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Old 10-14-2006, 08:11 AM   #1
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Question Anyone Here Play Guitar?

We're getting TC a guitar for his birthday & I was wondering if anyone had any info they could share with me. Such as...5 string or 6, what size (he's about 4.5" tall), & steel or nylon strings? Hubby has a friend who plays & has said that he'll give TC lessons for free as long as I feed him once a week (I'm more than happy to do that ). We're starting him out on acoustic, that way as he learns, he can move on to electric & then hopefully one day bass. I know nothing about guitars so any info would be very helpful & appreciated! The only thing I'll be able to help TC out with is learning to read music...I need to break out my old flute books to brush up on that though!

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Old 10-14-2006, 08:23 AM   #2
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I think I'd ask the owner of a music store to help me. He'd know the correct size for TC and hopefully direct you to a less expensive beginner guitar.

I'm sure he could answer the questions about strings, too.
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Old 10-14-2006, 08:46 AM   #3
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Thanks HB! I'm planning on calling the few music stores around here today to see what I can find out. Hubby says that steel strings last longer, but my concern is that with him being a beginner, will they be too rough on his fingers? I know that his fingers will get sore & tired at first but I don't want them to get so sore that he dosen't want to play.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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guitar player for over 20 years here.

my quick advise (u can feel free to ask any further questions): start him on a full size acoustic. your husband is wrong...nylon strings will last much longer that steele.

what type of music does he (not YOU) want to learn to play...that will greatly determine the string type. dont worry about which type will hurt his fingers...they gonna be sore with dither one until he develps callus on the fingertips.

i also HIGHLY reccomend that he learn piano at the same time as he learns guitar...he will greatly appreciate that later in life.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:14 AM   #5
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I'm not very good, but six string is what you want to start with. Most people learn to play by reading TAB music, which is easier to learn than traditional "music-music". Most people learn TAB notation first, and later move on to the more difficult to read "music-music".

I've only been playing a couple years (with no lessons, just in my spare time with books/CDs), but I bought a cheap-o Ibanez Dreadnought acoustic (it was about $150). Make sure you pick up a good digital tuner ($30-$40). Trying to learn guitar with out of tune strings is a hopeless endeavor. The "Dummy" book series is an excellent source of information and learning. Well put together. Really what it comes down to is learning the basics of the guitar, and then developing the ability to cleanly play various chords and the transitions between them (along with proper timing). You might want to talk to a music shop before buying a guitar. They will give you all the info you need.

When you first start out your need to develop calluses on your fretting fingers as well (the ones that push the strings down on the neck of the guitar to change notes). Most kids can't play long at first. Took me a few months to develop the rawhide fingertips...
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:24 AM   #6
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Bass Guitar / Piano player here.

I think I would agree with just about everything mugsy has said. Start him out on an acoustic guitar. That way you don't have to bother with buying an amp, and then later dealing with the noise. Also, since he's still young you may want to look into getting himm a narrow-neck guitar, which is what I use, because my hands are a little small. Oh, and I don't think mugsy said this explicity, but you'll be getting a 6-string guitar.

The idea of training him in piano as well really help out when it comes to learning to read music, and later on, music theory. I learned to play piano about 5 years before I started guitar, so reading music was a breeze for me, and as soon as I was conmfortable move up and down the guitar, I was already able to improvise and play a little jazz. To a guitar player, sometimes there's nothing better than just being able to jam for a couple of hours; you just have to have the background to back it up.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:26 AM   #7
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Thank you mugsy, Nicholas, & cc!!

We're not sure what type of music he wants to learn yet, but he's shown intrest in playing the guitar for a few years now & we figure that since he is still interested that it's time. Also the guy who will be teaching him said that he is at a good age to start learning (he'll be 10 next Wed.). I've always wanted at least one of my children to have an intrest in music but I have never pushed it on them. I feel that if they are interested on their own that they will have a better chance of succeding with whatever they choose. He saw something on TV a couple of weeks ago where Esteban was playing & he said "Mama, I'd love to be able to do that." So, hubby & I scratched off the idea of a new TV for his room (thank goodness!!) in favor of a guitar.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
Make sure you pick up a good digital tuner ($30-$40). Trying to learn guitar with out of tune strings is a hopeless endeavor.
A tuner is a nice tool to have, but I would reccommend he learns to tune his strings by ear. For this, you use your digital tuner for the 1st string only, and then tune the rest of your strings relative to the tone of your first string. The reason is that digital tuners cannot capture tone as well as the human ear, so while your strings are likely to be very close to properly tuned, they won't be perfectly in tune, as they should be. Additionally, being able to tune by ear saves time once you're used to doing it.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:34 AM   #9
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Here's one that we have looked at. Right now, we're just looking at the basics. He's spending the night with is grandparents tonight so I'll have some time to actually go chek out a few music stores this afternon. http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000BUDR68
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:49 AM   #10
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Thats actually how I usually tune my guitar. Low E, and then tune the others off that one. It definetly yields the best results. When I first started I tuned all of them with the tuner though. My guitar came in a package deal like the one above, but the included tuner was terrible!. I ended up spending a bit more and getting one that worked well. It's a Korg unit.

