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By komet (Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:05:30 AM EST) guitar (all tags)
Well I have had my guitar for a week and now my left fingertips feel funny. I expect this is normal. Some observations:


First, ATTENTION GOOGLE: if I enter the name of a product along with the keyword "review", surely it stands to reason that I want to read reviews. Not price comparison websites. You cocks. This isn't exactly rocket science.

Searching for guitar instruction material is almost as bad as looking for pr0n. I mean, almost as bad as what third parties tell me it's like to look for pr0n. The Internet seems rife with "pay $19.95 and be a guitar god within the hour" material. What's up with that?

My guitar does sound quite nice actually. Well it does to me, I suppose I'm clueless about the sound.

Now then. Chords. Well I can do a few chords but I am not happy with it. You guitarists. Go and play a G chord. Ok. So it's a G chord. What inversion? Which string do you fumble around with to arrive at, say, G aug? I can play a chord and not know exactly what I'm doing. This does not make me happy. I suppose I have been at the piano for too long.

Or how about this. There I am, picking out a melody on the first two strings. Now I want to shove a chord, with a specific voicing, under the melody. HOW?? Right now I'm resorting to trying out all the strings and all the frets within the span of my hand until I somehow arrive at some notes. Surely there must be a better way. But it seems that most guitarists don't give a damn about this kind of thing.

When I started out playing leadsheets on the piano I used to play root-position triads in my left hand. Ok. But nowadays, when I read the chord symbol, I construct the chord from scratch, first considering where the melody is, choosing the register of the bass note and playing it with the 4th or 5th finger (oh yeah, and why are guitar fingers numbered differently than piano fingers?), deciding which chord tones I should put in the other fingers of my left hand, then distributing the rest of the harmony among the spare (non-melody-playing) fingers of the right hand, adding 6ths and 9ths or other alterations to taste, perhaps adding an arpeggio, walking bass, stride or other flourish, and all without too much thought. Then I do it again, even if the chord hasn't changed in the mean time.

Guitar? Not a chance. Ok, perhaps in few years time. But reading some forum posts by people who have been playing the guitar for eons, it doesn't seem likely. Some guy who's been playing 5 years encounters an A minor, and does exactly what I do with one week under my belt. At least, that's how it seems to me.

The other thing is that I'm left handed, but I play the guitar like a right-handed person. It feels more natural this way, and all the weird chord acrobatics are in my dominant hand. I wonder if I'll hit a wall in the future? I really think the left hand has a tougher job to do. Am I mistaken?

Fun fact: I play the bongos in the right-handed way, too.

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Hello music infidels | 38 comments (38 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I just got eMedia's Rock Guitar Method by lm (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:23:04 AM EST
I'm mostly impressed. I wanted three things out of it.
  1. Instruction in learning to read music
  2. Lessons that will keep my interest enough so that I will actually practice
  3. Tips on rocking out that you might not find in a normal guitar tutorial
The rock guitar method package doesn't even touch #1. It's all tablature. Number two and three look like they'll pan out. The song's range from classic metal (Black Sabbath's Paranoid) to the Seattle sound (Nirvanna's cover of Lake of Fire). And there are quite a few tips on the theory behind important topics for rock and roll such as distortion and feedback. It covers power chords, open chords and barre chordes. It also covers the beginnings of music theory. The next step up (Intermediate Guitar Method) goes deeper into music theory and covers reading sheet music.

On the left hand/right hand topic: my understanding is that left handed guitars are a marketing gimmick. Someone decided that they can make lots of money selling ``left-handed'' guitars as custom jobs. How many left handed violinists use the opposite hand as right handed violinists for their string work?


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Ah yes by komet (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:33:46 AM EST
I can already read music, I just don't know where the notes are on the guitar (well I can work it out from first principles but it's not very fast). My music theory is already fairly good (actually it's crap and I need to learn loads more before I can analyse Miles Davis on the fly, but that's a different story). There doesn't seem to be any guitar tutorials for people who can already play another instrument; surely there would be a market for that?

Anyway I'll have a look at eMedia, thanks for the hint.

I'm sure there's a substantial difference between left- and right-handed playing, but I'm fine with the right-handed way and prefer it just for the compatibility. There are left-handed pianos (with the high notes on the left). What an utterly stupid concept.

It just occurred to me that I clean my arse with my left hand. But they always say Arabs consider the left hand unclean for this reason. Do right-handed Arabs wipe themselves with the left hand?

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
left vs. right by clock (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:41:03 AM EST
i taught for years and there was little to no difference in the time it took for lefties or righties to learn the instrument.  i always kept my lefties playing the instrument the way right-handers do (left hand on the fretboard) for the reason mentioned above: no other instrument cares.  flute?  violin?  oboe?  'cello?  nope.

there are few resources for any experienced musician switching instruments.  a few lessons might help you out or a good book on fretboard harmony (mel bay had an amazing book that i think is now out of print but sits on my shelf...i'll look it up tonight).  fredrick noad's book on beginning classical guitar might be a good start for a pianist moving to the guitar.

more later...email if you have more questions.  i love to help!


