Learning to Play the Guitar

A few months ago, I decided that it was time to learn to play the guitar. Its something I’ve wanted to learn for a long time, but I’ve never taken the time to apply myself to it. To kick things off, I went over to Guitar Center and worked with a very helpful salesman, Steve, that really knew guitars.

Steve asked a number of questions about what I’d like to learn to play, which bands I really enjoy, what sort of music I listen to. To be honest, I wasn’t sure of most of the answers. Those that know me, would probably describe my music collection as eclectic. I run the gamut in my collection, from classical, to blues, to grunge, to classic rock to alternative.

I told Steve that I’d really like to learn to play some Carbon Leaf, John Mellencamp and maybe some Foo Fighters. After a few more questions and a bit of conversations, we decided that an acoustic would be the way to go.

Seal from inside the body
Seal from inside the body

We proceeded into the guitar room where about 80 guitars were hanging on the walls. It was a great room, with guitars in all price ranges, shapes and sizes. There were even a couple of special rooms – though I didn’t really venture in those. The price tags in there were all $800 plus. Way out of my range.

Steve took the time to play a number of the guitars, explaining why each sounded different. Different materials, strings, shapes, etc., would all produce a different sound. Steve gave me a chance to look around, and I tried strumming a few that I thought sounded pretty sweet. Once I had the choices narrowed down, Steve came back to play each one – man, they all sounded so much better when someone that knew how to play was doing so.

I finally decided on a Takamine GS330S.

The Takamine GS330S is their most affordable solid-top dreadnought acoustic. The GS330S features a solid cedar top, a departure from the familiar spruce, and delivers a distinctive tone all its own. If you want a high-quality acoustic that stands apart from the crowd, this is a great way to go. Other features include nato back & sides, and chrome tuners. The GS330S is made to Takamine’s strict specifications, and represents exceptionally good value.

While I was there, I picked up a case, an electric tuner and some picks. All in all, it was an easy, enjoyable process to pick out and purchase the guitar.

GS330S Bridge
GS330S Bridge

The next part of the process is learning to play the guitar. There’s a small music shop, C & G Music, in downtown Baldwinsville that is always advertising about guitar lessons. Seeing how they were local, I thought I’d give them a shot.

I’m glad that I called… They setup a lesson for me right away, with a very flexible schedule and reasonable rates. I met with Chris (the “C” of C&G) for the first time, about two months ago. First thing we did, was to talk again about the music I’d like to learn to play. At least I was prepared for it this time. We spent the first couple of lessons talking about the parts of the guitar, how to hold a pick, how to hold the guitar properly, that sort of thing.

In the past month, we’ve been working on barre chords, muting, rythyms, strumming patterns, and a number of different riffs. I spend about 30 minutes a night playing and practicing and while I’m not going to be performing in public any time soon, I’m definitely improving.

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