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CirrusPilot

Newbie Overwhelmed!

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CirrusPilot    0

Let me first start out by saying what a GREAT resource this forum is! I can't believe I accidentally found it. I've tried posting newbie questions on other forums and get very limited replies. I've tried searching for "newbie" threads in those same forums and found limit results. This is the only place that has even come close to answering my questions and I was just searching threads a guest. I'm looking forward to being a part of the community.

I have tried on and off to teach myself guitar unsuccessfully and I believe the reason for this a combination of bad guitar choice which lead to frustration. I have small hands with short, thick fingers. I tried learning on acoustics with wide necks so I have never felt truly comfortable holding a guitar. Another disadvantage I have is both of my thumbs were broken in a car accident and the left thumb does not bend in the middle joint. It makes it very hard and uncomfortable to keep the thumb behind the neck. It naturally wants to ride up to the top edge of the neck. I have decided to immerse myself in guitar and actually get something that is comfortable to me and invest in lessons. YouTube and other lessons are great, but they can't see what I'm doing and tell me what I need to change. I need direct feedback from someone who can see what I'm doing. I also need the encouragement and reassurance so I don't get discouraged. It's easy to think you'll never get it when you teach yourself.

As for guitar's, I think I've narrowed down to the Les Paul Special II and the Squier Telecaster. I want to play mostly country that has a rock edge and would LOVE to learn to play blues. Which of these guitars would be best suited for what I'm looking for? They both feel the most comfortable to me having the small hands and limited flexability issues I have.

Another question would be about strings. What strings would be best for a beginner player? I've heard that flat wound are the most comfortable. Is there a particular brand that I should be investing in?

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knight46    2

Hello CirrusPilot and welcome to the forum. Hang in there, all things come in there time. As to the guitar and the strings:

I have no expertise with Les Pauls but know that Tele's have that twang that means Country. They are also good for Blues and Rock. The strings are as personal as the type of guitar. I have seen no advantage to using flat wound and generally find that all quality made strings are OK.

Perhaps the best thing to consider with the guitar is how that stack up to you after you have played and listened to both. Actually it would be a good idea to handle as many as possible just in case there is a darling one out there with your name on her.

Enjoy and don't hesitate to ask questions.

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CirrusPilot    0

Thanks for the advice. Another issue I have is the severe intimidation factor that comes with entering the big guitar stores around here. For a guy who doesn't know how to play, I find it rather scary, at least around here. All the people that work in the stores are long-haired rockers with tats up and down. You ask for help and they say just pick them up try them out, which is a problem in itself seeing as how I don't know how to play. So they pick up the guitars and start playing for you and it sounds like they could be professional. I always feel like an idiot when I go in.

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D-Dawn    0

I've been playing for just over 5 years and still feel that way sometimes! I like the small stores though, they seem more friendly. The way I try to see it is, every guitar player had to start at the beginning and nobody came out shredding away!! Don't be intimidated, at least you are out there trying. Some people don't even get that far! They want new people to come in and play, otherwise they wouldn't sell many guitars...

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MJK    0
Another issue I have is the severe intimidation factor that comes with entering the big guitar stores around here. For a guy who doesn't know how to play, I find it rather scary, at least around here.

HEY me too. I have found that I look on-line first and if I see something, I then go in to the store and play it. Also, I go at hours that maybe a little slow, like when the stores just opens. I went to a recent Guitar Center when it first open and I was the only customer in the store for about 30 minutes to 45. Who knows, you might get lucky at any time you go.

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CirrusPilot    0

Maybe it's just our insecurities...but there's just something about it that makes you feel kinda small. Especially when you are JUST starting out like me and know absolutely nothing. I need a guitar so I can learn on, but it's kind of like taking a person who has never driven before to a car lot and saying pick out one. You can't really appreciate all the finer subtle features if you don't even know the basics.

Am I right? :dunno:

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MJK    0

I have been practicing for about a year now and I still know nothing. That is why I need to practice more and the wife, kid and work all get in the way. I love them all but I want to also play the guitar.

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CirrusPilot    0

I'm not married, recently engaged though, and no children. I will have plenty of time to practice though, I think. My fiance will be excited that I'm taking up a less expensive hobby, so I'm pretty sure I'll have her support.

It's just very overwhelming for someone just starting out. Having no skills, it's difficult to make the right decisions about equipment. I think I'm pretty much leaning toward the Telecaster. I like the twangy, brilliant sound that they have. I'm going to stop by another store on my way home from work and check them out again.

