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#2001822 - 12/19/12 05:43 PM Guitar for Christmas?
bobby smith Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 28
Loc: Carlsbad Ca
I 'think' my girlfriend is getting me a guitar for Christmas, or maybe a gift certificate for a guitar. I bought a 'mini' guitar for my niece and nephew for Christmas. Before I shipped it off I played with it for a couple hours. My girlfriend must have seen my face light up trying to play it. She hinted that it would be a good gift more me this year.

I'm just wondering if anyone else plays guitar. Anybody start on piano and then pick up guitar? Does knowing a little piano help with learning other instruments. Obviously knowing some notes and chords should translate over.

I'm taking piano lessons now, and I'll probably want to add guitar lessons too. Is there a downside to this? Will guitar make my fingers calloused, and then mess me up on piano? Will my piano teacher think I'm drifting away from her? Will my girlfriend drift away from me when she realizes the guitar doesn't come with headphones like my digital piano?

Maybe I should wait til Christmas and see if there's a guitar under the tree before I start pondering all this stuff.

Thanks
Bobby

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#2001824 - 12/19/12 05:50 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 402
Loc: Montreal Canada
Funny I was thinking of getting one too, just for fun and to see what its like to learn another instrument. And its quite portable, unless you play a small Casio or Yamaha. There's an unused Fender amp sitting in the corner of my studio, all it needs is a guitar.

But my love and main focus will always be for the keys smile
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#2001830 - 12/19/12 05:54 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
The main problem I have had with students who study both guitar and piano is that the fingering scheme for each instrument is different.

For the piano, the thumb is known as finger #1, whereas for the guitar the index finger is #1.

This has caused confusion for some students when reading piano music that has fingering written in.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2001844 - 12/19/12 06:23 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Colorado Mac Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/12
Posts: 5
I am going in the opposite direction! I have played guitar since I was 14 (now 45). Decided I wanted to learn piano - maybe a mid life crisis?!?

You will probably pick it up faster than a brand new musician. Obviously, music is music. You will just have to get your fingers to "perform" correctly on a guitar.

I plan on treating piano as a fun new challenge and not get worried about how "good" I get.

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#2001901 - 12/19/12 09:33 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
JR_YC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Rochester Hills, MI
I play both and haven't found any issues except trying to find time to practice both. ...and whoever made the finger numbering different should be severely punished!

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#2001908 - 12/19/12 10:22 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 550
Loc: Hernando, MS
Actually, I've seen some very old piano scores (well scans of them smile which labeled the thumb as T and the fingers as 1-4. Apparently that was a system common in the U.S. at one point, but the European publisher's system that we use today won out.
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2002009 - 12/20/12 06:13 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
dkong99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 44
I'm primarily a guitarist, my mother started teaching me when I was 5 on her beloved Winter Spinet piano (or to any piano tech, firewood). I hated it, but I did learn to read music which made it much easier when I learned the violin then after a long fight, the guitar. I've been playing the guitar now for over 40 years and have never had a problem with my calloused fingers messing up keyboard playing.

You can use headphones with say, an electric guitar and amp setup. Nylon stringed guitars are much quieter than steel stringed (and easier on the fingers when you're starting).

Being able to play more than one instrument expands, rather than limits you. You'll actually progress even faster on the piano while also learning the guitar.

The Winter Spinet Piano:

I personally play a digital piano, trust me, even my lowly Casio PX-330 plays and sounds far better than that crappy Winter spinet, my mother's long suffering piano tech would end up spending the afternoon trying to tune it and he would always beg her to get a proper upright or anything else. The poor man always looked so crestfallen when he had to come to our house. However, that Winter piano has sentimental value to my mother (the first high-ticket item she bought on her own) and even though she could (and can) easily afford any piano she wants, no piano to her could ever replace her beloved Winter, period. Each of us in turn when we came of age were forced to learn on that piano. Trust me, when I first played a "good" piano, I was shocked at how good it sounded, how..in tune it was and the keys weren't sticking,the pedals worked as they should, quite the revelation.

Of course my sisters and myself are in agreement, after Mom goes to glory, that Winter spinet will be the first thing sent to the dump.

