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Thread: How long does it take to learn guitar?

  1. #16
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
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    That is an excellent observation/distinction Darron, welcome to iBreathe

    -Dan
    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  2. #17
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    I'm glad to hear the chaps (Voodoo and Joey) are ok.


    Actually, I'm mostly reeling backwards in a stunned way (much like Homer does when he catches Apu having an affair) that our resident Jorge Maldonado only started playing in '97!!!!

    Is that right? '97! that's 1997?

    Christ, I started playing in '84...I really shouold be better than I am now.

    I shall go home and self-flagellate until improvement is seen.

  3. #18
    Registered User ReinierK's Avatar
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    I think it's also important not to get restricted by guitar playing only.
    I mean this:
    not to brag, but I'm a bit above avarege with almost everything that involes either of the 7 parts of intelligance. Thereby I mean that by 'nature' I have certein affinities. Like with language, music, math, sports etc.

    What I'm pointing at is that you might be the greatest guitarist in the world, but sacrifice everything else for it, while I prefer (and is says: I) to do as much as I can.

    I seriously want to become a musician, so I'm putting a lot of time in it, but I also like board games which I play a lot and to be social etc.

    Hope you see my point! And in the end, it's all about what you really want. In my heart, I want to write classical music just like mozart etc withou instruments, just from thought to paper, then execute that on guitar and vocals and mix some heavy riffs in it... So I know what to work on now and I try to achieve that!

    Sorry to be a bit off topic, just wanted to make a small point

  4. #19
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    Different folks do start with different skills. That's very true, and as a teacher in the past it was very apparent. Where people start is one thing, and where they end up mainly has to do with effort, not only talent or innate abilities.

    I know people with great ears and great dexterity that are not very good guitar players! They don't work hard enough to be as good as they could be.

    With good natural dexterity and extreme dedication a person can reach incredible heights in terms of technique in a few short years.
    -Bizarro
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  5. #20
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Sheer hard work is the only way I know. I have never had any "natural gifts" on anything nor when I did martial arts or music... well maybe my only gift is the aparent facility I have with science . I know I must have been a music teacher's nightmare, no natural dexterity, totally unable to recognize pitches (I couldn't even carry a tune singing ) , HORRIBLE sense of rhythm (I've never been able to dance either ) The only thing that has kept me going is determination and the fact that I had such an ego that my reasoning was "if so and so can do it then I can too". But that has helped me understand students when they start, I have still to meet a student that's as bad as I was when I started, so I can say totally honestly "You're doing a lot better than me when I started, you just need to practice this and that". So if anything it makes me a better teacher
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  6. #21
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Well, I for one am impressed as hell. Your hard work has paid off and you can rest assured your articles have given me much food for thought.

    I am only now left to be embarassed that I didnt have the drive to work as hard myself.

    But I ain't given up learning yet!

  7. #22
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    it can take a long time, I've been playing for a year and getting shown up by people who have been playing about half as long as i have, its a matter of practice.

  8. #23
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
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    There's a fairly simple equation to this:-

    You get out of it what you put in!!!!
    Plus or minus a certain amount of natural musicality and dexterousness!!

    Some have a natural ear, some have naturally spreadable fingers, some of us don't. But certain aspects CAN BE LEARNED, no matter how hard they seem in the beginning. I have larger than average hands (being 6' 6", what'd you expect!), but I know people that can stretch way farther on the fretboard, in the same way that I know people that can hammer-on/off a lot faster than me, but with perciverence and practice I am getting not just quicker but more accurate, which was half the battle, than I was.Hope this gives a bit of encouragement.

