Some of you lamented your lack of playing ability. Here I present a FREE LESSON : I get $60 an hour to teach. That's $1 a minute and I spent about an hour on it. You're welcome. HNT below:
1. Buy an electronic tuner. Now. They're cheap and indispensable. Tuning is hard as fuck to learn when you're inexperienced. These help your ears learn.
2. Change your strings often, at least once a month. Have a pro teach you how to do it right, then do it yourself. Or pay a setup guy. Whatever.
3. Wipe your guitar down after every session. It prevents rust on the strings and other metal parts.
4. Keep your guitar in it's case whenever you aren't playing. Trust me.
5. Take your guitar out of it's case as often as possible.
6. Playing is muscle memory. You WILL make FAR more PROGRESS playing ten minutes every day than you will for an hour once a week. Trust me.
7. LISTEN. You ears are at least as important as your hands. Listen to great recordings of artists you admire. Copy them if you can, or get tab or have someone show you.
8. Read everything you can on the subject.
9. Teacher's are expensive and it's hard to find a good one. You are your own best resource. Remember that they work for you.
10. Ignore your detractors. If they can't play you're better than them. If they're better than you tell them to show you how to do it better or STFU.
11. Go easy on yourself. Never tell yourself you suck. Give yourself credit. You'll always be better than someone and worse than someone else.
12. Never, never, never, never, never give up. No one ever said "God I'm so glad I gave up playing!"
13. Practice SLOW AND RIGHT. Fast and wrong is useless. So is wrong and strong. Get it right, THEN speed it up. If you succeed in doing this tell me how.
14. When memorizing here's a trick: Play the last note. Now the last two. Now the last three. BY the time you get to the beginning you've played the whole thing 500 times and you're always working forward into KNOWN TERRITORY. This was one of the most useful things I ever learned. Thanks Mark!
15. Relax! Breathe! It takes a shockingly miniscule amount of pressure to hold down a string. I strangled the friggin thing for years and it just makes you slow and tense.
Use as little pressure as you can and be relaxed. Tension is the source of all slowness.
16. Get a metronome and practice with it (slowly!). Good timing is an important key to good musicianship.
17. As often as possible play with others, preferably others who are better than you. They'll both help and inspire you. See # 10.
18. Protect your ears. If you play above a whisper use earplugs. Your ears are more sensitive than you think and you'll miss them when they're gone. For reals yo.
19. If you're writing your own stuff and it sounds good to you? It IS good. See # 10 again.
20. Play motherfucker. PLAY! It's never to late to learn. Buy a guitar already! Sheesh!
Here's a great link on music theory for guitar.
I recommend at least learning to read rhythm. Tab is good too for other reasons but some basic theory is essential to figuring things out by ear.
Here's more general theory and links:
Here's a good link on open tunings. For those of you with limited fretting skills this will open up a new world of possibilities, especially with a slide.
Interesting fingerstyle link:
A vast array of tabs, links, literature, lessons, etc...
This used to be vastly more useful than it is now, but still a good source for beginner lessons.
The theory link was good. You might find some good stuff here too:
Finally, if anyone has other links they'd like to share please leave them in the comments and/or email me. A long first lesson, I know, but...wear it. If any of you found this useful please let me know. If there's a serious interest in this stuff maybe I'll post more regularly on the subject. Lord knows I have enough to post. Speak up y'all! Some may disagree with me, some may have their own opinions on these things, etc... You're welcome to them but please post them on YOUR blog. Malcontents and complainers will be fed to the sharks. Slowly. :-) Sincere or lengthy questions should be directed to me via email.