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Guitar playing skill level - What is yours?

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 5
Hi everyone,

I just started getting into building my first kit guitar from LMI. All my friends think I'm crazy.

Anyway, I was wondering what level people on this forum are at actually playing the guitar. Beginner? Expert?

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I'm a beginner. I've actually not had a chance to even play many top of the line guitars. I've played around with a few top end guitars at my local guitar center, and that's it. My brother-in-law and his father are expert guitarists (althought they don't have fancy guitars) and they've been helping me learn lately, but other than that, my only guitar experience was a few easy-strum church praise songs, and of course everyone's first guitar tabs "Tears in Heaven" and "Stairway to Heaven".

So, how good are you at the guitar? Also, any tips on approaches to learning the guitar would be appreciated. Thanks!

Aug 01, 06 | 7:44 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
I failed three times in the past to learn to play. I've taken group lessons and private lessons in the past as well. After about a 20 year break I have picked it up again for leading the worship team at church. My main instrument is bass guitar (been playing that one for 6 years now) but when I lead the team on occasion, I switch to acoustic guitar.

I'd call myself an advanced beginner :-) I can play enough open chords to get through a pretty good selection of worship tunes in E or G or A. I still struggle with barre chord forms and have to cheat when playing an F chord. And I only have a couple of strumming patterns figured out.

Aug 01, 06 | 9:49 pm

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 137
At one time before I started this fantasy on building guitars I thought maybe I was a early intermediate player but in the last four years (Since I started building)I do believe I regressed back to beginner.No Kidding!!!
I have six nice guitars (Soon to be eight)but I'm almost embarresed to play them in public because of my total lack of skills. No lie!!! I think that my self evident lack of talent is WHY I started to build.
Total hack,

Aug 02, 06 | 8:54 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
I'm not very good, though I sometimes like to fool myself. My cat likes to listen, though. She's not very discerning.

Aug 04, 06 | 5:57 am

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 158
I've played at various levels of intensity for about twenty years all up. I am now days able to laugh off the fact that I failed a year in high school, playing in bands etc instead of taking on home work. Back in the day, I played in rock bands, folk groups and jazz quartets... any and everywhere I could join in.
Somehow I got lost and started putting my effort into pleasing an employer etc... then about four years ago I started playing again. I don't play for hours on end these days, and I often get frustrated that old hands can't do what once came easy but I'd like to think I still know my way over a fret board.
My tip for you John is, play the songs and styles that you want – Have fun first. You will go through periods where you improve in bursts and then there will be lean days – enjoy them all.

Aug 04, 06 | 7:58 am

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
You mean past the fact that I'm tone deaf and my fingers don't bend? My wife on the other hand has a trained voice and is quite accomplished with a guitar. I love to play and do take requests, though I keep playing anyway :).

Aug 04, 06 | 3:24 pm

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
I started playing when I was 13; though it consisted of HEAVY music (Metallica was some of the lightest stuff I played). I was in several bands in my youth. I stopped playing all together a little after turning 16. I was gifted a '63 J-45 Gibby as a wedding gift from my father-in-law. His mother bought it for him as a child. That got me playing a little bit, but nothing more than a few weeks at a time. Beginning of this year, I was asked to fill in on bass in the youth worship band at my church until they found someone perm. One thing led to another and now I play guitar for the youth worship and bass for the Sunday worship.

How would I classify myself? On overall guitar, I'd say I'm intermediate. I can still throw down on some Metallica solos, but can't really write any of my own. I started learning theory, but I lose interest pretty quickly. I get in groves and start jamming on some DMB on my Gibby, but really want to get more involved in my acoustics. There isn't much I can't play on an electic, but I hate that I'm more of a strummer on the acoustic.

Aug 09, 06 | 10:26 am

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Total Posts: 0
Started "learning" guitar about 2-3 years ago (Had a play around in the late 70s,-for a few months)

Unfortunatly, 30+ years in the construction industry has taken its toll on my hands and joints,which I find affects my ability to move my hands around at any kind of speed.

I am a beginner,but I love "trying" to play.Its just such a great interest and a fantastic way to just relax.

(Combining my other interest -Woodwork ,makes it even better)


Aug 11, 06 | 12:53 pm
Phlytyer (Keith)

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 273
Just a strummer but... found the world of fingerstyle a few years ago and am endeavoring to teach myself (along with many DVDs, Traum, McGuire, et. al).

And, as Greg sez...a great way to just relax.

Aug 12, 06 | 5:24 am

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
I'm 55 and spent most of my life strumming at a fairly competent level. I was getting a bit bored with it, and more or less stumbled into fingerpicking a few years back. It's rekindled my interest. Sold the big body guitars and moved to smaller bodies. My main player at the moment is a Martin 00-18V to which I added a fossilized walrus ivory saddle and bridge pins.

And then, I got this guitar building bug several months back. I've been working on my Rosewood/Spruce OM since about May. The darndest thing has happened; I'm spending all my spare time building and reading about building to the extent that I'm hardly playing any more. Hopefully this will pass as I complete my OM (and before I inevitably start my next build).


Aug 12, 06 | 8:07 am
Phlytyer (Keith)

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 273
"I'm 55 and spent most of my life strumming at a fairly competent level. I was getting a bit bored with it, and more or less stumbled into fingerpicking a few years back. It's rekindled my interest....

And then, I got this guitar building bug several months back. the extent that I'm hardly playing any more. Hopefully this will pass as .[/q]

Damn... have I run into a kindred spirit or an alter-identity? BUT PLEASE Ed, PLEASE DON'T SAY I HAVE TO SELL MY JF30-12. Just listen to Leo Kottke and/or Chris Proctor and know that Jumbos can be finger picked.


