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an old 50 year old guy playing guitar for the first time

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As an old guy who is 50 years old, I finally decided on a hobby and it's the guitar.  


I ordered the cheapest electric guitar beginner set on Amazon.


If I stick with this consistently for 6 months, I will invest in good equipment.


Well, it's been 9 months, I spend an hour each day; 5 days a week practicing guitar.


Now, I'm in the process of upgrading to a semi-hollow or hollow body guitar.

I admit that I'm an incredibly slow learner and youtube.com guitar lessons drive me nuts.


I started a subscription to guitartricks.com and the introductory lessons are really slow;  to my liking.


Since I have a million questions about equipment, I'll hold off because there are other areas to post those questions.


But, I'd like to network with other beginner guitarists (less than 6 months experience) in the Washington D.C. metro area (Rockville, MD).


If anybody can give advice on how to meet other beginner guitarists, then I welcome your advice.


My girlfriend hates going to Guitar Center with me and doesn't practice her acoustic guitar so it would be nice to meet others with similar interests.


Thanks in advance for your feedback.


Wish me luck.






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There are many old fart guitar players here, myself included.  Fifty seems young, and I'm only 61.  


There are good lessons here.  Many of them are free.

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Welcome popster, sounds like you're off to a good start.

May  your luck continue.  

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Meeting other student guitarists with the same level of experience as you will be somewhat difficult.  There are many group lessons being provided by music stores and local performing groups.  Check around your area and ask at your local shops for more information.  Guitar Center offers some group lessons which will put a good number of beginners together.  Otherwise, take your guitar out to a local park and begin to doodle.  You will have people come up to you to talk about their experience with learning an instrument.  


I would mostly advise against youtube lessons.  First, there is the matter of anyone with a guitar and a smart phone thinks they can give a lesson, which means you can find a lot of very bad information on youtube.  If you wish to learn a specific song, then find a well known and recognized instructor and pay attention to their video while filtering out most of the rest.  I would though warn you about learning songs by way of youtube. 


Good lesson plans are designed to build your skills and proficiency by teaching songs that are appropriate to your level of learning.  Taking on a song that is well above your pay grade can, at best, be frustrating and, at worst, get you thinking you will never be as good as your favorite player and cause you to put down the guitar instead of encouraging you to learn by way of a well laid out plan.  So be aware or biting off more than you can chew when you click on youtube.  


IMO as a beginner, you would benefit from face to face lessons with a qualified instructor.  Face to face lessons provide the opportunity for lots of instant feedback in both directions.  If you are developing poor habits as a student, it's best to correct them now before they get too deeply set in your memory.  


If you have a question about music material or theories and practices, you can't get an answer from a video.  And the worst thing you can do is spend time running through other videos looking for an answer.    

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Add three items to the above post.


1)  Always tune your guitar when you pick it up to play.  Get in the habit of checking and correcting tuning before you begin to play any song or exercise.  If you don't already own a clip on digital tuner, put an app on your phone or other digital device.  When tuning your guitar, if a string goes sharp, tune back down to the point the pitch is slightly flat and then raise the tuning back up.  Don't trust your tuning if you only bring a string down from sharp to in tune.  The string will continue to relax and end up being too flat to be in tune.  So always tune up to correct pitch. 


If notes and chords don't sound in tune, check your tuning.  Strings will continue to gradually change pitch after you've first tuned them and you need to know whether it is the string that has drifted off pitch or whether it is your finger that is bending the string out of tune due to poor technique.     


2)  Warm up with a few simple exercises and songs before you begin playing or starting a lesson.  This is simple stuff that a lot of people ignore and it will slow your progress if you just jump in thinking all is well.  A few minutes taken at the beginning of every playing session should be devoted to just warming up your hands and muscles and getting yourself into a frame of mind to play well.  Mental preparation is probably even more important than physical prep.  Turn off the TV and all other distractions while you study, the same thing your mother told you to do when you were in high school. 


(There are times when you will want to play "mindlessly" while watching TV or some other simple activity.  This sort of mindless activity with your guitar can be used to set fretboard patterns and techniques such as alternate picking or fingerstyle playing into your muscle memory.  Learn and establish the difference between creative doodling and learning a lesson.)   