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
You were a teacher? by komet (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:18:10 PM EST
That's good, as it means you've probably seen enough people to make a statistically significant statement. That's good.

Maybe I should learn jazz or classical guitar, seeing as I seem to want to "play it like a piano". How much harder is it than rock guitar? Will learning the guitar that way also help me to ROCK? I do not regret learning classical piano at all, but it didn't really help me to ROCK that much. I do wish I had learned more jazz theory, though.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
i was indeed. by clock (4.00 / 1) #29 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 02:54:03 PM EST
"classical" guitar is the form that truly pushes the instrument to its physical and logical limits.  everything else seems fairly simple after a few years at a conservatory.  that's not meant to be snotty or to offend.  simply pointing out that the techniques required build you up to take on just about everything else.  jazz is right up there, but for different reasons.

i will say that the guitar is the most democratic instrument.  you can do as much or as little as it takes to make you happy.  so rather than picking something for the sake of technique, pick something that you genuinely enjoy.  it's likely to take you further.

also, pick up "the zen of guitar."  it's a very good and unpretentious book that clears the mind of the many things that cloud most beginning guitarits (note i didn't say musicians). those of us who have been with it a while can learn a lot too.


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
One thing that is quite nice about eMedia by lm (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:49:45 AM EST
They have an encyclopedia of some 300+ chords. Aside from showing the finger positions, you hit the button and it plays it for you so you can hear what it sounds like. It's quite a nice feature.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Comments, &c. by ana (4.00 / 2) #2 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:26:30 AM EST
OK, the strings (unfretted) are, from the bottom (lowest notes; actually higher off the floor the way most people hold a guitar) are E, A, D, G, B, E. So you've created a G chord and you want to augment it (sharp the 5th, right?), figure out which string is sounding D (it's the unfretted D string), and then figure out how to get a finger to the first fret on that string. Simple? As simple as it was learning to do what you do on a keyboard, I'm thinking. Some of it is rather acrobatic, but hey.

Specific voicings of chords may or may not be reachable, given the length of your fingers. Sorry about that. Do feel free to leave a string unplucked if it violates your sense of proper voicing. Finger-picking or flat-picking lets you do stuff like that, while (of course) simple strumming does not.

Re: left-handers... I've never understood why they make right handers fret with their left hands; there's in general more dexterity required there than on the plucking hand, at least at the level I've reached. So you have the advantage.

Hm. Must remember to take my guitar to the shop soon.

Regular, or decaf abomination? --Kellnerin

oh, and... by ana (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:31:00 AM EST
finger numbers, of course, omit the thumb, which is (all but) useless in fretting stuff. It can be made to sneak around the other side of the neck...

Regular, or decaf abomination? --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Well yes by komet (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:40:16 AM EST
Of course that's what I end up doing, or more usually I don't bother. I think I just don't have a good mental model of the instrument yet. I wonder if I'll ever gain one.

Yes, I suspected I may have the advantage, too, but there must be some reason why the instrument got to be standardised this way. The lute was already that way, and I assume the majority of people were right handed in the Middle Ages too, so what's up?

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
well that's where you're wrong by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:45:25 AM EST
``there must be some reason why the instrument got to be standardised this way''

If you're including rationality as part of reason, no there musn't be some reason. It may have been accidental and it just so happened that everyone copied the accident.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Left handed guitars by motty (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:30:13 AM EST
Are a con - all they are is more expensive and rarer, as I was told by a bitter ex-session guy who had spent his whole professional life playing left handed being unable to pick up random (ie right handed) guitars at parties and having to pay an extra £100 for every guitar he ever got. You need both hands anyway and as a left-hander, I'm happy to have my better hand on the 'fretboard'.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
Maybe I'm just extremely left-handed by debacle (4.00 / 2) #12 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:48:43 AM EST
But I can't play any string instrument that differentiates between right/left handedness for shit as a rightie.

IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
learn jazz guitar. by gzt (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:35:06 AM EST
If you want to play your guitar like a piano, learn jazz guitar. If you just want to do cheap chording with little fills like you hear on pop or rock songs, you'll never run into G+. Or, probably, anything other than the chords you're learning right now exactly like you're playing them right now.

