Is it too late for me to learn to play guitar properly?
I have been playing my Washburn acoustic since 1984. I taught myself to play after a friend showed me a few chords. After 20 years, I can still only play about 9 chords, and my form is awful. Can I get better? Can I unlearn my bad habits? What would you recommend as a way to improve?
equipmentpro, it's never too late for you to learn to play guitar properly. As with anything, consistency is the key. A little practice, even twenty minutes each day will go a long way. But you should strive to learn something new. Make a point to learn one new chord and one new scale per week. Youtube is full of good instructional videos. (Bad ones too. You have to look around.)
As far as your form goes, it will help you to relax. Shake out your wrists and arms, stretch a little. When you form your chords, don't try so hard. If you're in pain, you're using too much tension. I'm not talking about sore fingertips. If you don't play very often, they're going to be sore! Relax the tension in your forearms and wrists, your neck and shoulders.
If you want to get better and you devote a little time to it each day, you will improve. Good luck!
I'm 19, and I've been playing guitar on and off for about 7 years now. Usually, between the times when I play, I forget everything. My favorite website for guitar is ultimate-guitar.com. Its got thousands of songs and their tabs and/or chords. The cool thing is that if you hover your mouse above a chord, it illustrates the fingering. I've re-learned guitar in hours just by looking at a couple of songs I like to play! If you taught yourself how to play in the first place, you're probably like me, and don't like having to read music or any technical stuff. Personally, I think its so much easier if you take the path of least resistance Good luck!
As a guitar teacher, I can assure you that it's never too late to learn (or relearn) to play or to improve your playing. The previous posters have given some good advice that can help you.
Most of all, I think you just need some direction. A few lessons with a guitar teacher would put you on the right track. I've actually got a hub about how to choose a good guitar teacher, if you want to go and look for it. Alternatively, join an online guitar forum, such as Guitarnoise and get lots of free help from guitarists more advanced than you - and maybe later you can help out those less advanced when you feel confident. Guitar forums are also good for making you feel part of a guitar-playing community, with guitarists of all styles and levels.
Try just a couple of lessons with a teacher - that way, you'll find out fast where the problems are. If you can clap rhythms in time, or sing, you should be able to play. Also try an electric guitar.
It is never too late to learn proper techniques. You can indeed improve and break your bad habits. What are some examples of your bad habits? I would start back at the basics. There are plenty of apps you can download for smartphones that teach music theory, have chord charts, strobe tuners, scale charts, etc. One of my personal favorites is GuitarChords (free), which is perfect for me because I play by ear. I can't read music, I hate tabs, so all my life, I hear things and I play them, or when I write, I hear the music in my head and try my best to make it real. So GuitarChords helps me figure out the name of chords I don't know if I'm trying to play with another musician, or if I'm writing and have the idea in my head but can't find another chord for it, I try out things from the app. A great tuner app is InTuna ($0.99). It's a digital strobe tuner that gets it down to the tenth of a Hertz.
To help any rhythm troubles you may have, you can try playing along with a song or using a metronome and tapping your foot. Practice different strum patterns, mixing offbeats, upward and downward strums, etc. And learn your scales as well. Those are extremely helpful in a lot of aspects. I've never taken a lesson, but learning scales helped improve my knowledge of music theory seeing how they were put together, the notes involves, what keys they would work with. They also improved my rhythm, speed, accuracy, creativity, as well as a few other things. Eventually you can learn to throw in a quick lick into rhythm strumming.
And last of all, practice, practice, practice. Don't just set aside time every day to practice, though that's a good start. Anytime you're sitting around watching TV or something like that, grab your guitar and play during commercials, or palm mute the strings and play while you watch your favorite shows.
I'll actually be continuously posting scales and guitar tips, so feel free to check them out, and hopefully they will help you. Good luck!
The best way to master more of the guitar and unlearn bad habits is to take lessons with a teacher who can guide you and watch your fingers as you play. Many people, in just a year or two can make startling progress.
I hear so many trying to fingerpick without learning how and it sounds undisciplined and sloppy.
Many times, it is not more difficult to learn a better method of execution, it is simply spending the time to learn it.
I have been playing for close to 50 years now and am playing better than ever for one simple reason. I practice pretty much every day now. Learning how to play scales helps to improve finger position so chords come much easier. There are plenty of youtube helpful videos that will help you improve. Form is something that comes from getting the feel of music so it is important that you try to play songs that you are very familiar with. You can always get better and yes can unlearn bad habits but it might be helpful to find another guitarist who can show you how to improve. Meanwhile, just practice and practice and practice some more but always to have fun. Otherwise it isn't playing is it?
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