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I am a 24 year old guy who loves music as you people do. Music is/was/will my passion from childhood. But I couldn't grow up with music. This is basically because of my family. But I always want to learn music.

So at the age of 21, I started to learn Indian Classical Music (Carnatic Music). I studied it for 6 months only. Then I just couldn't continue that due to my academic study.

I got a new job recently and I bought a guitar in my first salary. I am very newbie on guitar. I hope I can master guitar in long run, because no one is going to stop me now (my family, friends and others who always discouraged me. But it is what that become applause for my musical passion). I am practicing regularly for 1-2 hours. Now I am doing a self study. I have no time to go to a music college and study it. I have some spare time after my job and I am using that time for learning guitar.

I have confidence. But the problem is, it seems to be hard to do chords in the right way. I am trying a lot. But it's not coming naturally. I have a strong feeling that, my age for learning guitar is passed. I am so desperate.

  • Whether it is possible to do a self guitar study in my age ?
  • What is the methodology that i need to adopt to learn the guitar in better way in my age ?
  • How much time I need to practice ? What should I try first ?

Please give me some advice. I really want to study music and be in music :(

Note : I am currently doing string practices based on some online tutorials available. I can read musical notes. Chords are the real problem !

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First of all I want to congratulate you on following your dream of learning to play guitar. Playing guitar can provide a lifetime of pleasure and enjoyment.

Secondly, I would like to assure you that it is never too late to learn guitar! I started learning as a teenager then I broke a finger on my fretting hand and it grew back crooked so I abandoned my efforts to continue learning (gave up) - and sold my guitar.

Then I decided to give it another try after the age of 40 and taught myself to play - and now I play professionally. I will never be as good as some of the best guitarist in the world, but I can play well enough to provide enjoyment for myself and entertainment for others.

A good friend of mine started taking lessons after the age of 60 and in two years has become quite good at playing guitar. Trust me - age is not your problem at 24!

To address your difficulties in learning to play chords. If there are teachers in your area that give lessons, that would be your best approach. A teacher or instructor can show you exactly how to play each chord and tell you what you are doing wrong and how to correct it. You can't get that in an on-line lesson or on YouTube!

If there are no teachers or instructors in your area, you can find teachers who teach individualized lessons using Skype so they can see what you are doing wrong and help you correct it. It's the next best thing to in person lessons.

If you are unable to get personal instruction as mentioned above, try to find on-line lessons that show you exactly how to finger all of the different chords.

It is perfectly normal to find it difficult to contort your hands and fingers into the strange unnatural shapes needed to properly finger chords. It takes a great deal of practice using the proper technique. Every beginning guitar student has a difficult time learning to play chords. You must accept that it will take time and practice. Someone to show you the correct way to play them will shorten the learning curve tremendously.

Learn the basic chords for a given key one at a time until you can cleanly play each chord. Then practice changing between the chords.

For example, in Western music in the key of G major, the most commonly used chords will be G, C, D, Em and Am. Learning just the G, C and D chords will allow you to play thousands of songs in Western music (especially "Country Western music").

If could find a way to take only enough lessons to learn the correct way to play most of the common chords, you will have a great start. Once you learn to play a particular chord properly, then you can move on to learning the other chords one at a time and then learn the transitions between chords and build from there. You don't need a personal teacher as much for practicing the transitions after you learn the proper fingering and positioning to play the chords. Learning to play smooth transitions is mostly just repetition and practice.

It's not easy to learn to play chords. It takes dedication and a great deal of practice. While you are in the beginning stages of learning guitar, keep your practice sessions short but practice several times per day. A good schedule might be 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes right after lunch, and 30 minutes in the evening - depending on your personal time constraints.

Shorter sessions will give your finger and hand muscles time to rest before they get too tired - and slowly get used to the stress of the strange positions you must put your hands and fingers in to form chords. Shorter practice sessions will keep you from getting frustrated and burned out from too much practice. As you get more experience, you can increase the time you practice gradually.