  9. #24
    Registered User syrian_vai's Avatar
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    greetings Every1 , and happy new year to all of u my brothers in arm , though this greeting is late , but due to my TERRIBLE med exams , i have been away for a while , so everyone , i missed u as hell ( rumscat , phantom , los boleros , Len , eric V ........ just to name a few )

    i have stole some moments away from studying ( got a real hard pathophysiology test coming on sunday , so please wish me luck guys - i really need it )

    reading this thread , and ur posts , i was so frustrated , everyone here is talking abt practice , and how much amount u put in to take the best results !! arent we forgetting something here ???

    its true that we must practice for a long time in order to become good players , but ............... the problem is : what should we practice ??

    considering the huge amounts of theory and techs out there ,i say its like a maze ....

    lets say someone wants to master yngwie's style , he must practice on scales and sweeps and so on , but , learning neoclassical theory is really not easy , it means , u should study some classical theory ( which ithink is almost impossible lol )

    so the question is : if one wanted a road map to get to his goals , how is he supposed to find it or to create it , if he theres tons of stuff out there ( and our average rate of life is only 50 years after all )

    Take care all of u and - again - happy new year brothers
    Last edited by syrian_vai; 01-05-2005 at 07:06 PM.
    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction

  10. #25
    Goodbye T.P.S. tinsmith's Avatar
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    The answer to the question you have asked is...................a lifetime.

  11. #26
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    Unhappy TALENT, PRACTICE, etc.....life lost !?!?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReinierK
    ...
    What I'm pointing at is that you might be the greatest guitarist in the world, but sacrifice everything else for it, while I prefer (and is says: I) to do as much as I can......
    ....In my heart, I want to write classical music just like mozart etc without instruments, just from thought to paper,.......
    Yeah I am the same, i want to just be able to write it to paper, as without trying to brag, I was considered a musical genius as a kid, as learned the accordion, which my parents wanted, and my teacher (to this day) says he never met anyoen with my ear and speed of learning, and said I had the talent of 'the masters' but not the perseverance they had.
    i told him i didn't want to be an accoridonist, and he still says I (I'm 35 haven't played it since was a kid) could pick it up again and in a few eyars probably still be the best, even if ti meant alot of hard work playing all day....
    he says I used to learn 4 or 5 times fatser than others, ...stuff in a lesson others had trouble learning in a month, and well since I gave up as didn't wanna be a accodionist but wanted a guitar and to rock out, well my parents made sure i never got a guitar or lessons, and I taught myself piano by ear, though only melodies never chords, and well then they gave the piano to mys sister when she got married, etc......

    To cut a long story short, I am 35, and have suffered (as a result from going into the wrong careers and studying stuff I shouldn't have which wasn't as natural to me) from O.C.D (what they say Mozart , Howard Hughes, Nikola Tesla etc, had) and which gives peopel a natural gift for details and perfection and loads of intrusive thoughts and ideas.....

    This explains alot, and well being in the only family who would neglect and ignore the kind of talents I had, I basically started to play guitar with the idea I would never get anywhere with it have a career in it, at age 21, and well, i must say i learn it on my own by ear, trial and error, soi just could know which note was in my head and get to it 8 out of 10 times on guitar.

    I had a few lessons and will ask everyone a question "is it better to have a teacher or not, or do you learn faster with a teacher or not ?"
    I ask as some good teacher a few years ago told me I was too old and kept being a smarmy person when he saw I was learning stuff he taugth me very fast....and well alot of the time there were bits which he did help with, but I think working froma good book if you have a natural knakc of doing things, could be as good or better than a teacher, as Van Halen and Nuno bettencourt taught themselves, and well I am sure if they got lessosn they could have lost their own individual way of doing stuff !?

    I must say lessons are good if you need some kick in the butt to get you organised and point you in the right way, but if you are motivated and intelligent, I am sure if you have natural ability you can tecah yourself faster possibly with books as teacehrs which are good will move you ahead sure, but a bad teacher who may just work you through books and not care too much, could hold you back !

    I don't know, anyone have any clues the teachers, the self taught etc ?