You might find it helpful to use the process of tuning your guitar as a talisman.  In other words, repeating the same functions over and over will become your mental prep and eventually a signal to yourself that you need to be prepared to study and to play at your top level.  Arranging study materials and setting up are also a part of this when you pay attention to what you are doing and not just going at this by rote.


Finally, learn how to establish and keep a practice journal.  Set realistic goals for your practice and do so for each day, each week and each month.  Saying you want to play better is not a realistic goal.  No one sets out to play worse than they did before they picked up the guitar.  Use the practice journal to gauge your daily progress and success, what elements of playing/learning you should work on and to track your long term  development as a player.  Journals are one of the most helpful items a student player can have as they give the encouragement many students lack when they hit the inevitable leveling off points which come with combining comprehension and ability.  A quick look at where you have been vs where you are now will confirm you are making progress even when progress is inevitably slow but steady. 


You might even take some time to record your playing every now and then to have a more permanent reminder of what progress as been achieved. 






(I apologize in advance for anyone trying to sell you anything on any of the above sites.  Find a lesson plan you like and stick with it.  Don't bounce around from one shiny thing to the next.  Remember, a successful lesson plan builds from one lesson to the next and doesn't just chase what sounds interesting this afternoon.)


Good luck.    

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On 4/12/2018 at 7:40 PM, carol m said:

Welcome Popster.


50 is not old for anything.


Too true.  I ran my first marathon when I was 54.

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welcome  young man , i have kids older than your , and i still love playing my guitars 




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Hey old fart

A nother old fart here, 55 and somewhat new to guitar but a question to pose and an age old one at that I guess

I need my first electric, I am a pretty ok acoustic player,  knocking out the blues on an old fender and chords and such are all fine.

I am looking for a cheapish electric, I am not a gear guy, I dont need the flash and the best just a good solid piece to play my texas blues.

Is and old squire tele ok.....

any thoughts

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Hey popster,


Since you're in the Maryland/DC suburbs, try going to Chuck Levin's in Wheaton.  It's a real old-time guitar/music center with a lot of history in its 60 years behind it (there's a photo in their archives with Stevie Wonder).  Any musician traveling through D.C. in need of accessories, repair or instruments was directed to Chuck Levin's.  


As for meeting other beginning guitar players, you already have a great tool at your disposal:  your computer.  Try a meetup group, or go to lessons.com.   There are positively hundreds of meet-n-greet/jam opportunities at your fingertips...

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"I am looking for a cheapish electric, I am not a gear guy, I dont need the flash and the best just a good solid piece to play my texas blues.

Is and old squire tele ok.....

any thoughts"



A Squier Telecaster works for me.  Pretty inexpensive to begin with, you can find them cheaper by buying pre-owned if you really want to save a few bucks.  "Value" is something you have to find for yourself, no one can tell you what to buy or how much to spend.  Beware the people who want to tell you how to spend your money. 


I bought the Telecaster for several reasons. 


First, I play electric infrequently and mostly only when I need to give my hand a rest from the acoustics.  Being a screwed and bolted together guitar, you can upgrade just about any part of the Telecaster at any time, if you wish.  The Tele sound is, to my ears, more flexible than the Stratocaster sound and has a natural twang from the factory.  I have no need for a whammy bar, didn't use one when I owned a Strat. 


If you decide you don't want to keep a Squier, you haven't lost a lot of money when you trade it or give it to a niece for her birthday.  I just wasn't going to give Henry any money for an Epiphone in the same price range and wanted a "Fender" vs other builders in the same price range.  I bought the Standard vs the Affinity partially due to color availability but also the specs seemed worth the slight up charge in money for the Standard. 


I did have my Squier set up by a good tech which made an improvement in over quality as the factory set up left a bit to be desired.  Also changed out the OEM strings for Slinkys.  I didn't discuss this with the tech but a similar price Epiphone has a cheaper bridge than the upper price range LP's.  Though your head will start to hurt after reading specs for awhile, the Squier Tele bridge is six individual saddles that allow for excellent adjustment of intonation and action.  It didn't look to me as though the Epiphone could have been set up as well.     

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