Guitars and Teenagers: What's the best approach?


#1

I have two boys (actually, I have more than that, but these are the ones I’m posting about) who are just about 13 and just about 15. I would like them to take guitar lessons next summer, and they are very open to the idea and willing to do it.

Some background: I’m tired of them spending so much time on computer/video games. Yesterday, I drove them to the computer store and they bought Age of Empires II with their own money. But I agreed to do this only if they promised to take guitar starting in the summer. I pointed out that when they are 18 or 20 all of the hours of video games they’ve played won’t amount to a hill of beans (although not only does it give them something to do in their free time, it gives them something to talk about and do with their friends) in terms of developing a good and talented character. Now usually, when I hold the boys hostage like this, they rebel. But they actually agreed quite readily. Maybe it’s because summer seems so far off…

Anyway, back to the music lessons. DS #1 has several years of junior high band trumpet, and about five years of children’s choir. DS #2 has had two years of snare drum in the same band, and is now in his seventh year of choir. The trumpet is under my son’s bed and the snare drum was donated to the band after that son quit. We also have a piano, another daughter played the flute, and all of the 3rd and 4th graders at our school play recorders, so a couple of my kids have gone that route, but my boys did not play recorder.

Now I must confess that I have images of John Michael Talbot or Christopher Plumber as Captain von Trapp wafting through my head as I picture my teenage boys growing into talented men who are gifted guitar players. Then when I google/froogle on “guitar” lots of outrageous looking electric guitars pop up. Let me tell you in no uncertain terms that I don’t want my sons playing electric guitars to the tune of, say Van Halen or Metallica (well maybe in the garage, someday, if they get to be any good). So how naive am I being here? Will they ever want to play 12-string Spanish guitar classics? My sons are not into current music, mainly because they are so ignorant of what’s going on. They couldn’t tell you who was in and who isn’t because we just don’t know. My family doesn’t listen to the radio, we don’t own any iPods (at least at this point, but you never know what one of my seven children might be determined to get for Christmas), we don’t really buy music CDs except for the classics.

So I need the following type of advice:

  1. What type of guitar is a good beginner guitar? I don’t need the cheapest, but I want something with a good sound.

  2. Can both of my boys be taught simultaneously by a teacher?
    Would that be beneficial or set up a competitive atmosphere?

  3. How long does it take one to play the guitar in order to enjoy the music they can play on their own?

  4. Is any kind of string easier on the fingers than another? What about neck size? Six string versus twelve string?

  5. Can anyone recommend a book to inspire us?

  6. Are there any programs available that allow you to teach yourself? Perhaps on the computer? Maybe where you even plug the guitar into a computer?

  7. Are there any pitfalls we should avoid with guitars and lessons? Any sage advice from seasoned players or from people who’s children have enjoyed their own guitar lessons?

  8. Do you think we can be successful and instill in our sons a greater love of good music by guitar lessons?

Thanks in advance for your replies.


#2

For kids that already have some understanding of music it wont take too long to be able to play, say 4-6 months.
I would suggest a full size, 6 string acoustic guitar. Nylon strings will be easier on the finger tips, but my ds started at 9 with a steel string guitar. I prefer the sound of steel strings, but let your boys and their teacher decide.
I don’t know if one teacher will do both boys simultaneously, I think he/she would want to do them separately. That way each boy goes at his own speed.
Don’t know the rest.


#3
  1. What type of guitar is a good beginner guitar? I don’t need the cheapest, but I want something with a good sound.

I suggest getting an acoustic guitar to start with. They will train their hands to be stronger and the strings will make them develop callises (sp?) faster. Electric guitars are awesome and fun to play, but start with the hardest then when they play the electric it will be a piece of cake. Also, with an electric you’ll have to buy an amplifier. As for brand, there are so many to choose from. I had a Takamine to start with. It was about 100 bucks. OK sound quality. But when I got more serious about playing I bought a Fender, that was around $700.

  1. Can both of my boys be taught simultaneously by a teacher?
    Would that be beneficial or set up a competitive atmosphere?

My best friend and I learned together and it was a blast! Nice bonding experience too. After lessons we would get together and review what we learned because we may have missed something that the other one picked up.

