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  • Learning at 50 Years Old?

    Is it possible to learn to play acoustic guitar at the age of 50 and never having any music training at all?

  • #2
    Absolutely! Like at any age, it just takes time. Think about what you want to be able to do (play an F chord naturally, learn to play XYZ song), and set some goals to get you there. Finding a teacher who understands what you want to do will help. When you're first starting, it's going to feel a little unnatural at first. That's fine, just keep going and don't get discouraged.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Multiple award winning blues/rock/country at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zeyerband.com">http://www.zeyerband.com</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer">http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer</a>.<br>Check my solo (instrumental rock) projects at: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson">http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson</a><br><br><br>&quot;Music is like the English language - it's just full of rules that need to be broken or you aren't hip.&quot;</div><br>&quot;It doesn't take talent to upgrade your playing. It takes patience&quot; - Kenny Werner

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    • #3
      Very cool. Thanks for the reply. I wanted to do this 15 years ago but bought a guitar and it just seemed so hard. Now I see many resources on the net. Have started teaching myself but feel very lost. Just found a teacher and am starting lessons this week. I need to learn a song to keep me motivated. Love stuff like Ray Lamontagne, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, James Taylor, etc. Trying to figure out the strumming pattern for the song "Like Rock and Roll and Radio" by Ray Lamontagne. Anyway thanks for the ecouragement.

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      • #4
        When you're starting out, keep it fun, and keep going. There's definitely a hump to get over. Before that hump, you might feel like you can't do anything. When you do get over it, it's going to feel great!

        "There's only two things to remember: don't stop, and keep going." - Frank Zappa
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Multiple award winning blues/rock/country at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zeyerband.com">http://www.zeyerband.com</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer">http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer</a>.<br>Check my solo (instrumental rock) projects at: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson">http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson</a><br><br><br>&quot;Music is like the English language - it's just full of rules that need to be broken or you aren't hip.&quot;</div><br>&quot;It doesn't take talent to upgrade your playing. It takes patience&quot; - Kenny Werner

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        • #5
          Very cool. Thanks for the reply. I wanted to do this 15 years ago but bought a guitar and it just seemed so hard. Now I see many resources on the net. Have started teaching myself but feel very lost. Just found a teacher and am starting lessons this week. I need to learn a song to keep me motivated. Love stuff like Ray Lamontagne, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, James Taylor, etc. Trying to figure out the strumming pattern for the song "Like Rock and Roll and Radio" by Ray Lamontagne. Anyway thanks for the ecouragement.
          Neil Young is a good source of easy songs. Try "Heart of Gold"

          You can watch what Ray Lamontagne does here:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcM-xyHtSYQ
          It's a pretty random strumming pattern. The important thing (with this tune as with ALL rhythm guitar) is to keep the hand moving at the same pace and in the same up-down way - that's what keeps the beat solid, which is the first essential.
          There's a slight emphasis on beats 2 and 4 (the 2nd and 4th downstrokes in each bar), which is standard, but this varies, and there are no special accents or rhythmic patterns elsewhere. Just keep the beat, and make sure you get your changes in time. The trick there is to leave enough time to be able to get the next chord right on the beat where it belongs - even if you have to leave the previous chord early.
          When you're used to all your chord shapes and changes (so you can think about following the vocal, and not too much about the chords), then you can start to apply more interesting dynamic variety to the strums.

          BTW, the older you are when you start, the longer it will take you. You need to be prepared for that. Your hands have got into habits of doing other things, they are less flexible for strange new tasks like guitar playing. Luckily, the older you are, the more patient you tend to be!
          It IS difficult in many ways (getting the chords clean, getting the changes on time), and it takes discipline and commitment to see it through. Practice every day, for as long as you can manage. Stop when you get bored, or when it starts to hurt; then go off and do something else. Try not to stop for any other reason...