I may even have one of the people working there play a little on it so I can hear what it sounds like. I know, I know...that's really lame. But that's the best I can do since I can't play it myself and I need to know how it sounds.

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MJK    0

Oh - don't get me started on gear. I want a new guitar bad that it hurts. The more I look, the more I want. I am currently hooked on the Charvel So-Cal but they are running around $1000 I can tweak my Ibanez RG120 to have the same pickups but that will run me around $300. Still $300 is too much for the misses to part with.

Also, watch people at the local shops. I have spent hours in some shops just watching and talking to them. The other thing is to watch items on line. Going back to the So-Cal...the following is a you tube of Guitar World's review:

...

Regardless of when, get a guitar and play. I played for about two years, sold my equipment and twenty years later, I am here today. I am not telling you to make anyone mad, but make sure you buy a guitar when you can.

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CirrusPilot    0

I'm ready to buy a guitar now. I just can't decide which one and since I can't play a single chord, picking out a guitar like that is kind of like a blind man trying to pick out his favorite porno! :laughingg:

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karcey    42

G'day CirrusPilot. Welcome to the forum.

I can relate totally with what you're saying. Even after several years of learning and maybe nine guitars, I still browse music shops and never touch a single guitar. One gets the feeling that if it's in your hands, you have to do something musical with it.

There are a number of issues to keep in mind if you ever get to hold a guitar. The height of you chair or stool is critical for a beginner. Too high and the guitar falls off your leg, too low and it seems too big to get your arms around. The size of the body is important if you look at acoustic, not quite so important for the smaller bodied electrics. But even with them, when you experiment with seat heights and hold a few different shapes on your leg, you'll notice that some feel more comfortable than others. Even the weight makes them feel different. My recommendation is to find a shape, size and weight that you feel comfortable with. In my book this is more important than the number of pickups, or whether it's the same as your idol plays. The width and radius of the neck also varies, so while you may not understand the differences, it can make one feel better in your hands than another. Comfort now means easy learning, and you've got a lot of learning to do before you can emulate anyone else's style or sound. The only way to get all this information about the guitars you're considering is to bite the bullet and go and hold some. Don't be shy. Ask the man "Is this how you're supposed to hold a guitar?" Don't pretend to know anything at all. That way you don't have to be scared he'll ask you anything you can't answer. Even when he asks you what kind of music you want to play, tell him you don't know yet. As D-Dawn said, music shops don't hate beginners, they love them.

But all that said, once you've decided on comfort, get the best looking one you can. It has to grab you every time you look at it, so when you hate chords and despise scales, you'll still love your guitar.

And most guitars these days are made in Asia so don't be scared to buy an unknown brand if the shop tells you they're prepared to back that brand. They generally cost much less, and will serve you well until you buy your second, third and fourth guitars.

Good luck, and keep in touch.

Karcey

PS Don't worry about where your thumb rests ... guitars can be played by people who don't even have thumbs.

K

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lorispencer    0

welcome CirrusPilot. it sounds like you have already gotten good advice. If you have any friends or coworkers that play take them along to play the instrument for you. that always helps. i get asked to go out with people to try guitars and i always enjoy spending someone elses money.

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CirrusPilot    0

Thanks for welcome everyone. I think I'm going to break down and get a Telecaster this weekend. I really like the looks of the butterscotch one.

What is a decent practice amp?

I want to swap out strings when I get it, but I don't know which ones will be the most comfortable starting out. Everyone I've talked to says that I should go with extra-light strings first, then move up if I need to. What is everyone's thoughts on that and suggestions for strings?

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Lcjones    8

Hey Cirrus,

Welcome to GFB & B. As Karcey inquires, why?

First, there are strings and strings and strings. Different thicknesses, different winding, different core, some flat, some round. Heck, even different colors. And the each sound and play differently.

Before you go jumping into the string foray, play with what strings the guitar comes with. Get a feel for them. Ask the sales person to give you the size (gauge) strings the guitar comes with from the factory. Also, ASK for a complimentary set of strings. You'll most likely get them. Use that information as a starting point for strings.

Why? Because the guitar is set up with the strings that are on it from the factory. IF, and be sure to ask, the guitar requires a setup before you take it home then ask the guitar technician to suggest the best strings for that make and model of guitar. If the guitar doesn't need a setup but the strings look used, and you can tell by tarnish, worn or dark areas, ask the store guitar tech to suggest the proper strings.