You're probably right. by komet (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:22:57 PM EST
Of course you can play pop songs with just major and minor triads and seventh chords, perhaps with a sus4 here and there. But when I do so on the piano, sooner or later I just get these chord extension urges (yes, even in Britney-grade pop music), and I don't know if I can get rid of them on the guitar.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
[ Parent ]
okay though frankly by gzt (4.00 / 1) #23 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:43:45 PM EST
It isn't that hard to throw in a little flavor with the chords you're learning if you just mute a couple strings. ie, Esus4 is 022200, Asus4 is 002230, both sound better with more strings muted and both can be done as barre chords. It's not hard to just alter a couple notes on the easy pop chords you're learning once you just label what the notes are. As for extensions, remember that you don't need the root note or even the 5th, just 3, 7, and whatever else you want to throw on. But if you want to get really hard-core, you need jazz.

[ Parent ]
Oh, I need jazz all right. by komet (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:51:28 PM EST
There's no doubt about that. The question is just, do I need jazz now, before I can even do barre chords properly.

I suspect I can do without... for the time being.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
It gets harder by debacle (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:40:28 AM EST
I started playing violin right-handed. After five years, I started to fall behind my peers.

One night I took the chin rest off my violin and switched it around. After a bit of fanagaling, I was playing better than I ever had.

I think it's really about stamina. The playing hand does most of the real work. The hand on the frets just demands control.

Fun fact: I brought my violin to lessons with the chin rest on the left side once (I had forgotten to put it back the correct way). I was kicked out of the orchestra by my instructor.

I have been looking into buying a guitar or a bass though. Have you diarized about your rock and roll fantasies before? What guitar did you wind up buying? New? Used? Did you set out at the onset to buy a right-handed guitar?

I haven't touched an instrument in almost ten years. Shit.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

Hm. by komet (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:49:46 AM EST
My right hand already has good stamina. All those years of Czerny, along with Beethoven and Rachmaninov made it so.

My previous 2 diaries have been about the guitar-buying process. The last one has a photo in it, too. I did want to buy a right-handed guitar from the outset, because if you can't pick up a random instrument lying around at a party and impressing the girls with it then AFAIC there's no point in learning the instrument at all. If I never reach the technical level I would have had I played left-handed, then that's OK. The piano will always be my principle instrument and the one for technical exercises.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
I guess it might be different by debacle (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:55:35 AM EST
As a violinist I was using my whole arm whereas as a guitarist you're probably only using your elbow down unless you really know your instrument and are trying to produce a particular sound.

But man, playing with my right arm on the bow for two hours at a time was killer.


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
I believe you by komet (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:03:01 PM EST
of course the violin, being the backbone of the orchestra, is an instrument of conformism (hence everyone doing the same direction of bowing at the same time), so most orchestras wouldn't want you switching around. As far as I'm concerned anyone can do whatever they want with their own instruments. My choice was for practical rather than musical reasons.

It sounds like you might be more left-handed than I am. I can use a mouse with both hands, and of course my advanced one-glass-of-beer-in-each-hand drinking technique requires a certain level of ambidexterity.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
True by debacle (4.00 / 1) #26 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 01:21:39 PM EST
But at that time I simply felt that I was being discriminated against for being hemisphereliologically superior to my left-brained counterparts.

IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
chords and melodies at the same time by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #11 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:46:53 AM EST
most bands have a lead and rhythm guitar, but if you want to do it at the same time, you either need a two necked guitar, or a 12 string. The dude from Cheap Trick has a five necked guitar, so he can do chords, melodies and three other accompaniments.


True by komet (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:55:47 AM EST
but OTOH, here's someone playing my favourite song on the guitar without the benefit of a band or 12 strings. I do not expect to attain his level of ability in the near future, or indeed ever, but it would be nice to take a step in that direction.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
[ Parent ]
That's a great video... by lb008d (4.00 / 1) #27 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 01:21:41 PM EST
some pretty creative harmonizing going on there.

[ Parent ]
Whats an inversion? by cam (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:54:12 AM EST
I only found out what transpose meant about a month ago. The trick to playing chords is if you fluff a finger, make sure it touches the string, but stops it from vibrating. The thumb is good for this as is the pinky. That way you get unintended power chords that sound good with the fuzz turned up.

Another alternative is to play with plenty of echo. Again it is hard to pick the errors and fluffed fingers. You can also play wah-wah over everything, then all people will hear is modulation, not the chords. It is pretty good for covering up inconsistent playing. Ask Jimi.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

An inversion is where by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #33 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 03:20:40 AM EST
you play a chord with the key note not the lowest note.

For example, if you play a G major chord, you play a G, a B (which is a third above the G), and a D (which is a fifth above the G, and a third above the B). If you have an inversion, you play a B or a D as the lowest note on the chord, and play the G an octave higher. In the case where you play the B as the lowest note, this is called the first inversion, and if the D's the lowest, then the B is also played an octave higher, and it's the second inversion.

