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  1. #1
    Little Dreamer cjgolf2000's Avatar
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    Default Guitar Lessons - How Long?

    Hi Guys,

    I have been playing guitar for about 10 years and took lessons for a year. The problem is that the lessons I took were from a guy at a music store and based only in TAB.

    I would like to start over and learn how to read music for real and get lessons from a reputable music school. I am 38 with two kids - am I nuts? How long will it take to gain some level of competency? I am thinking at least 3 years if i am diligent in practicing.

    Any advice from those who have gone through this already?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    A teacher who taught in TAB?
    Interesting ...

    Your question is a tough one to answer ...
    A great deal depends on the teacher, your comprehension of music theory, and how much time you put into it.

    Just be sure not to take lessons from another teacher who uses TAB.

  3. #3
    Romeo Delight
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    I took piano lessons for 6 years as a kid, and I can't read music any more....not like riding a bike at all. Tab is the easier way to go by a long shot. But Kudos to you if you want to tackle it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by travas65 View Post
    I took piano lessons for 6 years as a kid, and I can't read music any more....not like riding a bike at all. Tab is the easier way to go by a long shot. But Kudos to you if you want to tackle it.
    Why anyone would recommend TAB is beyond me...
    TAB is for people who are looking for a short cut to learning a song, and most of the time, it's not even close. Why even bother?

    Learn TAB and your knowledge lasts as long as a song.
    Learn to read music, study music theory, and the knowledge will last a lifetime.

  5. #5
    Romeo Delight
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    Well I agree on principle, but the reality is, not many people will take the time to learn to read music.

  6. #6
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    Default

    I have several adult students who have come back to guitar lessons to learn how to read music. The one thing you must possess in order to do so is PATIENCE! The typical adult student story is: Get excited about doing it again; start lessons; have a great first two weeks; start putting in less practice time; start putting in no practice time; quit lessons after about two months.

    It's not unlike dieting or exercise--you need to stay on top of it. 15-20 minutes a day will work wonders. More is of course better, but consistency is the most important thing.

    Any teacher who teaches tab only right from the start is, quite frankly, not a very good teacher. There's no better time for a guitarist to learn how to read music than from the very beginning. Having that as a foundation will serve as an amazing platform to all things musical.
    Last edited by AT; 02.04.08 at 11:59 AM.

  7. #7
    Eruption ChrisTheEdHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Any teacher who teaches tab only right from the start is, quite frankly, not a very good teacher. There's no better time for a guitarist to learn how to read music than from the very beginning. Having that as a foundation will serve as an amazing platform to all things musical.
    Absolutely 100% freakin correct!! My 10 yr old has taken 2 yrs of violin in school and is a better sight-reader than I could ever hope to be. And since everything is charted, not tabbed, sight-reading becomes second nature, and you learn all the theory behind it as you go, also.
    LONG ago, when I took lessons, the teacher would only use tab to quickly tab out a song that you brought in...and that happened during your lesson time, so your lesson for that week was him tabbing out YRGM.
    "Look, I'll pay you for it, what the f**k?!"

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  8. #8
    Eruption smme5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    I have several adult students who have come back to guitar lessons to learn how to read music. The one thing you must possess in order to do so is PATIENCE! The typical adult student story is: Get excited about doing it again; start lessons; have a great first two weeks; start putting in less practice time; start putting in no practice time; quit lessons after about two months.

    It's not unlike dieting or exercise--you need to stay on top of it. 15-20 minutes a day will work wonders. More is of course better, but consistency is the most important thing.

    Any teacher who teaches tab only right from the start is, quite frankly, not a very good teacher. There's no better time for a guitarist to learn how to read music than from the very beginning. Having that as a foundation will serve as an amazing platform to all things musical.
    Hey Andrew, what is amazing to me is that there are teachers who teach in regular notation and not tab! I have taken plenty of lessons over the years from many instructors, including a guy from MIT and he used tab also. Frankly I've never met an instructor who does. To me it is just a means of simpler communication. A teacher who can communicate well with students has to be the number 1 priority? I think so anyway. I was also a member of Georgle Lynch's dojo academy and it was all tab from the man. Obviously it hasn't hurt his career much. Hell Ed claims he can't read either. I do see the merits for reading but you can learn all the theory you need with tab as well.
    Satch tabs everything too, just don't see the big need.

