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Any Guitar Players Amongst Us? I'd Like Your Opinion.

(42 posts)
  1. scloyd

    scloyd

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    In the next couple of weeks I am going to purchase my first guitar and start taking lessons. I'll be 60 next week and I don't think it's to late to learn. My two boys play and so does my son-in-law. They'll probably come with when I make the purchase. I'm looking in the $200-$400 price range. Here's what I'm looking at. Any comments or suggestions?

    Fender California Malibu
    Seagull Original S6
    Cordoba C5
    Alvarez AD30
    Yamaha FG800

    Any other suggestions? I want to keep it under $500

    Thanks...I appreciate any input.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. acidpox

    acidpox

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    I'd get the seagull, I've played that exact model as my old guitarist has one and they are great. They tend to have wider necks than alot of acoustics. I've never played a Cordoba so I cant give any insight on them. I've play many an Alvanrez and Yamahas and they are good too. I'd stay away from the fender because in this price range you paying alot for the name alone. Also I dont care if the sells person tells you if the guitar has Ben setup or not pay the 50-100 bucks to have a professional guitar tech set it up, it's like night and day after a great setup. YMMV, But it's hard to beat Seagulls in this price range.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. fullbent

    fullbent

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    Any will do for a beginner. If your boys are going with you just have them pick the one that plays the easiest.

    "If you can't sent money, send tobacco."
    -George Washington to the Continental Congress, 1776
    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. hawky454

    hawky454

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    It gets pretty personal but I would go with that Fender that you listed. I have an acoustic Fender that still plays wonderfully and keeps a tune great and I’ve had it since I was a kid, got it in 1993. Plus, since you are a beginner you’re going to want a thinner neck and good action, the Fender will give you both. Plus it’s got a very respectable name in the industry. I would definitely stay away from the Yamaha but again, it mainly boils down to personal preference.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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    I'm not a guitar player, but fun to hear the brands assessed.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. acidpox

    acidpox

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    I have to disagree with "Any guitar with do for a beginner". I've seen alot of people start to learn to play on a cheap/bad guitar and one of 2 things happen.

    1.)They get better and have to instantly upgrade guitars.

    2.) The guitar plays awful and they get discouraged and quit.

    I always recommend a beginner borrows or rents a guitar to see if its something they would like to invest in. If you think PAD and TAD are hard on the wallet wait into GAD sets in. Gear/Guitar Accusation Disorder.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. bassbug

    bassbug

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    I've been playing a Seagull for 15 years. I have the M6 not the S6 though. Theyr're great guitars and i love mine. If it feels good to you, its a nice instrument at a reasonable price.

    Mine has aged and mellowed bautifully.

    Whatever you get, try to get solid top, back and sides. It will make a difference in how the guitar sounds and how it will age and develop its tone.

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. haparnold

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    Any would be ok choices. I'm a big fan of Recording King. It's the best materials in construction for the price I've found. I play an all solid-wood RK I picked up for about $600, and I prefer it to Martin and Taylor.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    jeff540

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    I have to disagree with "Any guitar with do for a beginner".

    This.

    I've been playing over 30 years. My experience is to buy a good used instrument that will not limit you in any way, and will hold or appreciate its value in the event you cease playing. Investing in a good instrument is also investing in yourself.

    Have one of your sons help you, play several and choose the most inspiring one you can find.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. scloyd

    scloyd

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    Great responses so far...thanks.

    Excuse my wording or descriptions - I want a solid top, a thinner neck and not something that is oversized/too big. I want to be comfortable with it because if it doesn't feel good or is uncomfortable to play I'm afraid I'll get discouraged, tired of it and won't want to continue.

    I'll check out Recording Kings, Martins and Taylors. I looked at the Taylor GS Mini but that's a tad over my budget.

    This is not a purchase that I'm going to just jump into. I've been researching online, youtube and even in the store.