    I must say i studied design and dd a degree, and clinical depression a serve OCD where I even stopped playing guitar and listening to rock for years, and well it's all nuts but the point I am making is that my lacking of musical expression and doing a career which robbed my time and made me stress, brought my OCD to a severe crippling state which meant I lost many years in a haze, and not living life.

    I possibly coudl ahve been a hendrix or van halen as i heard and still 'hear' (like a radio) music in my head, and amazing classical and rock music and lyrics enter my head, abit like being channelled stuff from some demon or God.....very odd....but yeah, Mozart and ther apperently heard the same, and so i get upset as what i did learn in sporadic tijmes on guitar actually fooled people into thinking I had played for eyars but infact I would probably say i had very little tiem in actually learning it....

    even got some lessosn in piano lately and the woman was telling me I could have been this or that as she reckoned I have perfect pitch and stuff....
    This is demopralising as I don't want to be told I could have been a great composer but that now I was 'too old' etc, as it's bull****, and the classical music approach is good but sometimes they can hold you back by ruining your confidence and enthusiasm.....sure I may ahve been this or that if I did it when i wanted to, but the point it tiem has gone, and why can't I do it now, I mean if I have talent I can catch up people who were average and studied the long hard road to compensate, so I get annoyed with this stuff, which is also why when i decided to get guitar lessons 5 years ago, and started to learn classical songs in a few weeks, the teacher was abit jealous and said it couldn't have taken me so little time to learn, but I applied myself and worked hard at it......then he would make smug comments when i asked if I could be a songwriter, and well he was 10 years younger than me and laughed and well, this caused me to get upset.

    I didn't take anymore lesosns and even stoped learning fo the last 4 years, and just improvised and did bits here and there, but guess I got into a deep depression of 'what could have been tried' and how good I would have been as a kid, etc, and how many albums i could have written by now, with all the 'free' music I 'hear' in my head,....and well guess it's my latent OCD, but the last 5 years I have had another breakdown and got to the point where I even stopped appreciating anything and would turn music I loved off, as it reminded me of a hope and love I 'could never have' or 'lost'....

    I guess the problem is nobody knows my true identity so I am not boasting as nobody knows me, so will safely say for the purpose of everyone's benefit out there, that i am a musical genius, and could have been like Mozart or hendrix given the right opportunities, infact I was more a classical type in the way i hear entire pieces when I go to bed and enjoy 'listening' to it, it's like my carving for good music when the CD player isn't on, emans my head conjurs it up subconsciously, like an LSD trip but natural !

    yeah so wanted to say I had my life messed up and the idea put into my head that music was a 'no go' and all my life I have gotten mental problems due to depriving myself, and then holding bakc when i did have a chance, as I didn't see it this way.

    I am now 35, and if I stuck wit my guitar 5 yeras ago, I would have been amazing and could have written 5 or 10 albums, as have an estimated 100 hours of stuff i hummed into dicataphones (not the same thing !) and poems and lyrics and stuff lying about.....but instead I have gotten worse at guitar and haven't played it in 4 years properly, so whereas i could have had a last chance 5 eyars ago, now I will be 40 before I achieve what i could have by now.....

    Now by the time I get my act together, either I will be burnt out, have lost my spark, or be considered too old in an agesit music industry and well seems like I ahve lost the battle before it has begun and can't do music 'for fun' as my potential was and is still a rare and precious gift, and well when i studied and worked ind esign, becasue I wasn't as good at it as music, I lost all my spare time having to keep up with it, and so neevr got a chance with music.

    If i don't do music full time nwo, i will never get good, and other careers are all lost as gave them all up as don't care about life unelss I do music.
    Shame the last 5 years I didn't do it, as had all day to study since losing my career.....but didn't. Now I regret even more, but want to play all day 8 hours or more, so reckon with my ability and that time, I could get amazing in between 6 months ad possibly give Steve Via a run fro his money by 2 years time.....btu will anyoen buy my records or come see my gigs if I do achieve !?