          (BTW, do make sure your position is good; don't fall into bad habits that will hold you back. A teacher is the best way to check, of course, but with no teacher, just look closely at how other players hold the guitar, and check yourself in a mirror. Keep those fret hand fingernails as short as they will go. When you have trouble with a chord, try other fingerings or other hand positions, esp where the thumb is. There are recommended hand positions to start from, but the important thing is to stay flexible, and think about economy of finger pressure.)
          ...

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          • #6
            Welcome to the Loft....best place on the net to learn anything about guitar! If you have any questions, just ask. There are some pro players here (I'm not one of them yet ) and we are all happy to help. I've had a lot of help myself here and my playing is coming along nicely now.

            Bydo wrote about "the hump" and we all know what that is. It's easy to start thinking you're on an impossible mission, but believe me the early frustrations disappear if you just keep going....get through it, and enjoy a wonderful journey of music and self-discovery.

            Can I slip in the cliche? Okay, thanks.


            It's the journey which is important rather than the destination.


            The best beginners resource is without doubt this:

            http://www.justinguitar.com

            You can't go wrong with Justin. His lessons are so good he got praise from Queen guitarist Brian May! All free, but you can donate something if you like.


            I'm 56 next month and have been playing regularly for the past couple of years, after twenty years of frequent breaks. I can't think of anything better than taking up guitar, no matter at what age. The rewards are immense and the feeling of satisfaction which comes with each step forward is wonderful.


            If your budget allows, I'd recommend having a go on classical as well as acoustic. The strings are further apart and don't punish the fingertips so much in the early stages. Nice sound, too.
            Definitely worth using both fingerpicking and plectrum (pick in the States) techniques from the off. Then there's the hybrid technique which incorporates both.

            Again....

            It is somewhat daunting at the beginning, so much information and no way of doing much with it. Simple is good, and patience essential. Listen carefully to what you are playing, and always play any music theory examples you might be studying, no matter how slowly.

            Learning to read standard music notation is an option and well worth the effort.

            Good luck!

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            • #7
              JonR,
              Thanks for the direction. The Ray Lamontagne info is very helpful. Thanks again.

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              • #8
                Is it possible to learn to play acoustic guitar at the age of 50 and never having any music training at all?
                I started learning guitar at age 54, I'm 57 now and loving it! Check out the acoustic guitar forum here at Harmony Central, lots of great guys who are happy to share their knowledge. Welcome aboard.
                <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot; HAVE FUN, TRY NOT TO HURT ANYONE AND EAT PLENTY OF GREENS&quot;</div>

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                • #9
                  polishpaul,
                  Wow! this forum is very helpful. And I found the Justin Sandercoe site. He is just amazing. I love his version of David Gray's "This Years Love". Thanks so much.

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                  • #10
                    You're welcome!

                    If you go down to the bottom of the main board and drop the Thread display options>Show threads from the...menu,you can click on "beginning" and check out the entire Lesson Loft archive.

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                    • #11
                      Oh, and my music theory blog (link in my signature) is aimed at total beginners. It isn't finished but takes you through the major and minor scales after a general outline on how modern music theory came to be what it is.

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                      • #12
                        Attached is something I wrote for beginners to music, in Miscrosoft Word. It's at my box.com account because it's too big to upload here:

                        https://www.box.com/s/b452e4d6371828b5e51e

                        I must put it on the blog.

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                        • #13
                          I think it's all about realistic expectations. And in that regard, provided you've acquired the maturity and patience, learning - actually learning a craft may come easier than at a younger age where you might pressure yourself into traversing time wasting directions.
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                          • #14
                            Is it possible to learn to play acoustic guitar at the age of 50 and never having any music training at all?


                            YES!
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                            <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>GW348</strong>
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                            <div class="message">I just let the pee flow. The places I play, no one notices or have peed themselves too.</div>

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                            RIP Wayne Murray<br />
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                            **************** YOU CANCER!!</div>

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                            • #15
                              It's absolutely possible to learn anything. However, keep in mind that, after age 22 our brains have finalized their ability to learn new concepts and skills with great ease. After this time, it typically takes twice as long to learn the same skill-set as someone who is below that threshold.

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