    Thanks again.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. warren

    warren

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    Any of those will work. Only this word of warning, the lower the action the easier it will be on the fingers until you have the callouses. But not too low or you'll fight "buzz" all the time. Yup,take the boys and, an action isn't too hard to lower if necessary.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    I have an older Seagull S7 (early 80's).. Great starter guitar.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. drwatson

    drwatson

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    I like to think I am, my guitars may say otherwise.

    John
    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. haparnold

    Hap

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    I'll check out Recording Kings, Martins and Taylors.

    When I compared the RKs to Martins and Taylors, I meant that the quality and materials of the Recording King were as good or better than guitars (such as Martins and Taylor) that are vastly more expensive. Any new Martin you could get for $500 would likely not be a Martin worth having.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. scloyd

    scloyd

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    @Hap- Thanks for clearing that up. I appreciate it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. hawky454

    hawky454

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    Haha... GAD! Yup, it gets expensive! Does anyone here have a JamStack? I’m absolutely loving it! Hook your phone right up to the guitar and your possibilities are endless. It was made to be more of a practice amp that sounds good at a low volume, which it does, but it also gets fairly loud too. It doubles as a blue tooth speaker too. If y’all haven’t heard of it, YouTube it. I have no affiliation with the company, I just really love mine.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. stevecourtright

    stevecourtright

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    Agree with acidpox. Whichever one you pick, spend the money to get a professional set up. Think of your guitar as a "kit" as they all need to be adapted to the player and to their new home, temperature and humidity.

    If you can, try them all out, one will probably speak to you.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    I have to disagree with "Any guitar with do for a beginner". I've seen alot of people start to learn to play on a cheap/bad guitar and one of 2 things happen.
    Agreed! And much of that is because of comfort. Beginning guitar can be tough on your fingers. You may want to look into string height... and can it be adjusted? How wide is the neck... will you be able to easily play the dreaded F chord? (Do yourself a favor and make that chord part of your daily learning routine from the beginning. You'll thank yourself later. That's just one thing to look into. Also, hardware. Ask what your sons and son in law think of the hardware. You don't want a guitar that going to go out of tune every time you strum a chord.

    As far as age, I don't think anyone is ever too old to learn an instrument if they are physically able to do so. Do your warm up exercises (your instructor will show you these things) to keep your hands nimble and to build strength and dexterity, and you'll be fine.

    I could go on and on, just as the other posters could go on and on. But the most important thing to remember, in my opinion, is have fun!

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. tschiraldi

    tschiraldi

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    I have a Seagull acoustic that has been my favorite guitar all time. I've been playing over 40 years.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. lifesizehobbit

    lifesizehobbit

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    Key points above about choosing a good guitar vs. "any" guitar for a beginner. We all tend to think in the $200-$400 range assuming it's the right budget for "starter" quality. I disagree based on some of the following points:

    1. New players should be able to learn and feel/hear progress. A cheaper guitar may not permit that due to poor playability.
    2. Poor playability leads to quitting since students feel like they're not progressing.
    3. Practice times will be discouraged due to poor/painful results. Note that guitars will hurt at first, but as callouses build, that goes away.

    Thoughts:
    1. Plan on the price of the guitar to not include the case; spending $400 on a guitar "with a case" usually means you're getting a $250 guitar.
    2. If you can spend $100-$150 on a case, spend that instead on a better guitar.
    3. Know that if you get a very good quality guitar and you choose not to pursue it, you can sell it to get some of your money back. In that thought process, you've rented a better quality guitar than you would have originally bought and still spent about the same amount of money.

    Visit a guitar forum and review the opinions of various guitars. Google for specific reviews of the guitar you might be interested in.

    One last point about string height - you should be able to adjust the G (number 6/top) string to right at 4mm at the 12th fret. That will result in a very playable guitar regardless of the brand.

    Happy Hunting - and in guitar world, be careful of GAS - Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.