Don't go willy-nilly into buying strings because a buddy says so. Appreciate your buddy's thoughts but wait until you know what the guitar can handle and what adjustments need to be made to the guitar for a particular set of strings.

**

LC

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GotDeeBlues    3

I would suggest the Roland Cube 20X. Good clean channel, nice sampling of different amp tones, good reverb and a nice delay for that country you want to play, and a lot more features. It's built like a tank and will last you a lifetime as a great little practice amp.

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CirrusPilot    0

Well I suppose I will just hold off on the strings for a while. The people I have talked to about it said that it would be good to learn on some extra-light strings until my fingers started to develop the calluses. They told me that I could have the guitar store put the strings on and show me how to do it. Then I would be able to know how to put the factory strings back on it later. But if everyone is in agreement that I should wait, I can do that too.

I'll try to ask for complimentary set of strings. I'll be sure and ask about whether it is set up or not as well.

What about a decent tuner? I want to invest in one of those while I'm at it.

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Stratrat    0

The Korg CA-30 is a good tuner that will cost you less than 20 dollars. Small and easy to use.

I'd echo a lot of the advice above. The Telecaster is a great choice for the kind of music you want to learn. A Les Paul is fine for very hard-edged country (think Jason Aldean), but 'twang' is definitely not in the Les Paul's wheelhouse. Don't get too hung up on it when you're just starting out - you'll eventually be upgrading and buying more guitars anyway! :yes: Pick one that feels good to you, and that looks so good that it makes you want to pick it up and play it every time you see it. Don't get hung up on all the internet talk about upgrading pickups, tuners, putting different capacitors on the pots, etc. - none of those things will make one single bit of difference to somebody who's just starting to play the guitar. Telecasters usually come with .009 or .010 strings, which are plenty light and bendable - stick with what came on the guitar. Flatwounds are normally used for jazz-type music, as they have a duller, "thicker" sound than round-wounds....not exactly the sound you're looking for if you want to learn country!

Amp suggestions - everybody has their own favorites. On many boards you'll find hardcore tube purists who will recommend nothing less than a vintage, hand-wired Fender tube amp....great amps, but as a beginner they're not going to make a big difference in how you sound, and they're not as versatile as a solid-state modeling amp. My recommendations would be either the Vox AD30VT or Roland Micro Cube. I have both of them, and like them a lot. Actually, any of the Roland Cube series are excellent amps, it's all pretty much a matter of what size you want. The Micro Cube is very small and portable (and will also run on AA batteries if you ever want to jam somewhere with no electrical outlet nearby), but more than loud enough for home practice. I rarely turn mine above 2 or 3 on the volume knob, and the amp models allow you to get whatever tone you want at volumes just above a whisper - great for late-night practicing! It also has a headphone jack for those times you want to go completely "stealth", and an mp3 input so you can jam along to your iPod or whatever.

When reading guitar forums, it's easy to get caught up in all the GAS about upgrading this and that, vintage gear, boutique amps and pedals, etc. - and equally difficult to sort through it all and make sense of how it applies to you. IMO, the most important thing as a beginner is that you buy a properly set up guitar that appeals to *you*, keep it in tune, and practice a lot. A custom-built $3000 guitar and all the foo-foo boutique gear in the world won't make you sound good if you can't play the darn thing!

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CirrusPilot    0

Well I just couldn't wait until the weekend, I had to buy my guitar today! I went with the butterscotch Telecaster Special. It is easily my favorite. I always just found myself going back to it and just holding it. I really love the butterscotch color too. I didn't want to go with a traditional painted body. I like to see the wood.

As for amps, I just got a little 15w Fender Frontman. It was in my price range and a couple older guys that were customers said they would be a great little practice amp for a starter.

I went with the Korg chromatic tuner as well. I'll get my first chance to "jam" on it tonight after work!

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CirrusPilot    0

I got the super lights put on the Tele and I've been playing on it for probably a little over an hour. I had them lower the action real nice for me. I can tell a HUGE difference. This guitar is so much more comfortable to play on. I have definitely found the one for me.

As for playing, I've been playing around on it for a little over an hour and I don't have any fingertip pain. Maybe a little on my pinky. I think it's going to be a matter of stretching my finger and wrist muscles. And I know that takes time.

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CirrusPilot    0

Another question...when I plug my guitar in the amp, there is a humming from the amp when nothing is being touched on the guitar. The humming goes away if I touch any piece of metal on the guitar, strings, bridge, tuners, etc. What causes this? Is there something I can do to fix it?

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