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Dear Friends,

I am 20 (turning 21 on the 25th of March) and I have been playing bass, my favorite instrument, not for a long time. I have played keyboard for some time before that. I have also "played" other people's instruments (mainly pianos and acoustic guitars, and a bit of drums) from time to time. I even considered myself a left-handed guitar player, but I corrected it (I am naturally right-handed).

Music has always been my passion, especially in the last 6 years. I have enormous experience with listening to and actually understanding various music (even one that I do not like) by whole and by part, while I have lack of experience playing it. I can come up with different tunes myself (but not play them, at least not as good), and even to easily tell the difference between two nearly-identical and unfamiliar riffs (good ear, I guess). In fact, I have already been able to do that a very long time ago. At around the age of 17-18 I first began thinking about buying an instrument, either a keyboard or a stringed instrument. At the age of 19 I developed more interest towards a stringed instrument, and just after that I realized that bass is my best. The name and the reputation of the instrument itself has been programmed into my brain ever since I was a child, because my uncle was playing it (and still does). At the age of 19 I developed interest to various virtuosi, particularly David Gilmour, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Victor Wooten (all of whom I have seen live on stage) and others, as well as to classical music a little later. I never had and never will have any interest in various artists whose music shows no creativity (that is, various pop bands and rappers who just push the button on a synthesizer and sing about boys, girls, money, cars and ya-da-ya-da). Thinking of instruments, I have never intended to purchase it just for randomly pushing the buttons or pulling strings, or simply fooling around and just showing off. I am into music itself, not into reputation. I have a serious approach and have always cared about HOW the music is created.

My first instrument was a keyboard that I purchased at a garage sale shortly after I turned 20. It was a major kick-start! I began playing my own tunes and occasionally someone else's tunes (by ear). Then, a few months later I finally purchased what I was naturally coupled with when I was born, the bass guitar (I already paid for it and couldn't wait to get my hands on it the moment the seller showed it to me!). I still play the keyboard sometimes (or use rhythms that it has), but bass is my number one. I picked up an instrument a little later that most people do, unfortunately, and that's a fact. Basically, it's like a gun ready to fire, but missing a bullet.

I consider my music experience a major part of my self-education (in music). Ever since I purchased an instrument, I began reading and watching a lot on it, occasionally coming across suggestions to actions that I have been doing all my life (such as paying close attention to and analyzing sounds, not only in music, around me). Enough said.

I have never taken any music lessons, except those in elementary school many years ago. I have a lot of theory in my brain, but I definitely lack the practice (since my first instrument was first in my hands only about a year ago). In such a situation, I believe, I need a teacher, who could assist me with overcoming physical barriers to playing an instrument, as well as helping on particular topics by my request (such as scales, chords, harmonics, and others).

Are they really helpful, or not? Does anyone have any specific recommendations?

Thank you very much!
 

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First, I want to say I have never taken lessons, and I have only been playing guitar for 11 months (I don't play any other instruments, lol).

Advantage #1: People who have taken lessons will rarely have bad habits, if at all, because they have an experienced player sitting there to show them when they're doing it wrong. I've had to correct my picking technique atleast 3 times (man was it a pain in the ass...) and my legato was fairly wrong. But you know what? That's what makes a player unique (among other things)... look at everyone's hand position and picking technique... no one (well, rarely anyone) will be the same.

Advantage #2: They can show you how to mute strings while playing... this is tough for most self-taught players. Even with videos, it's still tough thing to get down.

Example, with legato, I had no clue to barre my index finger and mute with the right hand at the same time. So I had to correct everything I had learned it about 3 months.

Advantage #3: You get to play with someone else! Think about it, once you get somethin' down, you're going to get to jam with the teacher. How cool is that? Me, I sit and play for 5-9 hours a day alone, most of the time. But when I DO jam with my step dad, or friends, it's insanely fun.

Advantage #4: You get to see it two ways, written down and played in person. The teacher isn't going to explain how to do something or play something if he can't do it himself! If he does, ditch him, lol. Self-taught is all reading... I can pick up on this fast, but some people pick it up faster by watching or hearing... or a combo of all 3.

Disadvantage #1: You may end up playing something you don't like... I have several friends who were told to play jazz when they wanted to play rock or metal.

Disadvantage #2 Cost of gas / lessons.

Disadvantage #3 Chances are you have to go somewhere to learn... so if you have no way of transportation you're screwed!

Disadvantage #4 The time limit of lessons... some only go for 15 minutes. Well, some people need more time to understand a concept. Once your 15 minutes is up, it's up! The next person getting a lesson will come in!

Some people get it in there head that they will progress faster and will always be better than self-taught players... wrong!

I know serveral people that have been playing from 1 year and up to 30+ years and can't play anything I can at 11 months (and they're always shocked!). You know why? Because I bust my ass! You have to have discipline, be able to sit down for hours on end and just play. Practice is the most important factor!


Good luck brother! If you have a way to get to lessons and can afford it, there's no reason not to atleast try them out!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, this seems like a great explanation. Thank you! I should definitely give it a shot and try taking lessons with an experienced teacher.
 

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A good teacher can be very important in your development. Vital in fact. Find someone who plays the style of music you are interested in learning and is a good fit with your personality.

I've been playing for many years, but when my son (who's ten years old) wanted to start playing (he plays a Strat and loves the blues) I went "teacher" shopping in Toronto. Came across a few absolute gems, and the teacher we went with started him off learning concepts, etc., through snippets of songs (Zep, AC/DC, Clapton, Hendrix, etc. - all of which fits my son's preferred style). Amazing progress within his first year.