I'm someone who grew up putting all his time into drawing/math/science. I never really played an instrument until two years ago. Starting young is the way to go. I was just watching a video of a 7yr old drummer yesterday someone eMailed me. I was in shock at how well he played. Of course his father plays multiple instruments as well. Why not pick up the guitar yourself? Learn with your son so when he needs a partner to play with he'll have one. Just get ready for finger-tips of fire for the first few months...

EDIT: When you go to the music stores, realize that they are not like department stores. You can usually haggle on price and extras. I'd pick up the "Dummy" book too. It has alot of information. Everything from restringing when you bust them (and you will eventually), to the basics to start you out (along with a CD on the back cover to follow along with).
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
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hey nick?? what part of mass r u from? i lived in the back bay area of boston for about 6 years when i went to berklee coll. of music (film scoring..what a useless degree!! lol). i lived on boylston st, newberry, and a few others!.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:59 AM   #12
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Nicholas, I played the flute in junior high & high school (still play on occasion just so I don't forget anything). I got braces after I started playing...talk about painful (especially at those cold Friday night football games)!! I'd love to learn with him though, music is something I love, it's right up there with cooking. I can live with the pain, I can always use a pencil to post on here!

I'll look for the "Dummy" book too. His nana & papa were asking what to get him & that would be perfect!

Thank you all so much for the info, I need as much as I can get!
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:04 AM   #13
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I'm from Greenfield, but I live 30mins east in Athol. I work half-way in between in a small town called Erving. All three towns are along Rte.2 in Central Mass above the Quabbin Resivoir near the borders of New Hampshire and Vermont. Quiet area, but Boston suburbia is slowly creeping west, and Springfield/Hartford suburbia is slowly creeping north. Eventually I may be forced up into Vermont...
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Oh, great choice on opting out of the TV! I ditched my cable service about three years ago. I found myself spending a few hours a day (hour in the morning, 1/2hr here, 1/2hr there, etc) switching between News stations and the Food Network. Now when I'm home I get all my news/weather/scores in about 10min online, then I cook, read, listen to music, play music, and do things that are actually productive.
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:18 AM   #14
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Thanks! We limit the kids TV time to an hour a day unless it's something special they want to watch & they've been at least 3/4 decent that day. Most of the time they are outside playing (weather permitting, of course my kids would play outside in a tornado if we'd let them ) & if they can't do that, they play board games, cards, or they are in the kitchen drawing or helping me cook. They both would rather be up & doing stuff other than sitting in front of the TV.
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:25 PM   #15
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Great sounding kids, Crewsk. I bet your son will love the guitar. Doubtless the teacher will enjoy his meals too!

Maybe your first meal ought to be spaghetti alla chitarra!
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:33 PM   #16
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All I`m going to say is that if he Does take to it and get an Electric guitar, PLEEEZE don`t even Try and use Nylon strings :))

and yes, I also tune manualy from the top string (Low E) also, it`s good practice, although I`m a Synth player normaly, I like to have a mess around on guitar too (esp after a few beers).
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Old 10-14-2006, 01:09 PM   #17
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Thanks Snoop & YT!

Y'all have no idea how excited I am about this!! I feel like a kid waiting on a parent to open that special Christmas present that I saved all my allowance for & picked out myself!
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Old 10-14-2006, 02:20 PM   #18
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I can play the radio. :)
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Old 10-14-2006, 02:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I can play the radio. :)
Ah, I know what you mean, Sush! I used to say I could play the phonograph, but with today's technology, I can't even say that anymore because the younger set most likely doesn't have a clue about what a phonograph is.
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:16 PM   #20
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I'm a musician as well. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none. I play Keyboard/Piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, saxophone, and "loosely" play the drums (by far my weakest instrument).

While I understand the desire to get an instrument economically, I personally don't trust the stuff at Target/WalMart when it comes to instruments. You can get a good quality, recognized brand acoustic guitar for a couple hundred bucks, give or take, at a reputable music store (local is better then big name chains). Fender Guitars comes racing to my mind, as that was my first acoustic and I don't think I paid over $200 if I recall correctly. There came a time when I had to sell it, and I still was able to get a decent buck for it. IMHO, that's not as likely with a WalMart/Target guitar. I don't even know who makes those. A good quality (even if inexpensive) reputable guitar is a far better investment then a chain store bought one. If it happens the instrument isn't welcomed, one like a Fender will be much easier to sell.

Musically, learning basics on a piano/keyboard would certainly be a good thing along the way too. If there is a musical interest, basic piano knowledge will assist in whatever instrument is chosen. I played piano before I played trumpet or saxophone. Reading the music for the brass was far easier then reading music for the piano, but the efforts in music theory with the piano more then paid off with the other instruments.

Another way to think of it is if your kid was into mechanical repair. As the kid was learning to work on engines, etc. you wouldn't buy them plastic tools from the toy section at a retail chain store. On the other hand, you likely wouldn't call the Snap-On guy to stop by in his rolling showroom to buy tools either. You'd likely go to a hardware store or home improvement store and buy good quality yet economical tools, such as Stanley, Husky, or maybe Craftsman. You gotta have good quality tools to do the job. No different with instruments. The "off brand" guitars I've seen are very poor quality, are often tough to tune, and sometimes don't hold a tune for long if they can be tuned. All of this can be discouraging for a budding musician.

Mind you this is merely my experience and personal preference/opinion.
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