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Learning Guitar, any tips or sites?

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Hey all!

I want to learn guitar, so I can play awesome medicine songs and stuff.

I have signed up at GuitarTricks.com for their lessons and have an in-person teacher that teaches the types of songs I want to play.

Any other good websites or tips on getting started? Thanks!!

I also have a new guitar, feeling the string marks on my fingers for the last week.

I've been solo experimenting with little guidance, and am open to ideas 😁
Hey, being a self-taught guitarist, here are a couple tips:

1.Learn your chords. All your basic chords, major and minor. You can strum along to pretty much ANY song as long as you know your basic chords (G, C, F, B, E, A, D)(Gm, Cm, Fm, Bm, Em, Am, Dm). Then learn your flats and sharps version of each chord. I would recommend buying a book with all the chords in them listed in diagram form.

2. Find a band you like and buy their chord book. The Beatles Complete Chord Songbook by Rikky Rooksby is a good place to start if you like The Beatles. It has nearly every Beatles song and is written in a "strum and sing-along" style. Nothing fancy, just simple chords and words with the chord diagrams at the top of each page. This book helped me learn the basics. I can cover nearly 70 Beatles songs thanks to this book.

3. Learn your major and minor pentatonic scale(s). There are thousands of scales and applying them can be tricky, especially when you are new to the process. The most commonly used scales are:

The Minor Pentatonic Scale.
The Blues Scale.
The Natural Minor Scale or the Aeolian Mode.
The Major Scale.
The Dorian Mode.
The Mixolydian Mode.

I wouldn't worry too much about modes in the beginning. Just focus on getting comfortable on the fretboard. Learning the notes for each string will be useful as well when soloing or improvising.

4. Look up "common chord progressions" and practice ones that sound good to you.

5. Look into the CAGED system to learn where to move a chord all over the fretboard.

6. Learn some basic music theory. Learn about the Circle of Fifths and how each major key has a relative minor key. The Songwriting Sourcebook by Rikky Rooksby is a great place to start (I have a lot of his books, hehe). A lot of songs follow similar patterns like the I-IV-V chord progression (in the key of G, the chords would be G-C-D). Most people view music theory as boring and tedious, but it is the foundation on which all forms of music are built, so it is extremely important to have a basic grasp of how it works. For instance, there are only so many chords that are available to play in any given key (excluding substitutions) so learning the chords and the role they play in a particular key will allow you to jam with just about anybody.

7. Look up tabs for songs that you can't find a chord guide for. Tabs are a good way to learn, although they are often put together by amateur guitarists and may have mistakes in them.

8. Practice, practice, practice. But remember, perfect practice makes perfect. Make sure your form on the guitar is correct. Most chord books will tell you which finger to put where.

9. Learn as many songs as you can. The more you learn, the more versatile of a player you will become.

I'm sure I'm leaving some things out but that's what I can think of off the top of my head. Good luck and happy strumming!

TGO said:
5. Look into the CAGED system to learn where to move a chord all over the fretboard.

I can't agree enough with this. Like as soon as you get C A G E and D down as open chords, learn how to bar the shapes all over the neck. A quick google of the CAGED system should explain things quite well and also explain the relevant music theory.

But anyway once you have this down you have a reference for the whole neck of the guitar. From here you can start to fill the gaps and build scales with a solid foundation as well as the obvious being able to play any chord with your hands having to walk too far.
CosmicLion said:
an in-person teacher that teaches the types of songs I want to play.

This 100%. Practice, practice and practice!

The acoustic guitar was the second instrument I tried learning to play with an age-old teacher in a music store basement. After being self-taught on the piano for a number of years, I wanted to play/experience moar and increase that brain plasticity. 😉 However, my guided experience with guitar only lasted 2-3 months due to discovering how well and adjusted I suddenly was to playing drums/percussion and stuck with that instead for about 10 years now. It's fun to pick up the strings every now and then, though.

Instruments for peace and calluses. :lol::thumb_up:
Some Youtube channels.

Steve Stine (a god of teaching guitar. Hands down, one of the best teachers. Ever.)
LickNRiff (Dude makes it very understandable, and shows really simple ways of improving.)
MusicIsWin (Dude is pretty good. It annoys me that he only uses PRS, though)
Hey CosmicLion, great to hear the guitar is calling you and best of luck on this exciting journey!

It called me 4 years ago in an Ayahuasca ceremony. I had never played an instrument before (although I did love singing). After I came back from that ceremony I bought a guitar.

I took a few private lessons, but my teacher wasn't familiar with medicine music and so when I realized I wasn't getting as much from it as I was hoping, I discontinued them. It was still a useful learning experience.

Youtube is a great resource and it's free.

TGO's post has some good suggestions.

Learn the basics first, the stuff that's pretty universal - chords, strumming and picking patterns, basic music theory, and maybe the notes and scales if you want to learn to improvise, but if you don't have a strong calling for that, then maybe don't spend too much time on scales just yet.
In any case, the basics should keep you busy for a good couple of years :d

Once you've got that covered, you may want to specialize in a particular style or copy (at first) your favorite guitarist - in that case you may want to learn directly from them or by listening to their recordings.

