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14 March 2008 @ 07:12 pm
et tu, brute  
O wise flist, advise me.

I'm not a terribly musical person, but I did learn piano for twelve years and pass Grade 8 (which is like graduating from the technological college of classical music). Pianos aren't very portable instruments and it's hard to get attached to them. Mine is currently infested with butterflies.

It's most likely the terrible bandom influence, but I came to the decision - this morning - that I'd like to learn to play guitar. I think you can use the verb that way - 'play guitar', not 'play a guitar', but as I said, all my musical knowledge is piano-based. You can 'play piano', so.

I said as much to my mother.

ME: Can I get a guitar for my birthday?
Mother: A guitar? It used to be a violin.
ME: Yes, it did used to be a violin. When I was twelve.
Mother: What would you do with a guitar?
Me: I don't know. Wear it as a dress?

She laughed and went off. I did not get that reaction when I asked for a PDA for the wards, which is the story of my life, really.

In a nutshell, I know that guitars can be acoustic or electric and may sometimes be blue. I assume there's not as many notes involved and that they're written differently, which is fine, because I wasn't that crash-hot at sight-reading anyway, and a decrease in the amount of musical notation involved can only be a good thing. I have no interest in taking exams, because they sucked all the joy out of my piano-learning experience and, well. Scales. That's all I have to say about that.

So, can anyone tell me where I should start? And what kind of guitar I should look for? And any recommendations for primers? I don't know if I'd bother with a teacher - more to the point, I can't see myself finding one in the immediate vicinity.

I'm looking down the nozzle of a long dark summer of studying for USMLEs, and I think I need an outlet. Have eyeliner; will travel.
Current Mood: geekygeeky
Current Music: song for you (alexi murdoch)
lecharmediscret on March 14th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
I learnt piano first too, then taught myself guitar for a bit. I used a beginners book written by Debbie Cracknell which I found quite good. It's aimed at people who know nothing about music, but it's not patronizing, and good on how it starts you on the guitar. It's worth considering at least, even if you find a better/more suitable primer. Good luck!
lecharmediscret on March 14th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)

and there it is! the internet loves me. though as before, it's probably better to have a look inside the actual book and look at others before you fork over your money for any of them.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: red tiesscoradh on March 14th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
All I'm looking for, really, is a primer that someone's used before and had an acceptable level of success with. There were a couple lying around in my school's practice rooms, and. Well. Let us say they weren't exactly rocket science. Thanks for the rec!

(Oh boy, how much do I love fans?)
post potter omnia tristes estspare_change on March 14th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
I used to play piano, although I certainly never got as far as you did.

I switched to guitar because they're more fun and easier to play. I'm pretty terrible at guitar, but the beautiful thing is that all you need to know are a few basic chords and you can play 90% of pop music. I wouldn't worry about scales or reading music for now -- just learn the hand shapes for the open chords and how to do the barre chords. This will literally take, like, half an hour.

The hardest part is building up your callouses, which will take a couple of days.

You can probably find a decent primer online. I had some links a while back -- if I find them I'll c&p them in. Once you know the very rudimentary basics, you can google your favorite songs and what chords they use, and then start strumming along. That's what I did when I started playing again a couple of years ago.

As for electric versus acoustic -- honestly, I think it mostly just depends on the music you want to play. If all your favorite bands use fuzz and distortion, then playing an acoustic isn't going to feel satisfying.

Anyway, all this is from a crap non-serious occasional guitar player, who still manages to get quite a lot of fun out of it. Infinitely easier than piano, IMHO.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Twins playing keyboardscoradh on March 14th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
My teacher kicked me out in the end because I wasn't practising. Or well I was, but not scales. Did I properly convey my hatred of scales in that post?

Mmm, that sounds good, but I've never really played by ear before. Plus, I was always told that I was bad at ear tests - not that my teacher was the fuzziest bunny in the patch anyway - but that leaves scars.

That sounds like fun and exactly what I want to do. While playing Beethoven is ultimately rewarding, it's really hard work and people don't recognise it anyway.

fuzz and distortion

Yeah, see, I don't even know what that is. Much to learn, much to learn.

I was told once that piano was the hardest instrument to play, because you had to use all your fingers at once? I dno.
gwathhenationgwathhenation on March 15th, 2008 06:47 am (UTC)
Beethoven can be fun to!
I think every musician states that their primary instrument is the hardest to play, because they are self-aggrandizing like that. Granted, piano is the only one that asks you to play in more than one metre simultaneously (I hate two over three, as effective as it can sound), but then if you hit a note, it will play. I tried French horn once and trying to get the exact pitch the first time via embrouchure and experience when half the notes are the same fingering, is pretty hard. Whereas flute is comparatively easy for me in some senses, the music tends to ask you to do really impossibly demanding things that a French horn player would never have to. It all depends on where your strengths lie, really.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: SGA: waste of makeupscoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Beethoven can be fun to!
Oh, I'm not claiming piano is the hardest. I've never played any other instrument, so I have no basis for comparison. That's just what I was told. I reckon the string instruments must be pretty difficult, what with all the weird muscle power required. And breathing techniques for wind. All you need for piano is a lot of patience.
gwathhenationgwathhenation on March 16th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
Re: Beethoven can be fun to!
Oh no, I wasn't accusing you of that! More like the people I'm surrounded by daily as a result of studying music in university. They tend to be equal parts nice/conceited, for the most part (granted, they do have to be competitive if they want to make a career out of it).