Also - as you first begin to learn chords, you may not have the finger strength to press all the strings down on all the frets using proper form. To prevent yourself from using bad technique to be able to press certain strings down in certain chords, instead of gradually building the finger strength need to play them properly - read this

How to make strings easier to play for beginning guitar student

It does not matter how old you are. You can learn to play guitar! And you CAN teach yourself - although I recommend private instruction (lessons) at least to get you started. Just remember - it takes determination, dedication and practice, practice, practice. It will not happen overnight no matter what your age. Good luck and enjoy your journey.

  • Thanks for your time and advice. I am practising c and g7 chords right now, since they need similar finger formatting. The problem is fingers touching multiple strings and that makes awkward sound. If i made a clear sound with one note, then moving to next note is giving me a awkward sound. This makes me down. Coz I am too much sensitive to music tones and I cant hold with something which is not making a music tone at its best. In this case, I will get hated myself since I am making awkward sounds ! – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 6:31
  • Dividing practice session is a good advice. It may console my mind and will allow me to practice with good mind. I will definitely try to adopt that in my learning session. – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 6:33
  • @RKT-JoinMageStackDay2015 that problem getting clear notes is exactly the kind of thing that a teacher can help you with. But also, don't worry too much about the occasional unclear note - the precision will come with time, and it's much more important to focus on being comfortable and not damaging your hands. Also, have you had your guitar set up with a nice low action to be easy to play? – topo morto Mar 2 '15 at 7:08
  • oh thanks. This is the first time I came to know the term lower/higher action. I think it is not in lower action. – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 7:32
  • @RKT-JoinMageStackDay2015 many guitars - even quite good quality new ones - are set up with an action that's far too high. I usually fix this myself but if you know a good cheap repair guy or luthier then that might be easier. – topo morto Mar 2 '15 at 7:36
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My own personal experience is that learning when very young isn't in itself a massive advantage. I learned violin when I was young - I didn't become a great violinist. I learned guitar later in life (hard to say when I started - I picked it up on and off since my mid teens) and am now a much better guitar player than I am a violinist.

The advantage you do often have when you are younger is a bunch of time to practice, if you are so inclined (or if someone is forcing you to do so!). Once you get older, life pressures can get in the way, but it sounds like you are managing to find time. Now you are older and you know that you want to achieve something, that motivation is probably stronger than the desire a youngster would have - so you have that in your favour.

What you don't have is so much time to waste. I totally agree with RC's answer suggesting finding a teacher if possible, at least to start you off, so that you spend your practice time really learning and progressing, rather than forcing your way through discomfort and getting into bad habits. Try to find a teacher who is sympathetic to your needs.

I have just started teaching guitar to a 35-year old lady. She hasn't played an instrument before, she has quite small hands so some things are a stretch, and she only has the occasional 5 minutes to practice here and there. But she is actually making great progress and after 2 months can play 5 or 6 songs to varying degrees of proficiency. At 24 you can't claim "Late age" as an excuse, I'm afraid...

  • this is truly inspirational. I will try hard. Thanks for your valuable answer – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 7:31
  • so It would be better if I find a teacher. The problem is I dont have time to go and study with a teachers assistance. The sad fact is I do know none who can help me in this case. I really need to find one. I should do that – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 7:36
  • @RKT-JoinMageStackDay2015 It doesn't necessarily have to be a professional teacher - it could even just be another guitar player who has managed to overcome the problems you are having now. – topo morto Mar 2 '15 at 7:39
  • Yes I understood your point. I have only one friend who plays guitar. Unfortunately he is inaccessible at this time. Its not a problem. I will search for some great minds who are willing to hear and solve my problems – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 2 '15 at 7:45
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I am sure you have done Ear Training.....if not start with that. On youtube there are a lot of people teaching beginners. Go and watch those videos repeatedly. Two times three times ......until the lesson sticks in your mind. Learn to visualize the chords.

  • nope I didn't do any ear training. What is the purpose of that !! – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 3 '15 at 6:13
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Congratulations! Many freely available resources on the web can help your studies. I offer this, which reflects my own studies.

It contains links to other helpful material, a handful of harmonized scales and modes, and a variety of transposable chord forms. It doesn't contain the "open" chords that beginners typically learn first, but those shapes help to create many of these movable forms.

  • That was an awesome "offer" sir. Thanks for that. I will use that as a reference in my studies. – Rajeev K Tomy Mar 5 '15 at 0:55

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