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I suddenly have the urge to start learning guitar as a hobby and ended up buying a classical guitar, but I'm not where to start! My goal is to adopt a fingerstyle similar to Sungha Jung and Andrew Foy, but what should my priority be when learning the guitar? I have no prior music theory knowledge except on how to identify the strings on a guitar (EADGBe). Some guidance would be very much appreciated :) (I did take guitar lessons 5-6 years ago but quit after the first month or two because my guitar broke)

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    By far the simplest and most straightforward will be to resume lessons. – Tim Jan 14 at 14:13
  • What was it specifically on the guitar that broke? (If you don't know, that's okay, but it would help to know because then we'd likely know how to either find someone to fix it or offer advice) – user45266 Jan 14 at 15:56
  • ... what should my priority be when learning the guitar? The priority should be to enjoy it and have fun. If a classical guitar and particular style is what you think is fun, then go for it. That is one of the harder types of guitar (instrument and style) to start with, so if it doesnt feel fun consider something different (electric + blues, acoustic + country, etc). – StingyJack Jan 14 at 19:59
  • Also, if learning scales and theory and reading sheet music seems like a drag, you should remember that you are not compelled to learn any of it in order to play the instrument or even to master it. I've played guitar (and bass, etc) for more than 25 years now, including 14 years in a working band - >= 3 weekends a month, paid properly, at 50-500 head count local clubs - and cant read a note of sheet and my ear was terrible for several years. Find tabulature books for the songs you want, then follow the numbers and try to mimic the song. – StingyJack Jan 15 at 6:07
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Your priorities should be (1) finding a decent teacher and taking lessons every other week or so, and (2) locating a music store or repair shop in your neighborhood so you can get you guitar fixed if it breaks again.

You don't want to wait 6 years again to start over. Also, learn to take care of your guitar. If you are lucky you might find that your local music store has a repair shop and a few local music teachers working there. I wouldn't look for a Guitar Center or other big store. No offense to them but they typically do not have their own repair staff. They have a guy come in every so often and do all the jobs that have piled up. Sometimes the work is good, sometimes not. When you find a good luthier you want to keep them (like a good doctor or mechanic).

Classical guitar is a different beast than electric and I would not trust the average Joe to teach proper right hand technique. If you really want to self teach I'd recommend one of two books:

Classical Guitar Method by Carcassi

The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method Vol 1

A professional classical guitarist may charge a lot for lessons. If you live in a city with universities you will likely find music students who will be good teachers and charge a lower rate. You may have to shop around until you find the right fit.

  • Would I have any luck self teaching through Youtube, seeing that there are quite a large variety of videos? In doing this, should I learn the common chords etc and become fluent and quick in transitions between chords before even considering fingerstyle? (My old guitar dropped when I hung it and snapped so I did not bother fixing it as it probably costs more than the guitar) – user56731 Jan 14 at 15:27
  • Youtube is a risk because (1) you cannot verify the quality of the person teaching, (2) they cannot see, hear, or feel your technique. A teacher needs to be present in case you misunderstand what they are doing. Some vids are blatantly wrong and following them would cause injury instead of any type of learning. – ggcg Jan 14 at 15:33
  • As for what to learn, technique. You want to learn proper technique first. Most beginner books will start with one note melodic lines first then introduce chords. You need to develop coordination between both hands and you can't do that if you spend a year on chords then try to wake up your right hand. – ggcg Jan 14 at 15:34
  • I found Youtube channel named "Andy Guitar" who has quite a few videos on guitar tips and lessons for beginners, plus his videos has quite positive comments. Would you suggest I start off with him? – user56731 Jan 15 at 5:38
  • I'm not going to endorse a particular site. I checked it out and it isn't bad. But I thought you wanted to learn classical, finger style and I only see pick. – ggcg Jan 16 at 17:31
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its good to have ambitions, and "heroes" but take care of the walking before you run. I would seek out a recommended teacher and start there. Its a pretty lousy teacher who cannot guide a student through fixing a break in their instrument either through repair advice or a loan of an instrument.

  • +1 for lousy teacher. Hope OP tries a different one! – Tim Jan 14 at 15:02
  • Did you read the OP comment on how they broke it? Perhaps no one could've fixed it. – ggcg Jan 14 at 15:35
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    there exist indeed lousy teachers - but also lazy students! – Albrecht Hügli Jan 14 at 16:22
  • Yeah I was a pretty lazy guitar student because I had not realised what you can do with a guitar! – user56731 Jan 15 at 5:39
  • @ggcg he said "I did take guitar lessons 5-6 years ago but quit after the first month or two because my guitar broke" - I did not see anything saying how and still don't. My point remains, a guitar is not exactly rocket science and almost everything is fixable; a decent teacher should have been able to advise a novice. – bigbadmouse Jan 15 at 10:56
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The priority when first starting to play guitar is to play a little guitar every day. What gets practiced gets better, when practicing focus on making clear and distinct sounds. go slowly then start ramping up the speed and complexity. Scales are a good exercise to learn as are the basic chords (E, G, and D)

I wouldn't stress yourself out about playing a certain style, with sheet music or to a metronome. Finger style guitar is very pretty and revolves around giving each string it's own voice and plucking the strings independently mainly instead of in a chord. Start training your ear to hear what sounds better or worse based on how your fretting and plucking the string.

Remember, part of the fun of playing guitar, like anything else, is playing with other people. Join a local acoustic guitar group and start experimenting.

A Steel String Acoustic Guitar is easier to learn on than a classical nylon string guitar. Look into the theory of chords to start learning the basic patterns.

  • thanks! So I should familiarise myself with scales and chords first? What kind of things should I search for in theory of chords? – user56731 Jan 15 at 5:41
  • yep yep, I would search for " what makes a major chords " then read about every word or phrase you don't understand. – max dickinson Jan 15 at 9:31
  • i recommend a mix of "for fun" and "study" otherwise it becomes "too restricted in extent" or "too much information and no fun" – bigbadmouse Jan 15 at 10:58

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