    Dave "Black Frigate Stowaway"
    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. didimauw

    didimauw

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    My vote would be for the Cordoba. I had the c8 version years ago and absolutely loved it. Such a loud bright tone. I had to sell it to pay bills, but have debated re purchasing it.

    On the other hand I own a 12 string version of that Alvarez as well, and it sounds great for a beginner guitar.

    Been playing guitar for 24 years.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. scloyd

    scloyd

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    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions guys. My budget as stated above is guitar only, no case/bag or accessories. I am copying and pasting all of your tips/suggestions into a document that I am going print and bring with to the store. I appreciate everyone's suggestions.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. jerry

    jerry

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    I’ve been playing and collecting (though in recent years, mostly selling) guitars for 50 years. The guitar has to feel good to you. There are many different body styles, neck widths, weights, etc. So, it’s a good idea to go to a store that has a lot of guitars with someone you know who can play (as you stated). But the guitar you choose should feel good to you in your hands. Of course, the intonation and action need to be right, and the ones you mentioned are generally pretty good in that department. Still, even within the same brand and model, there are variations. Like pipes, you’ll find the one that speaks to you, and says, “I’m the one for you.”

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. kola

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    ^^^^ what Jerry said.

    In every guitar I've purchased over he years - the guitar picks me. It just feels right and sounds right, to me.

    400 USDs will get you a decent guitar.

    My golden rule to beginners ( as I was told by a great guitar player when I was 14) was to pick it up EVERY day at least for a 1/2 hour..or more. Do finger exercises, ear chords, etc.

    I've taught some people in the past and I teach a bit different I have them playing a rock and roll beat on the very first day. It's so easy and gives the student instant inspiration - in contrast to struggling to play a simple chord configuration.

    go to 9:20 time line to get the jist of it (below)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE2o1erPxXY

    I treat people the way they treat me. It's that simple.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. kola

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    missed the edit.some typos. learn chords (not ear chords) and over the years (not over he years)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. scloyd

    scloyd

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    More great tips. Thanks Jerry and Kola.

    Thanks for the youtube link.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. warren

    warren

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    I beg to differ with some here. This is your first guitar, you will be learning how to play. You don't know enough about the instrument to "let it pick you." Listen to the boys and any other long time pickers you might encounter. Now if your mentors put a couple of acceptable guitars in front of you? Sure, pick the one you might instinctively prefer for any number of reasons, sound, shape, feel, action, color, inlays, pickups, etc.

    Oh, and I suggest, if they are still available, a "Pignose" amp. Small, great sound, a favorite of some pros pickers I've met over the years. Plugin or battery so you can take it to the yard. Have the boys get you one. They aren't/weren't that expensive. I offer that advise not knowing what is available these days. And, it's free advice so you know what it is worth.

    Learning on a "steel string" will cause a bit of pain if you over do it. Similar to "tongue bite" with your first few bowls. Not easily avoided because you now have a thirst and will probably have the "axe" in your lap way too long for the first few days. Just accept the pain and let the calluses build.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. kola

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    Guitar Center and other music stores have loads of guitars to pick up and check out. IMO, even beginners can "get a feel" for a guitar if they have may available to compare with. The neck width and shape as it fits to the players hand (and finger size)The body/size of the guitar that fits to the persons body (size and shape of both, if not a good match it will feel awkward, even to a beginner. Taking a experienced player along is a big plus which was already mentioned.

    Back to price. I've played $2500 guitars that sounded horrible. I have a $400 Fender elec/acoustic made out of Asian Dao wood that sounds like a $1200 Martin. So yeah, taking along your son/s or son in a law is a big plus.

    Purchasing used is a very good option as well. There must be a billion orphaned guitars out there just begging to be adopted.

