Tune me a guitar

At least I know Treble Clef... that is a start!
At least I know Treble Clef... that is a start! | Source

When crazy happens

So just last week I had a crazy idea. When I get a crazy idea, it will never go away until I satisfy the craziness. So today, I satisfied the crazy.

I have always wanted to play the guitar, but I have never gotten around to it. Sure, I had some musical background; I played the clarinet in school for 8 years. I don’t want to pat my own back, but I was pretty good at it. Well, I at least knew the notes for the treble clef scale and I could navigate my fingers well enough to not sound like a dying duck drowned in spit. (Today is probably a bit of a different story; I haven’t practiced in a long time. The dying duck from 5th grade might be reincarnated!)

But today I picked up my very own guitar. I could no longer resist. I had to have one and each day I went without one, I would fall asleep dreaming of one. Even without knowledge of how to play the guitar, and no intention on getting lessons, I dream one day I will be able to rip away cords and walk the frets (without pacing back and forth mumbling to myself!)

Last week was when I realized I could no longer control myself. I had to have a guitar, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune on one, just in case I gave up rather quickly, but I didn’t want to play a child’s musical guitar either (the ones equipped with just four buttons… all that play a different nursery rhyme.) So I had to do my research to figure out where I would get the most for my money.

I already knew going to a music store would probably drain my wallet. I also figured buying one on Craigslist or eBay would get me into a position where I knew nothing, and the seller knew everything. That left me in a position… sorry…. but to be screwed. Not to mention, I wasn’t interested in buying used. Needless to say, I turned to the internet. I figured Amazon or Walmart.com were my two best options.

I weighed out my options, and without giving all the details (for fear of people falling asleep), I found that Walmart.com was able to provide a decent starter guitar, and with site to store shipping, I only had to pay for the guitar. Bonus: It wasn’t actually due to the store until next week, but it arrived today!

So, here I sit with my newfound guitar. I strum the strings, and without knowing a darn thing, I do know that somewhere out there and angel died due to the lack of tuning! Yes - it was that bad. Worse - I had no clue how to fix it.

However, the kit did come with a digital tuner. (And a book for dummies! Not sure if they are trying to tell me something!) Eventually, because I didn’t feel like reading, I just searched out videos on Youtube to tune my guitar. Because I was still having a problem with focusing, I really didn’t watch the video. I did however stare at that little digital tuner until somehow I figured out how to use it.

So the lesson of the day really is this… you can do anything you put your mind too. Probably play the guitar even; especially if you stare at it for long periods of time until you figured it out. Yes - the mind is that powerful. Okay, so maybe it really doesn’t work. Either way, I figured out that little digital tuner, and now I can at least strum the strings without causing ears to bleed.

Oh yeah, and I look pretty rockin’ holding my guitar!

Comments 30 comments

Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

You're gonna love that new guitar, congratulations


Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 5 years ago from Illinois

barber, You got more than they used to give, nothing. I was a half decent guitarit, thank G-D I was an excellent singer.

I returned your e-mail, hoping you would do what I asked. H


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Hey Harvey - I didn't get your email. Can you resend it please?

@Fiddleman - I am already in love with the new guitar... my fingers however are not. They are still buzzing in pain! :)


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

My grandpa put superglue on his fingertips, because he played the guitar so much. Maybe you should try it. Nah, I'm not really recommending that. Good luck on your journey to become the next Jimi Hendrix. I have an Ibanez guitar. I strum a little and sing, but it hasn't attracted any girls. :(


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

What are you strumming and singing... If you are going to sing kumbaya, you probably will attract more kids and less girls or maybe freaky old men who like to sit around campfires and sing folk songs. I would go for some Beatles songs or my favorite song... one of my friends in high school used to play this... was Creep by Radiohead. I don't know if it is good for guitar playing (or attracting girls) but I like the song :)


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

barbergirl you got to get into bluegrass and really learn to show off.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLrefD75EjY


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thanks Fiddleman... I checked out the video. It definately is catchy. Reminded me of a time I actually went to a Bluegrass Festival when I was stationed in New York! We had a blast!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I can't wait to see you in Hollywood! I'm sure you WILL become a rockstar:-). I would really like it if you could post weekly videos of your progress? Mr. Johnson would be so proud of you! Another up and funny:)


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

I've played the guitar for 36 years, almost every day. One of the great loves of my life. The finger pain will go away with practice - you just have to toughen those little dudes up. With all of the material available on Youtube, etc. its a heck of a lot easier to learn the guitar now than it ever was. Good luck.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@RealHousewife: I might be in Hollywood one day. Only they will be paying me to put my guitar away... ha ha! As for the videos... hmmm... maybe pictures. I might be able to do pictures.

@Stan: I haven't gotten into the youtube videos yet, although I have looked at them. I did learn a few cords and right now, I am just calousing up those bad boys. Although, I can almost play the Star Spangled Banner... maybe by Super Bowl next year I will be the opening act. Ha ha!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Common! Don't be shy!!


DaNoblest profile image

DaNoblest 5 years ago from California

Great instrument to pick up. Just dont give up and keep practicing! Your finger tips will harden up after a few months to where you wont have any pain. Your hands and fingers will hurt for awhile when you start bar chords.