  1. How long does it take one to play the guitar in order to enjoy the music they can play on their own?

That completely depends. When I taught friends some learned faster than others. Also depends on how much they practice.

  1. Is any kind of string easier on the fingers than another? What about neck size? Six string versus twelve string?

Again, electric is easier, but start with the acoustic. Get a 6 string, it’s more versatile and you have to be at least at the moderate skill level to play a 12 string. Neck size is about the same on all guitars. I have tiny hands and can still play virtually any guitar.

  1. Can anyone recommend a book to inspire us?

Can’t think of one off the top of my head.

  1. Are there any programs available that allow you to teach yourself? Perhaps on the computer? Maybe where you even plug the guitar into a computer?

You can buy beginners’ books that teach how to hold the guitar and read the music. But having a teacher is better, I think.

  1. Are there any pitfalls we should avoid with guitars and lessons? Any sage advice from seasoned players or from people who’s children have enjoyed their own guitar lessons?

I’m not sure…have fun with it! I loved every lesson I had! Learn chords and chord progressions early too.

  1. Do you think we can be successful and instill in our sons a greater love of good music by guitar lessons?

DEFINITELY! I love music so much because I can tell what the guitar player is doing in the song. It’s so much fun to decode what they are doing. And you can pick out who is just good and who is REALLY good!


#4

Momsix:

It’s nice to hear about prior music lessons making it easier for the boys. I keep forgeting that! I 'll pass that on to them, it’s very encouraging. Thank you so much. What do you prefer about the sound of steel strings? I did notice that most of the Yamaha beginner guitars that I looked at on-line (the FG series) did have steel strings. Can your son string his guitar either way?

Stratus Rose:

I really do appreciate your very detailed answers. Oh goodness. My four year old just walked into the room, so I need to attend to him, but please know that I’m grateful for all the information you provided in your post. I’ll be back later. Thanks again!


#5

If you want to go the on-line route, a couple of good online sources of guitars and music goodies are Musicians’ Friend and Music123 . They have great selections, good service and good prices. I’ve ordered online from them both without incident.

But probably for a first guitar you should buy locally, the advantage being you can hold the guitar and get a feel for it. At least you could use an online source to compare with local prices and there is no end to the interesting goodies that you can buy online later for your budding guitarists.

I echo the suggestions to go with a six-string acoustic. You might consider an acoustic-electric as an option, since it would let the boys “plug-in” if they wanted to. It would also allow the use of an amplifier if they play in public. I also agree that they should take lessons individually (although they could certainly practice together. It might help motivate them to practice more).

With guitars there is quite a bit of variability in body size, neck shape and width, etc., so much depends upon the feel of the instrument. Obviously smaller hands should go for a thinner neck, maybe a shorter scale. Smaller people often like the round back models from Ovation/Applause since they are a bit easier to “get your arms around” than a typical dreadnought acoustic.

12-Strings are great, but they can buy their own someday when they know how to play. Keeping six strings in tune is hard enough. You should definately invest in an electronic tuner (they’re cheap). For a youngster you also should consider light guage strings. They will wear faster, but they will be much easier on delicate fingertips.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy any guitar under $150, especially if it has electronics. They are prone to high action and intonation issues and you don’t want to wind up with expensive junk. A cheap guitar can also discourage a new player. Pay a little more for something decent. There are any number of decent possibilities in the $150-$200 range. My 25 y.o. Yamaha was a modestly priced guitar and it just keeps getting better with age.

FInally, while you may have images of Talbot or Von Trapp, don’t be surprised if you wind up with Van Halen or Malmstein. Take it from someone who’s been there. :wink:

My 16 y.o. dabbles on the acoustic occasionally, but he spends most of his time on the electric and bass. He’ll come around eventually. The nice thing about the guitar is that it is a lifelong instrument. And all that electric noise gets annoying as you get older (I hope).

Feel free to PM with specific questions.

Good luck! :thumbsup:


#6

[quote=OhioBob]If you want to go the on-line route, a couple of good online sources of guitars and music goodies are Musicians’ Friend and Music123 . They have great selections, good service and good prices. I’ve ordered online from them both without incident.