    I tried the easeri option the last few years to join a band as a singer, as I sound like paul Rodgers and Robert plant, and well neevr learnt, I just am natural at siging as i can just do it.....and well many bands did like me, but I rejected them as they were not good enough and the song ideas I haev were brilliant but they liked playing indie, grunge, and well, i guess I should have just played my guitar and did it all on my own !

    The joke is, i made a few songs up, when I was uninspired, and thought they were played badly and reject songs, and put them on myspace, and some independant label wanted to sign me with a 50/50 record deal, an dfree studio time when i liked ! I told them my msuci was crap, and the good stuff could be like led Zeppelin, and i had no band and needed a few eyars to learn guitra, and told them I was 35 and so asked them what their opinions were, and they were nice and said they liked me alot and to get in contact when i felt right.....

    I don't know.... i won't give my true identity as never boast, but rather put myself down all the time, as used to i from my past, but had to be blunt on this forum as I need some opinions and want people not to f**k up like me !

    I guess I want to see my error and regrets and now do music at all costs and not waste the rest of my life and time, and talent....

    I guess learning is all about talent, and practice....effort is the word really as you need to push and be focused on the task in hand or you will lose your life, chances and all like me......i could have been amazing even the last 5 years, but am still rubbish my my standards,....

    I intend to now play all day and focus and hopefully elarn by books, and compose music by ear and move along.....
    If lessons are better please let me know, as dont' want another teacher to give me a complex and send me in a other 4 year time wasting regretful demise.

    continued next page.....

  12. #27
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    continued from last post

    continued....


    I still reckon everyone who has a talent for learning can teach themselves, and even if not 'perfect' it's their own style.....because of hendrix and van Halen got lessons they would probably not have done what they did, or they could have just the same as their openminded genius would have pushed them, but who knows maybe their doing it themselves was just the same !!!?

    I know I would mess with the instrument getting weird noises, and believed the whole neck was one giant scale, and any chord was possible if you experimented, so I just felt not limited but to od what my fingers wanted !

    I don't know, but my life was set into ruina nd continued by my mental problems....guess genius in music and imagination is just a word for a normal guiy having a mental problem which opens up the subconsious into giving 'free' music and skills .....i am not a genius, hate that word, as everyone is equal and born the same.....i just think some who have mental instabilitie and depressions, become conduits, ot vessels of unlocked ability and imagination, as the brain chemistry and problems open other doors as i don't compose anything, it just comes to me when it likes....

    Mozart wa the same, some normal guy with a mental disorder, and thta gave him free music, which he took credit for, ...Nikola tesla was the same.....I guess I have tried alot of other thinsg in life ins mall snatches which is also why i didn't just do guitar as wanetd to design and act and designa dn do science, all things led me into going in circles and never focusing as because I wasn't allowed to do guitar, i guess I alwyas looked around at anything....i wanted to get into film making and write books, but then realised they all take ages and love guitar and well, i would do abit her and there of everything and get nothing done......a problem is when this gets out of hand and you get confused and then don't know what you wanna do in life anymore !



    I woudl love to compose music without worrying about playing piano like rachmaninov or hendrix, before anyone wa ot hear my music, as writing straigh to paper saves time and the ned to play like a master before being able to get msuic out of me, before I lose it !

    I have lost decades of amazing music which was liek mozart, zeppelin, etc....the last five years I was alos alot worse in my breakdown, as my bad phase also meant alot of the time my 'free music' would stop entirely for months and more leading me to think i had lost my spark, my talent and then this really screwed me up, as it made me realise we are all the same, just vessels of something which coems through us.

    I doubt it's my age which I once thought due to my age complex, which stopped me learning the last few years fearing I'd never get anywhere.....and then i realsied I had mercury fillings about the same time I went downhill thje last few years, and enevr had fillinsg in my life before.

    Who knows, maybe the mercury ahs given me brain fog or damage, and i have either lost that fine line which made me the way I was, or, its a coincidence....maybe i was always so good at imagining etc, as I had never had fillings in my life !!?

