[thechat] Guitar Stuff

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at hp.com
Tue Mar 11 15:12:58 CDT 2008

Thanks E!   Thanks Martin!

Erika noted:

>>I never had issues with fingers,
>>I started w/ nylon at 8, tho, and then moved to steel at 12.

Joel also mentioned starting with nylon and moving to steel later.  If the little guy likes playing guitar and sticks with it maybe we'll check into that option.

>>Adults were over-worried and I had my first steel-string guitar set
>>WAY TOO LOW, and in fact it was the BUZZING of the frets that drove me
>>nuts... because of the bad action...to the point of QUITTING.

Whoa!  We'll all products of our experiences I guess.  I probably overreact to the finger thing because I (all too vividly) recall 'helpful' adults pressing my fingers into the strings to 'show me' how hard I needed to press to get those first fret notes to ring clean.  Ick!

Thanks though!  It's always less painful to learn through other people's experience!

>>I think, give him baby steps, with goals.

Bingo!  That's exactly what we're after.  We had our first lesson thing last Saturday.  One of the things we did with the guitar was see what frets he could sound cleanly.  Turns out that on the first string he could get a decent note to ring from about the 4th to about the 10th fret.  Much better than I was expecting!  That gave him some success as well as some things to work on.  We played with different strings and fingers, took time to cover some posture basics, and had some fun.

We also tried a baby 5th interval 'power chord' - but it's a little early for that.  Waaaah!

Overall, I think he really enjoyed the lesson and I think we kept it short enough that he will want more.

>>Ask him what he wants...

Rats.  That's a very good suggestion.  I will do that.  I was assuming it was a 'me too' thing, but maybe he has some other ideas in mind!  Good Idea!

His mom wants to learn to play guitar.  [She had this amazing s-eating ear-to-ear grin a few months ago when I had her strap in and make noises on the Frankenstrat! Heh.]  She has some keyboard background.  I'm not sure how much.  His dad wants me to show him some more stuff.  He has also made a very specific request that I show him how to sight read.  (I gave him my old acoustic when he finished his associate's degree recently.)  I think he wants to be able to read and play along with some church book music.

Basically the whole family wants to play ... and I have enough guitars sitting around where we can all jam at my place!

>>I am against teaching sight reading to beginning students, esp guitar players.
>>But that's me.  I'm a rocker.  I think using your ear/hands/heart should be
>>first, read later (or never).

Interesting. I've never felt strongly either way about it myself, but I have run into several people who feel quite strongly against sight reading.

I think the thing I like best about it is that if it's a song I'm not familiar with, it gives me a fairly decent idea what the arranger wanted it to sound like.  Tab doesn't work so well - you have to have already heard the song because you don't have any note duration information. I still get to decide how *I* want to mangle the song, but now I have a starting point to diverge from.

But I absolutely agree that sight reading doesn't need to be a 'day one' kind of thing!

I certainly feel that not having enough ear training has held _me_ back, but I never linked that to sight reading. <shrug />

>>IMO, kids are tough creatures.  My daughter learned to blow trumpet in days... I don't know how...

Heh!  Good for her!!  That's great.  Horns are fun.  I tried to swipe my sister's saxmophone once ... (It was the most excellent thing EVER made for torturing the Schnauzers!) ... but she swiped it back!  ;-(

>>NO ONE would hire me in their band.  But I've taken that and run with it...  again... just ME.

I dunno. I'm sure Joel, Martin, and Nagrom know MUCH better than I do - but I hear that at the garage / weekend warrior level it's much more about chemistry than ability.

>>Other people, REAL MUSICIANS... can play music as directed.

Yeah, but I'm never going to have a job working for Paul Shaffer either.

>>That to me, is the essence of rock and roll.  Child mind + rule breaking.

I can absolutely respect the 'go your own way' sentiment!  In my own twisted way though, I'm thinking that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing (and dangerous things are always the most fun, right?) so learning how to read and recognize some common structures (I-V-IV-I kinda things) may make it easier for the kid to steal ideas from jazz/country/swing/reggae and mangle it into his own.

Hmmmmm ... I guess maybe it's just a very 'individual' kinda thing isn't it?  What's best for me may not be best for the little goober.  <Dang!  Good thing kids are strong!  Oh well, at the very least he'll have great stories about what a musical putz his Paw-paw was! />

Martin Burns wrote:

> And *every* good musician is a listener first and foremost.

Tru Dat!  Wait.  Whadhesay?  ;-)

> Suzuki

Okay.  You and Erika have both said good things about Suzuki so I will look at it a bit more closely.  But I have to admit that it gave me the willies at first glance.  The initial vibe just really struck me as a bit 'Stepford Wives', ya know?

The encouragement, small steps, and the unforced timetable for learning I can live with and adopt.  Those are good things.  I can represent.

The 'immersion' and 'imitation'?  <insert Randy Jackson voice and headshake> I dunno Dawg. </voice> Frankly I'm not so keen on those.  They may well be the "best" way for the little guy to learn and learn quickly, but that's not me.  I think I'll de-emphasize those.


(Lesson two may be this evening ... I think maybe we'll work on the single most important thing a budding guitarist needs to get down pat ........ Yes, that's right ........ "the pained look"!)

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