Guitar Nerds Anonymous

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  • Just worth noting that the standard approach of starting off on a nylon-strung classical guitar is a bit questionable.

    I'm sure this is similar to many instruments. When I was at school I quite fancied playing sax (Born to Run inspired I think), but the route to this was through years of clarinet / school orchestra / uninspiring classical stuff which killed my interest eventually.

    I can easily imagine how you could make a fun lesson for a kid with an electric guitar and a few pedals / interesting backing tracks.

  • Exactly this, almost all the ukes you see are absolute pieces of shit that won't hold their tuning for love nor money. Loads of my friends buy them for their kids and ask me to tune them. I've pretty much started to refuse on the grounds that there's no point... it won't last 10 minutes and the kid basically just uses it as a drum stick anyway...
    There are clearly transferable skills (strumming, left hand control, picking etc) but if they want to play guitar they should probably start on one. Unless they happen to be huge fans of Beirut, in which case, on you go...

  • Very true! I think the situation has improved hugely now as also evidenced by things like the pBone/pTrumpet. It's much easier for kids to get hold of an instrument that works for them ergonomically and lets them play more of the type of music that they want.

  • I've just ordered a ukulele ☹

    Re: c00ps jr. I'd recommend getting a used Baby Taylor. They're not too expensive, worth the money and if she doesn't stick with it it'll either be nice for you to mess about with or have some sort of resale value.

  • Nice. Thanks for the advice all! I have a shopping list of options and a little more idea than before.

  • I've just ordered a ukulele ☹

    I'm thinking of building an electric ukuele after my Les Paul is finished... possibly Explorer shaped...

  • That would be very rad. It must be koa though... preferably with a rosewood bridge, fingerboard and pickguard in the style of Merle Travis' Bigsby guitar...

    Also tenor scale for maximum shred.

  • I don’t know how this fits in with latest wisdom in teaching kids but the Yamaha Guitalele could be just the ticket? It’s a slightly bigger than a Uke sized guitar. Six strings, tuned to standard tuning but a perfect fourth up. Like a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. I have one for holidays and idle strumming. It has proper tuners, plays great, and sounds good. It’s tough enough that I leave it lying about for the kids to bash away at. I honestly love mine. Written loads of songs on it.

  • That ^ sounds good... I can wholeheartedly recommend a Squier Mini, they come in pink if your daughter is into that kind of thing and you can buy a set that includes everything else you need for a beginner... Amazon or Thomann, can't remember which, was telling my cousins in Spain a few weeks back cuz they were thinking about getting one for little Pablo...

  • .

  • I can wholeheartedly recommend a Squier Mini, they come in pink

    This is currently her favourite (for some reason). I might get the full size Squier Strat (borrow from a chap down he road) and learn alongside her - so we can both upset the neighbours!

  • Great plan... I recommend the J Mascis Jazzmaster for dad!!

  • o hai mark

  • I've been on a mission lately to unlearn my crappy half-remembered "versions" of hoary old dadrock classics with proper video lesson enabled renditions. Youtube makes this so much easier than it were in my day.

    I was (still am) such a lazy arse. I'd figure out the general gist of a thing... say, Little Wing for example at the age of 15 then just sort of fluff, bluster and bullshit my way through any tricky bits I couldn't be arsed to sit down and really work out. And there it sits in my arsenal of half-remembered, wrongly played "versions" for nigh-on 25 years.

    Anyway, Little Wing took about an hour of concentration and contained several incredibly satisfying lightbulb moments. The relief and sheer satisfaction and finally having got all the little bits right after 25 years of having the shitty approximation in my bag o tricks is serious payoff.

    Of course i'm never going to play it in public because y'know... Hendrix. Don't want to be that guy do we? But still.


  • Well done! I've recently been trying to unlearn my simplified, abridged (the original's only 1:41!) version of Horizons by Genesis using tabs and Youtube but bloody hell, the middle section's an arse. Will keep trying...

  • I'm trying to unlearn the way I play barre chords. Been doing it wrong all my life ffs

  • I play everything wrong but at least recently my wrong has been a bit more musical....
    Currently I've been pissing around with licks in the whole note scale off the V, mixing with Dorian and harmonic minor. Adds spice to minor blues. After 20 years noodling pentatonic variations over absolutely's a light bulb moment to say the least.

  • Just had a s/h junk shop haul

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  • As someone who is also largely stuck in the pentatonic or major scales I'd love to know a bit more about what you mean by this? If not too much of an arse, would you mind elaborating a bit?

  • Those EQ pedals are an underrated superpower. We used to drive our guitars for solo boosts and things using those EQs, they love a valve amp just past the point of breakup. I never used that DOD pedal but the sludgey guys used to swear by them.

  • I’m a sludgey guy!

  • It was the first pedal my best mate ever had. We started with Argos catalogue special guitars and quickly traded up. We both had identical tiny Fender practice amps, he got a Squier strat and I got a Starforce superstrat thing with a fake floyd rose and pointy headstock. Then I bought a DOD Metal Mayhem pedal in fluorescent yellow and he got the metallic Red tube thing. Been looking for both for years. Was watching a YouTube vid of the Classic Tube this morning and debating spending 45 quid on the only one for sale online all for nostalgia value you understand. Decided against it and wandered into town to get barbered... and there is was in the local s/h record and crap gear shop for £25!

  • Yeah sure - I'm the opposite of expert but can try. I started by learning the major scale all up the neck, there are only 6 positions and you probably know most already.

    If you know those shapes, you already know all the natural minor scales (eg A natural Minor is C Major, etc...) If you sharpen the 7th on the minor, you have the harmonic minor scale which is pretty easy to pick out.

    The thing that got me started is the dorian - it's the second mode of the major scale, so in an A minor blues, you can play the G major scale over all the changes. It gives a cool more jazzy flavour.

    When you get bored noodling with that, try the harmonic minor scale. This sounds dope over the V chord. So in an A minor blues, try playing A harmonic minor (particularly the #7th - g#) over the E7 chord.

    The last one was the whole tone scale of the Vth over the I chord. So in A minor blues again, when you're playing Amin7, try some licks on a E whole tone scale (E, f#, g#, a#,C etc...) This give a more out there jazz sound which can resolve back really nicely to any of the other scales.

    Also for variety, you can swap out chords and also stick a II chord in. So in the same A minor blues, instead of playing Amin7, Dmin7, E7, you can do what is apparently called a tritone substitution (3 whole tones up) and play Bb7 instead of the E7. This slinks really nicely back down to Amin7. You can add the II chord (Bmin7) in front of the V chord to make the turnaround a II,V,I. And you can also do a tritone sub on the II and play Fmin7 instead.

    Allman Bros used the substitutions a lot and you'll probably notice you've been using them anyways by accident if not design (at least in my case....:))

    Anyway hope that's helpful - I really don't know what I'm talking about. I dipped in to this by experimenting and had fun trying....

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Guitar Nerds Anonymous

Posted by Avatar for dooks @dooks