But probably for a first guitar you should buy locally, the advantage being you can hold the guitar and get a feel for it. At least you could use an online source to compare with local prices and there is no end to the interesting goodies that you can buy online later for your budding guitarists.

I echo the suggestions to go with a six-string acoustic. You might consider an acoustic-electric as an option, since it would let the boys “plug-in” if they wanted to. It would also allow the use of an amplifier if they play in public. I also agree that they should take lessons individually (although they could certainly practice together. It might help motivate them to practice more).

With guitars there is quite a bit of variability in body size, neck shape and width, etc., so much depends upon the feel of the instrument. Obviously smaller hands should go for a thinner neck, maybe a shorter scale. Smaller people often like the round back models from Ovation/Applause since they are easier to “get your arms around” than a typical dreadnought acoustic.

12-Strings are great, but they can buy their own someday when they know how to play. Keeping six strings in tune is hard enough. You should definately invest in an electronic tuner (they’re cheap). For a youngster you also should consider light guage strings. They will wear faster, but they will be much easier on delicate fingertips.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy any guitar under $150, especially if it has electronics. They are prone to high action and intonation issues and you don’t want to wind up with expensive junk. A cheap guitar can also discourage a new player. Pay a little more for something decent. There are any number of decent possibilities in the $150-$200 range.

FInally, while you may have images of Talbot or Von Trapp, don’t be surprised if you wind up with Van Halen or Malmstein. Take it from someone who’s been there. :wink:

My 16 y.o. dabbles on the acoustic occasionally, but he spends most of his time on the electric and bass. He’ll come around eventually. The nice thing about guitar is a lifelong instrument.

Good luck! :thumbsup:
[/quote]


#7

[quote=Cupofkindness]Momsix:
What do you prefer about the sound of steel strings? I did notice that most of the Yamaha beginner guitars that I looked at on-line (the FG series) did have steel strings. Can your son string his guitar either way?
[/quote]

Technically, you could put nylon strings on an acoustic built for steel, but it wouldn’t be a good idea and I don’t know why you would want to. Steel string guitars are set up to resist the pull of steel, nylon strings would lead to action problems. Anyway, light gauge steel strings are pretty easy on the fingers. You can also buy products like FingerEase or FastFret that help keep the strings fresh and build up calluses on the fingertips.

You definately cannot string a classical (nylon string) guitar with steel strings. It will tear the bridge right off the top. I did it when I was about 17. It was definately something to see.

OB


#8

:rotfl:

I would have LOVED to see that!

I second getting strings with a lighter gauge. I use 13s on my guitar and those are pretty heavy duty. I suggest 9s. Also, nylong strings will only delay the inevitable. You gotta bite the bullet and get the steel strings. They sounds better too.


#9

I would have LOVED to see that!

I second getting strings with a lighter gauge. I use 13s on my guitar and those are pretty heavy duty. I suggest 9s. Also, nylong strings will only delay the inevitable. You gotta bite the bullet and get the steel strings. They sounds better too.
[/quote]

It started creaking like an old bridge and then, bang!. :bigyikes:
Luckily it was leaning against a wall at the time. We thought someone was shooting at us…

I was young and dumb at the time, Who knew. :confused:

Now I’m just dumb. :wink:


#10

There are some good cheapish guitars out there, but I would spend a little bit more than what the Walmart special is. Takamine are good as someone else mentioned, but my starting guitar (from 3 years ago) was a Seagull. It is Canadian made and sounds a little deeper than the Takamine. I loved mine, it sounded like a cheap Martin. If they ever get really good, I’d look at Martin and Taylor guitars, but not starting out… There was an article about the best guitars under $1000 that I had found when I went shopping…but I can’t find that.