I've also learned a lot by participating in ceremonies and singing circles and hanging around others interested in medicine music. I'm planning on starting a local singing circle.

Psilosopher? said:
LickNRiff (Dude makes it very understandable, and shows really simple ways of improving.)
Seconded this one.

And don't forget to practice regularly, it's not like studying maths or science where theory is all you need. Guitar playing is a real-time, time-critical activity and you need to practice to develop new motor skills and move them from your conscious brain to autopilot. You want to build specialized hardware circuits for those skills... you can't overload your CPU with thinking about your left hand, right hand, tempo, rhythm, chord changes etc. all at the same time ;)

Listening to music is another thing. Since I took up the guitar, my listening has changed. I listen more consciously now, and hear things I didn't hear before. Before, I'd only hear a piece and think it's beautiful, whereas now I zone in on individual instruments and recognize chords, patterns, rhythms.

And last but not least: have fun!

P.S. If you need medicine songs with chords, Songfisher.org ~ Songs for the Circle is a good starting point if you haven't seen it already.
i already mentioned metrononomes in the chat (a real one, not an app), but there are a few other things that will help.

I bought a drum practice pad and sticks to improve my inner human metronome.
I also got a finger strength exercise tool that is similar to a dynamometer. Really helps build finger strength when you don't have a guitar with you, like at work.

Expand your horizons. Don't just play for medicine songs. Aim for mastery. Shoot for the stars.
Jagube said:
P.S. If you need medicine songs with chords, Songfisher.org ~ Songs for the Circle is a good starting point if you haven't seen it already.

Thanks for all the additional tips...

That link doe! Goodness gracious!! That is the most amazing medicine song site i've ever seen and its all about learning how to play the songs!

Thank you soooo much!!! :d 😁 :lol: :love:
I had ten years classical guitar lessons. Good for reading musical notation, and good for posture and the advice to keep your fingertips relaxed.

Practice a lot, and keep your fingertips relaxed!

When 18 years old, with a lot of practice, I could play this, (which is quite standard after ten years lessons but was the most difficult pinnacle of my repetoire)
But now 49, my hands are too stiff.
Don't get discouraged if you can't play like the guy in the video :) or anyone else for that matter.
It takes time, and it may not be your style after all. But your style won't emerge until you're somewhat advanced.

I don't know if you have a calling for playing in ceremony, but it's likely that you do, or will one day, so the following may be of some use.

Playing in ceremony is different to playing at a concert. Different things matter.
You don't need to be a musical virtuoso to be a good circle musician, and most virtuosos would suck as circle musicians.

Playing in the circle is much about channeling and guiding, which are as important as technical skills.

The medicine itself is a great teacher of music.

Medicine music is fairly simple musically. My favorite songs are particularly simple. They're not my favorite because I can play them; they were already my favorite before I even picked up the guitar. It wasn't after I picked up the guitar that I realized how simple they were. By the same token, it wasn't until I picked up the guitar that I realized my favorite guitarist wasn't even that great a guitarist by mainstream standards... he doesn't play the melody, he doesn't play solos, he just plays simple chords at the bottom of the neck, a few simple licks and some seemingly dissonant (yet amazingly trippy) chord modifications, but the way he does it and holds space with his playing blows my mind.

Perhaps simplicity is a medicine in and of itself.

This doesn't mean there is no point in learning any of the more complex things. Expand your horizons, you never know what you'll find there.

You can play hundreds of different chords, or you can play one chord in hundreds of ways. There are so many dimensions to explore.
just learn the chords and identify the notes in all your favorite songs. sing/play covers of them over and over again..

doesnt hurt to learn a little bit about music theory.. its pretty simple really... at least until you get to the complicated, abstract sh8t (thats when it gets a little impractical to look at/read when you have no use/ way to apply those complicated nuances in throry until you are good enough at your instrument/ proficient performer. whats important is that music theory will give you a better grasp on what is actually happening/being said when someone starts playing free jazz or when a song switches root notes/modes multiple times. it will be easier to dialogue with that and work it out in your mind. a frame of reference.

a lot of nirvana songs are terrific for beginners, if you are trying to sing as well. its because they are all the simplicity of punk progressions but slowed down enough to lumber clumsily through until you get the rythm and strumming down. a lot of classic rock songs are like that, and are a great way to get yer feet wet
If I was you i would learn with the ps4. All you do is hook up your guitar and it teaches you how to play.


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From an old pro who has played all over the planet:

1) Play and practice until the calluses on your finger tips can be stung by a wasp without hurting or barely even making a dent.

2) Play and practice songs 100 times each or until you're so sick of them that you can play them in your sleep and you never forget the words.

These two pointers help immensely.

Have fun.
I can recommend the following site:

The guy has tons of free lessons, and if you like Jimi Hendrix you will find lots of songs which are very well explained.
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