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I am a struggling beginner. Any tips for learning to play the guitar for a guy with small hands? I am having a hard time with cord changes as well. Whatsda good guitar to start with? I have a Amazom.com guitar special til I am confident enough I wont break an expensive one.

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Thanks Jamie - You are very kind. I did have a question. I have steel strings on my guitar and I dont want to go to nylon but I was wondering if going to a lighter string will cause less tension and be easier to learn. I look forward to your reply.

Best,

Dave

Jamie Marie Andreas said:
David,

I see you just ordered a copy of the book I wrote especially for beginners, to get them started with actually being able to change chords well enough to keep time with a song. I am glad you did that.

I want you to know that if you have any questions or need any help with using the material, just ask me, I will make sure you get from it what you are supposed to get.

jamie
Hi David,

Well, the thing is that I can give a general answer and say "yes, a lighter string will have less tension and so be easier". But how that will apply to you in particular is further influenced by many other personal factors.

Some folks will have trouble with any tension string, because they are disposed to have a tense and heavy touch upon the strings. Some folks will respond properly to any guitar with playable action, and not suffer undue tension because of the strings. I can't say for sure unless I see someone and how they approach the guitar.

Given the fact that you don't really want to go to nylon, added to the fact that the drastic difference in tension is harmful to a steel string neck, I would say don't do it. Learn what it means to touch a string correctly, like the masters do, with a relaxed and responsive finger attached to a relaxed and aware body/mind............and see how you do then.

That is what I think!

Jamie
Thanks Steffan for your advise.
Jamie -

Your book arrived and I have been paging through it. Being an analytical person myself I like the approach of the book and am anxious to get into it. On page 14 you have a practice routine for chord changes. It looks like I may need the principles book to execute this routine. Is that true ? I am sure that you would prefer I have it but I would like to purchase that at a later date.

On page 15 you talk about going to 80 bpm and 100 bpm. Is there a certain # of repititions that you recommend.

Many thanks for your help.

Dave

David Palank said:
Thanks Jamie - You are very kind. I did have a question. I have steel strings on my guitar and I dont want to go to nylon but I was wondering if going to a lighter string will cause less tension and be easier to learn. I look forward to your reply.

Best,

Dave

Jamie Marie Andreas said:
David,

I see you just ordered a copy of the book I wrote especially for beginners, to get them started with actually being able to change chords well enough to keep time with a song. I am glad you did that.

I want you to know that if you have any questions or need any help with using the material, just ask me, I will make sure you get from it what you are supposed to get.

jamie
Hi David,

Any guitar player is better off having The Principles no matter what they are doing. But, notice that I inserted the relevant instructions in the book you have for those who do not have The Principles.

Just do exactly what it says. "No tempo" means "super slow", it should take you about 15 seconds at least to move into each chord. You must focus on the whole body and your breathing as you slowly manipulate your fingers. You must especially relax your shoulder as you move.......it ALWAYS tenses with each finger movement unless you have trained it not to. That one thing is what gets most beginners. They never know their shoulder is locked up, preventing control of the fingers.

David, do this. Make a short video of the first couple of exercises. post it here or on youtube, I will review it for you and give you feedback. That is the best way.

Jamie
Hi Eddie,

I have one tip that has not been included in alll of the quality information conveyed so far. But first some background. This is the most important lesson I ever learned about guitar chord changing, and getting all the fingers going in the correct direction at the right time.

Imagine for a moment that you are looking at your guitar fretboard and you want to change from a C chord to a G chord. Your left hand is in first position (near the first three frets). The process goes something like this, your eyes see exactly the fret and which string each finger needs to hold down and then which fingers need to change to which new string and fret position. The eyes send all of this information to the brain. The brain sends the information to your fingers and they begin to respond. The eyes still watching try to send correctional information to the brain which ends up crossing wires with the information sent earlier and your fingers seem to independently move with a mind of there own, sort of like a herd of cats. The key is to eliminate much of the brain signal information as soon as you know where your fingers are supposed to go,
HERE's THE SECRET: close your eyes. Practice with your eyes closed. You will be surprised at how much more coordinated your hands feel.

I learned this trick from an old guitar teacher who played with Les Paul and Mary Ford.
I second Brent's tip! I have a friend who is an excellent guitar and mandolin player, and he says that as a teenager he practiced chord changes in a dark closet. I've tried closing my eyes myself, and I can tell it is helping.
ok I'm an "advanced" beginner & have small hands also; what helps me is stretching the (webbing) between my fingers. Just like a runner stretches his legs before running; just pull your fingers apart - you know, like when you make the Trekky sign?

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