Here is a link about the Seagull S6+
Seagull S6+

Link of several reviews…
List of reviews

[quote=Cupofkindness]2. Can both of my boys be taught simultaneously by a teacher?
Would that be beneficial or set up a competitive atmosphere?
[/quote]

I think this depends on your boys. If they are of similar learning ability, it could be great. If one excells quicker than another, then it would depend on their temperment…

[quote=Cupofkindness]3. How long does it take one to play the guitar in order to enjoy the music they can play on their own?
[/quote]

Again, this depends. I was playing “Free Falling” in a matter of weeks. There are a bunch of good simple chord songs that can get them going. Of course, it helped that I knew a simple Tom Petty song…

[quote=Cupofkindness]4. Is any kind of string easier on the fingers than another? What about neck size? Six string versus twelve string?
[/quote]

Definately 6 string. Get the steel string, they are much more versatile and then for a cheaper guitar get Elixer lite strings. They are not as heavy, last longer and are easier to play IMHO.

[quote=Cupofkindness]5. Can anyone recommend a book to inspire us?
[/quote]

I got guitar for Dummies on VCR. It was okay, had easy starting songs and gave a good start. I started with a teacher after that and stopped using the VCR tape.

[quote=Cupofkindness]6. Are there any programs available that allow you to teach yourself? Perhaps on the computer? Maybe where you even plug the guitar into a computer?
[/quote]

I believe there is a computer course, self teaching, but I don’t know much about it. As for plugging the guitar in, I’d suggest putting all your money into the guitar. You can take the guitar in after the fact and get a simple pizo-electrical pickup installed later (sound will be okay, but not great). In general, good electronics in an acoustic are a bit expensive. I put a pizo pickup in my Seagull with the help of a friend for $50, but I much prefer my Talor internal electronics…

[quote=Cupofkindness]7. Are there any pitfalls we should avoid with guitars and lessons? Any sage advice from seasoned players or from people who’s children have enjoyed their own guitar lessons?
[/quote]

Look for a teacher who is good with kids. My teacher deals with teens a lot and she has run the gammit from rebelous teen who doesn’t show for class to a student that she had to find a better lead guitar teacher for, as he became too good for her (she is mainly rhythm/finger picking, not lead). Also, a teacher that will teach a little theory (what is a chord made of, key of a song, etc) will be helpfull to them!

[quote=Cupofkindness]8. Do you think we can be successful and instill in our sons a greater love of good music by guitar lessons?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
[/quote]

Definately, it is a fun skill, and after a while creating your own songs can be a cool challenge!

John


#11

[quote=Cupofkindness]1. What type of guitar is a good beginner guitar? I don’t need the cheapest, but I want something with a good sound.
[/quote]

Any “type” of guitar can be a beginner guitar. There are many different brands however and basic types. The standard Dreadnaught is the most common steel string acoustic. There are also Classical (Nylon string guitars) and electrics, also of all different types. There are differing body shapes as well. For instance. An acoustic guitar student who needs a slightly smaller body style for ergonomic reasons of size may want to go with a grand concert style guitar or super shallow fiberglass bowl style guitar. Most are OK at those ages with a regular dreadnaught guitar.

[quote=Cupofkindness]2. Can both of my boys be taught simultaneously by a teacher?
Would that be beneficial or set up a competitive atmosphere?
[/quote]

There will be competition anyway. YOu could possibly book a time slot with a teacher and alternate weeks with them. Most lessons at a store are private lessons.

[quote=Cupofkindness]3. How long does it take one to play the guitar in order to enjoy the music they can play on their own?
[/quote]

No way to answer. Depends on the student and the style.

[quote=Cupofkindness]4. Is any kind of string easier on the fingers than another? What about neck size? Six string versus twelve string?
[/quote]

Classical guitars have nylon strings and a different characteristic sound. The necks are wider but the strings have much lower tension making for an easier feel on the fingers. Keep a beginner away from a twelve string (too many reasons). Electric or dreadnaughts are similar. Dreadnaughts are slightly heavier gauges for steel strings however, any guitar setup properly should not give a beginner any problems.

There are variations in neck radii and shape but experienced players will be sensitive to those differences. A beginner most likely will not notice.

[quote=Cupofkindness]5. Can anyone recommend a book to inspire us?
[/quote]

There are many self teaching methods out there. Many come with cd’s and some with DVD’s as well.

[quote=Cupofkindness]6. Are there any programs available that allow you to teach yourself? Perhaps on the computer? Maybe where you even plug the guitar into a computer?
[/quote]

I know they are available for Band instruments, so there are probably some available for guitar as well. I can check if you’d like.