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium
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    when i teach i use both music notation AND tab, i use tab for the first few lessons maybe a few months until the student is comfortable with a few basic chords/songs etc maybe throw some scales in there...then gradualy introduce tab AND music so the students can see the similarities and differences, then i move over to just sheet music when they are comforable.
    i have found this works well for a lot of my students, some prefer to just use tab and conversly some prefer sheet music, i personaly have no preference over eitherthey both help me to comunicate what i'm trying to teach and help my student to understand.
    the only thing that holds anyone back is themselves and their willingness to learn and put the practice time in.
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  10. #10
    Romeo Delight TopJoey's Avatar
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    I want to add my two cents into this debate, I think that the main thing to remember is that learning tab is strictly isolated to the guitar while learning how to read music is universal. I have been playing for over 30 years and have been able to read music from the begining. I'm not putting down tab but to me playing from a tab is like painting by numbers where as reading music is like being able to paint. However that being said, I don't think your ever too old to learn how to read music, like anything it takes time and practice, but once you have it you have it.

  11. #11
    On Fire 3_6_9 time's Avatar
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    I learned to play reading tab. Years later I learned to read music. I would say that while I am no virtuoso, there are a lot of merits to tab and I for one learned many chords via tab (especially jazz ones). I wrote many songs with chords (or chord progressions) that I lifted from songs I learned to play by tab. I don't think it's paint by numbers unless you make it that.

  12. #12
    5150 TheCaboKid's Avatar
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    go to your local junior college and in enroll in private classical guitar lessons or look in the phone book for a teacher.
    "Well, he's an intelligent, well-read guy. But it's like he can't connect the dots somehow." (EVH Guitar World, March 1998).

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    EVH: "Yeah, except for the part near the end that sounds like Montoya or something."

  13. #13
    Romeo Delight TopJoey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3_6_9 time View Post
    I learned to play reading tab. Years later I learned to read music. I would say that while I am no virtuoso, there are a lot of merits to tab and I for one learned many chords via tab (especially jazz ones). I wrote many songs with chords (or chord progressions) that I lifted from songs I learned to play by tab. I don't think it's paint by numbers unless you make it that.
    I'm not trying to put down using tab as a supplement, I'm just saying that there is a reason why they teach you the alphabet first in school. If you don't know the letters how will you ever learn the words that they spell. I see alot of kids that go out and buy a 5 string bass but only use 4 of the strings because the tab they have is only for a 4 string.

  14. #14
    On Fire 3_6_9 time's Avatar
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    No worries Joey- I TOTALLY did not take it as a put down. I was 12 when I learned to play and it was hard enough to scrape up the money for my first guitar, let alone lessons. I learned a lot of stuff from tabs in guitar mags, especially the lessons. I was just saying that learning to play from tabs does not make you unable to create your own music. Not being able to read at first also helped me train my ears better because I had lo listen harder to pick things up. I wound up taking music classes in high school and did learn to read (although most of that training was on piano). I found it did help me but I also feel that the songs I wrote at first were more unique because I was not constricted by knowing the "rules" and what I could and couldn't do (circle of fifths? what the hell was that?) That being said, I could talk beofre I went to school and learned the alphabet. =)

  15. #15
    Atomic Punk
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    I would recommend taking a semester of Music Theory and maybe beginning Piano at the local JC before seaking out a guitar teacher who can teach you propperly with sheet music.

    Here's why.

    Music theory is either easy or it's hard. If it's easy then you're just in great shape because theory (coupled with Piano) will open up a whole new world to you and make things much easier for you if you write your own songs. If it's hard then you will have the comfort of being in a classroom with others who are having a tough time. Also, if you have trouble learning to read music in a Theory class then you will have the same problems with the guitar, the difference is that your negative experience will be in the classroom and not on your guitar.

    Reading music takes practice, when you're not playing you can still practice by reading the sheet music as you listen to the song on the stereo. After a while it's just another language.

    TAB is okay as far as learning finger positions and if you want to get a song down fast. What TAB doesn't do is tell you WHY you are playing what you're playing, Theory and sheet music does. It's the difference between being a poet and a parrot. I'm not knocking TAB, I use it every once in a while when I buy a guitar mag with a song that I like.
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