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Bought my first guitar. All help appreciated

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by BFS, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. BFS

    BFS Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 14, 2004
    I've always wanted to play guitar but I have zero musical ability. I'm like Naven Johnson in the beginning of "The Jerk" when it comes to rhythm. I don't know anything about notes, chords, octaves or scales. So I thought, "What the hell, let's learn music on a guitar."

    My wife plays steel drums and knows music, but not the guitar so she'll be able to help with learning some things. I live in the country, so private lessons are out, so I'll have to learn via the internet and videos.

    I'm an old rocker, so any and all help and recommendations will be appreciated.

    Scored a Gibson Les Paul Custom. It only comes with the case and a tuner. My wife has an old cheap amp to learn on, but I'm sure I'll want to upgrade soon. What else do I need right away? Stand? Strap? Pedal?


  2. mqqn

    mqqn Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Wow - nice axe to have as your first guitar!!

    For electric, I enjoy having a "headphone amp" - that is an amp that I can plug in headphones and play without disturbing the rest of the people in the house (or neighborhood) -

    I have an old Sholz Rock Man - but I have to think there are more modern and cheaper options available today.

    I started out many many years ago with the Mel Bay Book of Chords - and seriously, that book has on page one or two how to hold a pick and goes from there.

    Find people that like to jam and sit with them and watch their techniques.

    The advent of Youtube has brought out many "guitar lessons" type videos, some are great, some are not so great but at least they are relatively free.

    Good luck and nice choice - love a fretless wonder!


  3. NCHunter78


    Feb 14, 2016
  4. NCHunter78


    Feb 14, 2016
    oh, and very nice guitar!

    I am no expert but the key is daily practice. Even if it is just 10 minutes sometimes. It keeps the muscle memory going...
  5. BFS

    BFS Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 14, 2004
    I think earphones will be needed and ordered Mel Bays book of chords. Heading to justinguitar.com. Thanks fellows.
  6. MVF

    MVF Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    I second getting a headphone amp to get started with- much more freedom to practice without embarrassment- also much cheaper! I have a VOX Amplug that has worked well. You will also want to get a strap. I suggest a decently wide one. I would also suggest something along the lines of the Hal Leonard method so that you have something structured to learn from.

    Work on setting good habits from the beginning! Good posture, hand and arm positioning, and fingering and pick technique- bad habits are very hard to break and can cause pain/injury and severely limit your playing later on. Take it slow and have fun without trying to turn into a rock star overnight!

    If you really want to give yourself a good foundation musically, Hal Leonard's "Pocket Music Theory" is the best theory book I've ever found. If not, just learn some chords and have fun!

    PS. For me, I found pedals and amp effects to be a rabbit hole that just distracted me from actually learning how to play. YMMV
  7. Otto Carpenter

    Otto Carpenter Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 24, 2016
    An acoustic would probably have been a wiser purchase, but electrics are easier on the fingers, so enjoy the process. Your first goal would be to learn 3 chords, since you can do a lot of songs, believe it or not, with 3 chords. G/C/D is where I'd start, and expand from there. Good luck!
  8. bloody_pawprint

    bloody_pawprint Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 26, 2015
    I second what Otto said, and would like to add it might be wise to start out playing scales as well. Helps get your fingers trained and strengthened. Niiiiiiiiiice guitar man!!!!
  9. Shooter.762

    Shooter.762 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2016
    Practice practice practice, I have played since childhood and while my family and career dont allow me to play for hours a day like I used to be able to do
    I try to get at least 30 good minutes a day in and learn something new as often as possible.
    A Les Paul is a nice choice, I have 2 of them. That custom is sweet! Congrats and good luck! You have any questions about gear or need studying advice feel free to message me, I'd be glad to point
    you towards the correct resources and gear advice, I used to be in several bands and I was a guitar tech for a few years when I was younger. I know a lot about gear and helping get the sound in your head to come out.
  10. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Beautiful guitar! I can't play any chords and my memory is limited to six consecutive notes, but I've bought a guitar or two. :)

    I like the digital amps because they don't take warm-up time and sound good with the volume down. Lots of different sounds too. Mine is a Fender Mustang.

    You don't really need a stand but they come in handy. You will need some picks and a strap. And an amp cable if you don't have one.

    Tuner. Some amps have them built-in. Otherwise you can go to Guitar Center and buy one that clips on the guitar neck.

