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Everything posted by JanVigne

  1. Guitar Maintenance for Beginners

    Only had one year of it in HS. The nun who taught the class was raised a Martian.
  2. Guitar Maintenance for Beginners

    I don't see why, just use the specs Squier provides. There's some hotshots who can give you tweaks but for now just a set up is all you need. Then play for awhile and determine what else needs to be done.
  3. Guitar Maintenance for Beginners

    "Thank you, JanVigne (how do you pronounce your name?) !!" It's Northern Italian. Think "lasagne" or better yet "vignette" and leave off the ending. That will get you close to the proper pronunciation. Since the Italian language has fewer letters than does English, close is OK and better than most. You can use mineral oil if it has no additives. You can use 3in1 oil if you like. Just don't use a food grade oil that may go rancid. Lemon oil tends to clean the gunk out of the neck better than most other oils and is more easily acquired without additives. But your guitar may not need the fretboard oiled at this time. Obviously, you didn't get a "set up", you got new strings with a slight charge for installation. "Playing with" the bridge on a Fender can be a bad idea if you don't have directions and the correct tools. Check the Squier webpage for details. You'll need a very accurate digital tuner like this; https://www.petersontuners.com/ Make sure you're using the tuner without any "sweetenings" on. Sandpaper won't cut the frets easily. You can mask off the sides of the neck and file down the fret edges; https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+dress+fret+edges+on+a+guitar&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=how+to+dress+fret+edges+on+a+guitar&aqs=chrome..69i57.10846j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  4. Guitar Maintenance for Beginners

    You only own electrics, right? Just use a very slightly damp, well squeezed out microfibre towel on the surface of the guitar and its neck. NO PAPER TOWELS! The guitars have a polyurethane finish which will not respond well to either oils or most polishes/waxes. Just a slightly damp cloth and then another to dry the guitar are all you need. If you have a rather stubborn spot the damp cloth can't clean, one of the best guitar cleaners is a bit of spit followed by the damp cloth. Do not get oil on the strings. The fretboard can be lightly oiled with a high quality lemon oil no more than once a year. Most folks do this when they are changing strings. Apply a few drops of oil to a cloth and rub down the fretboard paying attention to any grime around the frets. After a few minutes, take another cloth to wipe away the excess oil. Don't get OCD about any of this. Strings can be wiped down after each use. Once again, a slightly damp cloth is all you need. Some people have very acidic body fluids which tend to deaden strings prematurely. If your strings are turning groady after just a few weeks, then you might want to switch string types and become more attentive to washing your hands prior to playing and wiping down the strings before you put your guitar up for the day. Take your guitar to a tech and explain the situation with the frets. Ask them to dress the fret ends and perform a proper set up on the guitar. A good set up and once over will make the guitar play and sound like a more expensive guitar.
  5. 42 yo and just purchased first guitar.

    Welcome to the forum. "I am worried about about having the ability to learn, but I am looking forward to the challenge." Why the concerns?
  6. Faffed around for years then did it properly

    "Struggling with barre chords and sore fingers but getting there slowly.. " Welcome to the forum. There are several approaches to mastering barre chords which range from the bulling your way through it style to the give yourself time to learn the proper techniques and even a few who will suggest there are alternatives to most barre chords. I tend to favor the two latter styles. First, while some instructors and books will teach you a "small barre F", I prefer to use the thumb over the neck F major you find many blues players using; https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+thumb+over+the+neck+F+Major&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=guitar+thumb+over+the+neck+F+Major&aqs=chrome..69i57.24660j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 It is a common form in Travis Style Picking; https://www.google.com/search?q=travis+picking&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=travis+picking&aqs=chrome..69i57.3212j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 The advantage of this chord form is the freedom of your fretting hand fingers to add stylistic notes to the chord shape. Certainly, fretting with your thumb over the neck is not a style which comes easily for most players and your success can depend on your guitar's neck profile and the size and dexterity of your hands. Practice is once again the key. Also, knowing when the low F is, and is not, required in your playing will help. Merle Travis had rather large "coal miner's" hands; You can also see Hendrix and Richie Havens using this chord form. If you want to learn the full barre form, buy a capo. Once you eliminate the break angle of the strings over the nut, you will find playing full barres is a much easier task. Just grab a full F shape barre at the fifth fret right now and you'll notice the reduction in string tension which goes with moving further away from the nut. Place the capo on the second fret (so your fret markers still line up) and begin playing your barre up the neck several frets. Let's say you begin your barre at your new fifth fret (actually the seventh), you would play a 4/4 strum for two measures and then drop back down the neck (toward the capo) one fret. Play the same 4/4 strum for two measures and then drop back another fret. Lift your fingers only high enough to move without excessive string noise and then plant them firmly once you've completed the move. Continue the pattern of strumming and moving until you are at your new first fret and then slide the form all the way back down to the fifth fret and start over. Practice playing and moving your barre until grabbing it at various positions on the neck becomes second nature. If you want to play with another instrument with a capo on your guitar, try tuning your guitar down and allow the capo to raise your guitar's tuning back up. With the capo at the second fret, your new tuning would be down one full step. If you place the capo at the first fret, your tuning is down 1/2 step. If you're using very light gauge strings, you may find tuning down becomes a bit sloppy so use your own judgement. Eventually, you should be able to remove the capo completely and have the ability to play a full barre F Major chord shape. Remember, it is not hand strength that will gain you this. It is proper finger and hand position along with developing the correct leverage point with your thumb on the back of the neck that makes the full barre successful. Good luck.
  7. Practice Routine Suggestions