[quote=Cupofkindness]7. Are there any pitfalls we should avoid with guitars and lessons? Any sage advice from seasoned players or from people who’s children have enjoyed their own guitar lessons?
[/quote]

Get a guitar teacher your child likes and respects who is in tune with your specific stylistic needs. While I advocate learning the traditional way and being able to read, for many students they gain tremendous enjoyment from learning by rote or reading Tab.

[quote=Cupofkindness]8. Do you think we can be successful and instill in our sons a greater love of good music by guitar lessons?

[/quote]

Two different things. You can instill a love of good music without every picking up an instrument. Playing an instrument may give you a greater perception to recognize a talented artist and their abilities however.

Joe B


#12

I’ve really enjoyed reading these replies.

OhioBob:

Your steel strings story is a scream. I laughed so hard. And I must tell you that the ‘shocked surprise’ smilie icon that you posted in the text made it all the funnier.

JButly:

You are absolutely right, the competition will be there anyway (in fact, it’s been their since the second son was born, sadly). But I hope that they will be able to keep it playful and productive. I will definitely address this issue when we give them the guitars at Christmas. Can you recommend any beginner music?

yochumjy:

I had already heard about Seagull guitars so I read your links with interest. It sounds like Seagull makes great instruments. And Free Falling within a few weeks? That’s just great! I do feel that if we can make enough progress over the summer that the boys will keep playing in the school year. In fact, the junior high son will be able to play at his school’s “Guitar Mass” on Tuesday mornings if he’s good enough.

And to everyone:

What does “dreadnaught” mean? Is that the shape, the dimensions, or both? Also, what do you think about buying a used guitar on eBay? I’ve also noticed that guitar cases aren’t cheap either. What sort of case is the best value? I think I want something sturdier than a gig bag type case.

Another question: I know from piano that learning to count for the sake of timing/rhythm can be a challenging skill to acquire, but it’s so vital. For example, my daughter has metronome charts that she uses as she practices so that her tempo is correct as she plays the piece. Is this as much an issue for guitar players? Why I’m asking is because if we give the boys guitars and they complete a computer or a video introductory course, could they actually form bad habits that a teacher might later have to undo? So although they have some musicial training, I think that counting issues will probably come up. But can you tell that I really don’t know what I’m trying to ask?

Do people who are left-handed need a special guitar for lefties? I think that both of my boys are left handed. (We have seven children, and three or four are left-handed and threee or four are right-handed, that’s why I can’t recall who is which!)

Finally, and here’s a question that I should have asked first,

Do you think that by playing the guitar my sons will draw closer to God? Because that’s really what I want in the long run. Not that they play only Christian music, but that this be an opportunity to love God more, have more self-respect/confidence (not that they are lacking, but just that my boys would increase in their knowledge that they are wonderful people) and possibly serve Him thorugh music. How can I help make playing a beautiful instrument a way to make my sons better Catholic young men?


#13

Yet another question…

Can anyone recommend a good book (or series) of songs for beginers with a nice variety of different types of guitar music? And it would be great if it also came with a audio CD. Thanks again!


#14

[quote=Cupofkindness]What does “dreadnaught” mean? Is that the shape, the dimensions, or both?
[/quote]

Dreadnought was the name of a kind of british battleship. I guess it got applied to acoustic guitars to denote a larger body with a powerful sound. I think the term has gotten pretty generic now since you find “dreadnought” styles with quite a bit of variation. There probably is a standard somewhere - probably something like a Martin D-28.

[quote=Cupofkindness]Also, what do you think about buying a used guitar on eBay?
[/quote]

I’ve bought a bunch of stuff on ebay but I would be a bit worried about buying a guitar from a private party without being able to get your hands on it. Pictures only tell so much. Unless it was so good a deal that you wouldn’t mind if it turned out to be less than expected, I would shy away from it. If the ebay seller is a business selling new instruments, I suppose that is less of an issue.

