First Guitar

Old 05-03-2007, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: First Guitar

I agree that you should buy the best guitar you can because cheap ones are stiff and hard to play. A lot do give up for that reason. Get a chord book and learn the basic open chords: G,D,C,A,E. Learn some minors: Am,Dm,Em. Look on sites that have tableture or google a song title you want to learn and you can most often find a song you are looking for. Stick to some 3 chord songs at first. Learn some traditional songs like fiddle tunes, spirituals and other songs we heard as kids on bugs bunny! I have taken a few lessons but I have trouble learning theory. My progress has come from learning basic songs I can sing and pla all the way through. The best thing you can do is play with other people (then eventually play out) because it is easier with more sound and it makes you more critical of yourself. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:41 AM
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Default RE: First Guitar

Snapper Head - 5/2/2007 2:54 PM

You will want to spend enough to get a unit with easy action. The bottom end priced units will be hard on your fingers as you will have to press like hell to make the chords.
This is the best advice yet, but I'll tweak it a little.

ACTION-The distance between the string and the fret board.

Al hit the nail on the head basically by pointing out the need to find something with an easy action. In other words, you want something with strings that take very little finger pressure to make a note on each string. This will be far easier on your hand which will allow you to play for longer stretches of time, building experience faster. I'll also add that you'll want to use the lightest strings you can find at first because--this will have the same effect of being easier on your hand.

The main point I want to add though is that you can modify, or pay someone to do so, any guitar you buy. One of the ways manufacturers cut costs on low end (read beginner) guitars is by taking some of the hand work out of the construction process. This basically means that all of the fine tuning is removed from the build process. If you buy a low end model from a company that uses quality materials, you can do some of that fine tuning yourself and greatly improve the playablilty ans sound of the guitar. The nut, bridge, and saddle can all be manipulated to adjust the action and accomplish this. On my first guitar, a Yamaha FG-401 (I think that was the model #) basically all I had to do was remove the strings and take the saddle out and grind it down to a lower profile with a dremel tool. This will only allow you to make a small adjustment though. If you want to make more drastic changes you can have a luthier remove and cut down the profile of your nut and/or bridge.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:14 AM
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Lots of good advice here. Here's mine.......

Be sure to your guitar at a guitar shop. They have the experience to point you in the right direction and when your guitar needs a little work they will take care of you.

IMO, do not buy a dreadnought. They are on the big side and you want a comfortable guitar that you can easily get your fingers on. A dreadnought will feel like you are trying to pick up a 55 gallon drum. Can't get your arms around it. Think small.

2 guitars that have not been mentioned that you should look at. Washburn and Walden. Both reasonably priced with good action and sound. Walden has just come out with a new model that runs about $250. Sounds great and is a gem to look at.

Lastly, learan some chords but also learn the major scale and the pentatonic scale. You may find you enjoy scales more than chords, but learn both.

Good luck, don't get discouraged (you will!) and have fun with it!!

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Old 05-03-2007, 01:24 PM
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I might also suggest getting some introductory (beginners) lessons - nothing long term or anything, just a 1/2 hour per day, once a week for a couple of months with an experienced player. You should be able to locate someone who is well-qualified with commoninterests in terms of style in your area with no problem, and it shouldn'tcost you more than about $15-$20 per shot.

I say this because as an occasional instructor myself, I'll see beginners now and then that have developed some relatively bad habits with respect to instrument placement, fingering technique, strumming, timing or tempo, etc., and they can be habits that are exceedingly hard to break.Much like tennis or golf or piano or any other specialized skill or sport, its easier to learn correctly the first time than to try and repair bad technique. Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:13 PM
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I've been playing guitar and bass for over 20 years. SPEND SOME MONEY!!!!!!!

Lower end guitars have horrible action that usually can't be completely corrected by a "set-up" and nothing hampers the learning process like bad action.

If you're serious about learning, it's worth the extra dough. Plus, you'll want to keep your first guitar forever, and when you pull out a P.O.S. to show the grand-kids your first guitar, it somehow takes away from the moment. lol
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Old 05-03-2007, 09:40 PM
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You've gotten some good advice here. I've been playing for over 40 years and 16 of those years were professionally. My advice is to get something that will play nice, feel nice and not expensive. You don't even know if you'll stick with it so why spend a lot of money. My recommendation? An Alvarez. They make some excellent beginner guitars with great action and sound and won't break the bank. You can get a really great guitar by them for the $200 - $300 range that will sound good and play well.