    Explain what your "natural ear" is doing. Are you saying you can play and not know anything about the rules of music or guitar?
  8. Practice Routine Suggestions

    The single most significant problem with a self taught student is, they don't know what they don't know. If you don't know what you don't know, you also don't know what you should know. And, since self taught students often end up chasing the next bright, shiny thing, they don't tend to have the discipline to actually learn something before they move on to the next thing. A good lesson plan is one that starts by setting a goal - a goal that is specific, not "be a better guitar player". A goal that keeps you on one road and doesn't allow you to bounce around learning "many styles". Unfortunately, too many of us want what we want and we want it now and we have little patience for when it doesn't come to us quickly and soon. You should begin learning the basics of "practical music theory for guitarists"; https://www.google.com/search?q=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&aqs=chrome..69i57.12808j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 IMO learning how music is structured is the single most important lesson you can have. Practicing how music's structure is used in any one genre will give you insight into how other forms are similar and different. There are only 12 notes to work with in "Western music" so it's how you learn to emphasize certain aspects of those notes that makes a "style". Take in only what you can learn in a few weeks and then a few months. A very good lesson plan builds this week's lesson on what you have learned in last week's lesson and the lesson before that and the lesson before that. If you have no structure to your lessons, then you waste a tremendous amount of time. IMO it doesn't hurt to find a very good instructor and get someone to give you the basic bones of a style and to correct the problems you may have taught yourself. Many players have learned to play by simply playing songs. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for most of us, at least not in a timely manner. IMO songs should be structured to build in difficulty along with your proficiency. Most of us will need some type of lesson plan to get that. Once you have a lesson plan, you need to stick with that plan from beginning to end. Even if you think you know the material, take the lesson again. Instructors say things differently and you learn things in your own particular way. You may just find there's something in a new lesson that will make other things fall into place. Don't bounce around. You can work on more than one thing at any time, but stick to the forward progress a structured lesson plan offers. Keep a journal to track your progress; https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&ei=pcJnWp6RKIXwsAXM5LvIBg&q=guitarist's+practice+journal&oq=guitarist's+practice+journal&gs_l=psy-ab.3...13618.18379.0.20312. https://www.google.com/search?q=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=practical+music+theory+for+guitarists&aqs=chrome..69i57.12808j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  9. New to forum

    If you can practice for one hour each day for 730 days straight and then stop, what do you have to show for the last two years other than 730 wasted hours? Welcome.
  10. Before I Buy a Guitar

