New guitarist, first acoustic guitar and new strings

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T42T42 Frets: 13
OK so ive wanted to play guitar for a while so for xmas the wife and kids got me a new guitar.
I have the following;

Fender T300 guitar
Marshal Cube 50 amp
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

I also have the usual kit like the foot rest, electronic tuner and capo.

I have also just restrung the guitar using Elixir Acoustic Nanoweb (custom light) strings.

I would love to be able to play but after a week my fingers hurt and I sound like cr4p. I am realistic so realise that it will take ages to learn and im happy with that.
I have been practicing with an iPhone app called yousician and ive definitely picked up on loads as I can hit a string whereas before I couldn't.

I have been watching plenty of youtube videos, particularly a guy called Marty Schwartz as his videos look decent.

I am struggling to grasp the art of learning and memorising chords, changing from one chord to another and also strumming.

Ive joined as the forum looked like a good community so thought I could learn quicker if I spoke with people here.
Im willing to learn, have plenty of free time as I travel a lot so let the music begin :)
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Sack off Yousician and head to justinguitar.com

    Or even better take some face to face lessons if you can afford to. 
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  • Balrog68Balrog68 Frets: 35
    Practice,practice and practice some more.
    Find some songs that contain 3 or 4 chords and play it until your fingers automatically form those chords...muscle memory.
    Set small goals and achieve them, that encourages you to set another.
    Practice for at least half an hour every day and within a month your fingers won't hurt anymore.
    And most importantly have fun!
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2176
    Welcome! Stick with it. The journey IS the destination.
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18845
    edited January 5
    Just looked up the gauge of strings you’re using - 11-52. These aren’t heavy compared to what some people play on their acoustics - but they are pretty heavy if you’re completely new to the instrument.

    The cheapest option - rather than buying a new set of strings - is to capo the guitar at the second fret and retune it (downwards) so the second fret notes are the same as the open strings would have been using your electronic tuner.

    This will do two things:

    1. The string tension will be lower - hence easier on your fingers

    2. Stretches will be slightly shorter - which should make things easier.

    Hand strength takes time to develop - don’t be afraid of making things a bit easier at first.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2012
    Welcome to the forum, and to the wonderful world of guitar.

    All new guitarists press too hard. It is this pressure, more than lack of calluses, which causes painful finger tips.
    BRISTOL86 said:
    ... head to justinguitar.com
    One of Justin Sandercoe's lessons is about learning just how much/little finger pressure you need to use.

    BRISTOL86 said:
    ... take some face to face lessons if you can afford to. 
    Think of lessons as coaching. You can learn a lot from books and videos, but it's difficult to watch yourself while you're playing. A good coach can do just that. (This from a man who has never had a lesson in his life, but would have progresses much more quickly if he had)


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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    Well I am so chuffed I joined this forum.
    I downloaded the justin guitar app as per @BRISTOL86 and am shocked at how good it is.
    I have been on it for a couple of hours since it was posted here and ive gone through the first 6 stages and got my 2 first chords from 20bpm upto 140bpm !!!
    Now im only doing 2 chords and granted, it is a repeat change repeat process but its more than I was doing earlier and at least the guitar is now starting to make a sound that it was meant too so im well happy.

    I will be taking more lessons, would ideally like to find someone enthusiastic local to me but that will come in time and im in no rush as I am realistic in realising that this is a long term process.
    If I can play some decent bob marley solos before summer I will be over the moon :)
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Great stuff! Justin’s course is widely acknowledged as the best beginners resource out there. 

    I’m out and about at the moment but as a relative newcomer myself, I’ll pop back tomorrow with some more detailed thoughts on my journey so far and some of it may be helpful for you!
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 3196
    Good man, don't scrimp on the concentrated effort in the early days, it will suddenly click if you keep going. Go for it

    And if there's anything good about me, I'm the only one who knows

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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    BRISTOL86 said:
    Great stuff! Justin’s course is widely acknowledged as the best beginners resource out there. 

    I’m out and about at the moment but as a relative newcomer myself, I’ll pop back tomorrow with some more detailed thoughts on my journey so far and some of it may be helpful for you!
    Really appreciate your replies guys. Seriously helpful so thank you.

    Im willing to keep going so no issue there but ive had to put the guitar down now as my fingers sting :)

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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 296
    T42 said:

    I am struggling to grasp the art of learning and memorising chords, changing from one chord to another and also strumming.


