New Starter Learning tips please

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xwaspfanxwaspfan Frets: 11
edited December 2017 in Theory
Hi, My new Slash Epiphone AFD II guitar arriving today and I am determined this time to stick this out and learn but not give up like I have in the past.

I hope I have posted this into the correct place, and apologies if this has been asked before, although I did have a quick scout around to make sure it hadn't.


Now I am older I have convinced myself I am a more logical learner than I used to be so I believe this time I will make it work

I notice nowadays learning is much easier than my last attempt pre-internet and I have already discovered some great youtube channels Justin and Marty Shwartz for example, Isn't it so fantastic how these guys give up their time so freely but only expect you to buy low priced stuff off them in return, a great credit to them both.

So I have bookmarked several of the fine videos these guys do, and have just received my reference books on scales and chords.

My interest is rock/metal

W.A.S.P.
Guns n Roses
ACDC
Gary Moore
Whitesnake
General Blues music

The above music has inspired me to learn, and I want to do this properly, so much it hurts!!
I am 58 years old and still have the use of my fingers, although bit stiffer than they used to be :-)

I have started on a budget guitar, but have made my self a promise that when I get good I am trading this guitar in and buying a Les Paul, I am using this as another incentive to hang in there, as well as my dream to master this fine instrument.

My questions are, please could any of you experienced guys give me a possible learning order, which would involve practising my favourite music whilst learning how its put together, my kind of idea is by playing the music I love, I will be more inclined to learn the chords and scales which make that music, rather than learning mary had a little lamb.....Like it used to be many years ago :-)

I would be truly grateful for any advice, links etc on learning which you guys could chuck my way please.  I looked at the booklet which arrived yesterday called The Ultimate Scale Book by Troy Stetina and although a fantastic book it made me feel like throwing up with fear, when I saw the complexities, but then maybe I should be using this book as a reference only?

Thanks so much for reading this post, I look forward to chatting to you guys in the future.

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  • The biggest single leap for me was playing with others. 

    Yes there's important foundation work to do like open chord shapes and scales but by playing with more experienced guitarists you move on much quicker

    My Trading Feedback    |    You Bring The Band

    Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you
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  • Hi and welcome, I have been learning for just over a year and have found the justinguitar great for learning the basics.  
    The beginner course is well structured and has a plan and good flow to it. 

    I also purchased the actual books from his site to help with the course. I am now starting the intermediate course now.

    He also has songs to learn for each section as you go along with videos for all. Right from the start you have some basic versions of songs to get you into it, here is a list of all this beginner songs

    https://www.justinguitar.com/en/BS-000-BeginnersSongbook.php

    justin also has a fair amount of ac/dc song lessons and many others. Marty also does have a lot of song lessons.

    I am an ac/dc fan too and found the justinguitar beginner course great to learn the major chords, just learning the A E D C and G will get you far with ac/dc songs.

    i combined justinguitar with a guitar lessons too as the chance to discuss techniques and ask questions to someone is always handy.

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  • Hi there, guitar tutor of nearly 10 years here. 

    I would say say the most important aspects are finger strength and rhythm. If you’re playing on learning a lot of lead stuff timing is still important and finger co ordination to pick the right strings, make sure the bends are in tune etc. 

    At at the beginning it’s all muscle memory, remembering where everything is on the fretboard. Rhythm is so important as well whether it’s chords or solos. You have to work with some sort of rhythmical framework to establish any sort of solid timing. Use a metronome or some sort of drum backing track to help you play in time and get a musical groove going.

    The last thing is practice, and doing it properly. So many of learners claim they can practice on their own but who’s checking they’ve done it and they’re doing it properly? For all I know they could have practiced incorrectly and before you know it’s been a week learning to play something that doesn’t sound like what it was the last week. It takes enormous motivation to stick to a regular practice routine without quitting, but it’s good you’ve said you wanna stick it out.

    There’s many resources out there but unfortunately a lot of information on the internet is incorrect and beginners wouldn’t know. However people like Justin guitar and Marty Schwartz know what they’re on about and do great free video lessons. I do think they go quite fast though and you have to have good ears and be quick at picking it up to keep up.