    Three strings are enough; https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+play+a+cigar+box+guitar&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=how+to+play+a+cigar+box+guitar&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65.20509j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Tune your guitar to an "open tuning"; https://www.google.com/search?q=open+tunings+for+guitar&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=open+tunings+for+guitar&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i65.4421j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 A three string cigar box guitar will be tuned to either an open G (GBG) or open D (DAD) in most cases. The point of an open tuning is you have more than one full octave available to you and the individual strings are tuned to the root and the third (or the fifth) of a triad. A triad is the basic formula for creating a chord. Therefore, in open G, the guitar produces a G Major chord when strummed with all strings open (unfretted). Tune to an open D and the guitar will produce a D Major chord when strummed open. That would be termed your "I" (one) chord. Moving up the neck fret by fret moves the chord and the "IV" (four) chord is located at the fifth fret and the "V" (five) chord is at the seventh fret. A "I-IV-V progression" is the heart of thousands of songs you can learn to play with just your three strings; https://www.google.com/search?q=songs+with+a+i-iv-v+progression&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=songs+with+a+i-iv-v+progression&aqs=chrome..69i57.10529j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 You can play the chords and individual notes either with your fingers, a slide or lay the guitar down on your lap and play lap style; https://www.google.com/search?q=lap+style+guitar&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=lap+style+guitar&aqs=chrome..69i57.5448j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Using just that much you can learn songs and learn how to understand and to play scales which are the backbone of music theory for any guitarist; https://www.google.com/search?q=practical+music+theory+for+a+guitarist&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=practical+music+theory+for+a+guitarist&aqs=chrome..69i57.13073j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Buy an acoustic guitar and get the basics in your head and under your fingers before you move on to a specific genre.
  11. "Or my my playing will be fine but my voice, instead of singing the correct pitches, will start to follow the pitches of the notes that my guitar is playing." Aren't you playing the melody line on your guitar? You don't say how long you've been playing, or singing, so I have to assume at least one of these is relatively new to you. Generally, if you wish to be a musician who sings, you must be enough of a musician to not have your concentration split between the two functions. Without knowing anything about your level of playing or your genre of music, I'd say start by playing scales (Major, minor, pentatonic or blues) moving up the neck while you describe what you had for breakfast. Just talk while you play but split your attention between playing and remembering. When you can play without thinking about your playing and devote all of your attention to remembering, then you will have made progress. That's when you stop playing scales and you begin to play the song while describing another daily event like your lunch or your trip to work. Singing on pitch is a totally different matter. https://www.homespun.com/shop/product/lead-singing-and-rhythm-guitar/
  12. Tendonitis in the fretting hand

    "Trying to play in an open tuning method would present a challenge for me, almost like learning all over again" I don't understand. First, what's a challenge? If you want something bad enough and there's a way to achieve it, then the challenge is worth the effort. There's no such thing as being too old to learn new tricks. Music is music and theory is theory. Learning open tunings is really rather simple. The same intervals apply as in standard tuning. The most significant difference is where the notes start from. When I first tried standard tuning on a lap steel, I taped a piece of paper to the side of the fretboard to indicate where notes sat for the octave strings. It took no time at all to recognize the locations and get rid of the helper. In open D, the tuning is D-A-D-F#-A-D. Play all open strings and you are playing a full D Major chord triad. Play barred across the any fret and you are playing the corresponding chord to the sixth string root. So fifth fret barred is your IV chord and seventh fret barred is your V chord. Twelfth fret barred is your octave. To begin you can play just those barred chords and have a lot of fun, particularly in a jam setting. The first, forth and sixth strings are octaves. The same intervals exist as in standard tuning, you've only dropped the sixth and first string down a whole step. If you've played in drop D, you've already got this down. The fourth string is the same as in standard tuning. So you already know where the notes are on the fourth string, now you simply move them to the first and fourth strings and play. The fifth string is tuned identically to standard guitar tuning so you already know the note positions and intervals on the second string. Basically, you're not learning anything new, you are only applying your current knowledge to play the notes on the strings. Once you know where to find a note on the fifth string, you automatically know the notes on the second string. You catch on easily - unless you tell yourself you can't do it. Which basically means you'd rather sit and feel sorry for yourself. This is how I go about teaching little kids to play. It cuts down their learning curve tremendously over trying to teach them six individual strings with a funky G to B string step in there. The few chords you might want to play that are not barred are very straight forward since you are dealing with octave relationships. The problem most people have with this is, they are hung up on the guitar only being tuned the way they were taught to tune it. Give it a try at least. No commitment other than the time spent tuning. http://www.gibson.com/news-lifestyle/features/en-us/open-tuning-0902-2011.aspx
  13. Tendonitis in the fretting hand

    Sorry to have to remind you, feeling sorry for yourself has never solved a problem. There's not a problem in the world other people haven't faced before you arrived. Look at how others have tackled and brought down to Earth their problems. Looking is the first step toward doing. https://www.google.com/search?q=les+paul+arthritis&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS754US756&oq=les+paul+arthritis&aqs=chrome..69i57.8031j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 Learning open tunings gives you new insights into playing guitar and making music. Your mind will benefit from the (minor) challenge you will find in open tunings. You may learn to play in a different style entirely that will add a new dimension to your sound. The first time you jam in an open tuning, people will be asking how you got that sound. It's not a substitute for a specific diagnosis and treatment but it will keep you playing and playing well.
  14. Tendonitis in the fretting hand

