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Complete Newbie that has never even held a guitar

Hi Everyone.  I'm a newbie and I guess am going through a midlife crisis, LOL.  I have always wanted to learn to play but have never sat down and took the time.  Well, now's the time.  I'm 53 years old and thought I'd give it a try.  First off soem advice regarding a guitar I'm looking at buying.  It's a 2005 Seagull S6 CW acoustic/electric  I believe the color is trans blue.  It's in very nice shape with some minor nicks and wear on the neck, which I assume is normal if the guitar is being used at all.  I understand that there was only a certain number of these in the blue made.  The guy wants $350 for it including the TRIC case.  Does anyonr think this guitar is worth that kind of money and would it be a good guitar to learn on.  Also, where is a good place to start?  Should I learn chords or should I actually try to learn songs?  Thanks, Jake

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Hey Jake, welcome to guitar playing! There's no better time to start than now :). I don't know the exact price for a new Seagull S6 but that seems like a reasonable price to me with a TRIC case. I have and S6+ Folk that doesn't have electronics and came with a normal case and I think I paid $230 for it. I have a post on my site that has info on picking a fingerstyle/fingerpicking guitar: Even though it's specific to fingerstyle it has some general things to have in mind like nut width, action and intonation. You may want to take it to a reputable local shop to have it looked at (if that's an option) to make sure there's nothing major wrong with it.

As far as what to learn, I would recommend finding songs with easy chords and learning the songs. Learning songs will be a lot more fun and keep you interested. I'm sure someone here has some good resources for learning. When I first started I just had a sheet with a bunch of chords and music that had the chord names. I also had a good ear so I could learn songs by ear.

Like Nic said, there is no better time than NOW to start learning something new.  I picked up my first git 3 years ago at age 60.  I'm still having a RIOT learning new things.  A recent friend I've met in retirement got me started.  He's been playing for over 45 years.  He layed out a sheet with some basic chords and easy songs these chords were used in.  The best thing I learned early on is chord progressions (what chords sound GOOD together).  From there, playing by ear in a particular key fell into place.  There are soooooo many good sites available to learn from that are FREE.  I am starting to learn scales that will allow me to play song melodies.  You have to just deside what you want to learn and go find it on the internet.  I live in a place where there are no cities to find a teacher, so I am pretty much "self-taught".  Sites like this and others like it are a good source of people to answer any questions you may have.  Don't be afraid to ASK.  On the Seagul Guitar, I've heard a LOT of good things about them.  The bottom line is if YOU like it, it's a good guitar.  As a novice, the main thing is to have a GOOD setup done to whatever guitar you choose.  It makes a difference in the playability of the instrument.  Keep It Fun, Dean

Seagull is probably a good choice to start with. They tend to be pretty solid and durable, and have the wider nut making the neck more comfortable to play as a beginner (more room for all those fingers). I have a Cedar S6 that is easy to play and sounds great too. Whatever guitar you choose, just make sure it feels comfortable to you, and you can imagine yourself spending many many hours playing it!

Starting off can be difficult, as it is easy to get discouraged when you don;t sound great, and the chords seem difficult to fret and transition from one to another. The more you play them, however, the easier this gets until it is almost automatic -- you don't even need to think about where your fingers go after a while, so stick with it. I learned at a very young age when my uncle gave me a Beatles Easy Guitar songbook, which had all the lyrics with diagrams of the corresponding chords above the words. Coming from a family of Beatlemaniacs, I already knew everysong in the book by heart, and in no time at all I was playing Hey Jude, Come Together, and all that fun stuff. To me it seemed like an intuitive and easy way to learn all the basic chords. I would start off maybe with something like this for a band or musician you like. Get your chords and chord changes down cold, and then you can move on from there. As mentioned earlier, this will help you learn what chords go with each other (G, C, D, Em, fit in the key of "G", etc.) so when you can tell a root chord in a song, you can pretty much tell that the remaining chords will be limited to a few in that same key. Makes figuring out songs by ear pretty simple. 

As Newbie Dean said, playing guitar is just a continuous learning process, which is why it is so much fun, and makes such a great hobby. 30+ years of playing, and its still a learning experience, trying new things, learning new techniques and songs -- great fun, enjoy!

