Learning to Play the Guitar: Week 1

This first week of learning has been enlightening. There were a number of things I didn’t even think about needing to know. I’m using a variety of videos from YouTube’s Howcast channel to begin my learning process. I found a series of 19 videos that seem to cover the basics. The first video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdbRXlku0EE. I may need to add additional sources as I go.

So far, I’ve learned the parts of a guitar, how to hold the guitar, how to hold a pick, how to tune the guitar, the basic chords, and began to work on scales. My biggest surprise was I was wrong about how to hold the guitar. I was holding it backwards. It felt more natural that way and seemed logical to use my dominant hand for the trickier part of pressing down the strings.  It may prove more difficult than I thought to do this.


Image from www.stepbystep.com

I also have decided on the song I would like to learn. I plan to learn “1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White Tees. The song is guitar heavy so I think it makes a good choice. It also has personal significance to me. I have located several videos demonstrating how to play it. However, I need to master the basics first.

I have had a number of expected challenges and a number I did not plan for. I need to figure out how to work past these in order to be successful at this project.

Expected Challenges

  • I was told the guitar needed tuning. However, I neglected to realize what a challenge this would be. I watched a video on how to do it, but it relied on my ability to distinguish between sounds. Unfortunately, this is a major problem for me as one consequence of my hearing loss tends to be the ability to distinguish between sounds. I know this may pose a problem, but didn’t expect it to come so quickly. I was about ready to violate the rules and ask the guitar teacher at the college to tune it. I finally located a program I could download called Pitch Perfect. All I have to do is strum the chord and the computer records the sound to tell me how far off I am. I continue you adjusting the string until I get to the right place. I have had several color-blind students before and often wondered why they chose a field where that could prove to be a major impediment to success. I can now see how they could find a way with the technology we have today to overcome it.
  • My dexterity is a little limited due to some issues with arthritis starting so my ability to grip can be compromised at times. I also have trouble holding on to things tightly as I will need to do. Along with this, my hands seem to be a little small and stubby to grasp the guitar. I’m working on it.
  • I have challenges with hand eye coordination that I have never successfully overcome. I’m hoping this might help with the processing.

Unexpected Challenges

  • I didn’t think through the fact that I tend to have free time at the hours when normal people are sleeping. This fact cuts down on practice time as I live in an apartment and prefer not to annoy my neighbors.
  • It hurts my fingers to push on the strings. For some reason, I did not foresee this problem.
  • My dog is terrified of the guitar. The below photo is her trying to hide from me. I know my playing is not good, but even the sight of me touching the guitar has her running for cover.



One thought on “Learning to Play the Guitar: Week 1

  1. Pingback: Learning to Play the Guitar: Week 2 | Katie Krcmarik

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