Share how bad you were when you started out on guitar ...

Tony M.

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Sep 17, 2019
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North Carolina
I started playing in 1963.
I was in a band 3 months after I started playing.
I was very good considering the amount of time I had been playing.

It is now 2020
I have been playing for 57 years and am in a different band.
I am not very good at all considering the amount of time I have been playing.

I guess I'm regressing instead of progressing...
 

merciful-evans

Portsmouth uk
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Mar 6, 2018
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Portsmouth UK
Like some of you, I had little idea how to tune it, but I was 16 and at art college, so there were other players there who put me right after a fortnight.

To this day I never had a lesson. That wasn't unusual in 1970. Most players just figured it out for themselves. The only problem is that you end up using some odd techniques that carry forward ever after.

The 'self taught' thing: One fellow at art college, was left handed. He taught himself to play a right handed guitar upside down (high e uppermost) and he fingerpicked this way! He was pretty good too. I never heard anyone else doing this before or since.
 

Glide-bpm

We were small but we were slow...
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
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Coastal SC
Like some of you, I had little idea how to tune it, but I was 16 and at art college, so there were other players there who put me right after a fortnight.

To this day I never had a lesson. That wasn't unusual in 1970. Most players just figured it out for themselves. The only problem is that you end up using some odd techniques that carry forward ever after.

The 'self taught' thing: One fellow at art college, was left handed. He taught himself to play a right handed guitar upside down (high e uppermost) and he fingerpicked this way! He was pretty good too. I never heard anyone else doing this before or since.

Good friend of mine that used to play with us flipped a right hander upside down without re-stringing it just like that! He can burn the heck out of a guitar and is the only man I know that can fit a Popeye song riff into any song as part of a lead. LoL!
 

Igotsoul4u

New Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2013
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57
Can I share how bad I still am???!! Guitar is not my best instrument. It has frustrated me for a long time but I have always absolutely loved everything about playing the guitar. I was five when "Owner of a Lonely Heart" blasted out of the speakers in my dads 84 Trans Am. The distorted electric guitar melted my brain and I set my sights on one day becoming a guitar player. I finally got an electric guitar in 5th grade except I completely sucked and it pissed me off to no end. My dream was not going as planned and provided me no fun other then simply looking at it. I literally couldn't do anything because my hand was so damn small and my peavey predator was not. The next couple years were insanely frustrating. I had also started playing trumpet and took to it very well. Why was the guitar the total opposite experience? In 7th grade I played "wipe out" with a student teacher for the talent show and was holding on for dear life. Looking back he did a great job coaching me to run around the stage and wear sunglasses like EVH. I was more or less embarrassed at the end but the kids at my school thought it was amazing??! My life literally changed that day. I learned that you can suck at guitar and people will still think you are cool!! Thankfully my playing started to improve after 3 years of utter misery. I still sort of suck at guitar to this day. The end.
 

Huggy B

Space is the place
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Mar 10, 2015
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Don't hate me but I was playing gigs 6 months after I picked up the guitar. Lead guitar solos too. I had a very aggressive mentality towards acquiring just enough skills to get out on stage and it paid off.

I can joke and say it has been a steady downhill grade since then:p, but TBH it was more of a plateau where I could pull off a Rock or Funk tune but getting to a Jazz or Fusion thing was beyond my grasp for a very very long time. I think it took a decade before I was able to play over changes and not sound like some rocker hack butchering a melodic minor.
 

Em7

deus ex machina
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
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LSD (Lower Slower Delaware)
I went from being a rank beginner at age 15 to being a lead guitarist at age 16. However, then again, there was no YouTube in the mid-seventies; therefore, the bar was much lower than it is today. :) We learned by playing 33 rpm vinyl at 16 rpm and dealing with the octave lower problem. Being able to hear a song at half speed with correct pitch is a godsend today.
 

gush

She said "huge bag of dibs".
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Nov 4, 2012
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washington iowa
My dad had an old POS stella acoustic and my mom had a ton of records.

One summer I just started figuring out stuff on that stella and soon I was trying to play along with records.

That was maybe 78 or 79. I've been an active guitar guy ever since. I still struggle with right/left hand coordination and wish I'd been shown the basics of making an amp sound good.

Seems like once you overcome the hurdle of GETTING a working amp and guitar then coasting for a bit seems acceptable. I just want to crank it up and play!!!!!!!!
 

Bill SAS 513

Just another old guy in a T-shirt
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Aug 30, 2012
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Manchester, Maryland
Aaaaaahhhh...Middle School into High School...both Franklin MS and HS, in Reisterstown, Maryland.(late 70's)
I played Guitar for the Jazz band...(Herb Alpert "Rise", Chuck Mangione's "Feel So Good", etc...)
Hey, I knew how to finger a Barre 7th chord!!!!! (lift yo' damned pinky!!!) :D
Original Red Swedish Hagstrom HB II into an old Peavey Pacer...School Assembly, I was given a solo in Feel So Good...and I totally froze.
Awful...sweat pouring down my face...Embarrassed to hell...aaaah, memories!!!!
 