Hi Jake, I just started playing and learning about 4 months now....  I started with a Conn Classical which I have owned for years...took some lessons but the guitar was a bad fit to me and no one helped me or told i became discouraged.  the neck on the Conn was too wide for my had a 2" nut...  I used the Conn for the last 3 months, with some difficulty....hard to make the cords....then someone mentioned maybe a smaller nut would be I started to look into that....was I surprised to find that almost all guitars made today are more user friendly and have a variety of different size nuts....  I read up on it and decided I wanted a 1 3/4" nut on my guitar and I just bought a 90's Alvarez Acoustic..paid $200 with original hard shell sounds great and is much more comfortable to learn on.  In my opinion, and there will be some who will probably disagree, i think learning on an acoustic guitar as opposed to acoustic elecric is a better choice as the acoustic is less forgiving as it relates to how you sound when playing so you actually have to play it correctly or you dont sound as good.  when playing on acoustic electric the amplifier will hide mistakes like if your finger is touching another can be a touch sloppy, on the acoustic you have to be right on or you can hear it loud and clear.  it forces you to try to play better!!  I am in process of selling the Conn to a student that is learning classical guitar and would work for them.  Its all good!!  With the 1 /34" nut there is room to fingerpick or flatpick.....just that little difference from a 1 11/16" nut makes a huge difference, to me anyway.  I am taking some lessons at a local music store, and I have found a new guitar buddy to practice with...he is better than i am, more experience.  I decided I wanted to learn the basics of music reading so I could find my way through songs if I needed to....also I am learning basic chords...Working on "Horse With No Name" only 2 chords....don't have it down yet but am working on it.  Go to and get free lyrics and chords.......We have been getting together twice a week.  I live in a rural area in I ran an add in the local paper for a beginning guitar buddy....he called.  It really helps to have someone to play with.  Oh, and I am a senior, its never to late to learn music.....  Best of luck, Pavanne


Welcome to your new addiction, Jake. Here's a recent thread over at the Acoustic Guitar Forum (different from this one)

also, if you buy that blue gull (or even if you don't!) here's a pretty friendly group on these boards

Seagull Spoken Here

Congratulations on your new purchase!!!  Looks beautiful, love the color, interesting and are probably playing it right now :)) enjoy!

You should start with whatever you like best and what you want to play.  The great thing about guitar is you can learn a few chords and strum and sing and have a lot of fun, but if you really want to take the time to learn to read music and learn the notes on the neck you can eventually play solo pieces of music that are just as good as those a violinist or pianist play.  Probably the first place to start is to find a teacher.  The teacher can evaluate the guitar you are thinking of buying and help you decide if it is the right one for the style of music you want to play.

Hi Jake,

I'm 70 and just like you.... now is the time.

1st... don't buy a guitar until you know what you want to play...what type music that is.

2nd .. get some guitars in your hands, see what fits your hand AND your body. Sit down

and hold it, see if you can get your fingers around the neck to the 6th string...without hitting the

other strings.

Look on Craigslist for an entry level guitar like a Yamaha C 40, classical, nylon strings, mine cost me 40.00

bucks and I love it. I also have a Seagull, Entourage Grand (3/4 size) I love it.

3rd If you are headed for the stage then you need 1 kind of instrument if you are playing for yourself and maybe

a few friends in the house you don't need booming sound.

4 call a local Luthier and see if he or she knows a good BEGINNER instructor. Remember most instructors are

just guitar players that want extra money.... they are NOT trained in instruction....

well chew on that, hope it helps a little. Also, beware of the endless online courses... get the book Guitar for Dummies and Guitar exercises for Dummies... you can get them pretty cheap from Amazon.

I have a Yamaha C40 that I may or may not have "inherited" - it's been in my house 4 months now...

Although all-laminate in construction, it has a very nice tone, and is very playable, IMHO... :-)

If looking for a nylon stringed/classical guitar, you could do much worse - but I would still recommend a solid-cedar-topped guitar for a classical (Yamaha C40 is laminated spruce topped) - like a Cordoba C5...especially if you can find a 2007 or prior one - they were made in Portugal until 2007-2008...then to China... :-(

For a beginning first instrument in the 6 steel string class, definitely get a solid-topped instrument - spruce or cedar most common.  Cedar a bit warmer, spruce a bit brighter - cedar opens up faster, spruce a bit more slowly.  Seagull (and the whole Godin acoustic line) is an excellent choice - also browse offerings from Walden, Eastman, and Wechter, IMHO...

If you like the Blue guitars (like the link Craig added), then take a look at my new sweetheart. Its an Adamas Millennium in Cobalt Blue. They made 75 of these at the turn of the Millennium in 2000 with planetary neck inlays and a bunch of other sweet features -- Adamas SMT Unidirectional weave Carbon Fiber top, rare wood epaulets, 5 piece maple neck, wider nut. I love it!




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