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Looking for resources to play the guitar

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Mar 22, 2021 - 5:17:16 PM



815 posts since 10/6/2017

Hey all,
I've been wanting to learn how to really play the guitar. I've owned guitars before and know a few basic chords, but all in all, I suck. So I'm seeking advice from other banjo players, because I know many of you play the guitar.

There seem to be 1001 resources out there - and I've found a few interesting things, but for now I'm looking for some recommendations for someone of my low skill level.

I want to play early country/blues àla Anthology of American Folk Music.

So if you'd like to share information about your favorite and useful books, DVD's, Patreon sites or whatever, don't hesitate.

Keyword - My low skill level

Edited by - hoodoo on 03/22/2021 17:18:10

Mar 22, 2021 - 6:03:36 PM

1852 posts since 7/4/2009

Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop offers many instructional books and DVDs, with most of the DVDs available as direct downloads as well. Most of it focuses on country blues. You might also wanna check out Homespun Tapes.

Edited by - UncleClawhammer on 03/22/2021 18:03:47

Mar 23, 2021 - 4:53:53 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


27385 posts since 8/3/2003
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Check out beginner instruction books at Mel Bay. You should be able to find something there that will be what you need to get you started.

I started out many years ago with Steve Kaufman's instruction books/CD/DVD.  However, it was more for bluegrass, but might check him out and see if he has something in the genre you wish to learn.

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 03/23/2021 04:55:18

Mar 23, 2021 - 6:31:52 AM

3053 posts since 4/19/2008

This is a lot of what they are doing.

Mar 23, 2021 - 7:26:38 AM



64397 posts since 10/5/2013

If it’s country blues you want it will involve fingerpicking. As mentioned Stefan Grossman’s material is great, although I’m not sure if he has early beginner stuff. Mel Bay and Alfred’s have beginner fingerpicking books.

Mar 23, 2021 - 7:32:31 AM
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815 posts since 10/6/2017

Originally posted by chuckv97

If it’s country blues you want it will involve fingerpicking. As mentioned Stefan Grossman’s material is great, although I’m not sure if he has early beginner stuff. Mel Bay and Alfred’s have beginner fingerpicking books.

Yeah, I found the Stefan Grossman website, and I can't wait to dig into a lot of the material eventually, but I don't want to make the same mistake that I always do, which is to try out some more difficult material to begin with, get discouraged and abandon ship. 

Mar 23, 2021 - 7:52:50 AM



64397 posts since 10/5/2013

If you play banjo then beginner fingerpicking shouldn’t be a big problem for you.

Mar 23, 2021 - 7:52:56 AM

149 posts since 2/7/2020

I think Mark Galbo and Arnie Berle's book, Beginning Fingerstyle Blues Guitar, might be helpful for that style.

For general country/old time/bluegrass playing, the boom-chuck is kind of the foundational technique. If you know what I think of as the basic chords (A, C, D, E, F, G, Em, Am, B7, Bm, F#m) there aren't many songs you can't play.

Mar 23, 2021 - 8:47:43 AM
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3125 posts since 2/10/2013

If you already know basic chords, get Steve Kaufman "Bluegrass Guitar Solo's Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know". I cannot express how much that instructional improved my guitar playing over the years. Here is why I recommend it -

1. Twenty (20) commonly played tunes. A beginner, intermediate, and advanced version for each tune. So you are really getting 60 versions of tunes.

2. 6 CDs with sound files for the documented material.

3. Before and sometime after each recorded tune, Steve Kaufman talks about how to accomplish specific things and identifies probable difficulties.

4. Notation includes tab and music notation.

Here is some advice -

There are 4 series for this instructional. Get series 1. It is the most complete and useful series.

If you get the series, stay with one level, in a beginners case the beginner versions, before attempting the play the more advanced version of a tune. Each beginner version you learn will make you a better guitar player. After you can play the beginner versions, find a simpler intermediate version of a tune you like and start learning that tune. As your skills improve you will find things getter easier and easier.

One last thing. Don't just play melody. Practice playing the chord progressions as well. Don't loan the book out. When I did that, they never came back.

The price sounds expensive, but it really doesn't cost much more, if that, of a months worth of lessons. I provides lot more information, and you can and will use things over and over again. 60 lessons for about $70. That series will keep a person busy for a long, lone time.
I am a fairly decent guitar player, and those series, especially Series 1, taught me a lot and took a long time to learn.

Edited by - Richard Hauser on 03/23/2021 08:49:49

Mar 23, 2021 - 12:13:02 PM

11248 posts since 6/30/2020
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I’ve been playing guitar for 55 years, in fact I consider myself a guitar player who also plays banjo.
I always recommend “Guitar for Dummies” for guitar and “Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies” for banjo.
This is a bible of things you need to know. An excellent reference book in addition to other instruction that you might choose.

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Mar 23, 2021 - 12:57:58 PM
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389 posts since 5/16/2017

I started messing around with a guitar recently. I found Justin Guitar quite helpful with solid techniques for learning and reinforcing chords with Justin's "Chord Perfect" and "One Minute Changes" practice routines. I'm just starting on the second set of lessons, Beginner Grade 2. --

I also found a couple of sites that offer lessons for Old Time tunes. I want to get to where I can play on the guitar the songs I already know on the banjo. Working on Little Sadie and Shady Grove now.

Mar 24, 2021 - 7:30:40 AM

3125 posts since 2/10/2013

One more thing. If you know basic scale and chord theory, check out the book and CDs for "Flatpicking Essentials Volume 1: Rhythm, Bass Runs, and Fill Licks" by Dan Miller. Lots of exercises and practice tunes. This is NOT a repertoire book. It is a well written instructional.
Having software that lets you adjust tempo will be very useful when playing the CDs. Take your time and strive to understand what is written.

Mar 24, 2021 - 10:31:49 AM
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236 posts since 11/28/2006

I’ll second or third the recommendation of Stephan Grossman for old style country blues guitar. I have several of his DVDs and they are excellent. However, he doesn’t go into theory much, if at all. But it’s the blues; the I, IV, V chords will take you a long way. I like the DVDs as he does a great job explaining what he is doing on each tune. There is a PDF of the tab that you can print out or load onto a tablet.

Mar 27, 2021 - 7:22:53 AM



3239 posts since 10/23/2004

1) Make a short list of slow songs you really like, and would like to learn. Then get on the internet and find the chords.
2) Find a song that is easy to play having 2-3 "open" chords (open chords are those that are played within the first 3 frets of the guitar neck, not bar chords). If the song has more than 3 chords, or chords up the neck, move on to another more easier song.
3) Make those chord into an exercise of simply strumming and moving your fingers from one chord to another (easier said than done, but with time you will be able to move from one to another at a faster pace). If the song consists of G, D, and C chords, practice going from G to D and back, then G to C and back, then C to D and back. Cant stress enough to practice, practice, practice.
4) Always use a pick.
5) ...and don't hesitate to simply dick around on the guitar. All the time you spend holding and playing is an end to the means.

Neil Young songs were the first guitar songs I learned. Didn't get past open chords, and never learned bar chords or scales before I moved on to playing banjo. However, knowing the open chords made it easier for me to follow along with a guitar player (most of the time) by knowing which chords they were playing by sight.

Apr 26, 2022 - 2:51:26 PM

3 posts since 2/10/2022

Hi, bit late to this one but thought I would chip in. Have you taken a look at Guitartricks? You can find out more in this review:

They've got some great country and blues teachers, so definitely worth a look.

Edited by - jennyhodgkins on 04/26/2022 14:52:53

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