DAVID

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#2002014 - 12/20/12 06:46 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: fizikisto]
KeemaNan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/10
Posts: 236
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Actually, I've seen some very old piano scores (well scans of them smile which labeled the thumb as T and the fingers as 1-4. Apparently that was a system common in the U.S. at one point, but the European publisher's system that we use today won out.

The old English system was +1234, with the + for the thumb. I have many old scores with this fingering.

As for guitar and piano, not a problem for me at least. In fact I think it's a good idea to have more than one instrument on the go - I find you tend to switch between them when you hit a plateau. You then go back to the first instrument refreshed and start making progress again, and the general musical learning on the one helps you on the other in subtle ways you would never have imagined. It certainly helps your reading to work on more than one instrument, I have found.

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#2002016 - 12/20/12 06:50 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: KeemaNan]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Sacriledge!

Just look how wide a range the piano has compared to the short range of the guitar.

http://www.composecreate.com/music-instrument-ranges-chart/

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#2002019 - 12/20/12 06:55 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
cirenosach Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/14/12
Posts: 6
A few thoughts from someone in sort of the opposite position (bass player thinking about piano).

1. Electric guitar won't build up much in the way of calluses, especially if it is set up properly. Along those lines, do get your guitar set up properly by a competent tech. Acoustics do work up calluses, but I don't really see why they would be a problem.

2. Most amps have a headphone out jack. The strings and the wooden slab make some noise, but nothing like an acoustic instrument.

3. Elsewhere, I posted to ask about piano method books. If there's a guitar counterpart to what I'm looking for in piano, it's probably A Modern Method for Guitar, by William G Leavitt. You didn't ask, but that's a serious book suitable for someone with some prior musical background. Aspiring jazz guitarists really like it. Google Jamie Andreas if you want stuff on the physical aspect of guitar playing.

4. I've always thought that piano is the most logical first instrument. In particular, it should set a good foundation for playing guitar.

5. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

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#2002020 - 12/20/12 07:02 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
sinophilia Offline

Gold Supporter until Sept. 05 2014


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 988
Loc: Italy
Cool... two instruments are better than one! I was thinking about asking Santa for a cheap electric violin this year, but I didn't progress as much as I wanted to with the piano so I will wait a bit more.
_________________________
Diana & Wally - Yamaha W110BW
Martha Argerich... is an incarnation of the artistic metaphor of the "eternal feminine" that draws us upward. (Sergio Sablich)

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#2002031 - 12/20/12 07:30 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Weiyan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/11
Posts: 769
Loc: Hong Kong
I am just opposite. I played classic guitar, began play piano after mid-age crisis: I learn piano tuning after losing my speech ability.

If you play non-classic guitar, which focus on improvisation and rhythm, which is good supplement to piano.
_________________________
Fake Book player
Ragtime beginner
http://weiyanwo.wordpress.com

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#2002035 - 12/20/12 07:43 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: Weiyan]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Tom Lee music is excellent for this, they don't mind how often you play their pianos.



Edited by justpin (12/20/12 07:43 AM)

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#2002040 - 12/20/12 08:02 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
timmyab Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/08
Posts: 461
Loc: Bristol, UK
The problem I found was that the calluses that you get on your finger tips from playing guitar didn't feel good for playing the piano.They lose their sensitivity and don't seem to grip the piano keys so well.

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#2002048 - 12/20/12 08:24 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Barbareola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/12
Posts: 67
Loc: Germany
Playing more than one instrument is great fun. If there is no guitar under the tree, you might consider investing in one yourself. wink If there is one downside to an acoustic piano is that it doesn't really fit under your arms and an electric keyboard is hard to play at a camp site without electricity.

I agree - the one downside I see is that practising piano might bite into your piano practise time. I don't know how fluent you are with the piano... If you are pretty far advance, it won't be that much of a problem, I'd think.

When I played the guitar regularily, I had calluses at the fingertips, but after a while they didn't bother me and they didn't interfere with my ability to handle fine objects. I didn't play the piano then, but I wouldn't think that a problem.