And sadly for me, a lot of practice on piano doesn't cut it. I still suck ;).
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: P!ATD: squaresscoradh on March 14th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
Okay, my first reaction to this reply of awesomeness? Fender Strat! Is that not the guitar from the film 10 things I hate about you?

But anyway. Don't apologise! This was exactly the information I was hoping my query would provide. My flist rocks. ♥

The strings thing, first. Thank you. When I say I don't have a clue, I really mean it. I'm not sure how I would tell if the guitar sounded flat - I can tell when a piano is untuned, but I'm not going to trust my musical instincts that far, yet. And six strings starting, okay.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure the music I'd like to emulate is all done on electric guitars. On the other hand, the outlay on one would probably be excessive for a beginner, yes? I'm thinking amps and ... other stuff, plus they're louder. I presume I can work up to one if I persist, or is there a totally different techique involved? I know keyboards and pianos have almost nothing in common.

(I thought that said 'The Big Gay Book of Chords' at first).

A chord - in piano that's three keys, so in guitar that means three strings, I guess. I'm aiming for the barest proficiency. My piano teachers did their best to grind any initiative out of me, so I'd rather take this on my own terms.

Are there any pitfalls I should watch out for when buying the actual guitar? Aside from being convinced to drop five hundred quid on one, or something. :D

PS Thank you!

(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: SGA: whales made us do itscoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
The guitar is good fun and something to pull out when you're bored.

Yeah! Because my piano isn't exactly portable, and my dad drew the line at getting a minifridge into my flat.

Thank you again; hopefully I will sound all-knowing and wise when the time comes. :D
HD Darkensawhdluff4eva on March 14th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
Generally, one starts with an Acoustic Guitar and take some lessons, weather online or from a teacher. Or rent an acoustic and learn the scales and go for an electric, but don't buy an electric before you know how to play.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Medieval - seeing someonescoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
Sound advice, I got that impression all right. Acoustic it is, then!
LOL, SCONErolling_scone on March 14th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
um, my brother has started playing, but I haven't really gotten involved :P but he started on an acoustic, and cranked up the speaker volume as soon as he got an electric. I think it depends on how many people you want to have to suffer from your learning. my brother evidently wants the entire neighbourhood to clutch at their ears in horror/pain.

I can ask him what he started with in class if you want. :)))
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Marie Antoinettescoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
God, that sounds like this kid on the village estate who plays drums all night. My brother said they could hear him all the way through football training.

All info is good info! ♥
LOL, SCONErolling_scone on March 15th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
um, my bro said they start with learning chords and easy songs. (my dad says my brother plays 'smoke on the water' and some metallica songs, and then in the middle of everything 'lille katt' --which means 'little kitty' XDD)

um, there are more sound effects with electric guitars, so you use it differently from an acoustic, and in my bro's opinion, it's way cooler with an electric. :P it was nice having a reason to talk to him for once
purelytaintedktpurelytaintedkt on March 15th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
I'm a singer, and I tried to play piano. I'm one of those horrible people who can not read music. I can tell you what the notes are, and what the speed is. But I can't sing it without hearing it, and I can't watch the music and read it fast enough to play. I took lessons for years and was in honor choir for years. If I hear it about three or four times and I can sing it, and if I see someone play it, and practice, I can play it. or I play by ear. I had the HP theme the da da da da dum dum dum dad da da da daaaa from the movies. You know the bell one, catchy as hell. I played that because it was in my head by accident.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Austen with a bookscoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC)
It took me at least six years before I could read music without having to write in all the notes first. It's a very bad way to do it, like doing sums on your fingers (something I'm also guilty of).

I'm not very fast at reading it either, I just tend to use motor memory. My teacher hated that - she kept screaming 'LOOK AT THE NOTES, LOOK AT THE NOTES!'
piano_wizard1 on March 15th, 2008 10:04 am (UTC)
Learn the guitar
If you want to learn guitar, you should try Guitar Wizard, which is coming out this fall (just a few months away). Guitar Wizard is a video game which will teach you how to play a guitar and read notes as well. Nah, it's not another Guitar Hero game (we do have a lot of fun playing Guitar Hero but the down side of it is that we never really are going to learn how to play guitar with it) because you would learn to play guitar within a month. Guitar Wizard also comes with a real guitar. You can even learn to play virtually ANY song with Guitar Wizard. To know more about Guitar Wizard, you can read this article at http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS216885+15-Jan-2008+PRN20080115.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cinderellascoradh on March 15th, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Learn the guitar
Thanks, I'll check it out!
----- ---- ------doomette on March 17th, 2008 11:29 am (UTC)

I'm friending you because I think I'm a little bit in love with your fic, and you seem interesting. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Dinosaur: attracted to musicscoradh on March 22nd, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Well, thank you! Welcome aboard. ♥