Aug 13, 06 | 3:10 am

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113

"You have my permission to keep the JF30-12!!!"

And yes, those guys can sure pick regardless of the guitar size! And on a 12 string to boot. Amazing!

I think this guitar building thing attracts a certain type of person. I can see pieces of myself in a lot of the posts that go up here. It's kinda neat.



Aug 13, 06 | 11:13 am

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 81
I started last winter so in a couple months I will have played for almost a year. I consider myself a advanced begginer in fingerpicking because it came natural to me, but I cant strum worth crud mainly because I dont really practice any songs with strumming.

One thing I would like to learn is to read music again I have lost the touch.

some songs I play are -Mash
-Starry Starry night
-James Bond theme
-Stairway to Heaven
- Blackbird

you know the easy picking stuff like Classical gas... just kidding I am still not close to being done with that song.

Aug 14, 06 | 11:59 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I started playing classical using Fredrick Noad’s PBS lessons way back. I sight read and love tablature. My family and friends think I am pretty good (if they only knew!) I gave “folk” lessons back in the sixties and seventies. Like a lot of others I am a Chet wanabe so I pretend to play a lot of his stuff. Pretty bad at remembering full pieces so I do not perform at all.

I came across this site and it may be of interest to those that are struggling. Because I have become so accustom to tab, the method used by Zager slows me down a bit, but for those just starting I think it is a way to get to soloing very quickly. Beginners should take a look.

Ken --------- Kenneth Michael Guitars

Aug 14, 06 | 5:56 pm

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 58
I"d call myself an intermediate with occassional flashes. I've played on and off for 30 + years (have a Guild D25 that's followed me through all those years).

About 18 months ago I got offed from a job and had a really long severance period (which is just ending) so I decided to recommit to the guitar and started taking some fingerpicking lessons from a really terrific local teacher. It's been a lot of fun. He's been trying to talk me into going to an open mic but I've resisted. I'm not that confident with my voice, which is really limited, so my song choices have to be real careful.

It was really getting back to playing that got me interested in the construction of guitars and finally to ordering a luthier build - which in turn got me interested in building a kit.

There is an excellent website that I like a lot for players and builders Great people and lots of good information.

Aug 15, 06 | 11:38 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Dittoon Acoustic Player Magazine. Great group over there.

Aug 15, 06 | 4:38 pm

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Total Posts: 3
advanced in somestyles ,begginer in others right now im a bigginer in 8 string lapsteel c9th tuning, what a bugger!

May 21, 07 | 4:34 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I started about 4 years ago. I still suck, but I love every minute of it. I am ok with a pick, and ok with fingerstyle, but have trouble with solos and being artistic with a scale. I keep telling people I could play better if I didn't build. I keep telling poeple I could build better if I didn't play. I know, I am confused too.

May 21, 07 | 7:49 am

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
My skill level..... none. I never learned how to play, but I have tried a few lessons since I started building. So far, I still can't play anything. I get very frustrated with my fingers not doing what I want them to do, and for the life of me I can't figure out how all you players can fret only the strings you want to fret without touching the ones next to it. I don't have big hands or fingers and I can't seem to figure out how it is done.

I guess I need to spring for some real lessons with an instructor to see if I can actually learn this instrument. So far, it has been a very frustrating and un-fun experience doing it via videos, cd's and books.

My Blog

May 21, 07 | 4:16 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Calousses you play more, your fingers get harder and don't deform so much. At the same time, your fingers start to learn the limits of how hard you really need to press to get the note right. Oddly enough, some people get so good at getting that part right that they actually lose their calusses, especially people who spend a good amount of time doing warm up exercises before they play.

I found that I did better if I used the absolute tips of my fingers, rolled them almost to the nail, rther than the pads. There is less flesh there to get in the way, and the nail supports the flesh behind the bone, almost like a retaining wall for your finger pads. It requires less strength to bear down on the strings with the absolute tips of your fingers than it does with the pads. Anyway, not pro advice, but it seems to work for me. good luck!

May 21, 07 | 7:23 pm

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Be sure that you'all stop in to Dave's Blog, catch his video on playing his dread. For 2 months of playing, Dave's doing great! The guitar looks and sounds good to boot!

Sep 09, 07 | 7:51 pm

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I've been playing off and on for about 40 years. I started out playing bluegrass guitar then picked up the Ventures bug all by ear. I have never been successful at learning to read. Most of the songs I play I learned listening to Ventures and Chet records and playing along with them. I play mostly in Church now and then only occasionaly. I play a fingerstyle with a thumbpick (the reason I switched to thumbpick is because I kept dropping my flatpick) lol. Every once in a while I will have a light come on and do something that resembles decent music but that is not too often. I just enjoy sitting down with my guitar and trying to learn. If you please yourself you have half the battle won.

Sep 10, 07 | 4:50 am

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 567
Hehe, sorry you had to see and hear that video justlooking. I figured that I have been telling people on my blog that I have been practicing, I might as well prove it. For those who have a death wish and want to see it, go here

Sep 10, 07 | 12:19 pm

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Total Posts: 13
Never critisize your own work, whether it is cooking, singing, projects etc, there is always plenty of people in the peanut gallery willing to step up for that. At least that's my experience. :-)

Sep 10, 07 | 5:00 pm

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 81
Dave i have to admit, I make mistakes too. There i said it the truth is out.
I still for the life of me cant make certain changes on certain chords. My fingers won't let me.

But my single advice would be take it slow. I mean SLLLOOOOOOOWWWWWWW when you practice and make sure you hit everything right. then when you have it down solid quicken up from there. good luck

Sep 14, 07 | 7:22 pm

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