Shop locally. If you have a guitar center nearby check them out. Check out the smaller stores too. If you know someone who plays take them along with you. Listen to THEM play a guitar you're considering. Pick it up yourself and don't feel self concious. We all were beginners at one time.

But I'd still get an Alvarez. You can look at them at I have a 3/4 size MSD1 and it beats the jazebers out of the small Taylors, Martins, etc. I love playing that guitar. Of course I love my 1977 Guild D25CH and my 1973 Les Paul. But they are not beginners guitars.

Parkersal...I love that J-45. But that's not a beginners instrument.

This is the 3/4 sized Alvarez MSD1 that I own. It's a great little instrument but I would advise a full size dreadnaught or folk for a beginner (unless you're a small handed person)

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Old 05-03-2007, 09:59 PM
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Don't have much guitar background, but based on some research I chose a Zager Guitar off his site on the internet for my daughters christmas present, and we both have begun his online lessons. He sets up all his guitars, and from what I can tell, it appears to be a quality instrument.
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Old 05-04-2007, 05:52 AM
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Go to a store and play a Taylor....You'll love it and won't want to put it down. If your not wanting to spend a lot of $$ find one on E-Bay or the like and look for something in the 300- 500 series. I have an 810 that will most likely be with me until I die.
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Old 05-04-2007, 06:32 AM
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- get a cheap guitar in case you dont stay with it. try a pawn shop or garage sale. dont be concerned about the " action ". your fingers need the exercise, just as long as it stays in tune ( very important )

- get a guitar chord poster

- try hooking up with some friends to jam with.

- " WILD THING" ( and about 1,350 other songs chord progression) A - D - E - D
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Old 05-04-2007, 08:15 AM
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Default RE: First Guitar

Thanks again for the great responses - The more I research - it seems the better I am able to get the guitar set up correctly - to my needs - the better off any guitar will be. I also looked at the Zager line of guitars and came away impressed.. at least with the website.... I am going to take a ride this weekend and start in-store shopping - I have a small music store near by and I also have a Guitar Center - so I will start there - Thanks again.

Is there a brand I should stay away from?
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:14 PM
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Doc of the Bay - 5/2/2007 1:29 PM I understand you may be on a budget, but, spend a little extra and get a mid range brand. I have seen too many start out with a cheaply built guitar and get discouraged very quickly because it is too hard to play. Remember, the closer the strings are to the fret board, the easier to play.
That's the best advice right there. What you don't want is to get a cheaper guitar, and then it kills your fingers as you are trying to form chords or pick it, then you get discouraged and put it down. You have to practice a lot to get good enough to sound decent around the campfire, like you want to do. That being said, I've been playing for about 17 years. I had a crappy old Yamaha guitar that I bought from some guy way back for $50. It was difficult to play, but I was younger and was living and hanging out with some friends that were good guitar players, so it was OK. Then I stopped playing a lot after I got married (my wife can't carry a tune in a bucket). Then two years ago, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Well, I finally got a decent acoustic guitar.

I play almost every day now, and I'm really glad I did it. The kids love it too. I bought a Zager ZAD50, which is a knock-off of a Martin. The company is owned by Denny Zager, who had a one-hit wonder back in the 60's. It's not a well-known brand, and you'll find bashers of it just like boats or anything else because it's a knock-off, but for under $500 with hard case, it plays and sounds awesome and I have no regrets at all. Very easy to play without sacrificing sounds quality.

My 2 cents - good luck and hope you find enjoyment with the guitar whatever you end up with.

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Old 05-16-2007, 10:12 PM
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I play guitar and bass and my friend and I play at a local coffee shop once in a while. I've been playing guitar for a year and 4 months and bass for 2 years. I've learned everything on my guitar by myself and got a few lessons on bass. I recommend lessons. Just being able to play around 5-8 chords around a campfire is really enjoyable. If you're just starting I recommend spending at least $200-$300 on an acoustic guitar because It will give you more incentive to keep playing and will last much longer. Try musiciansfriend, It's where I get all of my equipment.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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I love reading about beginning guitar....oh and didnt someone say we needed a guitar sub forum?!?!?!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by freedbaby View Post
I love reading about beginning guitar....oh and didnt someone say we needed a guitar sub forum?!?!?!
You went digging to find this thread didn't you!
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:25 PM
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Haha 2007
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