Learn to fingerpick to really sound like you know how to play. It is amazing how many people I have fooled that way.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thanks for the tips... so far I am more comfortable with the pick... but I am definately trying to get use to fingerpicking as well. I still have the itch so that is a good sign so far! :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Know what I like best about all this? A chick who WANTS to toughen up her skin. Keeping it REAL - I like that in a girl:-)


jamiecoins profile image

jamiecoins 5 years ago from ireland

wow cool hub :P


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thanks - glad you enjoyed it! :)


TheMusiconomy profile image

TheMusiconomy 5 years ago from New York City

I'm excited for you. I remember when I first got my guitar. The possibilities seemed endless because of the guitar's mystery. All those strings and frets when used together create a world of pleasure. Good luck and remember to practice 30 minutes every day. Not 3 hours once a week! Regularity is the key to getting better faster!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thanks for the insight TheMusiconomy... I have been practicing about 30 to 45 minutes a day. My fingers are pretty sore but I am sure that will get better soon.


Jon Green profile image

Jon Green 5 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

When you've got sore fingers there are still things to do - like reading Guitar Player magazine, singing, playing slide guitar and playing piano. All things that will help.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thanks for the advice... When my fingers get sore I have been reading my Dummies guidebook to playing guitar and searchign Hubpages. There is so much information out there. Definately a great hobby to pick up!


TheMusiconomy profile image

TheMusiconomy 5 years ago from New York City

What are your goals for the guitar? What's the one song you want to be able to play? What's your favorite style?


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

My main goal is just to be able to play the guitar, I guess. I want to be able to learn all of the chords and be able to move seemlessly between them. As for the song, I don't really have one choosen, just because I like so many different varieties of music that it doesn't really matter. I do like pop music more but I am willing to go with anything that I can play. I do know I looked at a few song books that had Beatle tabs in their and some of the oldies. Those are the songs that I would probably gravitate to.

I am happy with any suggestions. Since I am teaching myself, the process is slow and I am not really sure which way to go. I am still working on chords. Although I have learned how to pluck out the Star Spangled Banner.


TheMusiconomy profile image

TheMusiconomy 5 years ago from New York City

I think you should stop using the Dummies guitar book. At least put it on the bookshelf for a while. I took private guitar lessons for 11 years and studied with some world class musicians and none of the pros would recommend that book. Truthfully, I'm not familiar with the book but I know the publisher. I'm not a fan of those Dummies books in general. Just my opinion.

No matter what, the process is slow in the beginning. But it pays off if you practice a little each day. Since you're an adult, I would go with Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method

Grade 1. It's not the fanciest book out there, but it's effective. The book has sold millions of copies and has been around for at least 40 years. It will help you build a foundation in which you'll be able to learn how to play the songs and styles that you're

into. The key is learning the fundamentals and then you can learn anything you want after!

I sell the book at my bookstore: http://www.tonysmusicbooks.com/Mel-Bays-Modern-Gui...

The book also comes with a 105-minute DVD so you can also learn visually. Read my review of the book on the link above.

How long have you been playing the guitar? When did you start?


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Honestly, the only reason I have the Dummies book is because it came with the guitar. I bought a package deal. It was less than $100 because I didn't feel the need to spend alot if it wasn't something I was going to stick to. I have a friend who is also helping me. I will definately have to check out your information. I have only had my guitar for a few months. I got one because my daughter got one for Christmas and I wanted to learn with her. Unfortunately, money is a little too tight right now to actually pay for lessons, so I am pretty stuck doing it the hard way.

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it! :)


TheMusiconomy profile image

TheMusiconomy 5 years ago from New York City

Sure I understand you're on a budget and lessons are definitely an expense. It sounds like you got a good deal on your guitar package. If your daughter is very young, say 5-10 years old, the book I recommended above would not be good for her.

I have another book that is perfect for kids called "My First Guitar." The strings are colored in the pictures which helps her to learn faster. The book teaches how to read notes and tab and they're both in color which is so nice. You may want to consider using the book together. It goes at a very slow pace with the child in mind.

The only problem I would say is that since you don't have a teacher, this book does not come with a DVD like the first one I recommended. It's always helpful to visually see a professional play the guitar. But the instructions are clear. Another good point of the book is that it focuses only on the highest 4 strings. E B G D. In this way, it's a lot easier to learn chords and less strenuous on stretching your fingers. Just some food for thought.

Good luck and feel free to write to me if you have any questions. There are plenty of ways to find me on the internet.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Very cool - I will definately check into that book for my daughter. I have noticed that she is struggling a little bit staying on track. I think this would help her out alot. Thanks for the advice.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Stacy,

So happy to hear that you finally scratched that itch! Have fun with your guitar. I bought one in Mexico for about $12 back in the 1960's and it was pretty good...at least for me. I learned a handful of chords and played a few songs. When I was in college, after people suffered my few songs, I would hand it off to people who REALLY knew how to strum it and those were the days of hootenannies. We would sing songs by Peter, Paul and Mary...the Beatles and more sitting on the steps of the dorm. I never did learn how to play that many songs and never took lessons but loved to sing. My brother Jim also sang and had a better guitar which he played much better than I did. Those were fun days and memories. Thanks for the reminder! Definitely sharing this fun hub.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Peggy W - I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. This is one of those cases. I practiced for awhile but had no clue what I was doing. That resulted in just a bunch of sore fingers! ha ha... but it is ironic that you choose this hub to read. lately I have been itching to pull it out. I might have to again real soon.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

It does take a while to toughen up the fingers when learning to play a guitar. I well remember!!! Nice thing is that it eventually happens and it is no longer a painful progress to strum those guitar strings. Best wishes on your progress!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Peggy W - I am definitely going to have to pull it out. Sadly, I need to find my tuner. It sounds horrible right now! :)

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