I hope that makes sense. I'm sure if someone else had answered you'd have a better answer, given that I'm just someone who spends the odd ten or twenty minutes picking out the right hand of easy piano music a couple of times a week, and know nothing about guitars.

[ Parent ]
G aug???? by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:26:30 PM EST
G aug???

What in the sam hill is a G aug??? Sounds like one of them liberal hippie chords to me. Are you sure you don't mean G7? Now that's a chord! Manly! Follow it up with a C7 then slide down to a D7 then come back home to G7 and fuck yeah!

What type of music are you looking to play on that thing? Classical? Jazz? Fingerstyle blues?

Check out Chord Chemistry by the late great Ted Greene. It's heavy shit, no two ways about it, but it might be what you're looking for.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

chord racist! by komet (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 12:33:59 PM EST
G aug has the same right to exist as G, Gm, G7, Gmaj7 and all the others! Though I don't use augmented much, to be honest. G13b9, OTOH, is one of my favourite chords ever. I have no clue how to make it on the guitar.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
[ Parent ]
Oh alright by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 01:05:23 PM EST
It's just that from where I come from even the slightest mention of a G aug wold likely get you dragged into some back alley and beaten up.

Sadly, your guitar didn't come with a G aug as all the newer guitars don't have that chord cause nobody uses it anymore. I mean, really, a G aug for Christs sake.

Go here. I just tried it, it's kinda funky, dark sounding, ominous almost. Anyways, take my advise and stay away from those aug chords, learn the power chords instead, that's what you need to play some rockin AC/DC tunes!

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

[ Parent ]
Cool by TPD (4.00 / 1) #28 Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 02:21:32 PM EST
by now your left hand should be blistered and RAW!!!!

In terms of chord I'm a bit a power chord merchant myself - but learn some barres these will serve you in good sted... you might want to look at the caged system though some people like it and some don't. Once you get used to moving shapes round the neck you'll see that the same shapes can be used anywhere which really makes chords alot simpler....

so for instance a simple c major triad is

-
3 -root
2 -third
0 -fifth
-
-

you can make a c aug (if i Understand it right) by raising the fifth

-
3
2
1
-
-

now you can use this same shape all about the first 2 strings

so G aug triad would be

3 - G root
2
1
-
-
-

D Aug

-
5 - D Root
4
3
-
-

etc... obviously you can stack up extra notes but the principle remains the same.


why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM

Well... by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 01:35:12 AM EST
Now, do you want to be some sort of jazz freak or a hard rocking man?  Who do you identify most with,  James Blunt or Lemmy?

I'm with the Abooey on this one, no one uses augmented chords.  Sus2 and Sus4 are really easy inversions to be playing on a D or an A

-------------------------------2------1------0------3---
---0------1------0------3------3------3------3------3---
---2------2------2------2------2------2------2------2---
---2------2------2------2------0------0------0------0---
---0------0------0------0-------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------
   A     Amin  Asus2  Asus4    D    Dmin  Dsus2   Dsus4

I never construct chords from base principles; I just have an enormous wall chart of all useful chords.  Fingering you will have to work out for yourself; some fingerings are easier than others depending on the size of your hands/the guitar neck.  And also you might have to practise more than one fingering of a chord to make transitioning to another chord easier.

Hells Bells by ACDC is an excellent song to learn how to play; the chords are fairly simple but the left hand / right hand interplay is quite hard so it's good practice.


James Blunt? by komet (2.00 / 0) #31 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 01:45:52 AM EST
This is a trick question, isn't it?

Ah yes, Hell's Bells might indeed prove to be feasible. I'll get onto it. And insert an augmented chord where nobody's expecting it.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
Sadly by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 01:55:28 AM EST
That's not rhyming slang.

Keep off the aug chords, for that way leads to jazz and we all know how that ends.  You'll be on the needle before Christmas.


[ Parent ]
Actually it IS rhyming slang by komet (2.00 / 0) #34 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 03:20:49 AM EST
I already suffer from incurable chronic jazz. I also have a severe case of Soppy Piano Balladism. The combination is usually lethal, and I have to take regular intravenous injections of Rage Against The Machine to combat it.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
[ Parent ]
D minor by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #35 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 04:11:26 AM EST
On the guitar is pretty sweet.  And if you really want a challenge, get a transcription of "Dee" as recorded by Randy Rhoads.


[ Parent ]
if they haven't started bleeding yet by 256 (4.00 / 1) #36 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 08:30:50 AM EST
your not rocking hard enough.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
and... by 256 (4.00 / 1) #37 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 08:31:48 AM EST
you're not rocking hard enough either.
---
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
They aren't. by komet (4.00 / 1) #38 Thu Sep 07, 2006 at 09:27:45 AM EST
If I were 18 you would have a point, but I'm too old for instrument-related self harm now. They do feel numb and blistery though, does that count?

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
[ Parent ]
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