    Like shopping for a new horse, "looks" should be totally avoided (IMO). My Martin DM-15 is probably the ugliest plain jane Martin guitar made. It smells like a old cigar box too (I happen to love the smell) But she sounds and plays fanfuckintastic.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. mtwaller

    mtwaller

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    As you’ve seen from the above responses, there are loads of factors to consider when buying a guitar! If you don’t play enough to know instinctively know what you like in a guitar, bringing your sons would be great. Sit down with multiple guitars and have them play the same piece on each guitar, do an A/B/C comparison and see which one sounds the best to you. Then use your own hands to see if the neck and fretboard feel comfortable. Looks aren’t everything, but I wouldn’t buy any guitar that I hated looking at, even if it played great. I don’t care how comfortable the neck is, if it’s some spikey red monstrosity I’m not interested. But that’s just my personal opinion. Also, I personally would not buy an acoustic guitar that doesn’t have clear and resonant harmonics on the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets across all strings. I don’t like dead spots on an acoustic. I’m sure you could find one you like out of your list. For Yamaha, I bought a FSX700SC that plays quite nice, and I believe it was around $400. You might give that one a try if you see one sitting around. I hope you find one you love, guitar playing is terrific fun. Cheers!

    “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. folanator

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    I turned 50 and started to play, normally 4-6 hours a week. I am 9 years in. I decided I wasn't going to the grave not knowing how to play some music.

    I would highly recommend playing a ton of different guitars. Once you buy your first, keep playing all different types of guitars because what you like/don't like will change rapidly over the first few years.

    I have managed to collect some nice guitars at auction, same as I do for many pipes.
    A couple of 70's - 80's MIJ Ibanez AR's,
    Taylor, 0-18 size,
    an old Guild M-25.
    I found an old Simon and Patrick Luthier at auction (that was the company that was the predecessor of Seagull).

    It's a journey and well worth the time invested.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  31. scloyd

    scloyd

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    Thanks everyone. This will be my first guitar. Here are my thoughts on order of importance.

    1. Feel/Comfort/Playability - I want a guitar that feels good and is comfortable to hold and play.
    2. Sound - If it doesn't sound good I'll get discouraged and won't enjoy it.
    3. Construction/Looks/Shape - Solid top natural color wood. Not a fan of the red and black sun-burst.
    4. Price, guitar alone - I'm not limited to $400. If I find the "perfect for me" guitar and it's $600, it's mine.

    One more thing to throw into the mix...strings. Nylon or steel?

    Thanks again everyone. I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions.

    edit- I'm going to look into used guitars also. Why not?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. jerry

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    Nylon or steel? Greatly depends on the type of music you want to play. What type of music do you want to play?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. skydog

    skydog

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    As others have said, play every guitar you can get your hands on before you drop some money on one. Generally one will speak to you. The seagulls are really nice for the money but a couple years ago I went into guitar center and played every guitar within my budget to buy my dad a guitar so he could learn. Ended up finding an old used Yamaha that plays amazing.

    Used guitars are definitely the way to go in my opinion. As long as you've got a reputable guitar shop who has set it up or someone who can evaluate the action and the neck and body for any possible damage there is no reason to buy new if you can find a better guitar for the same price used. Guitars should a lifetime as long as they're taken care of correctly so with a little knowledge you can get an amazing playing used guitar within your budget.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. folanator

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    If it's me, I'm not buying plastic strings as my primary guitar.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    jeff540

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    Start with a steel string "dreadnought" style acoustic guitar setup properly with a set of 12s (strings). And speaking of used, some of the 60s and 70s era FG series Yamaha acoustics sound great and can be made to play very well if setup correctly.
    Should be well within your budget range and hold all value for resale.

    I have dabbled with nylon (classical) periodically and have owned some very nice classical guitars, but I would not want to be limited to just that one style - very different playing experience and frame of mind (for me).

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    maker

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    Spend the least amount on the first guitar. Most stop playing after the first month. Either that or you will end up spending $1000-$3000 on the 2nd if you do enjoy it. Get a laminated guitar first then you can leave it out and use it as a beater guitar. You cannot go wrong with that Yamaha especially with a 15% off coupon . Almost always one available.

