I am starting lessons

JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
edited August 2016 in Personal Diaries
I am starting lessons with my first one this evening. I saw the notice on the staff board just before Christmas and thought I would give it a go once the winter was past.
My tutor lives about 10 miles away. I phoned him and he was able to offer a choice of two half hour spots in the week. He is fully booked otherwise.
He specialises in Jazz but also teaches Rock.
After asking me lots of questions with regard to my experience, what I wanted to get out of the lessons, type of music I was into, etc, he agreed to take me on.
I just want something to stretch me and give me outside goals for my practise.
I will continue to post and keep you informed as to how things go and the content and format of the lessons.


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,680Member, Moderator
    I look forward to hearing how the lessons go. All the best.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Sounds promising Jocko, hope they go well and do let us know what happens!
  • DaveBassDaveBass Posts: 3,315Member
    Good luck Jocko!

  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    Yes,good luck Jocko!
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Had my first lesson and it was a bit of a shock to the system. More of that later.
    My tutor has a music room set aside in his house, with a waiting area in the hall outside this room. He has been teaching guitar, full time, for 25 years.
    He had me play various bits and pieces of my choice - then started asking questions! Oh dear!!
    The outcome of that was he reckons I need to fill in the gaps in the basics which, over the years, I have either never learned or avoided learning.
    We started with rhythm charts and he had me counting and playing various rhythm patterns. He is also teaching me to read music as we progress.
    He then started me playing scales. As I only play the pentatonic scale he explained that that limits the types of music I can play. So I came away with the C maj scale to work on as well as my rhythmn charts. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and intend doing the practise. After all, I am no less a guitarist than I was when I went in.
    My half hour lesson stretched to an hour at no extra charge.
    One other aside. He has fingers like ET. No wonder he can play jazz!
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member

    What are rhythm charts?

  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    Good one Jocko.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Graham. Rhythm charts are just music (staff) with crotchets, quavers etc but without a note value. It is the beat that you are working on. He started me playing single strings but now I am playing chords to the written beat.
    Hope I have made this clear enough. Seems confusing to me and I wrote it!
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member
    Clear as mud mate :-)

    Does the teacher write the beat on the chart or are these charts pre-printed?

    I've used something similar where the up & down strokes are shown beneath each chord. Remember finding one online, but usually these are created for me by my teacher.

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,680Member, Moderator

    I suspect that Jocko means a chart like this, although in this chart only the final bar has a different rhythm to straight 4 beats (or strums) to the bar. It uses all the timings from sheet music but no notes, hence the name rhythm chart. If you play it you will realise exactly why the last bar is written as it is.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    The chart I got on Monday was pre-printed but my tutor marked the stroke directions on as we went along.
    This week I have mainly been playing the C major scale, both in the open position and up the neck. At least I have learned the alphabet, from G to A, backwards. Amazing how I got to 64 without ever having to learn that!
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Lester. Chart I was given is the same idea but instead of slashes the beats were shown as proper notes (crotchets, quavers and semi-quavers)
    Each line was a different time signature. He started me on variations of 3/4 and then 4/4.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Went for my second lesson last night. Once again I got an hours tuition for my half hour lesson. One of the benefits of being final pupil of the day.
    I am pushed for time here at work. Due to start now so I will post a full update tomorrow morning.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    As I reported yesterday I had my second lesson on Monday night.. My tutor had prepared a plan of attack and we discussed it before starting. Because I have been playing for almost 50 years he wants to keep me playing but get me playing better. He wants to build on what I know, not treat me as a total beginner.
    I ran through my C major scale to show him I had been practising and he explained that the same scale but with the root on A was the relative minor of C major, A minor.
    He then had me play a couple of tunes, finding the notes from the scale. We chose “Groovy Kind of Love” and “Angie”. He then had me play harmonies using just the first four notes of the scale. This was all to show me the benefit of knowing scales.
    We then had a jam on “Hotel California” and he added a capo to his guitar to show me that that we can use the scale positions I learned in the open position for C major, to play in a different key.
    He then gave me next weeks assignment which is from the Berkelee Practise method. The piece of music is “Sweet” and we started on the basic accompanying riff and associated power chords. I have never ever used power chords, always considering them “cheating”.
    He charged me £1 for the 5 sheets of music and course notes but as he explained, he has to go into town to get them photocopied and he is running a business. I thought it a fair price. After all, at £10 a half hour that only equates to 3 minutes of his time.
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member
    Sounds good Jocko.

    By the time I get 50 years experience under my belt, I'll be knocking 105 so I imagine by then I'll be a little slower moving up and down the neck

    I'm paying £12 for half an hour, so all-in-all sounds like you've found yourself a quality teacher at a bargain price

    Keep us posted with your progress

  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    A mate of mine gives lessons and he wants me to assist him.
    He does this thing where he gives a lesson to a group of people,I don't know how it works but it can be quite popular apparently.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    One of our local colleges does that. Excellent for beginners but with a mixed ability class the top and the bottom pupils can feel ignored.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,680Member, Moderator
    I used to teach at a local evening class centre. There would be 15 to 20 people each year, mostly either teenagers who couldn't afford private lessons and older guys whose children had now gone to university and they were free to restart an old hobby.

    I preferred these to giving private lessons as it gave us plenty of opprtunity in each 2 hour class to learn a bit (I usually limited my bit to 20 minutes) and then immediately put it into practice, splitting into groups of 3 or 4 people, all then heading off into empty classrooms. We'd then meet back 15 minutes before the 2 hours were up to give people the chance to play in front of the class, which some revelled in while others didn't because they were too embarrassed.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Been working well on my assignment this past week but it is hardly an inspiring piece of music.
    I typed the sheet music into Guitar Pro 5 so I know what it should sound like. I also typed in the Melody line so I can practise my part with the lead playing over the top. Makes a difference. Quite handy being able to do that.
    I will let you know, tomorrow or Wednesday, how tonight's lesson goes.
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
    All the computer stuff we have today is amazing really,youtube videos and programs that can help us do this or that.All really something to be grateful for I reckon and I wish I'd had it when I was a kid.