DreamTheaterRules

The guys in my car club call me The Cruiser
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
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Cincinnati area
I went from being a rank beginner at age 15 to being a lead guitarist at age 16. However, then again, there was no YouTube in the mid-seventies; therefore, the bar was much lower than it is today. :) We learned by playing 33 rpm vinyl at 16 rpm and dealing with the octave lower problem. Being able to hear a song at half speed with correct pitch is a godsend today.
I started playing at 15 as well. Nobody was fast enough then for me to need to slow a record down. The faster guys were mainly riffers like Marino. Then Yngwie came along and those extended scale runs made it really tough. He was the first one I ever tried to slow something down to learn it. I figured I had a quick ear, but if you stopped to play those last 4 -5 notes you just heard, even if you quickly figured them out, you were now 59 notes behind. LOL
 

Em7

deus ex machina
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Apr 27, 2012
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LSD (Lower Slower Delaware)
I started playing at 15 as well. Nobody was fast enough then for me to need to slow a record down. The faster guys were mainly riffers like Marino. Then Yngwie came along and those extended scale runs made it really tough. He was the first one I ever tried to slow something down to learn it. I figured I had a quick ear, but if you stopped to play those last 4 -5 notes you just heard, even if you quickly figured them out, you were now 59 notes behind. LOL

For me, it was more a matter of being able to get enough note separation to hear what was being played correctly. I learned how to play lead guitar mostly by copying Jimmy Page's stuff. Page has a good dose of slop in his playing that blurs things together at times. The more technical players in the eighties were a godsend in this regard. They may have played fast, but one could hear almost every note clearly (plus, we had tab and Guitar for the Practicing Musician in the eighties, which was light years ahead of what was available in the seventies). With Page, one had to copy his slop to make a note-for-note solo sound like it was being played correctly. For example, the solo to Heartbreaker has huge amount of slop in it, but a note-for-note rendition of it sounds like Muzak played with 80s precision. There were great local players around in my area, but they were ten-plus years my senior and had no time for a young punk like me, so it was learn things the hard way.
 
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Em7

deus ex machina
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Messages
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Aaaaaahhhh...Middle School into High School...both Franklin MS and HS, in Reisterstown, Maryland.(late 70's)

Middle school was a new thing in Maryland at that point in time. The newly constructed schools adopted the middle school/high school model, but most of the existing schools retained the 7th through 9th junior high/10th through 12th high school system until the eighties. Sixth grade was still part of elementary school. I attended junior high and high school. Middle school sixth graders may think that eight graders are bullies, but that pales in comparison to being a seventh grader in a school with ninth graders. Most ninth-grade guys are within an inch or two of their terminal height.
 

Jplaysguitars

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Joined
Apr 24, 2020
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Well, I'm that new beginner with pretty much zero experience! I spent a few months on a Ukulele and decided I needed something more. Now I am trying to become a guitar player in my mid 40's :) Currently learning my chords and getting the knack of using a pick instead of my finger like the Uke. Yeah...I'm that new, but I look forward to playing every chance I get!
 

Em7

deus ex machina
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Messages
908
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LSD (Lower Slower Delaware)
Well, I'm that new beginner with pretty much zero experience! I spent a few months on a Ukulele and decided I needed something more. Now I am trying to become a guitar player in my mid 40's :) Currently learning my chords and getting the knack of using a pick instead of my finger like the Uke. Yeah...I'm that new, but I look forward to playing every chance I get!

I am always amazed when I see someone seriously pick up an instrument mid-life or later. Like a lot of things, learning an instrument is much easier when one is young. However, a lot of people learn to play mid-life or later and become proficient.
 

DreamTheaterRules

The guys in my car club call me The Cruiser
Joined
Nov 20, 2013
Messages
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Cincinnati area
For me, it was more a matter of being able to get enough note separation to hear what was being played correctly. I learned how to play lead guitar mostly by copying Jimmy Page's stuff. Page has a good dose of slop in his playing that blurs things together at times. The more technical players in the eighties were a godsend this regard. They may have played fast, but one could hear almost every note clearly (plus, we had tab and Guitar for the Practicing Musician in the eighties, which was light years ahead of what was available in the seventies). With Page, one had to copy his slop to make a note-for-note solo sound like it was being played correctly. For example, the solo to Heartbreaker has huge amount of slop in it, but a note-for-note rendition of it sounds like Muzak played with 80s precision. There were great local players around in my area, but they were ten-plus years my senior and had no time for a young punk like me, so it was learn things the hard way.

So I must be just a little older than you. Imagine the culture shock of being a pretty advanced classical piano player as a young teen, then switching to guitar and loving Led Zeppelin, and the realization that you CAN'T play it with precision, or it just doesn't sound right! LOL Luckily, I was also into all kinds of other rock and loved the Dregs and Steve Morse, who was a very precise player.

I quickly found out how hard it was from me to go from precision to "feel" After I while, I could really nail some Hendrix but had to be "in the mode" to do so. If I was working on a Di Meola song one night, it would take a while before I could flip over to a Hendrix tune with any conviction. I learned quickly that I probably couldn't do that at a gig. I had to change my whole mindset to go from one extreme to the other like that.
 
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