    Good morning, guy, sorry to hear you're still having problems. My hand problems are related to both injuries I've sustained and a propensity to develop trigger finger type symptoms. Neither have much in common with arthritis based pain though my knees are feeling the effects of wearing out. I no longer climb a ladder more than a few steps which makes home repairs, and even simple yard work and gardening, more difficult. So I know what you're going through and I do sympathize. I will assume your doc has (more or less) diagnosed the onset of osteoarthritis and not a more systemic variation such as rheumatoid arthritis. I would suggest you obtain a more complete diagnosis before you do much more and certainly before you give up. Since there are almost 100 "types" of arthritis, simply suggesting you may have the early stages of arthritis is about as good to you as a mechanic telling you he thinks your car has a problem in the suspension or an electrician telling you you'll need to look at your wires. I cannot say anything about your doctor and maybe he/she has suggested more testing and you've simply not reached the same conclusion. However, you will need to know and understand the more specific cause of your discomfort if you are going to actually do anything to lessen the effects. If your problem is not related to the variation called osteoarthritis, then pain killers are sort of like taking a screwdriver to remove a nail. For instance, rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system problem and, like most variations on the larger scale of "arthritis", needs to be addressed specifically as your body attacking itself. Treating it only as your joints wearing out will only make matters worse in the long run and you may find yourself disabled if you aren't treating your problem early in its development. So I would very strongly suggest you obtain a real diagnosis and not just a guess by your GP. If you complain of pain to a general practioner, unless they have seen test results which give them more direction, they will only prescribe some generic pain killers to minimize the symptoms. If the pain meds do not also address inflamation, then you may be shooting over the head of the problem. If they are anti-inflammatory in nature, then they can bring with them side effects which are not acceptable to all patients. If you have a gerontologist in your area, you might consider setting up an appointment with someone more familiar with the problems we all face as we get older. To get you up and playing again, my best advice is to begin switching to open tunings. It may mean learning a few new fingerings for familiar chord shapes but they are typically using fewer fingers with shorter, more compact shapes. Learning either open D or open G will get you lots of room for playing in most keys by way of a capo. Open tunings will provide a unique sound to your playing that should complement the other instruments in your jam. Open tunings are often used in both bottleneck slide styles and lap style playing. You should not feel you are being forced into giving up your music, you should only understand you may need to make adjustments to your playing style. Even the best players reached a point where they began adjusting to their physical limitations brought on by age. If you want to play, there is a way to do so. Good luck. Get a real diagnosis.
  15. JRAYJ

    Wait a few more years and someone may have to. Change your diaper, too. No fun getting old.
  16. JRAYJ

    Do you find they still love you at 64.908?
  17. Two questions on tabs

    Find a different TAB for "Stairway". Slide to an open string on the /. Slide from any fret on the \.
  18. Scale on scales

    "On a scale of 1 - 10 how important is it to you personally to learn/master the minor pentatonic scale? Seems as though whenever I run into the subject online emphasis enough cannot be placed on learning this "alphabet." So the real question is: Am I just spinning my wheels, wasting precious time, memorizing the five patterns and practicing speed build-up? Should I move on, or continue to pluck away at this boring stuff?" I don't know, what other boring stuff would you be learning? Learning how a scale - or specifically the Major scale - has been constructed and how the scale should sound are the backbone of practical music theory. I really can't think of a reason why you shouldn't have at least the basics of music theory in your head if you want to play music. You can play well without knowing a lot of theory, but if you try to create music, it just comes easier when you have at least the basics of how everyone else has done it in your head. If you are only learning the pentatonic patterns and ignoring all other scales - particularly the Major scale, yeah, you're wasting your time. If you are only learning patterns and not learning the sound of the scale - the sound of landing on the root and the distance between the root and, say, the third and why hearing that in your head is important - and experimenting with turning scales into music, yeah, you're wasting your time. How many patterns should you know? How many do you think you might use? Depending on the genre of music you choose to play, you may not use any. That doesn't mean you shouldn't know the sound of the scale and how to apply it to music. Because the pentatonic is heavily used in many genres, there are more ways of teaching and learning the pentatonic than any other issue of practical guitar theory. You may be wasting your time just learning boxes if you can get away with using just the "frying pan" pattern or the "toothbrush" pattern. It sounds as though you are self teaching yourself the pentatonics. One of the most common problems of self teaching is the teacher doesn't know what the student needs to learn next. So both the teacher and the student waste a lot of time. Speed build up? Again, how fast do you need to play? Basically, if you can't take theory and skills and turn them into some form of music, yeah, you're wasting your time.
  19. Which exam board?

