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#1 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

    Moderator | Lesson Contributor

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 05:53 AM

Welcome to this little corner of the world of guitar lessons!

I'm very glad you're here and I want to tell you how happy I am that you've decided to pick up and play this wonderful instrument. It can really be a best friend. And you know how friends can be: really great to be around and a source of real joy, but sometimes a source of frustration! I hope that in your journey you find a real source of contentment with your new friend but you also realize that when building friendships you'll need a little patience! You'll have some successes as well as plateaus along the way. Learning an instrument is just like life: take the good with the bad and keep going the best you know how.

A little about me: I'm self-taught, starting in November of 1970. 33 of those years have been playing professionally or semi-professionally. I currently have a small number of guitar students that I teach each week in my home studio. I don't believe that longevity of playing qualifies me to teach guitar, but that the ability to communicate does. One of my big passions is communicating the written word about how to have fun in learning how to play.

Another one of my passions is recording and audio engineering. I've had many studio sessions over the years, beginning on the 4-track mixer at home all the way up to the big multitracking sessions of today and anything in between! I've produced six CD projects, including two solo CDs, as of 2008, and this has been a huge source of joy for me. I currently have a 64 track project studio at home (if you're interested in the list of equipment, please check out this page). I have an electronic background and there's just something about the combination of electronics, audio and playing the guitar that keeps driving me...

Lesson Types and Legend

First of all, please see the lesson titled Playbook for Beginners and Beyond. This is an overview lesson of my philosophy of learning the guitar. All of the other lessons in this forum are a branch from this tree. Many of the main branches are referred to in this lesson.

In the next Sticky in this forum you'll find an index to all the lessons and articles. All of the lessons will usually have a certain format to the title, e.g. "Much Ado About Rhythm [Beginner/All Styles/Technique]". Generally speaking you'll see the difficulty rating followed by any particular style followed by the general category of the lesson. Here are some of the types of title modifiers that you'll see:

  • Absolute Beginner
  • Beginner
  • Easy
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

  • All Styles or Any Styles or any particular style such as "Acoustic"

  • Technique
  • Theory
  • Artist
  • Song
  • Reference
  • Riffs
  • Tricks
Generally speaking, articles will not have a title modifier, e.g. "Tips for Audio Mixdown: Overview".

The Purpose

One of my strengths is showing beginning guitarists how simply songs are created and to get you playing right away. I want to complement what Kirk and the other lesson authors are teaching, and I'll refer to their lessons along the way. I'm not a theory-heavy style guitar teacher simply because I didn't learn that way. I started out by getting a book of chords and going for it. I learned chords and began to train my ear as to how the guitar sounded when those chords were made. Then I began listening to professional guitarists and how the guitar sounded when they played those chords, and I began to realize that there were only so many ways to play chords, or there were only a handful of ways that most guitarists played chords.

Better said, I began to hear the progression of each string as it was played. I could actually start seeing them in my mind's eye. I could tell when a guitarist was playing an open C chord or an A form barre C chord, or an open G chord as opposed to the E form barre G. You just begin to hear this stuff if you concentrate on it.

Here's the main message: the world will open up for you if you learn to train your ear from this day forward. Having TAB available is a good thing, however, realize that I and many other experienced guitarist never had TAB when we learned. What we did was to play and slow down records and tapes and learned to hear what was going on. Developing your ear is completely invaluable as a musician. I'm not saying that TAB is wrong, I'm saying that TAB is absolutely no substitute for training your ear and brain and for becoming a musician. TAB should be used only as another tool in the tool box. You can get a rough outline from TAB, but put faith in your ear for learning the parts.

The bottom line is that if they can do it, you can do it. You can learn how to do it at your own pace and you'll eventually bring your own style. I concentrated on chords and rhythm when I started out. I never even tried to concentrate on playing any single notes until after I had been playing for six years. That doesn't mean you have to, but I say that to tell you that if you concentrate on being the best rhythm guitarist you can be, you can learn to be a great solo guitarist if that's what you want.

Have fun, and remember that there is no destination when learning to play. It's all about the journey.

All the best,

Steve
Steve Cass
Solid Walnut Music/ASCAP

Becoming a great guitarist has less to do with fancy moves than it does becoming a master of the basics and learning musicianship.
It's not what you can't do. It's how you play what you already know.


View my lessons here at GfB&B


"Rhythm guitar is a trip that alot of people miss" -- Tom Petty






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