[quote=Cupofkindness]I’ve also noticed that guitar cases aren’t cheap either. What sort of case is the best value? I think I want something sturdier than a gig bag type case.
[/quote]

I’m not a big fan of gig bags for acoustic instruments. I’ve always considered them more delicate than electrics. I might just be overly cautious though. I have only used hard cases. You can find some good values in 3-rd party hard cases. You might try the online sources for those.

[quote=Cupofkindness]Do people who are left-handed need a special guitar for lefties?
[/quote]

Guitars are made specifically for left handed play. They are braced differently (supposedly). I don’t know if entry level instruments are different in R and L handed form. I have known people who have restrung a right handed acoustic to lefty without incident, although the pick guard will be in the wrong place for a lefty. My advice would be to find a left handed model, but that might mean that you spend a bit more than you planned.

[quote=Cupofkindness]finally, and here’s a question that I should have asked first, Do you think that by playing the guitar my sons will draw closer to God?
[/quote]

Wow, tough question. I suppose that any love for music does that since music can elevate the spirit. Learning an instrument also boosts self confidence and self esteem. I think it definately makes someone a better person. Whether that draws someone closer to God (in a manner that they can perceive) seems like it would depend upon the individual, their values and their own faith journey. But it certainly can’t hurt.

Good luck.


#15

The books I like are the Belwins 21 st Century Method books by Aaron Stang. Also Hal Leonard has some great guitar books.
I shy away from the old Mel Bay series guitar books because they get too difficult too quickly… although some of the newer series might be ok. Definately stay away from the Berkley series- way too difficult for the beginning guitar player.

You can go to amazon.com to look around but I always prefer to buy from a local music store if possible.


#16

I would get a steel string guitar with a low action. There is a wide varience in playability of steel string guitars. You really need a trusted experienced guitar player to go to the store with you and help you. You also should get a guitar with a pick up, which is a plug in thing so you can plug it into an amp. This would be a very attractive feature for a young person. I don’t know how much you want spend. I disagree about nylon strings. Many steel stringed guitars are easy on the fingers. You have to get the right one.

I would not have them take simultaneous lessons. Spend the extra money. I think it would be nice for them to be learning different songs. Then, they can teach each other their songs. That would be a positive collaberation for them.

You might consider renting a guitar as a trial to see if they want to really get into it. I would NOT reccomend going on ebay to buy a guitar. You have to play a guitar before you buy it, like trying on shoes. I have two wonderful guitars that are top of the line Taylors. One is a 12 string and there isn’t as much choice in those. I wanted one with a bright sound that was relatively easy to play. For my 6 string guitar, I went to several guitar shops and just played a lot of guitars. When I found the one I wanted, I knew. My guitars were in the $2,000-$2,500 range. You can bargain them down in guitar shops, btw. My 6 string lists for over $3,000. Also, get them an electronic tuner. I’m a very good player but always had a hard time tuning the old fashioned way. I love my tuner!


#17

I agree …but you can get a decent guitar for a beginnner for under $250… Taylors are definately top of the line … those are more for professionals. I play a Martin and have owned Fender Strats, Les Pauls, a Gibson 335 but again those are more for someone with experience. I also also agree that going to a store with someone who plays is preferable. :smiley:

Plus at a reputable store, you’ll get a warrantee and maybe have options to trade up, and there should be some good teachers there also. Be careful with teachers… if he/she is tattooed from head to toe, or is pierced on every part of their body … probably not a good choice. You can ask for references on a teacher also - people ask me for references and I give them my students moms or dads to call. (I teach on the side and have played in bands for many years… both secular and on church worship teams.) :thumbsup:


#18

Thank you for all of the informative replies. I must tell all of you that I’m looking at your ‘Public Profiles’ to see if any of you are in the Dallas area (eg: potential teacher!).