With basic guitar techniques there shouldn't be a problem. There are some advanced plucking techniques that need rather longer than shorter fingernails. Those might be a problem on the piano. But for the start that won't be an issue and some people use tools for those techniques instead of their nails.

So - have fun!
_________________________
Currently working on: Venetian Gondola song by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

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#2002049 - 12/20/12 08:25 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
kenjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 214
Loc: Massachussetts, USA
I switched from years of playing jazz guitar to piano. The biggest problem will be not having enough time to play both. Callouses won't mess you up. That is for sure. If you intend to play basically the same kind of music on both instruments, learning how the music theory concepts are used somewhat differently on each instrument is really helpful.

A problem that I had - that you will not since you are a guitar beginner - is that what you require of the hands is somewhat reversed between the guitar and piano. For the guitar, all of the fine dexterity of note placement and movement for jazz an pop solos is with the left hand. With piano, there is much more requirement for right hand dexterity and note placement with that kind of music. That definitely takes a while to get used to.

If you really intend to play both, perhaps you can train your brain to have your fingers think of these linear solos with either hand?
_________________________
The Melody Never Lies

Schimmel 120J

Learning To Play Jazz Piano After Age 50+

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#2002062 - 12/20/12 09:14 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: Barbareola]
KeemaNan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/10
Posts: 236
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Barbareola
If there is one downside to an acoustic piano is that it doesn't really fit under your arms and an electric keyboard is hard to play at a camp site without electricity.

For the camp site, what you really need is a ukulele...

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#2002069 - 12/20/12 09:33 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Kbeaumont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/10
Posts: 265
Loc: Virginia, USA
I have played both for over 30 years in addition to drums in High School. Most keyboard players I know either play guitar or bass too. I'm 53 and seriously thinking about taking up sax, I learned the Mandolin at 48. So I say go for it, just don't expect instant success. Every instrument except maybe bongos takes time and effort. And the callouses are on the very tip of your fingers are on the LEFT hand! They are imperceptible to me. If anything the two instruments playing technique compliment each other. Piano being more percussive and rhythm oriented, it helps you develop right hand strumming and finger-picking by thinking more rhythmically. Guitar is more legato and gives the left hand a workout. So its all good.


Edited by Kbeaumont (12/20/12 09:34 AM)
_________________________
A long long time ago, I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile....

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#2002073 - 12/20/12 10:02 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1348
Loc: MA
I can't wait to find out if you get the guitar! smile

A few months ago I got a bass guitar and I LOVE it! I always had equal affection for the bass and piano. I'm glad I started of with piano though because I think the concept of music theory is easier to learn and understand in relation to the keyboard. That knowledge is easily transferable to the fretboard although the fretboard can be a bit of a puzzler at times-as with most things though there is a pattern and you will start to recognize that. I also found the coordination I developed from piano really helped a lot too. I did have an acoustic guitar and took some classes but it just didn't speak to me. I don't know why but there's just something about the bass I really like. I found no problems with going from guitar to piano. In fact I think one energized the other. I did get some calluses from the guitar but they weren't a big deal.

As far as the finer numbering - you get used to that. Also with guitar you have tablature. Which can make it a bit easier to learn songs as opposed to reading music.

Anyway, if you do get the guitar I think you will really enjoy it. smile
_________________________
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

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#2002167 - 12/20/12 01:25 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
bobby smith Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 28
Loc: Carlsbad Ca
Ok, now I'm really excited. If there isn't one under the tree I'll go get one anyway.

I'm not sure at this point what my goals are. I'll probably get an acoustic just because I want to start with the most basic.

I'm already looking into lesson plans. There's a music store/school a couple blocks away from me that I'm hoping I'll like.

Thanks for all the feedback!

Bobby

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#2002176 - 12/20/12 01:37 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
bobby smith Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 28
Loc: Carlsbad Ca
I wonder how difficult "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman is? A simplified version of course.

Bobby

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#2002343 - 12/20/12 07:31 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
Foxes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/12
Posts: 36
A guitar without headphones wont be an issue for you, you forget that you can take a guitar anywhere with you. a piano in the living room is often a problem but you can always hide away in the bedroom or kitchen with a guitar, they're also not nearly as loud as a piano.