    I’ll always say the best and fast way of progressing quick and in a structured way is to get a tutor but not everyone wants to do that. 

    In summary I’d say:

    - open chord shapes
    - power chords
    - picking accuracy and coordination 
    - pentatonic scale
    - learning some rhythm, basic subdivisions etc.
    - string bending, slides and hammer on techniques 

    Hope this helps. 

    Good luck.

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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    edited December 2017
    Welcome! I’ve been at this for about two years and you’ll be amazed how much progress you can make

    I highly recommend following the Justinguitar course from start to finish. It’s fantastic and there is not a better completely free, strutured resource out there. 

    I found the Internet was too full of distractions and had to buy the books instead. Should you be a fellow ‘book learner’ too then I’m selling a bundle of Justin’s books - just let me know by PM if you want them. 

    Personally I wouldn’t be looking at scale books at this stage. 
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  • m_cm_c Frets: 395
    Start with Justin's beginners course (full course is laid out on his website if you've not already found it). It gives you a very sound basis to build on, and covers lots of basic techniques, but most importantly sets you up with a good practise routine.
    Once you've done that, you should have some competent basic skills, and a better understanding on where to go next.

    As for learning music you like, find some of the simpler songs to play, and treat them as a long term target. I'm sure others will be able to give tips as to what's easy to play from those bands.

    What I will say though, is try learning songs that you might not normally listen to. I done Justin's beginners course a few years ago, and I made an attempt at most of the songs in his Beginner's Songbook (I really recommend buying a copy, as I still regularly use it). I learnt quite a few songs I wouldn't normally listen to, as they were challenging and rewarding to learn and play. If somebody told me before I started I'd enjoy playing things like Califonia Dreamin' (took me weeks to get the early changes right"!) or Wonderful Tonight (I now like a good bit of fingerstyle), I would of laughed.
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    Also, even after two years of learning, these two exercises - which I only discovered a few weeks ago - have done more for my left hand dexterity than anything else I’ve ever done:

    Do each one every day for a month and you’ll be amazed at the difference. You’ll barely be able to do it at all to begin with but in a few days you’ll be very surprised at the progress. DO NOT try and go as fast as possible, quite the opposite. 

    https://youtu.be/7qMCa7ZVcVg

    https://youtu.be/WQWpiAt_QM4
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  • Wow!! Thanks very much guys that's a great help.  I will follow your great advice and follow your links and let you know how I got on
    Thanks again very much appreciated!
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  • waspfan said:
    Hi, My new Slash Epiphone AFD II guitar arriving today and I am determined this time to stick this out and learn but not give up like I have in the past.

    I hope I have posted this into the correct place, and apologies if this has been asked before, although I did have a quick scout around to make sure it hadn't.


    Now I am older I have convinced myself I am a more logical learner than I used to be so I believe this time I will make it work

    I notice nowadays learning is much easier than my last attempt pre-internet and I have already discovered some great youtube channels Justin and Marty Shwartz for example, Isn't it so fantastic how these guys give up their time so freely but only expect you to buy low priced stuff off them in return, a great credit to them both.

    So I have bookmarked several of the fine videos these guys do, and have just received my reference books on scales and chords.

    My interest is rock/metal

    W.A.S.P.
    Guns n Roses
    ACDC
    Gary Moore
    Whitesnake
    General Blues music

    The above music has inspired me to learn, and I want to do this properly, so much it hurts!!
    I am 58 years old and still have the use of my fingers, although bit stiffer than they used to be :-)

    I have started on a budget guitar, but have made my self a promise that when I get good I am trading this guitar in and buying a Les Paul, I am using this as another incentive to hang in there, as well as my dream to master this fine instrument.

