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Old 11-23-2022, 01:57 PM
Chas007 Chas007 is offline
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Default Beginner song suggestions & how many simultaneously?

Some of you have seen in one of my previous posts where I'm at in relation to my level of playing. I can strum a few basic cowboy chords and keep time fairly well, but I'm very robotic in my efforts. It's fair to say that I'm not totally comfortable with my chord changes and if I speed up too much I will mess up the chords. I believe some of this comes from not thinking of the chord before I switch to it.

I have three songs that I play at while practicing. Maggie May, Bad Moon Rising and an easy finger picking version of House Of The Rising Sun. I have to admit that I never really attempt to play the songs all the way through. I play the intros and first verse over and over, but most of the time all the verses in the song are the same.

My question is, how many songs would be acceptable to work on without having any of them to a performance level? I'm worried about becoming bored practicing the same three songs. I may only work on one or two during a single practice, but sometimes I'll play through each one a couple of times.

Second is recommendations for beginner songs keeping in mind the kind of songs I currently practice and that I like country and classic rock. I do have a stratocaster, but I don't play it as much as my acoustics.

Thanks
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Old 11-23-2022, 02:19 PM
Deliberate1 Deliberate1 is offline
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I have been playing three years. I no longer consider myself a "beginner," though surely feel that way sometimes. Anyways, my "beginner" days are not so far in my rear view mirror that I do not remember them - with little fondness.

So, in terms of chord changes, that will surely come. I guarantee it. But it takes time and committment and no small amount of tenacity. At least it did for me, as an older learner.

If you are challenged making chord changes in the context of a song, why not practice those changes outside the song, as an exercise, and then get back to the song with those skills. That may reduce the frustration level. Trying to learn a skill in the course of trying to play a song is trying to do two things at one time, only with more pressure.

One thing I discovered, and still have to remind my self, is to move from the sounded chord to the next one as quickly as possible. If I am not focused on this, I will often find myself wasting that valuable moving time. So, once you hit a chord, and it is good, pick up your fingers and move to the next one. Just having an extra fraction of a second can help big time. And think about economies - are there fingers that can actually stay down if they are common to successive chords.

As for other tunes, I started private fingerstyle lessons last year. The first song the teacher assigned was Freight Train. It was a very good introduction to the the right thumb skills you will need to play any songs of that kind. You can learn the non-sycopated version first, and then the syncopated one once you are comfortable with the song. Check out YT for some excellent vid lessons.

Most of all - enjoy. It is not easy. But you will eventially look back with great satisfaction with the progress you have made and the music you are making. And wonder how that even happened. I know I do.
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Old 11-23-2022, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas007 View Post
…how many songs would be acceptable to work on without having any of them to a performance level?
Hi Chas…
As many as you can keep accumulating without losing ground on the ones you've added since you started.

And if you get a gig, you'll be ahead on having a number ready to put finishing touches on.




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Old 11-23-2022, 05:24 PM
The Watchman The Watchman is offline
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Don t try to limit yourself. Follow your interests to songs.

The first class I took, we started with "Take Me Home, Country Roads". It was a good choice since everyone already knew the words, and it kind of leads you to feel where the chords change.
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:51 PM
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Back when I strummed/flatpicked I would get a large song book by one of my favorites, like Neil Young or The Beatles and just go through the book one song after another.
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Old 11-24-2022, 08:08 AM
Bob from Brooklyn Bob from Brooklyn is offline
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Here's an easy 2-chord song that will help you get your strumming down.

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Old 11-24-2022, 08:57 AM
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Being a perpetual newbie, I like to stick to tried and true classics. Most are surprisingly simple, and they are the kind of songs that get hands slappin and toes tappin. Country Roads (mentioned already), Long Black Veil, any CCR….
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:05 PM
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Don't ask me. My practice sessions include playing things I'm learning on the harp, steel acoustic, classical guitars, piano and singing practice on top of that.

One of my instructor said I would get better if I stuck to one instrument, but I will learn quite a bit with my spread out approach.

Their are plenty of places to get videos of some easy song to learn. I like to pick songs that I like and that have a technique that I need to learn to play it. I don't like learning a technique and then finding a song to use it on.
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Old 11-25-2022, 09:45 PM
Songbook19 Songbook19 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas007 View Post

Second is recommendations for beginner songs keeping in mind the kind of songs I currently practice and that I like country and classic rock. I do have a stratocaster, but I don't play it as much as my acoustics.

Thanks

Chas, I have a thousand-song songbook full of country and classic rock. You're welcome to it (the "Lite" version is for beginners). There's also an old-school tutorial you may or may not find helpful.

Al

https://songbook19.my-free.website/
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:26 AM
JackC1 JackC1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas007 View Post
My question is, how many songs would be acceptable to work on without having any of them to a performance level? I'm worried about becoming bored practicing the same three songs. I may only work on one or two during a single practice, but sometimes I'll play through each one a couple of times.
Hi,

I think 3 is a very good number.