    T,  chords - find a song u like - learn the chord shapes and forget the song - start with a slow beat - move through the sequence of chords and change - say every 4 beats (what suites u). Once u get that down - change the 'shape' (in sequence) every 2 beats - and so on. U can speed it up when u'r ready.
    Then you can go back to working on the song / strum sequence and sing, hum or whistle along.
    I used to play to the beat of the song and change chord shape very beat  speeding it up every few cycles to double the speed of the song - till it becomes 2nd nature.
    Work through the initial nippie finger tips - I get that when I haven't played for a while.
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 690
    The key to making clean and quick transitions from one chord to another is to have all the required fingers land on the fretboard in the right shape at the same time, rather than your brain having to think about each finger and where it is supposed to go. Muscle memory knows the shape, and already has your fingers sorted out on the way down. Here’s something to try to help programme that muscle memory...

    Get your fingers into position on a chord you want to memorise. It doesn’t matter how long it takes the first time, just make sure things sound clean and clear. Then, as you strum the strings ease up the pressure until the strings you’re holding down stop ringing clearly. BUT don’t lift your fingers all the way off the string. They still want to be touching the string, just not pushing down onto the fret. Then reapply the pressure so they ring clearly again. Repeat this “pulse” a few times.

    This is also a good time to experiment with the amount of pressure you need to apply to fret cleanly - you’re aiming for the minimum pressure needed without dead strings and rattles. Any more is wasted effort and will slow you down.

    Back to the exercise...Keep your pulse going, but ever so gradually start to lift your fingers a tiny bit of the strings...like 1mm ... when you relax the pressure. If you find that you’re not able to come back down with a clean chord, go back to the pulse with the fingers still touching.

    Keep repeating, gradually tryjng to lift your fingers a little further off the strings each time. With practice, you’ll be able to lift your fingers all the way off and relax them,and then snap down into the pre-formed chord shape. Do this with other chords and before long you’ll be able to snap between them without having to think of more than what chord you want to play.


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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    Thanks.

    How long did it take you guys to initially learn the names of the chords so that someone could say to you make a C and you could do it.
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 296
    not long - minuets maybe, I was 13 but had played mandolin and banjo
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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    jeez, im really struggling with that.
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 296
    T, I deliberately put my age on that post - when yer that age your a buzzing sponge socking up all that stimulates you.
    Stop worrying so much 'n enjoy the ride.
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  • SparkySparky Frets: 85
    edited January 7
    @T42, don't put yourself under pressure to achieve something within a certain time frame- it's likely you will disappoint yourself and the downward spiral starts from there. Everyone learns at a different pace so just be consistent with a daily practice routine and it WILL come. Justin Guitar is a great start and lessons (if you can afford them) will help enormously. 

    It's likely that if you ask any guitar player, none of them will be where they want to be-we are all just at different stages of the endless journey. Just enjoy your progress at your own pace.

    Keep playing!
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  • JayceeJaycee Frets: 26
    Have a look at http://www.guitarprinciples.com/ Most tutorial sites tell you what to do, Jamie tells you HOW to do it.
    +1 on Justin Sandercoe

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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Hi @T42 and sorry for the delay in revisiting this. 

    Here are some thoughts of mine from my roughly two year journey so far that hopefully may help. All of this is in no particular order and is just as and when I think of things. 

    1) Try and stick to one source of tuition. Whether that’s Justin’s website or another, try and avoid mixing and matching, especially if following something as well structured as Justin’s course. At this stage in your learning then I’d massively advocate sticking to one well structured course and Justin’s course is world renowned as being the best free resource there is for people in your position. Try and work trough the course meticulously and don’t be tempted to jump around/ahead no matter how boring or basic something seems. Believe me when I say this. 

    2) You have to be prepared for a lot of frustration, and maybe some boredom in the early months and even years. But building up from first principles is absolutely crucial and if you give yourself a solid foundation (ie Justin’s beginners course) then the things you try and build upon those foundations will be so much more stable. 

    3) Take your guitar to a professional and get it ‘setup’. Badly setup guitars - especially acoustics - are probably the number one source of beginner frustration and if your guitar isn’t set up properly then you’re in for a world of hurt that’s completely avoidable for a very small cost. 

    4) Practice every single day, even if only for 5 minutes. 15 minutes a day is SO much better than 5 hours once a week.  

    5) Every time you pick up the guitar, try and have a clear aim of what you’re going to do (I’m going to learn a new chord, I’m going to work on my C to G change, I’m going to do some picking practice, etc.) 

