have learned there is no one perfect lesson. You'll always have more questions.

But after reviewing enough of them I kept coming back to the same answer to the same old tired question. What do I practice?

Q. What do all these lessons have in common?

A. Mechanics and Framework. They have basic fret boards moves in common using the major scale and they have more specific position playing. Mechanics means guitar in hand and fingers pressed down. That's one hand. The other hand is your control or your timing which you develop by practice strumming and counting out loud doing different dead simple 4 to the bar variations.

This commonality is why guitar players of all stripes: blues, gypsy jazz and blue grass for example can musically communicate with one another.

Musicians speak the same FUNDAMENTAL language but have their own regional accents or styles. Counting time properly keeps you in synchronization. Knowing how notes work together to create harmony is well worth the effort.