    I can't think of anything else that's absolutely necessary right off.
  11. BFS

    BFS Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 14, 2004
    Did just a little research and it seems the Peterson tuners get good reviews and not real expensive. It seems a padded strap will work since the Les Paul is considered heavy.


    Learned proper posture, guitar balance, finger placement on the frets and correct pressure. Another few days and I should be able to play Atomic Eruption.
  12. jstewart16701


    Dec 3, 2001
    That's one hell of a first guitar! Like everyone said, a headphone amp would be a good buy. There's plenty of relatively cheap and decent sounding offerings these days. Most of them will even have a tuner built in as well. If they don't, I wouldn't spend the money on one. Everyone has a smart phone these days and there are plenty of tuner apps available for free. Makes for one less thing to keep track of.

    I wish youtube (or the internet at all) existed when I started playing. So much info out there to learn. Makes things much easier these days.
  13. Amoo

    Amoo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Wait, you're already into knives and your first guitar purchase is a Gibson. Man your 401K is really gonna hate you. Good luck my friend. My father and youngest brother can both play. I can play like 3 chords and can't keep a beat to save my life.
  14. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    I bought the best tuner that $24 can buy. :D
  15. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Beautiful guitar.

    There's tons and tons of tutorial videos on youtube. First things first though, you gotta learn to read music and guitar tabs. When you start learning to read music, also listen to music. Not casually, but study it. You'll start to understand time signatures, structure, chord progression, etc. 3/4, 2/4, 6/8, 12 bar blues, AABA, etc. These are the fundamentals. When you listen to songs, you'll eventually (hopefully) be able to identify its structures and understand how it's written and and played. It's not just about strumming or plucking some strings, you have to understand the structure behind the notes. Otherwise, you'll just be doing an imitation, playing by ear, rather than comprehending what's actually supposed to be going on. "Catchy" tunes typically follow very simple, often used structures. Listen to the Beatles a lot. And 60's R&B/soul. Early blues and country is good too. Zappa and Rush will come later.
  16. BFS

    BFS Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 14, 2004
    Thank you guys so much for taking the time and giving your opinions. Keep them coming please.

    Air guitar was much easier to learn.
  17. Planterz

    Planterz Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I can totally nail the solos on "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Sweet Child of Mine" on air guitar!
  18. Inazone

    Inazone Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 27, 2012
    I've been playing for 25+ years, and yeah . . . that's quite a "starter" you have there. I learned to play standing up, almost exclusively Strat-style electrics, so a comfortable strap is the first thing I'd buy. Depending on the gauge of strings, you may want to experiment with picks of various thickness and shape, and I would steer away from the really thin, flexible picks when starting out. The Dunlop green ones have served me well, or Fender "medium" as a close second. A lot of shops will let you mix and match picks. I never had a headphone amp that I can recall, but the clip-on digital tuners are great, if a little fragile in my experience.

    I never learned a lick of proper technique - my parents were not thrilled when I abandoned years of piano lessons to take up "rock" guitar - but have managed to stumble along for a couple decades playing in bands, and writing and recording my own stuff without anyone ever calling me out on lack of proper training. Plenty of solid advice here so far, but feel free to PM me if you have questions.
  19. HJK

    HJK Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Jun 30, 1999
    My main guitar is an older black custom Les Paul that looks like yours but beaten up a fair bit.
    The first thing you do is play the hell of it to work it in and get used to it, and visa versa. It took I while for me to stop popping strings because I bend and pull a lot.
    You need an amp and I suggest something smaller unless you are performing with it. Buying an amp is as personal as buying a guitar but if you get a small Fender tweed or Marshall you won't go wrong. Next, you will need some effects and again that's personal and depends what you are looking for and how much money you want to spend. Boss makes lots of nice effects and multiboxes to get you going but they never last that long under hard use in my experience. Make sure the box or boxes allow you to use headphones so you can play and practise to your heart's content without getting evicted or divorced. If you want to sound like a strat or want to sound like a particular famous guitar/amp rig there are several that have them preset, although they can be cheesy untik adjusted.
    This is one heavy guitar to get used to so get a comfortable strap.
    You'll probably want a wah wah pedal at some point and there are many good ones from the old crybaby to digital pedals.
    Last comment. If you can get a device with a mixer and headphone monitor for mixed signals you can play along ( quietly) both for fun and to learn from Albert King, BB., Clapton and if you are brilliant, Hendrix and Coryell etc. and then see how you sound on your favourite tracks.

    Congrats on your first guitar. Enjoy!

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