    I'm only familiar with the British exams by way of reading a few guitar oriented magazines published in your country. I would think you could get a better idea of which organization is the best suited to your needs by going online and looking at their lessons and, if any are supplied, their sample exam questions. Other than that, for the hobbyist player, I doubt there is enough difference between the three groups to make any real difference in your skills. My understanding is the exams are simply quality control issues related to getting what you paid for from any organization claiming to be a school.
  20. HELP

    All three models are very good "student level" guitars. Though the Yamaha FG830 is simply a dressed up version of their FG800 and there will be no difference in the sound quality or playability of the lower priced Yamaha. Yamaha has largely dominated the student level guitar market for several decades due to the generally high quality of their product for the dollar spent and the amount of guitar you get for your money. The previous generation Yamaha, the FG700 sold in vast quantities, as have all of the FG's over the years. Since Yamaha FG series guitars tend to occupy the "student level" they are seldom a last guitar purchase. This means you can buy a pre-owned FG series guitar for about 1/2 or less the price of the current models. And there are plenty to choose from on any large instrument retailer's site. As a student, you will not recognize any significant difference between a new and a pre-owned Yamaha FG since the formula for keeping this guitar in the $200 street price market was refined long ago and has had little variation over the years. Buying used may get you a guitar with a solid spruce top that has had some time to break in which will provide slightly better sound quality and you might even find someone selling a pre-owned FG with a case thrown in. You won't go wrong with a Yamaha FG but you may be spending money you don't need to spend to buy a new guitar. I have found Fender to be a highly competitive line against Yamaha in the last few years. They have stepped up their production methods and the quality control of their models built overseas. Their customer support is US based and more accessible than Yamaha's. I would say Fender today is easily the equal to the Yamaha in quality - if not slightly superior - and should be considered a very safe choice for a student. The Fender "house sound" is more neutral IMO than the "brighter" and slightly cool sounding Yamaha. It isn't as loud as the FG800 but I have yet to find anything in the $200 price range that beats the Yamaha in volume alone. Both necks are described in rather similar terms and both will suit a student well though my personal preference is for the Fender neck profile. I would strongly recommend the Fender to a student. The Ibanez is another contender though, like Fender, they are better known for their electric guitars. The AW54 will stand out due to its solid mahogany top vs the more typical spruce on the Yamaha and the Fender. The Ibanez is a good value guitar for a student though it too will not be your only acoustic if you decide to pursue the guitar beyond the student level. Both the Ibanez and the Fender should be available as a pre-owned guitar though they are probably not available in the quantities of the Yamaha. You might also want to consider Alavarez, Gretsch and the guitars coming from the Godin factories which include Simon and Patrick, Art and Lutherie and Seagull. These lines are most typically sold through smaller local retailers vs the big box sellers of Yamaha, Fender and Ibanez. You should find more personal service and better answers to any questions at your local music store though they will not be able to show as many guitars as the less personal big box. Keep in mind, due to their point of origin and the manufacturer's desire to fill many price points, the vast majority of student level guitars in a big box will be, like the FG830 vs the FG800, simply more highly decorated variations on the same guitar. Smaller local retailers will select representative models they feel best suit their clientele and will typically order any guitar they don't stock from any of their lines. Local retailers will try to meet the big box prices though you should cut them some slack IMO if they've provided higher levels of service. After the sale assistance is to be considered in the selling price and the big boxes remain big boxes after you've made your purchase. Good and bad sales staff exist at both large and small retailers though and you should take any individual sales person as a one on one relationship. Alvarez is a line I would highly recommend to any prospective buyer as their sound and their build quality has always been top notch for their cost. Gretsch is IMO building some very high value guitars in this price range. Check out their parlor and "00" sized guitars. Smaller in over all size, these models are similar to guitars from 100 years ago and IMO more comfortable to play than the ubiquitous dreadnaught size such as the Yamaha. Smaller bodied guitars are better suited to playing while seated than is a dreadnaught and many smaller bodied guitars will also have a shorter "scale length" which will be slightly more comfortable for the student due to the inherently lower string tension of the short scale length. You will give up some volume with the smaller body and a bit of thump but the sound of many parlors and 00's will be more midrange focused with less boom and more single note tones. Smaller bodies also exist in "travel size" guitars from Martin and Taylor. Do not consider a smaller body guitar to be a toy, they are high quality musical instruments when they come from a high quality manufacturer who is putting their name on a product they intend to stand behind. Godin is a North American company and, therefore, stands out as being the only guitar lines in this price range not built either in Asia or Mexico. Godin is a rather big company as far as North American guitar manufacturers go and the basic quality of their guitars is seen in each line they represent. The differences between, say, a Simon and Patrick and a Seagull are less numerous than are the similarities. Seagull, built either in the NorthWestern portions of the US or in Canada has become a very well known and well liked line of guitars and, as with the Yamahas, there are a good many Seagulls on the pre-owned market. Like the Ibanez, the Seagull has a less typical cedar top vs the spruce found on most student level guitars in this price range. So expect a different, though no less high quality, sound from the Godin guitars. Buy a digital tuner with your new guitar and get in the habit of checking the guitar's tuning every time you pick up the guitar and before you hit the first note.
  21. Need to Guide Learning Basic guitar

