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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: New guitar owner - need learning advice.

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ITACUD - Posted - 11/22/2020:  03:14:47

Hi, I’m new to the group and new to guitar.

I’ve been playing banjo and took lessons for a couple years and know a good number of songs but I can’t break free from learning a song on banjo by tabs. My teacher started me out Day one with tab for the banjo and I don’t really want to start that way on guitar because I feel it holds me back.

Any advice? I’ve started a couple weeks ago with just making chord shapes for a song I know well and trying to figure out the melody by ear just picking single strings.

Texasbanjo - Posted - 11/22/2020:  05:03:19

It might help to take a few lessons from a guitar teacher so you can get the basics down. Guitar is much different than banjo. You're probably used to the 5th string drone (if you play bluegrass type banjo), and you need a few exercises to get you used to the difference. Banjo is mainly arpeggios (again, bluegrass type banjo) and guitar is definitely scalar based.

Other than the above, you have the right idea: noodle around, try to find the melody, work on your chord shapes and learn some basic backup techniques for guitar (boom, chuck, boom, chuck type backup).

ytterbium - Posted - 11/23/2020:  16:11:15

Learning guitar is not that difficult. What I did when I first practice it even without somebody coaching me was to start with a song with basic chords. All I needed at that time was a chord chart and a songbook. After I mastered the songs with basic chords, I then tried doing songs with complicated chords until I fully learned all the guitar chords.

68d28 - Posted - 11/24/2020:  04:16:07

Welcome! You’re on the right track if you want to get solid guitar habits right from the beginning. You probably won’t get that strong foundation from teaching yourself. A good teacher might give you tab but they’ll also show you how to move away from it. If you like more of a group masterclass video experience, I highly recommend Bryan Sutton’s site: If you prefer private one-on-one Skype lessons, you can’t get any better than Jake Workman: Both will get you started on the best track possible and having fun with your guitar in no time!

Edited by - 68d28 on 11/24/2020 04:17:51

ITACUD - Posted - 11/25/2020:  09:23:37

Thanks everyone. I may look at getting a local teacher but I will make my goals around avoiding tab clear.

Dick Hauser - Posted - 01/26/2021:  08:08:40

Starting with tab will allow a person to learn their first version of a tune faster. It introduces a player to lots of information. But you also have to try substituting what you have learned in other tunes or when trying to create a version of a tune. Tab is like a book, and a person has to experiment with what they have learned. The tab provides information, you have to learn when/where it can be applied. Finally, the more you use a new idea, the better you will have memorized it.

One other thing. A serious guitar player should learn the chromatic scale, basic scale and chord theory. This knowledge will answer some questions even before you ask them.

The Flatpick Essentials Volume 1 has excellent information of playing rhythm. Costs less than a lesson, and provides a heck of a lot more information. Book and CD are provided.

One last thing. Listening is very important. A person cannot learn to play a tune unless they have first memorized the melody. This is necessary when learning a tune using tab or by "ear". If you can't hum, whistle, or sing the melody, you aren't ready to learn the tune.

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