    My questions are, please could any of you experienced guys give me a possible learning order, which would involve practising my favourite music whilst learning how its put together, my kind of idea is by playing the music I love, I will be more inclined to learn the chords and scales which make that music, rather than learning mary had a little lamb.....Like it used to be many years ago :-)

    I would be truly grateful for any advice, links etc on learning which you guys could chuck my way please.  I looked at the booklet which arrived yesterday called The Ultimate Scale Book by Troy Stetina and although a fantastic book it made me feel like throwing up with fear, when I saw the complexities, but then maybe I should be using this book as a reference only?

    Thanks so much for reading this post, I look forward to chatting to you guys in the future.

    Same boat as me mate just bought a Guitar the other day it's an Epiphone Prophecy plus Les Paul....have played Bass and a bit of Acoustic guitar in the past....best of luck with the new venture hope you nail it....Unfortunately like yourself at 56 maybe left it a tad too late...but i'll give it a shot cheers Bob 


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  • Same boat as me mate just bought a Guitar the other day it's an Epiphone Prophecy plus Les Paul....have played Bass and a bit of Acoustic guitar in the past....best of luck with the new venture hope you nail it....Unfortunately like yourself at 56 maybe left it a tad too late...but i'll give it a shot cheers Bob 

    Thanks Bob nice to know we are both in the same boat
    Will be great to exchange any tips we learn on the way......i last attempted this 15 years ago but 15 years has given me a totally different mindset so with the indicate resources now available on the internet I really think I can make this work this time......my only fear is I get good but then too old to use my fingers That would be a bummer :-)



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  • The biggest single leap for me was playing with others. 

    Yes there's important foundation work to do like open chord shapes and scales but by playing with more experienced guitarists you move on much quicker
    Generally speaking as I've been playing for many years and am still shit ( possibly shitter even) don't do whatever I did. However, yes playing with others asap brings up your game very quickly. Not endlessly - you discover what you need to do to play with that group of  others and that's another plateau. So then go back to the woodshed (sic) and prepare for some more others. 
    To paraphrase Sting ( as I've forgotten where he nicked it from) always try to be the worst musician in the room. 

    And with any playing with others ( jam nights, rehearsal band or whatever) always remember what else you can bring to the table - organisational skills, singing, being pleasant. Many musicians barely function as human beings so you are on a winner if you can take more with you than just your guitar skills. 

    I'd also say trying to be a good listener - some of the best musicians have good ears as much as they have technique. I've got this wrong many times but actually carefully listening to stuff ( the song you want to learn, how Gary Moore used vibrato, etc) rather than just rushing into the TAB or tutorial. One of the things I like about Justin Guitar is how he has clearly very carefully listened to stuff rather than throwing out approximations. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • NeillNeill Frets: 373
    Hello Bob - you've already been given lots of sound advice, I'd just like to add a couple of things.

    If you don't use a tutor can I suggest that you find some way of recording your practice sessions so that you can listen to yourself played back.  It's easy to convince yourself that you've mastered something when you play in real time, but if you listen to a recording all the little mistakes will sound as clear as day.  It also gives you a reference point so you can see how/if you are making progress.  Could I play this in front of an "audience"? is always a good question to ask yourself.

    In many respects it's so easy to learn these days because of the internet but it can be a curse as well, there's so much in the way of free resources.  You do need to be disciplined and focus on improving one specific thing each time you practice.

    I suspect a lot of people do what I do, practice something "boring" like learn a scale or work on your finger strength then give yourself a reward which might be just playing along to a favourite song or trying to improvise over a backing track.