    6) Do theee two exercises for 5 minutes each per day. Honestly, just do them. I only found these very recently and wish I had found them when I first started as they have been the single biggest help in improving my fretting hand dexterity. They’ll feel absolutely impossible to begin with but in a week or two you’ll be amazed at the difference. 

    https://youtu.be/7qMCa7ZVcVg

    https://youtu.be/WQWpiAt_QM4

    7) Be prepared to go months and months feeling like you’re getting nowhere, then one day you’ll find that something you’ve struggled with for weeks/months has now clicked. This is normal. 

    8) Record yourself as much as possible so that every month you can look back and see how far you’ve come. You’ll be amazed. 

    9) This is the single biggest thing for me....

    You have to realise that as you get better, as do your expectations and ambitions grow. Improvement is not a linear thing. For example right now you’ll be thrilled at being able to change from a C to a G quickly and cleanly. In six months time that will be second nature and now you won’t be happy if you can’t change chords all through a song quickly and cleanly. 

    Then in another year you’ll be annoyed because you can’t nail that solo, which right now you’ll tell yourself you’ll never be able to do. 

    The moral of this of course is that it’s all about the journey, not the destination. It’s so important to have fun and keep sight of where you’ve come from, especially when you’re down on yourself about the things you can’t do - remind yourself of the things you can do which you felt you never would. 

    10) If you can, get lessons from a tutor, especially if you get to a point where you feel like you've taken yourself as far as possible. I had my first lesson with a new tutor the other night and just 10 minutes in he pointed out a bad habit that’s been really holding me back. I’d have never known without an expert eye looking at what I was doing and that alone has probably saved me a year of frustration. 
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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    Brilliant reply and thank you so much for taking the time.
    I am going to be doing these excersises and ill let you know how it goes.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 606
    One tip only:

    Make sure your guitar is in a place you can pick it up and play in 5 seconds. I can't tell you how many things have 'clicked' in those couple of minutes of playing while I'm waiting for the wife to get ready.
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  • If you get a chance, alongside practising chords and playing technique, a decent working knowledge of music theory is invaluable for learning about chords and musical patterns, major/minor equivalents, etc. Studying some basic theory alongside practice can work wonders, and it's not as complicated as you think. There are loads of starter books on the subject with practical exercises to help you. Happy playing! Starting a new instrument is one of the best things a human can do.
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  • BahHumbugBahHumbug Frets: 123
    Just to add my two penorth.  Guitar is actually quite a difficult instrument to get started on.  On say, a keyboard, it's basically a case of pressing down a key to make a note.  You can do this with one finger.  On the guitar, however, to make a single note you need to fret the string with a finger of one hand (and you need to do that bit right), and then with the other hand pluck the string to make the note sound.  This requires coordination between both hands to make a single note.  As soon as you introduce chords, the fretting bit suddenly gets much harder......as you will have found.
    So it's difficult.  Be very patient with it and with yourself.  And ignore any video, app or person who claims that it can be done easily.
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  • beed84beed84 Frets: 1204
    To add to what everyone else has said so far, the beginning stages of learning guitar are training your hands to do things they're not used to doing, such as changing between chords. As your muscle memory develops, swapping between A and E for example will be a much easier process. My advice would be to enjoy the challenge of making your foundations sound good. It'll take a bit of time, maybe a few months, but you'll reap the benefits for doing so.

    Good luck :)
    "Life is full of disappointments. And by disappointments I mean people" -- Kambri Crews
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  • TAMCOTAMCO Frets: 9
    Make sure that the action - the distance between the fretboard and the underside of the strings - isn't too high as this will put unneeded strain on your fretting hand. Get the action set by your local guitar shop/tech/luthier.

    Rest your fretting hand regularly, don't overdo it, and trust that you will get better day by day.

    Steve

    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk
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  • OletimerOletimer Frets: 1
    This thread has answered more questions than I was going to ask, I'm so glad I read it through.
    George
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  • NikcNikc Frets: 97
    keep the guitar out and to hand picking it up and playing every day makes a massive difference - repetition is your best friend. 

    Justin guitar is a great resource but a decent tutor would be better. I've gone from awful bedroom hack to someone people actually want to play with in 8 months. lessons and actual practice are the key ;) 
     
    Most of all enjoy it :)
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  • T42T42 Frets: 13
    Nikc said:
    keep the guitar out and to hand picking it up and playing every day makes a massive difference - repetition is your best friend. 

    Justin guitar is a great resource but a decent tutor would be better. I've gone from awful bedroom hack to someone people actually want to play with in 8 months. lessons and actual practice are the key ;) 
     
    Most of all enjoy it :)
    Thanks :)
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