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Thread: I thinik this is a getting started post

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2012
    California for the moment

    I thinik this is a getting started post

    Hi, I am a guitarist who has built a lot of bad habits into his playing.
    I am 50 yrs old, I started playing when I was 17, and stopped at about 30 until recently.
    I have scarring and nerve damage in my left hand that makes it difficult but I think not impossible to play accurately.
    By recently I mean I got a guitar for my birthday 2 yrs ago and immediately embraced playing again, but became quickly discouraged when I found it difficult to make my fretting hand cooperate and fell into the habit of learning parts of songs and just "noodling".

    I know basic chords, barre chords, movable chords.
    I don't have much difficulty with that part except my chord vocabulary is limited by my hand's physical ability to stretch.

    Which scales are basic to starting, and what's a good way to practice them.
    Just walking through the fingerings is a little dry and I have seen it said that when practicing scales you should actually be practicing soloing.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2012
    California for the moment
    Well, I looked through these threads and ordered the John Petrucci video and the Paul Gilbert video to get started.
    Thank you

  3. #3
    I have the Paul Gilbert's Dvd and have only heard good things about John Pertrucci's, best of luck in your playing.

    Check out my blog for Guitar Exercises

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    London, England
    Hi Frankd, welcome to IbreathMusic, …

    … the Paul Gilbert DVD is great, but it's the last thing you should have bought if you are having problems with the left hand fingers and stretching to difficult chord shapes etc. Same applies to the Petrucci DVD … those are both very demanding even for the most flexible and dextrous hands.

    However It sounds to me like there is no major problem with the mobility of your left hand and fingers - we all experience great difficulty making our fingers fit into awkward chord shapes. And that only gets better with a lot of determination and a lot of practice.

    Obviously there might be a danger of really injuring your hand, so nobody here wants to give what amounts to medical advice. If you think there is a medical problem then of course you need to check that out with your doctor before pushing ahead with any demanding guitar practice. But in most cases the problem is only that when they first start, almost everyone finds it difficult and even painful to form chord shapes.

    Assuming there is no actual medical issue with your hand, the way forward is just to keep trying to play those chord shapes, and keep trying to change between them as smoothly as you can. Certain shapes are obviously very difficult and may seem totally impossible, so you might need to avoid those altogether and find some simpler shape for those chords - most chords can be played in simplified versions, eg with just 3 notes (or even two), and those often sound better than bigger chords anyway.

    More generally - depending on your final aims of what you want to play, you will probably find that you need to learn some basic scales, the main interval shapes, and probably the main arpeggio shapes. The best practice book that I found for clear sets of scale diagrams and clear arpeggio diagrams is Guthrie Govan’s first book Creative Guitar vol-1. That will also teach you intervals, ie from the notes in the arpeggio diagrams.

    For chords, I like the book by Bruce Buckingham Chord Melody Guitar. If you really want to play fast intricate shred stuff, like Paul Gilbert, then all his DVD’s are great and very clearly explained. Apart from his original shred DVD Intense Rock, you should also try Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar, which has lots of his musical examples explained very clearly inc. a printed PDF file of TAB … though as I say, all that fast alternate picking stuff is very demanding on the fingers of the left hand and lots of people have injured their hands trying to practice that stuff, so be particularly careful with that!

    Much more generally, there is a really nice inexpensive practice book (with full demo CD) which is the best all round source I know for basic theory, chords, scales, arpeggios and even teaching you about timing and rhythm and how to target chord tones in your solos. That book is Chord Tone Soloing by Barrett Tagliarino … if you buy nothing else, then I would get that first and practice from that.
    Last edited by Crossroads; 05-23-2012 at 07:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    This book is specifically written for the development of finger strength, finger coordination, stamina development, stretching, etc.
    Basically it is aimed at developing the physical side of guitar playing.

    But I agree with Malcolm, if you're not sure about your hand condition, go and see a doctor first.

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