    I've been playing the guitar on and off for nearly fifty years but about 5/6 years back I had a nasty RT accident in which my left hand took all the impact and as a result I haven't played for several years and now I'm having to go back to basics. What I'm saying is don't worry about your age.  I hear people all the time say oh I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument and my reply is what? - there's never been a better time to do it. What they mean is they don't want the embarrassment of the learning process but the great thing about guitar is you can sound competent relatively quickly that's why the best advice is to concentrate on rhythm and you can learn enough to play in a band within a few weeks, really.     
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    edited December 2017
    Oh I meant to add get a cheap loop pedal, they are an absolutely invaluable practice tool. I use a Digitech Jamman Express but there are loads of cheap loopers that do the same job. 
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  • What I'm saying is don't worry about your age.  I hear people all the time say oh I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument and my reply is what? - there's never been a better time to do it. What they mean is they don't want the embarrassment of the learning process but the great thing about guitar is you can sound competent relatively quickly that's why the best advice is to concentrate on rhythm and you can learn enough to play in a band within a few weeks, really.     
    This. I have had a lot of learners in their 50's apologising cos they're a beginner. Why? Its my job to help people get going so why are you so sorry? If anything its easier to teach absolute beginners than people who've already been playing for a few years as I know exactly where to start. With ones who can already play I have to pinpoint and backtrack where they're at.

    And business-wise mature students are actually the best ones as they are done with studying, likely to be in a well-paid job and have a bit more time on their hands (kids have moved out, paid off mortgage etc).
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  • Thanks very much guys I'm really knocked out by the wonderful advice you have all given so freely. I fully take on board what you have all recommended and for what it's worth I am also in full agreement with what you say.
    I feel reassured on the age front and get on with it.
    I'm looking forward 100% to receiving my guitar which is due to arrive in next hour or so.

    The advice you have given will be in my mind throughout this journey.

    Thanks also BRISTOL funny you should mention loop pedals as this is another great invention which has me excited as it will be great to have my own backing accompanying my  lead

    Thanks guys
    Take care

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  • NeillNeill Frets: 373
    What I'm saying is don't worry about your age.  I hear people all the time say oh I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument and my reply is what? - there's never been a better time to do it. What they mean is they don't want the embarrassment of the learning process but the great thing about guitar is you can sound competent relatively quickly that's why the best advice is to concentrate on rhythm and you can learn enough to play in a band within a few weeks, really.     
    This. I have had a lot of learners in their 50's apologising cos they're a beginner. Why? Its my job to help people get going so why are you so sorry? If anything its easier to teach absolute beginners than people who've already been playing for a few years as I know exactly where to start. With ones who can already play I have to pinpoint and backtrack where they're at.

    And business-wise mature students are actually the best ones as they are done with studying, likely to be in a well-paid job and have a bit more time on their hands (kids have moved out, paid off mortgage etc).
    That's interesting.  I'd be interested in what you think about this notion that the part of the brain you use to learn (to play an instrument) falls off rapidly after you reach 30.  Personally I didn't feel like I really started to develop properly until I was past 40, for the very reasons you give, but I had been playing music since I was 11.  I've heard this "30 plus" theory used by people who think they have left it too late.    
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  • Neill said:
    What I'm saying is don't worry about your age.  I hear people all the time say oh I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument and my reply is what? - there's never been a better time to do it. What they mean is they don't want the embarrassment of the learning process but the great thing about guitar is you can sound competent relatively quickly that's why the best advice is to concentrate on rhythm and you can learn enough to play in a band within a few weeks, really.     
    This. I have had a lot of learners in their 50's apologising cos they're a beginner. Why? Its my job to help people get going so why are you so sorry? If anything its easier to teach absolute beginners than people who've already been playing for a few years as I know exactly where to start. With ones who can already play I have to pinpoint and backtrack where they're at.

    And business-wise mature students are actually the best ones as they are done with studying, likely to be in a well-paid job and have a bit more time on their hands (kids have moved out, paid off mortgage etc).
    That's interesting.  I'd be interested in what you think about this notion that the part of the brain you use to learn (to play an instrument) falls off rapidly after you reach 30.  Personally I didn't feel like I really started to develop properly until I was past 40, for the very reasons you give, but I had been playing music since I was 11.  I've heard this "30 plus" theory used by people who think they have left it too late.    
    Alot of people think I teach alot of children but I actually don't. I think I only have 2 learners under 16. They get most of their lessons via their school as their parents don't want to put a lot of money into it and don't want it to mess with their school day (i.e having to drop them off at the tutor's house after school) esp if they're not really serious about it.