I've been playing my guitar seriously for about a year, mostly fingerstyle folk, it hasn't effected my piano playing.

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#2002418 - 12/20/12 11:52 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: Foxes]
bluebilly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 438
Loc: England
I played classical guitar for many years but when I got into my late 50s my finger nails became brittle and broke easily, I got tired of constantly repairing the nails of my right hand with tissue paper and super glue, so, I returned to the piano. There must be some physiological reason for my nails becoming prone to breaking as I aged, I'm not sure.

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#2002829 - 12/21/12 07:36 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: cirenosach]
Newman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 700
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: cirenosach
...

1. Electric guitar won't build up much in the way of calluses, especially if it is set up properly.


I'm afraid I disagree with this comment. Playing both an electric and acoustic (or a bass) will develop pads on the fingers ... and that's a good thing. The pads facilitate the easy movement of your fingers on the strings. A well set up guitar (electric or acoustic) will always make playing easier.


As a guitar player who also play piano, the pads on your fingers do not reduce sensitivity to the extent that it is a problem.

As for playing both piano and guitar. Do it.
_________________________
Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.

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#2003289 - 12/23/12 12:12 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
JerryG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 170
Loc: Long Island, NY
Question for all you guitarists.

I decided to take up the guitar but I have slightly shorter fingers than most other people. A professional guitarist performer and teacher helped me buy the guitar quite a number of years ago. The instrument has a slightly smaller neck than other guitars. I took the instrument in recently to have it checked at Sam Ash and was told the guitar was the perfect size for my hand.

I have tried to finger the C chord. Although I can reach it I can only play the 2nd and 3rd strings with basically the part of the side of these fingers. In other words I cannot place these fingers perpendicular to the strings.

I have read articles that with practice I should become better able to get a clean sound. D you believe that is possible since my fingers are not going to grow any further. I would really like to be able to play the guitar but feel disillusioned at this point.

Any suggestions from you experienced people.
_________________________
IJGpiano

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#2003318 - 12/23/12 02:33 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
sretsbor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 22
Originally Posted By: bobby smith
I wonder how difficult "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman is? A simplified version of course.

Bobby


The rhythm guitar (Tracy Chapman's part) is three chords repeated over and over with some bass strings plucked and some upstrokes on the treble strings. The problem for beginners is that they are barre chords (not open chords) which are tougher for new guitarists to play. BTW, the chords are F#, B, and C#.

Rob
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Yamaha P95

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#2003328 - 12/23/12 03:19 AM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: JerryG]
Newman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/27/11
Posts: 700
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: JerryG
Question for all you guitarists.

... I have slightly shorter fingers than most other people. ...
I have tried to finger the C chord. Although I can reach it I can only play the 2nd and 3rd strings with basically the part of the side of these fingers. In other words I cannot place these fingers perpendicular to the strings.

I have read articles that with practice I should become better able to get a clean sound. D you believe that is possible ...

Any suggestions from you experienced people.


My hands are pretty small and it has never really bothered me apart from envying the long fingers of, say, Jimi Hendrix.

If you look at any you tube of a good guitarist (eg Hendrix, Clapton etc) you will see that they rarely (if ever) have all fingers perpendicular to the fretboard when playing a chord such as C in the first/open position but will have them closer to that when playing and A, D or a barre chord.

In short don't worry too much about it, so long as you don't have fret buzz or your fingers are dampening strings which should be sounding.

Yes, you will get better with practice.
_________________________
Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.

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#2008015 - 01/02/13 02:43 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
bobby smith Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 28
Loc: Carlsbad Ca
I got my guitar!

I spent most of my holiday picking away at the strings (and playing piano of course).

I'm starting official lessons next week.
New 30 minutes guitar lesson followed by my normal 45 minute piano lesson.

bobby

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#2008058 - 01/02/13 04:02 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Congrats bobby! Have a lot of fun! Maybe you will be able to record both and put them together for a recital someday! smile
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#2010252 - 01/06/13 08:58 PM Re: Guitar for Christmas? [Re: bobby smith]
sretsbor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/12
Posts: 22
What guitar did you get ??

Rob
_________________________
Yamaha P95

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