    Better yet buy a used guitar for $100-$200. Used guitars go for up to %50 off for mint Near mint.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. xilefregnu

    xilefregnu

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    Here's one to consider:

    https://reverb.com/item/12966542-breedlove-passport-n250-coe-natural?gclid=CjwKCAjw7MzkBRAGEiwAkOXexNuyxX-llsgWHsWGQ9daNxZ5rdtc_GgjpK26oLbgG60OxRDE3GxXgRoCoVMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&pla=1

    Not my guitar or my auction, but I own the same model. This guitar employs nylon strings, but has a 14 fret neck with a non-classical width. It has built in electronics and a tuner; it's well made and it plays easily. It will be easier on the fingers for a beginner.

    Just another suggestion to go along with the other fine ones offered!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. trubka2

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    Yes, finally! A thread on this forum where I've got the experience and knowledge to answer with confidence that I'm more right than most (25+ years semi-pro guitar-playing, 20+ years giving lessons). I've owned guitars made by all these companies except Cordoba. The Fenders and the Yamahas are the only ones I've kept more than 2 years. So that's what I think of those other brands (though some older Seagulls don't sound terrible). The quick and dirty: 1. Buy used. Buying new guitars is for silly people. But you can't buy it online - you gotta hold it in your hands. If it makes a sound you like, and the fingerboard looks flat when you squint down the neck, it's in perfect working order. If it arouses feelings of love, then buy it immediately. 2. Get the Fender if you want a thinner neck - their thin necks are what really set even their student models apart. I like them for studio work, but they don't project very well. 3. Get a steel string. Trying to learn real guitar after playing a classical/nylon string is no fun at all. 4. That whole "Buy a nice one to start with" is total bullshit, trust me. It always ends in tears; I've seen it over and over. Buy a cheap one first, then work your way up. Yeah, you'll move on quick if you take to it. You're not going to get what a serious guitar for that price range anyway. And if you don't take to it, then you have a dust-collector that you didn't break the bank on rather than a 400$ dust-collector. Lastly, you shouldn't spend a lot of money on an instrument until you know how to play it enough to know what you like. When it comes to guitars, as with pipes, informed taste requires skill. 5. There is no real correlation between price and quality in guitars, and name-brand loyalty is for suckers (except maybe Martin). Some of my most magical guitars have been no-namers bought for 150 or less. And all my worst guitars have been... Gibsons.

    And, oh, most important of all: Don't pay any attention to what any of us says (especially me) - just get the one that turns on a light for you. I'm 100% with Jerry - he's totally right. If you don't like it, you're not going to spend time with it no matter how much "knowledgeable" people tell you that you should like it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  39. warren

    warren

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    I hope, as I type this, that he has his box, is happily building calluses, and has figured out that ... his brain to finger connection isn't as good as he thought it was.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  40. scloyd

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    Update:
    First, I want to thank everyone for your input and suggestions. I purchased the Cordoba C5 for $279 last week. I went to two different Guitar Centers and compared Yamaha, Alvarez, Lucera and Cordoba.

    I haven't started any lessons yet, looking for someone local. I've been watching some YouTube and getting some pointers from my boys. It's definitely a struggle since I have never played an instrument before. I struggle with
    pressing one string at a time without touching the next string and getting that plunking sound (if that makes sense). I practice about 30-45 minutes a day and though I don't have calluses yet, I can feel them beginning to form. So far, so good I guess.

    One of my boys will give the guitar a good home if I decide not to continue this musical adventure.
    Thanks again.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    I struggle with
    pressing one string at a time without touching the next string and getting that plunking sound (if that makes sense)
    Totally makes sense. That's just part of learning guitar. Keep at it and eventually your fingers will remember where to go. Good luck on your new journey! It takes practice, but it's so very rewarding.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  42. warren

    warren

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    Once you've got the calluses it'll be easier to discriminate between the strings.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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