    I would say that if you're studying you will be used to learning methodically, like having a routine in learning. If you're not studying anymore (i.e a mature learner) then its not there anymore but it doesn't mean that its "too late" If you attend lessons enough and practice properly frequently you will get there. In fact, one of my learners is in his mid-30's and has never played before. He started in August 2016 and is now playing competently enough his mates all think he's a pro. All this whilst holding down a full-time job as a labourer, and 2 kids with a missus. He rarely misses a lesson and is very receptive in information I present. Because he was so consistent his development was pretty rapid, sometimes doing 2 hour lessons in a 5-6 week period. Within 3 months he was playing his first tunes, and sounding very good.

    I don't think age has a lot to do with it its your passion and drive towards learning. If you go to the gym once every fortnight and eat junk food in between do you expect to lose as much weight as someone who goes 3 times a week and eats healthily for 6 days of the week?
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 882

    Just play. Lots. Enjoy it, don't see it as a 'test'.

    My advice: get some muscle memory going by switching chord shapes, which you can do in front of the telly, until you can do it without thinking, then buy a TRIO pedal (TRIO+ has built in looper). Throw some random shapes at it, then challenge yourself to improvise over the top. No one is watching, so you can make a terrible noise. Or you might make a nice noise.

    For me, the sooner you move out of 'technical' mode and into 'musical' mode the better. Listen with purpose, educate your musical mind as much as possible so that when you are flying you don't run out of ideas. Keep it simple, but effective.

    Then go find a pub with a jam session. Wait for the inevitable 12 bar blues security blanket to come out and noodle away over the top. When they all give up and go outside for a smoke, go home and put your favourite record on. This time you will be jamming with your hero's and enjoying every minute while they are still in the pub, deciding which scale they can play over Hey Black Betty without making a mistake which would destroy their self confidence. All the time wondering who that bloke was who just turned up, played whatever he wanted to play and looked like he was really enjoying himself. In the words of an iconic 90's satirical comedy show: 'That's you, that is'.


    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • waspfan said:


    Same boat as me mate just bought a Guitar the other day it's an Epiphone Prophecy plus Les Paul....have played Bass and a bit of Acoustic guitar in the past....best of luck with the new venture hope you nail it....Unfortunately like yourself at 56 maybe left it a tad too late...but i'll give it a shot cheers Bob 

    Thanks Bob nice to know we are both in the same boat
    Will be great to exchange any tips we learn on the way......i last attempted this 15 years ago but 15 years has given me a totally different mindset so with the indicate resources now available on the internet I really think I can make this work this time......my only fear is I get good but then too old to use my fingers That would be a bummer :-)

    I haven't set myself any real goals...apart from i'd love to get to a standard were I could join a local covers Band...preferably playing some good old 70's Rock...keep on Rockin' 




    waspfan said:


    Same boat as me mate just bought a Guitar the other day it's an Epiphone Prophecy plus Les Paul....have played Bass and a bit of Acoustic guitar in the past....best of luck with the new venture hope you nail it....Unfortunately like yourself at 56 maybe left it a tad too late...but i'll give it a shot cheers Bob 

    Thanks Bob nice to know we are both in the same boat
    Will be great to exchange any tips we learn on the way......i last attempted this 15 years ago but 15 years has given me a totally different mindset so with the indicate resources now available on the internet I really think I can make this work this time......my only fear is I get good but then too old to use my fingers That would be a bummer :-)




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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1435
    waspfan said:
    Thanks very much guys I'm really knocked out by the wonderful advice you have all given so freely. I fully take on board what you have all recommended and for what it's worth I am also in full agreement with what you say.
    I feel reassured on the age front and get on with it.
    I'm looking forward 100% to receiving my guitar which is due to arrive in next hour or so.

    The advice you have given will be in my mind throughout this journey.

    Thanks also BRISTOL funny you should mention loop pedals as this is another great invention which has me excited as it will be great to have my own backing accompanying my  lead

    Thanks guys
    Take care

    It’s helped me a lot, it makes you think about your timing and gives you a platform to explore mixing rhythm with lead - once you get one it’s impossible to think how you ever didn’t have one!
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  • Thanks again everyone for your valued advice
    Guitar arrived and decided to learn one riff first and only move on once I've learnt it to perfection.

