Author Topic: Time to call it quits?  (Read 1480 times)

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Offline GoodUsername25

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Time to call it quits?
« on: June 22, 2019, 08:01:58 pm »
Hello!

So I've been a 'beginner' at acoustic guitar for about five years now! I just honestly do not seem to be getting anywhere and I am starting to worry that I am just wasting my time and energy on this without making any progress.  I am very small with small arms and a small body and small hands, and I can't seem to get my position right when using the guitar at all. The neck wobbles round a lot and I have to support it with my thumb of my left hand which makes changing chords difficult, especially without scuffing the thinnest string which ruins the sound of whatever I am playing.  When I try to support the guitar with my body to keep it steady I can hardly reach down to the first fret to play proper chords and that doesn't seem to work properly either.  For many years various guitar tutors I've had have told me to just persevere and eventually I would work out how to play despite my stature but I am really getting to the point where I don't believe I am even physically capable of playing this instrument.  But I'm v. sad to quit as pretty much all my favourite music involves the guitar and I love the sound that it makes :( :( :( But I don't want to keep wasting my time if I'm never going to be able to play it.   Any advice/thoughts appreciated.

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 10:44:29 pm »
Sorry to hear you're feeling discouraged. I'd like to offer some encouragement, but to give you advice of any value, it would be helpful if you could answer a few questions.

How have you been practicing? Have you been following a method/course? What's your practice schedule look like?

Would you be willing to post a video of you playing your guitar? Usually stature and hand size isn't a significant issue. It's a common worry for beginners (too short, too long, too big, too small, too curved, etc.), but almost never something that's worthy of concern. But I suppose it's possible that you are an exception.

What kind of guitar are you playing? (If size/stature is a real problem, you could consider looking at shorter-scale guitars, or even 3/4 guitars.)

Offline DanniTSI3

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 11:14:56 pm »
Hey mate sorry to hear you're struggling.

Let me tell you something - it's not your stature, small hands or arms.

It sounds to me like your guitar is the wrong fit for YOU.

I'm 5"2 and I have 2 guitars - an acoustic Taylor GS Mini which is 5/8 size and a fender squier strat.

People have commented in my vids that my Taylor looks huge, but it's just me being tiny

Its a great fit for me and I feel stretched playing the fender because it's longer and the neck is heavy for my little wrists.

So maybe you need to go off to your local guitar shop and get some advice.

Where are you in Justins course?

Now be honest about practice? Are you following his method? Are you practising every day or once a week? I'll be honest and say my practice has waned with my life getting busier, and over the last 3 months I've tended to pick up the guitar, play some songs I already know, and that's it. No challenges, no one minute changes, no exercises. And guess what, I've stagnated. I recognise it, and know it's my own doing. I'm not beating myself up over it because Ivr had a hard few months, and I know when I'm ready I'll be back on track. So be honest with yourself about what you may or may not be doing which might  be affecting your progress.

My only other comment is are you left handed by any chance? I tried learning right handed to begin with about 5 years ago, and never progressed. I swapped to left handed guitar and started from scratch and became much more natural to me.

Hope you stick with it. X

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Offline Drubbing

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2019, 04:06:00 am »
Never assume your physicality is the issue. Find a guitar to fit. I'm average size, arms and hands, but could never get comfortable on a dreadnought acoustic. I bought a medium bodied full scale acoustic. Some electrics I tried were also too heavy (hollow bodies) or unbalanced (SG style).

If you want to continue, find a tutor who will listen to your problems and help find a solution, not just tell you to work harder. That is crap, lazy advice.

Offline claudinec

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2019, 05:48:57 am »
I agree with the others. I'm about 5'1" and play an electric with a Strat-style body; I started playing as a tiny 12-year-old with a classical guitar (small body but wiiide fingerboard). I've always found practice and good technique more important than size, but if you are small you don't want a huge guitar. Ideally you would find a good local guitar store and maybe a good teacher who can work constructively with you to find a more suitable guitar if necessary, and to work on posture. Personally, I find with the classical posture (bottom of guitar resting on right leg, upper bout on raised left leg, 45º angle) it is much easier to reach all the frets and keep the guitar stable.
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Offline close2u

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2019, 06:57:04 am »
What a place to be after 5 years and several one-to-one teachers.
 I feel for you.
As others have said size is not an impediment if you get a guitar that suits you.
Please come back and explain more about what your teachers have done with you, what you have learned, what you have tried to learn and felt unable (besides the chords as you mention).

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2019, 07:43:59 am »
Personally, I find with the classical posture (bottom of guitar resting on right leg, upper bout on raised left leg, 45º angle) it is much easier to reach all the frets and keep the guitar stable.
I agree with that: when seated, I always use classical position, even with an electric guitar.