I'm currently working on 6 songs (for online classical + in-person acoustic, i.e. 2 simultaneous guitar lessons), and I'm finding it a bit overwhelming. The online lesson is very structured and moves onwords after every month (i.e. I must play new songs every month); the in-person lesson is relaxed and (sorry to say) I've been working on the same 3 songs for many months. I plan to cut the in-person lessons and only stick with the online after this year because 2 simultaneous lessons is just too much.

Are you self-teaching?

The hardest part about self-teaching is determining when to move on to the next level. If you can't get an opinion from other musicians; then you can record yourself and listen objectively.

Depending on your goal, you may not want to practice until total perfection. Just practice it until "pass"; otherwise, you might be stuck at the same songs forever (which not only is boring but also prevents you from progressing/working on more advanced songs).
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Old 11-26-2022, 06:22 AM
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I caution you against getting into the 'intro' trap.

When I first started playing after a few months I was where you are at and I agree, it can be frustrating and demoralizing. I got together with a guy I worked with who said he'd been playing for years. Right out of the gate the guy blew me away playing these cool, intricate intros to some great songs that I loved. I was so impressed. But then I realized that was all he could do! They guy could not play ANY songs beyond the intros. His 'talents' that he had developed were completely useless.

Learn the whole song. Sure, the verses are repetitive and redundant but they are part of the song. That repetitive nature is exactly what you need right now to develop muscle memory. Find easy, three chord songs you love and play AND sing them over and over. Even if you can't sing all that well it will still help you get smoother with your chord transitions. Don't worry that you are hesitating between changes. That is part of the process. It's all about muscle memory and it will come.

That was how I learned. I would learn three chords and then go find songs I knew and loved that used only those chords. Then I would play AND sing them over and over and over again. Eventually they started getting smooth. Then I would add another song that would have a fourth chord and learn that chord and then that song and so on and so forth. Just as soon as you can start to play a few songs start to finish, find yourself someone to play with with similar abilities (or slightly better) and taste in music and form a little band.

That's when your abilities really take off. At least, that's how it worked for me! In my case I dragooned my wife into being my lead singer and we started playing together. A few years in we started going to open mics. A few years after that we started opening or guesting for local bands. A few years after that we started getting gigs. And now about a decade later (in total from the beginning) we are booking over a hundred gigs a year and having the time of our lives in our retirement still playing easy and fun songs.

As far as how many songs to learn at once, I'd say as many as you can find that have the chords you can play or are working on but just make sure to practice them ALL THE WAY THROUGH!
As for song suggestions, that depends entirely on songs you like and how many and which chords you know! Go check out Party Marty on YouTube. He gives great demos of easy-to-learn, simple cowboy chord songs. He even breaks them down into the number of chords per song! Here's a direct link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOY...fXcg/playlists
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Last edited by Methos1979; 11-26-2022 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 11-26-2022, 08:40 AM
Jamolay Jamolay is offline
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This is a good question! I am 2 years in as well (almost), and ask myself this. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, but new song do call to me. I also struggle with the need to get a piece “good enough” before moving on, which isn’t always necessary.

I do work on several things, songs, lessons and practice pieces, not to mention just practicing cord changes, progressions, finger picking patterns, arpeggios, legato, scales.

I have several songs I have been slowly consolidating for almost a year or more. My “repertoire” if you will. Then one easy, one moderate and one dreamer (stretch of a song) or two. Some of them are just because I like the song, but also pick songs or pieces that require what you need to practice.

If you are tired of the song, shift it into lower gear, practice it once or twice a session or every other and start one or two new things.
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Old 11-26-2022, 12:57 PM
Chas007 Chas007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Songbook19 View Post
Chas, I have a thousand-song songbook full of country and classic rock. You're welcome to it (the "Lite" version is for beginners). There's also an old-school tutorial you may or may not find helpful.

Al

https://songbook19.my-free.website/
I downloaded it. Thank you very much! That is awesome.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:02 PM
Chas007 Chas007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackC1 View Post
Hi,

I think 3 is a very good number.

I'm currently working on 6 songs (for online classical + in-person acoustic, i.e. 2 simultaneous guitar lessons), and I'm finding it a bit overwhelming. The online lesson is very structured and moves onwords after every month (i.e. I must play new songs every month); the in-person lesson is relaxed and (sorry to say) I've been working on the same 3 songs for many months. I plan to cut the in-person lessons and only stick with the online after this year because 2 simultaneous lessons is just too much.

Are you self-teaching?

The hardest part about self-teaching is determining when to move on to the next level. If you can't get an opinion from other musicians; then you can record yourself and listen objectively.

Depending on your goal, you may not want to practice until total perfection. Just practice it until "pass"; otherwise, you might be stuck at the same songs forever (which not only is boring but also prevents you from progressing/working on more advanced songs).
Yes I'm teaching myself. Using Justin Guitar and Guitar Tricks for now. I also agree with your other opinions about boredom and perfection.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:15 PM
Chas007 Chas007 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamolay View Post
I do work on several things, songs, lessons and practice pieces, not to mention just practicing cord changes, progressions, finger picking patterns, arpeggios, legato, scales.
I agree there are a lot of things to work on. It's like you're heading across country to a city call "Yes I Play Guitar" and you come to many, many, many forks in the road and all of them say they are heading to "Yes I Play Guitar".
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