For those of you with a few minutes, would you mind looking at this link and giving your opinion? This site is for Denny Zager (‘In The Year 2525’), who now does custom guitar work and on-line lessons taught according to his playing philosophy, which is play by ear (if I’m understanding that correctly). It looks interesting to me, but since I don’t know anything about guitars or lessons, I’d be grateful for your opinions. What is the best way to learn guitar? Thanks again!

zagerguitar.com/index.cfm


#19

Well, here is my advice:

[quote=Cupofkindness] 1. What type of guitar is a good beginner guitar? I don’t need the cheapest, but I want something with a good sound.
[/quote]

OK, there are a couple of considerations here. I would say that an acoustic is a better place to start than an electric due to cost and simply learning to play correctly rather than with the various tweaks and adjustments on electrics. However, if you think they’ll lose interest (because acoustics aren’t as ‘cool’ or something) then you might think about an inexpensive electric (or hey, get both, they can play together. I do this with my cousin when he comes over and it sounds great)

[quote=Cupofkindness] 2. Can both of my boys be taught simultaneously by a teacher?
Would that be beneficial or set up a competitive atmosphere?
[/quote]

I have no clue on this. I took lessons for about a year, and then quit when I lost interest. My guitars sat for about two years, and then one day I picked them up and taught myself. It won’t matter what the lessons are if they are self-motivated (or not for that matter).

[quote=Cupofkindness] 3. How long does it take one to play the guitar in order to enjoy the music they can play on their own?
[/quote]

I didn’t truly start playing until I began turning on music and playing around whatever was going on. This really was a lot more important in my learning how to use a guitar than lessons were. I would say a few months at least will be required for them to get comfortable using their guitar before they start actually playing music.

[quote=Cupofkindness] 4. Is any kind of string easier on the fingers than another? What about neck size? Six string versus twelve string?
[/quote]

OK, nylon strings are easier on the fingers but nylon string guitars have very wide necks. This is ok for some, but people with smaller hands will have difficulty with them. That said, I started playing when I was 8 or 9 and my hands weren’t large. I got started on a nylon string acoustic and graduated to a steel string electric about a year later. They just have to know that it takes time to build calouses on their finger tips (though practicing bending the strings speeds up the process).

As for strings, stick with 6. 12-string guitars are beautiful but they will need the basics first.

Also, nylon strings have a softer sound. I really like it (and it makes soloing along with rock songs very interesting but pleasant at the same time). You will get a more stereotypical sound out of a steel string.

One thing to be careful of is not to get a steel string guitar that has really stiff strings. They are pretty tough to play, so the softer the better for beginners (who haven’t built the strength to push the strings down, you would be surprised how much it takes when playing fast or for long periods of time).

[quote=Cupofkindness] 5. Can anyone recommend a book to inspire us?
[/quote]

No clue here. Sorry.

[quote=Cupofkindness] 6. Are there any programs available that allow you to teach yourself? Perhaps on the computer? Maybe where you even plug the guitar into a computer?
[/quote]

I have plugged my guitar into my computer for recording purposes but I haven’t used computer based teaching programs. I sampled one produced by Fender and it seemed pretty good.

[quote=Cupofkindness] 7. Are there any pitfalls we should avoid with guitars and lessons? Any sage advice from seasoned players or from people who’s children have enjoyed their own guitar lessons?
[/quote]

I would say that they should really try to play along with music they like. This will teach them scales and how to move around the fret board faster than any lessons in my opinion.

[quote=Cupofkindness] 8. Do you think we can be successful and instill in our sons a greater love of good music by guitar lessons?
[/quote]

That’s tough to say. With me, I had the guitars for years before I saw the value in learning to play. However, with time, they grew on me and now I play daily.

Hope it helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Eamon


#20

They don’t call Tom Petty the 3 chord wonder for nothing… :smiley:
Really, it’s pretty easy…D Dsus4 A repeat! :wink: It’s all in the strum!

I really like my Seagull, unfortunately, I don’t pick it up much now, the Taylor is too much fun!

It can be an issue. Some teachers don’t teach the count, mine doesn’t emphasize it at all, but I’ve found that when playing with others, it is vital. When you first start and are just getting strumming/picking down it isn’t vital, but if you start earlier you will be better off. And if they ever have a teacher who does any recording, they will have to deal with a constant beat at the least. If the only difference between two teachers is that one uses a count, you’d probably be best to go with the one that uses one.

I think this will mainly depend on what music they like. If they listen to christian music, they will tend to want to play it (also a good idea to have a music teacher that will help focus on that). Any instrument playing can be applied to God and can be done at any time, so even if it doesn’t apply now you can hope it will later!


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