    If I get them removed I need a proper doctor holistic dentist to do it, with precautions againts more mercury poisoning as removing fillings releases upto an equivalent of 10 years mercury exposure.....and will need mercury detox before and after, and the money to pay for it all, or my brain will furthur be more damaged and neevr clear up.....

    I hope if all this gets doen I won't get alzheimers and lose my talent and hoep my spark returns or I will never get anywhere, and my life will not have just been a waste, but the later part of it will have lost the talent to achieve what could have been done if I had mercury !

    any comments !

    I feel like jumping off a building but then i will lose all chance of anything....i will probabaly get nowhere in life anymore, but I will, f**k that i will neevr let anything stop me, mercury, mental illness, regret, or the past, or age, or f**king anything !

    I would love to learn composition, but don't want to spend years learnig as I just want to get it out instantly !!!!! any good boosk for this !?

    Do I need lessons, or can I learn myself ?! anyone !?


    anon (i go by some stupid avatar called steffyweffy, as will not reveal my identity)

  13. #28
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
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    Thems some posts!

    But may I sum up?

    What you're asking is "Are guitar lessons a good idea"?

    The answer is "Yes they are, if you're teacher is the right one for you"

    Welcome to IBM!

  14. #29
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    That's a long post right there! Reading it is quite a feat of concentration considering it's 7 in the morning. I don't think age is an issue when it comes to learning music. I have had students that are over 70 and still enjoy it and are able to play music they like. You can look back and think of all the time you've lost or you could think of today and the future and make plans. Like Russ said, a teacher is a good idea but you need to find one that's right for you. Yes, there are some out there who are jealous and selfish with their knowledge, but there are some good ones too. It just takes some looking around that's all. Good luck with everything and welcome to IBM. We have tons of info here and if you have a questions there are a lot of very knowledgeable players who can answer your questions.

    Enjoy your stay.

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  15. #30
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    thanks for the replies !

    thanks for those replies guys !

    you are right.....guess I am not 70 yet, and at 35 i hope to see i could have doen alot the last 5 eyars and will maybe live to regret my folly, but will hopefully be a badass player by 40 ! or evn the next 4 to 6 months if I play and compose well, as I am not a paul Gilbert type, more wanting to play like Jimmy page !

    Infact that's a good thing, if I said I just wanted to really be as good as jimmy page in playing, for starters, how long could this take based on a 3 to 8 hour practice regime ? and judging by the fact i already play some abit, and though forgot all my chords, can relearn etc, and well i learn pretty quick anyway.

    Also for anyone out there, how long would it take an average person, so this question could be useful to all the led Zeppelin freaks out there !
    I guess this will involve learning zep songs, as they are amazing and all one could need if they want to rock cool and hard, and not worry too much about shred and other players.

    Also i asked about the teacher thing as I reckon with some good CD Books out there, like the Troy Stetina series and fingerstyle books out there, someone who is competent should in theory be a good teacher to apply this knowledge to themselves, as I know how to play abit already and so the physical side of guitar is not a problem to me, but learning stuff and technique is .

    i want to save money sure, but alos like the idea of being my own boss....
    is teaching a Holy Grail or can self learning be better for some !?
    I tend to know how to learn as did have some lessons in the past so know you have to focus on small chunks at a time, and seperate the bass from the treble parts when learning some classical, and at one point I used to play some complex classical pieces by carcassi etc, when I had a few months of lessons, but hada breakdown and stoped and that was 5 years ago, what a shame by now I could have been not only a badass rocker, but in classical guitar too.....dam !

    I only remember one piece, as I had learnt too much too fats at the time and it didn't sink in enough when I stopped suddenly. I can do some really cool baroque piece which sunds abit like Randy Rhoad's DEE piece, but is more ancient sounding....

    regards and glad to be here...

    what does anyone think of this ???

    www.guitarprinciples.com

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