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Old 07-29-2008, 02:45 AM
Mediocrefunkybeat
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Default Re: Starting Guitar......

Get yourself an Ibanez SA or RG, or in fact any Ibanez for your first guitar if you're going to play metal. BC Rich's aren't as comfortable (amongst other things) to play with sitting down and that's how I recommend you start. I've never played a bad Ibanez and I've never played a bad Yamaha either - the Pacifica range are one of the best low-budget guitars you can buy, they are very well made. The same is true of Ibanez - they have excellent quality at every point in their product range. Whereas I cannot guarantee the quality of a BC Rich (there have been professional reviews that question the build construction of some of their mid-level guitars, let along the lower end ones) I can with Ibanez and Yamaha. To my ears, they will sound better too.

Make sure you are comfortable with the neck of the guitar too. My first electric (an excellent guitar) was a PRS Santana SE and although I can play it perfectly well now, I didn't realise what a large neck it had. I have relatively small hands and although I'm now used to it, I still find my v-necked Stratocaster easier to play. The important things to check on a guitar other than the comfort of the neck and body (with regards to sitting down) is the action and intonation. Obviously you can set your own action with some tweaking (I learned the hard way by removing my bridge when I first changed my strings in order to clean it) but fundamentally you want to make sure that the neck is straight or only very slightly concave. Whilst someone with more experience could buy a guitar whose neck isn't perfectly set up (again, with my Strat I needed to do a truss rod adjustment) I would not advise that you attempt this straight away. You can do a lot of damage to a guitar by adjusting the neck poorly. As long as the neck is straight and the frets are level, you should be able to get a good action out of your guitar. This is particularly relevant if you're playing metal, where a low action is usually a necessity and why I would recommend particularly Ibanez for your needs.

Like I've already said, comfort is vital. Whereas Kerry King can play guitars shaped like the back end of an armoured cow, you will not. Playing when standing up is much harder initially than playing whilst sitting down and you will need to be seated when you first learn. For this reason alone I would recommend away from the BC Rich body shapes as a first guitar - and that's before we get to my preferences; that's just common sense.

Don't limit yourself to just playing metal either. If you learn the basic chord positions (A,B,C,D,E,F,G) and their minor equivalents and then learn the barre shapes (which will be necessary for the B and the F major anyway) you will actually progress more quickly than if you just sit down and try and bash through a song you think you know. Although you won't see results straight away, practicing basic chord shapes and scales are vital to fingerboard dexterity and trying to do too much too soon will simply put you off. Remember - guitar is not an easy instrument. Whilst at a basic level it's not as hard as say the Violin or Cello, a lot of logical steps must be undertaken before you start seeing a marked improvement. The key to that is regular practice. When I first started playing the guitar I played eight (yes, eight) hours a day and still regularly manage three or four. Sooner or later, things start making sense, but you must be patient and learn the basics before you jump feet first into the quagmire, or else you'll just get more and more frustrated.

Although metal may seem like a million miles away from other styles on guitar (eg. jazz) there's actually a LOT in common, particularly with regards to basic technique. Your left hand position and your right hand technique need to be fundamentally solid regardless of genre. Don't be afraid to try out different styles of pick either, I recommend something like a basic Dunlop Nylon .88 to start off with, which will give you a good balance of thick and thinness. Don't try and play straight away with a heavy pick, because again, you will just become frustrated. Don't be afraid to experiment either, but make sure you're doing it with the correct right hand technique and that you are using your little finger! I only have small hands like I said so it is even more important for me that I use my little finger, but so must you. It's a common trap that people fall into that actually severely limits their playing in the long run and whilst it will seem frustrating at first, persistence will warrant you with rewards.
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