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Learning To Play The Guitar

Discussion in 'Open Chat' started by Kevin, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    For Christmas 2011 I decided to give my wife, Cindy, something totally different & unexpected. Guitar lessons. :D

    It started when she was in her teens and expressed a desire how to learn so her parents gave her a guitar as a present. 20+ years later she still had the guitar from all those years ago but the self-taught lessons had not succeeded as well. This year I aim to fix that.

    Several months before Christmas I started doing some research. Scouring the internet I read all of the reviews I could find on local guitar instructors and compiled a list. From there I followed-up by placing a few phone calls to those that caught my attention and finally paid a personal visit to a couple. In the end I got extremely lucky by finding an instructor that was close to our house, had a good reputation, was involved in the community, and had a good personality.

    Knowing that Cindy might not be comfortable with one-to-one sessions I spoke with the instructor and made arrangements for both of us to take lessons. Yep, one instructor for a husband & wife students both taking lessons with nearly the same skill set. Not an arrangement you normally come across.

    I mention nearly the same skill set because I have not read sheet music nor even attempted to since my days of taking clarinet lessons back in the early 80's. Cindy on the other hand had flute lessons as a kid and is a member of her church's choir & bell choir so she is more fluent with sheet music than I. When it comes to the guitar, though, we are on par.

    With an instructor found I then started preparations for Christmas day. I started by asking Cindy to not get me anything because I was planning on something for both of us and there would be additional expenses in the new year. No matter how much she tried pressing me for information I wouldn't explain but she said she'll go along. I prepaid for several weeks of lessons and got a gift certificate that I could give to her on Christmas but it would have been boring to just put the certificate in a card so I had something better planned. I found a fake gift box, roughly the size of a shoe box, for "speaker slippers" that looked totally real. It has pictures on the front of fuzzy slippers with speakers in the middle of the top of them along with descriptions on how to use them. It even promoted that you could use them as headphones by putting a slipper up to each of your years. Inside of that box I put the certificate, wrapped it up nice & neat, and tried not to laugh. The look on her face unwrapping the box was totally worth it. :ROFLMAO:

    This past weekend was our first lesson. Oooooh, that could have gone better.

    Turns out there was a slight communications failure between the instructor, myself, and the local Guitar Center shop. When talking about "acoustic" guitars there are a few different types. At its simplest "Classical" or "Spanish" refers to a nylon string guitar while "Acoustic" refers to a steel string. So, yes, it would be an acoustic Acoustic guitar. Something else I did not realize: typically classical guitars are finger-plucked without using a pick while steel strings use a pick. The instructor had assumed we would be showing up with steel string guitars. We showed up with nylon string guitars. Whoops! :o While back at the shop for an exchange it turns out that it is a mistake which happens frequently.

    We've got a long way to go with the lessons but we will have some fun along the way.



    PS: For anybody who is curious about the joke gift box I used you can see pics of it at PrankPack.com (no, I did not pay those prices... got them much cheaper at the local Bed, Bath, & Beyond).
     
  2. actionavenue

    actionavenue Artist, Cartoonist and Dude

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    Impressive. There's always hope for learning a musical instrument. My wife and I tried to learn guitar playing (on a pair of acoustic guitars we owned) and found it tricky. To be fair, we probably couldn't devote enough time to proper practice. We just bought a couple of harmonicas and are trying to learn how to play. Again, not as easy as it looks, but we're trying.
     
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Practice time is the big thing killing us right now; not enough time in the week. The only good thing is that we are taking lessons from an instructor so at least once a week we have no excuse as to why we're not working on it.

    I hadn't thought of harmonicas! They'd definitely be easier to carrier around than a guitar.
     
  4. actionavenue

    actionavenue Artist, Cartoonist and Dude

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    Yeah, and a harmonica is a little more economical than a guitar. The only thing is that a harmonica will wear out. The instructional/care book indicates that average lifespan of a harmonica with proper use and care is about eight months.
     
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Is that 8 months for just the reed or the entire thing?! :eek:
     
  6. actionavenue

    actionavenue Artist, Cartoonist and Dude

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa
    Well, first of all, let me go back and correct myself, Kevin. I went back and looked at my "Playing the Harmonica" book (by Dave Oliver) in the section called "Care of your Harmonica" and I made a mistake. Oliver did not specify an average time in months that a harmonica should last. He stated that pro players can get a few months out of one (and that is playing everyday for a couple of hours at a time), while beginners such as myself and my wife can get a little longer use. Not really sure where I got 8 months, obviously, I got confused about something else when I initially wrote my reply to you. I apologize for that, I want to be accurate in my postings! In regards to reeds, Oliver stated that a harmonicas can be repaired and replacement reeds can be found to be installed, however, for the price of doing all that, a person just as well go out and by a new harmonica since a decent one is not terribly expensive. (I feel like I want to call it a "harp" like most bluesmen prefer to call it, but I feel that I haven't earned the right to my harmonica a harp yet....since I still kind of stink at it!) LOL
     
  7. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    This weekend our instructor has started us learning chords starting with G, D, Em, and C.

    Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch... :cry:
     
  8. astonwest

    astonwest Writing Fool Writer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas
    Trying to teach myself the electric guitar...and I also suffer from a lack of spare time to practice... :|
     
  9. AlphaBot

    AlphaBot Cadet

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    I taught gitbox in music stores for fifteen long years. I can answer any theory and most tech questions but my advice is to have fun and don't expect much unless you put in hundreds of hours.
    Then, don't immediately write songs and subject friends or harmless coffeeshop patrons to them. Go find some real players and see if you can eventually sit in.
    There's a million guitar players now so if you are still at the chordbanging stage, wait a bit. There may be a slot upcoming for the new Bob Dylan. The other nine million of you should keep your day jobs. ):D
     
  10. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Fortunately we have no expectations out of it. Learning to play was something that my wife had always wanted to do and I thought it'd make a neat Christmas present. She would like to get to the point of being able to play for her church choir. My goal on the other hand is to get to the point where on a summer evening I can sit out in my backyard with a pitcher of iced tea and strum while watching the fireflies with my dog. :D

    Trust me, I won't be quitting the day job for another 20 years or so... it pays the mortgage.
     

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