If you can afford it (going rate is maybe $25-30 per 1/2 hour) I strongly suggeset it. You simply won't progress as much through self study. Besides, even the greats have teachers. You are never too old or too good for a good teacher IMO.
 

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A good teacher can be very important.

But also keep in mind that, if you aren't learning what you want, don't be afraid to ask for it. And don't be turned off by one 'bad' teacher, if you don't think you are getting anywhere, go find another teacher. Don't just assume that you won't learn from teaching.

There will always be stuff we can learn. A good teacher is the best way to get there.
 

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Check out the link in this post

http://guitarscanada.com/Board/showthread.php?t=4527

How to find a good teacher. This doesn't only apply to Classical Guitar.

Get references, ask people you think are great players locally who they took lessons from and if that person still teaches.

I've had great teachers, and I still take lessons from great teachers.

Good luck!
 

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wine, women and song...

My friends and I were discussing hobbies have had the other day. When I look at the money I have spent over the years on everything from hardcore backcountry trekking to hunting and fishing to getting a pilot's licence, the dollar figure is probably quite shocking. Its only natural that you should put your money where your current interests lie, and where you devote your energy.

Some people have a personal trainer, a masseuse or maybe even a counsellor or coach. Why not invest in yourself with lessons?

I don't know who said "I spent all my money on wine, women and song...the rest of it I just wasted" but this pretty much hits the nail on the head.
 

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every great player in history has had teachers. Getting a good teacher who works for you will really get your playing happening. A lot faster then if your just noodling at home. Try out different people too
 

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I have been playing guitar for a few years with no lessons. Got a bass did one jam and signed up. I wish I would of done it sooner, would of been so much further by now.

My 30 min lesson has given me hours of practice to perfect. It may boring to do what he tells you but I already feel it pay off. My timing and finger work have already improved.

Go for it!!!
Bev
 

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Violation pretty much summed it up really well.

I think it's a good thing if you want to interact with someone and really work on your bad habits, or find out if you even have any. The guitar teacher has to be willing to do what you want, though, and understand exactly what you want to get out of these classes.

Try it out! If you don't like it after a while, then nothing is forcing you to come back.
 

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While having a good teacher is important of course, you will only get out of lessons what you put into it. If you are willing to research, find a good teacher, then work on a personal program to learn and practice what you are being taught, you will most likely thrive with lessons and see results quickly.

I have taken up teaching a bit of guitar lately and it is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Seeing the students improvement and transferring knowledge 1-1 is a great feeling and very beneficial to me also. You have to know things thouroughly to teach them well I am finding.
 

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...this is definitely one of those personal choice things. what works for one player will be a complete waste of time for the next one.

i have consciously chosen, from day one, to remain as ignorant as possible in regard to theory, technique etc. it worked for me, and still does, but i would never, in a million years, suggest that it is any better or worse than any other method of learning (or, in this instance, non-learning).

i do, however, wish i had taken my folks up on that offer of piano lessons back in the days when all i wanted to do was play hockey...

-dh
 

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david henman said:
...this is definitely one of those personal choice things. what works for one player will be a complete waste of time for the next one.

i have consciously chosen, from day one, to remain as ignorant as possible in regard to theory, technique etc. it worked for me, and still does, but i would never, in a million years, suggest that it is any better or worse than any other method of learning (or, in this instance, non-learning).

i do, however, wish i had taken my folks up on that offer of piano lessons back in the days when all i wanted to do was play hockey...

-dh
Maybe, but just think of how much better a hockey player you are as a result!
 

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Absolutely... lessons are valuable as hell; especially in the early stages. You get technique tips you'd probably never just stumble upon, and you've got a guage by which to measure your progress. Every week you've got to go back and face your teacher with how much you've practised what you learned in the previous session.
 

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Tab vs Notation

I'm sorry, but I have to take a bit of exception to Paul when he said how do you handle a Joni Mitchell piece with tab, In my experience, sometimes it's really the best way, especially with altered tunings. Once the guitar is tuned different from standard tuning, your reference is all wrong, as the notes on the fretboard have been altered as well. However you have to be careful with posted tabs. I once had a student who brought a song in to learn by Dave Mathews with a taqb she had got off the net. The fingering was very difficult and the tones were all wrong. As I listened I tuned the guitar to an open tuning, (I think it was F# minor) the song then revealed itself, using 2 and three finger chords, and the tones sounded right with the open strings ringign where they should. I then tabbed out the chords for my student. I find I need to use standard notation needed for Jazz gigs, or for intro's, ending, or special shots in songs I need to learn for a gig that I am not familier with.
 

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I think that new technology like Powertab - which plays the MIDI back while showing you visually where you are in the piece, can be an incredible learning tool.

Hearing the placement of notes while seeing the fingering gives the fledgling guitarist all the tools they need to learn a lick or song accurately - providing the tab is accurate.

Then for players like myself that have been at it longer the tools make a great scratchpad for remembering ideas, or sharing riffs and songs with bandmates. No more ambiguity about the right way to play something.

I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from learning how to read music either just wanted to share another point of view on modern tab and technology.

:rockon:
 

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Getting back to the original topic, I don't think there is any quesion that music lessons are beneficial, depending on the teacher. I just took my first guitar lesson in about 15 years and it was enough to realize that I should have searched out another good teacher a long time ago. I took my first guitar lesson 24 years ago and unfortunately still have LOADS to learn, but the main reason I'm taking lessons is that I have a very busy life. Given how little time I have to devote to playing I want to get the biggest bang for the buck. Among other things, a good teacher can help you focus your efforts so that you can get the greatest gains in the least amount of time.
 
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