    My first response would be, find a good instructor and do not become a self taught student who lacks the knowledge to know what to learn next. Ignore the people who claim to have known how to play until an instructor messed them up. Structured learning, first laying a solid foundation and then building up from that foundation, works and most self taught students lack that basic structural foundation. Most self taught students do not know what a foundation in guitar is. Searching around rather than building upon wastes resources and time. A successful lesson plan is built upon giving the student more complex data, and more difficult material, after the student has shown proficiency with simpler material at every point along the path. Stopping and hitting pause for a while to make sure the student truly grasps a concept or a technique is common with this sort of plan. At that point, when the instructor is certain the student has the material under their belt, a good plan will provide higher levels of information which build upon what has been taught, and hopefully learned, in previous lessons. Most self taught students don't know what they don't know or what they really should know and they waste too much time chasing down things that are not structured in a lesson plan sense of not getting over your skis. A well structured lesson plan which looks forward and down the road keeps the student motivated and learning at the most successful rate for that student. A good to excellent instructor develops a relationship with the student and locates the keys to constantly motivating the student through the more frustrating passages of learning where the student's progress naturally slows with more difficult and more complex material. All the rest simply wastes valuable time. That said, finding a really good instructor is about as easy as finding a four leaf clover in the desert at midnight. Yet, students need and should have a more experienced instructor to watch them play and make corrections to the basics which many students on their own will not get right. If you learn your mechanics incorrectly, then you will develop habits which are more difficult to correct. If you are not put in the position where you are expected to produce or waste money, you will learn just what sort of student of guitar you will be. If you hated structured learning in school, what makes you think you can constantly motivate yourself to do the work required to really learn how to play an instrument? Saying you "play by ear" is a viable plan for only a very small % of students. More often than not it simply means you are not willing to put in the time and effort to buckle down and learn. The routine of an instructor seeing and hearing you play and then commenting on your performance is very important to newbies IMO. And, despite all that, I disagree with how most guitar instructors, face to face or on line, go about the basics of teaching someone how enjoy learning and playing the guitar. The tutorials on this site are quite informative. They may not tweak your whistle as every individual can require a certain type of instructor to talk to them in the specific words that mean the most to each individual student. But what you will find here is as good and as complete as any other on line guitar instruction I have come across and far better than most. No one is trying to be the "cool teacher" here who never really teaches, you get what you need in these lessons. No one is teaching in dribs and drabs that never really go anywhere here. You will, if you pay attention and do the hard work required, learn something here. If you want to try another on line instructor, I would suggest justinguitar.com Take the course from the beginning to the end and do not jump around or chase the next bright, shiny thing.
  22. Melodies & Chords

    Just read my first response to the op and to this, "The mechanics of how to play melodies along with chords varies with how you strum the strings of your guitar. If you use a pick, you might play melody notes by not hitting certain strings, muting strings with your finger(s) or by dropping an unused fretting hand finger onto a string used in the chord shape", I would add, you may also play melody notes with chords by playing chord inversions. That would typically mean playing up the neck though, so not a technique for newbies in most cases.