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  • m_cm_c Frets: 395
    waspfan said:
    Thanks again everyone for your valued advice
    Guitar arrived and decided to learn one riff first and only move on once I've learnt it to perfection.
    Don't get stuck on the perfection thing, otherwise you'll never progress!
    Learn something until you know how to play it, then keep refining it while you learn something new.

    Plus, to break the monotony of just learning one thing, start watching the videos for Justin's beginner course (https://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-000-BeginnersCourse.php)
    Use the riff as something extra to do.

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  • Thanks mc that sounds like a great plan
    Must admit watched Justin so much now he feels like a mate 
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  • waspfan said:
    Thanks again everyone for your valued advice
    Guitar arrived and decided to learn one riff first and only move on once I've learnt it to perfection.

    Personally I wouldn't go down that route. Tedium will set in long before perfection is ever attained I imagine! I've been playing on and off for years and don't think I'd ever describe anything I've played as perfect! 

    There are probably a hundred different approaches to learning, but above all I would say the key is to make sure you ENJOY it. If you ever get to the point that practice seems like a chore or gets boring, that is when most beginners lose interest. 

    My top tip would be that whenever you play/practice, make sure to start and finish with a song/riff/exercise that you know you can play comfortably, and that puts a smile on your face. Save the difficult hard-work bits, where you'll likely be cursing in frustration and having sore fingers, for in between. That way you'll always look forward to picking it up next time, and always finish in a happy place.  :)
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  • Now that really does sound like good advice mate, I can see that way will start and end a session in a positive way leaving you wanting more. Right now I have practised the first few chords of my rid and taken Justin's first lesson on the D chord. Now that's all for today fingers and wrist sore and aching.

    I take your point about the perfection thing it's all about setting goals which are achievable which motivates better.

    Great advise again
    Blimey I made a great choice joining this forum!
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  • AlvinAlvin Frets: 93
    Get a tutor , even if you only go for six months it will give you the best start and will put you in the right direction , going weekly also gives you a goal to reach .  There is nothing wrong with learning stuff you might not normally listen to , learning to play other types is an advantage , it's all information .
       If you like general blues then don't be against learning Mary Had A Little Lamb , even SRV did a version....


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  • Alvin said:
    Get a tutor , even if you only go for six months it will give you the best start and will put you in the right direction , going weekly also gives you a goal to reach .  There is nothing wrong with learning stuff you might not normally listen to , learning to play other types is an advantage , it's all information .
       If you like general blues then don't be against learning Mary Had A Little Lamb , even SRV did a version....


    Yep, learning other styles or artists you don't normally like or listen to will make you more open to different rhythms, chords and scales across genres. Before I studied at the institute I was primarily a rock player but I knew if I just did that for 4 years I would never improve.
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  • More sound advice thanks guys.
    I consider myself extremely lucky in having a massivly diverse taste in music so guess from what you have said this will help me.

    Regarding a tutor......when I was a young teenager I was lucky very very lucky to have an awesome tutor on guitar but at the time I was too young and foolish to realise just how lucky i was  as my tutor was a session guitarist who played on many Deep purple records amongst others....wish I could have that tutor back.
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  • There's so many benefits to having a tutor. Not just to show you stuff you didn't know before but their role is much more than that. You get regular feedback on your playing that a YouTube video or book won't give you. They can demonstrate how something is meant to sound or could be played. Again said YT vids or books can't do that. There's structure and motivation with each lessons, something a good tutor should be doing, and you get to jam with another person, which, that has been mentioned already, make you play better.

    When I was at the institute I asked myself if I could get as good as someone of the tutors that taught me, or even 1/10th%. They were daily inspiration to me and they all had great aspects to their playing I took things from.
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  • By the way I'm not trying to sell lessons as a tutor. Haha.
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  • Yes I think I will have to look for a good tutor
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