FWIW, I'm about 5'5" or so (short guy). On electric, I mostly play standard Fenders (teles, strats), but I also have a shorter scale Mustang which feels really nice to play. On steel string acoustic, I play dreadnoughts (Yairi or Martin -- pretty big) and OM sized (the Martin OM is a little more comfortable, but it's not that big a deal). On classical, I can play a full size classical guitar, but I prefer a 7/8 sized classical guitar (currently a Cordoba C9 Parlor).

Offline OpsRes

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2019, 11:48:07 am »
As others have noted, the classical guitar position can be a big help. I will often revert to it when I'm  working on something that I find just a little more difficult. As a refernce you may want to check out this website:
https://www.thisisclassicalguitar.com/basic-posture-and-sitting-position-guitar/

Good luck with it.

Cheers,
Geln

Offline CT

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2019, 03:39:35 pm »
When the going gets tough, quit! No one should recommend that you flounder for 5 years with little joy. I suggest taking up the Sax-a-boom:



The way Jack Black rocks that thing makes me want to master it!

Offline GoodUsername25

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2019, 02:48:11 am »
Thank you so much for all your responses guys. I'm thinking the consensus seems to be that I should try buying a smaller guitar then? I guess what put me off before was not wanting to learn on something that sounds different from a normal guitar and having an extra obstacle of working that out while learning. I think I am going to research this tomorrow and try and get something smaller now though. I am 5 foot, and have a full size yamaha acoustic dreadnought at the moment which is a fab guitar in a lot of respects other than that I can't seem to play it! I have done a lot of practice but it's tended to be intermittent e.g. a few months of solid practice then a few months of not playing at all. Because of this it's difficult to judge whether I am still bad because my guitar's too big for me, or still bad because I haven't had a consistent practice schedule and stuck with it for long enough.  I am a big fan of justin, and have followed the beginners course but I forget where I was up to exactly and I was taught by a teacher who was good at guiding me through things for about two years but he always told me it wasn't my size it was lack of practice that was my problem. I've done a hell of a lot of chord changing exercises so I have it down apart from the whole wobbly guitar problem stops me from being able to keep any momentum and change the chords cleanly after a couple of changes. It's hard to describe what I mean but hopefully you get the gist!

Offline Drubbing

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2019, 03:16:18 am »
Smaller guitar are still full scale guitars, and sound like it. They just might not project like a dread. A smaller body should enable you to hold it easier. Given where you're at, you really need to go try guitars and find one that suits.

Missing months of practice is not a good way to learn. If time is an issue it's best to do a little everyday, or as often as you can. Start over and follow Justin course, he's done all the hard work in setting relevant practice schedules and milestones. you just need to follow.


Offline batwoman

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2019, 04:46:47 am »
I am 5 foot, and have a full size yamaha acoustic dreadnought at the moment

OMG is there any wonder you're having problems Good! Did you read Danni's post? She's a tall 5'2" and plays a Taylor GS mini. If you look at her videos you'll see it looks like a dreadnought! You'll also hear she gets a beautiful, full tone from her mini.  I'm 5'7" and  a dreadnought is waaaaay to big for me. My guitar is an orchestra or OM size and it's perfect for me.

It sounds like your passion and love have been draining away in the five years and that you've been doing a lot of trying.  I get the impression there's been no real joy or sense of achievement. Without that driving you forward it's hard to persevere.

The suggestion that Close made - upload a video, give us more detail, let us help you - is a good one. While you still want to play guitar, I'm sure there is a solution.

Offline 8livesleft

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2019, 05:25:27 am »
There are lots of vids of kids playing guitar. Maybe you want to try electric? Smaller, can be used with a strap so you won't need to worry about holding the neck up with your left.

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Offline sairfingers

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2019, 09:20:59 pm »
I have done a lot of practice but it's tended to be intermittent e.g. a few months of solid practice then a few months of not playing at all.
It won’t matter what type/size of guitar you have, if this is your practice routine, you are unlikely to improve. Before you spend money on another guitar, I suggest you examine whether you are prepared to commit time to regular practice. If you are, then this forum is the place to get advice and support.
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Offline jbdynamite

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Re: Time to call it quits?
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2019, 09:12:20 pm »
It won’t matter what type/size of guitar you have, if this is your practice routine, you are unlikely to improve. Before you spend money on another guitar, I suggest you examine whether you are prepared to commit time to regular practice. If you are, then this forum is the place to get advice and support.

This is correct, even more so in the beginning. It takes months to build the technique and muscle memory just to even start playing anything that resembles music. Keep at it and avoid those breaks. Sounds like you are taking a break before you are comfortable with the chords, then having to relearn the whole thing again when you start back up. Practice the open chords until they are second nature, then those breaks won't be so detrimental.

 

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