    I think that's what my friend wants me to do in the class,to help the people who are struggling a bit keep up with the others.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Lesson 3 last night. After a quick look at the song format and sequence of parts we took what was an assignment last week and turned it into a song this week. While I played the riff and power chords I spent all week working on my tutor played the melody over the top. Enjoyed it. Always great making music.
    Came away with Em Pentatonic scale, in 3 positions, to work on this week. He also guided me into playing harmony over a chord progression. (at present only over Em, Am and D)
    Another valuable lesson.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    Felt up to going for a lesson this week after my injury. I had cancelled two lessons (phoned the day before to let tutor know so he could re-allocate my spot).
    We had a quick run through what I went away with last time then went back to our "song". Last night we added the chords and a call and answer sequence as a harmony part. The idea behind this is we are looking at and building the "arrangement".
    Hardest things for me is getting my picking direction correct. He wants me to play every down beat with a down stroke, but after 50 years of mixing up and down strokes to suit myself it has kind of become hardwired.
    One big improvement he made was in getting me to change the position of my left hand, with my thumb more behind the neck. This has got my fingers moving a bit more freely. Like golf, the grip can make a huge difference for a slight adjustment. It also meant I could make better use of my pinkie which sadly has not seen a lot of use in my guitar playing previously.
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member
    My lesson was tonight and I was greeted with the news that next weeks lesson will be my last.

    The business is folding and I'm in need of another teacher.

    Part of me was disappointed because I've had the same teacher now for the last 9 months, but part of me thinks that a change may be for the better ........ new ideas etc.

    Someone has been recommended to me so I'll be contacting them tomorrow to see if they can squeeze in a new pupil.

    Today I've learnt a new way of playing E major making to easier for me to move to barre chords F & A (Oasis:Cigarettes & Alcohol)

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
     Originally Posted By: Lotus
    Today I've learnt a new way of playing E major making to easier for me to move to barre chords F & A

    What's your new way? Using fingers 2,3 and 4 instead of 1, 2 and 3?
  • Ape09090Ape09090 Posts: 2,744Member
  • LotusLotus Posts: 332Member
    Twas indeed Jocko \:P

    Today though I've discovered its easier for me to use my thumb on bass E string rather than my finger.

    I realise these discoveries for me may be old hat for most of you guys but I feel Ive got to share my experiences, so bear with me.

    For the last 9 months I've been learning on an electric guitar practising largely unplugged.

    My current teacher is now moving on and my new teacher prefers students to learn on an acoustic, so now I have a new challenge

    Occasionally I've picked up my sons Crafter, which whilst making a lovely mellow sound, I find it really difficult to handle.

    I find the Crafter so "wide" that I struggle to hold it in a comfortable position making it more difficult to play.

    I've not measured the width of the Crafter's body but I'm wondering whether all acoustics are the same width.

    I'm aware that the semi-acoustics are much thinner and that might have to be the way I go if I can't find an acoustic that's thinner than the Crafter.

    Any pointers chaps would be appreciated.

    I have posted a copy of this post in the Acoustic Forum.


  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,085Member, Moderator
    When I was starting off teaching my grandson the E chord I showed him the 2,3,4 version and tried to get him to use those fingers rather than 1,2,3. The same with the A chord. This makes converting to barré chords much easier. And once you can play barré E and barré A then this opens up your chord playing immensely.
    Personally I would recommend persevering with playing a full barré instead of using your thumb even if it means sometimes playing only the top 5 strings until you master it.
    I use my thumb on some occasions for difficult shapes (for me!) but it is not the best way to go.
    I have answered your questions on the acoustic thread.
  • TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Posts: 240Member
    The only word of caution with the 234 version of the E is that you cant do those cool SRV and Hendrix E7#9 stabs ... cos you need yer pinkey for those.
    As as someone who teaches guitar I have a pretty tolerant attitude to 'thumb over' chord (and indeed lead) playing. I always teach the full barre first, but some peoples hand size, and even the styles they want to play require thumb over. My own playing started very classical (thumb in the back of the neck etc) but as I got into Mick green and Wilko Johnson I realised that an independently muting 5th and 6th string could only come via the thumb. In later years when I studied SRV I realised the same element was vital to his style too. I stress to students that ... as proved by Jeff Healey ... there is no 'proper' way to play guitar. There are guidelines, sure, but we all find our own compromises ... and they help shape our style. I had an inspirational friend who was born with one arm. He plays his Les Paul horizontally on a stand, tapping and bending with his fingers while strumming, muting and tapping with his thumb. His playing is stunningly original and dizzyingly fast.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    I tend to agree with GW here, I use my thumb to fret notes quite a lot, and there are some things you just can't play any other way. But I can play barre chords in the "proper" way as well - I think as long as using the thumb is not covering up some technical shortcoming it's fine, indeed a useful tool to have at one's disposal. So learn both techniques really.

    This discussion gives me the excuse to link to one of my favourite guitarists, Mr Barney Kessel, who was certainly not afraid to employ his thumb...

    Barney Kessel Blues
  • ShambekoShambeko Posts: 108Member
    I have quite small hands and have always struggled with thumb over barre chords. Can just about manage to mute the 6th with my thumb but usually end up muting some other strings as well.
    Makes it difficult to accurately play SRV and Hendrix stuff.
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