Hi all from a newbie

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Welcome, redblade!!!!  You have found a great site to get your guitar experience going.  I, too, started this guitar thing at a later age; 60.  It sounds like we have a lot in common.  I have NO aspirations to become a performer.  I just love playing along with the music I like to listen to.  I got started with an acoustic but many of the people on this site that helped me immensely, play both.  You will get all the help you need from the great people on this site; from equipment to playing techniques.  The main thing I got from these people is:  KEEP IT FUN!

KEEPING IT FUN, Dean

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Hello redblade and welcome to Chordbook. Well, you're not alone regarding starting and stopping.
I made about three attempts starting around age 9. I didn't learn much but i wonder if i'd had net
at my fingertips i might have stayed with it. Now i do and these years back at guitar have me beyond
where i ever thought possible. Granted, i keep hitting plateaus, even walls, but with help here
and from other sources online, (most valuable) i manage to move on to another level.
Slow granted, but i am now able to keep going along. You will too.

Now as far as gear, most recommend playing guitars you think you might like before buying.
If that isn't possible you might look onlinefor reviews of gear, even youtube demos and so on.
Aware that the maker might make their gear sound better than it is. I don't have
any experience there because i'm fortunate enough to have music stores close in.
What to avoid. Well, you get what you pay for but there are deals to be had. I don't know
your sources of course, but to me, having a physical store to return gear to or to try it out is
more than worth the effort of getting there. I have driven over a hundred miles
to check out guitars and wound up not buying. I felt it was ok though, because i din't have to pack
something up and send back. You get the idea.

A consensus seems to be 'buy the best gear you can afford if you think you'll stick with it'.
That said, borrow something or rent something for a bit. As far as what to get, i can't offer
other than 'try something', if you like the sound, the price, the weight, user friendliness' and
so on, buy it. Amps, well there are hundreds to choose from but big names seem to rule,
though i know there are lesser knowns that are just as good and maybe better than the big names.
Find the guitar you want, then start plugging it in. You don't have to spend much on
an amp for home use really. I'm happy with my marshall mg 15 dfx for home use and i
usually plug in headphones. I picked it up used for $100US and it's still like new.

Do you have Craigslist? I've found gear there at huge savings and i've even found ppl
to jam with, so there's something to look into. The chat will open back up here in Chordbook
before long and keep in mind that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of free tutorials/lessons online.
The best i've found are on youtube and are free, though i know there are pay sites with more.
Pick a song you want to learn, plug it into the search and something should come
up in the form of a lesson. I think that may be about my best learning tool right now.

The wrist should strengthen as you practice, but you might see your doctor if there's damage, otherwise squeezing a tennis ball is popular. I know if i play the electric for a long while
without playing the acoustic, i feel the bar chords, so lately i've begun playing both more equally.

Well, i've gone on way too long here and i'm hoping others will chime in with ideas as they
were all new at guitar at one time too. Meantime, like Dean says, 'keep it fun'.

GuitarZen

...'you bought a guitar to punish your ma'...

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2012 03 03
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Hello redblade! I, too, was a "late bloomer," having wanted to play guitar all my life and finally deciding that age 60 seemed like the right time (after picking it up for just a few months at 13 and dropping it after figuring that boys who played guitar were more fun than the guitar, ha ha).  Anyway, I've recently picked up the fiddle too, and am plugging away at that.  I also have small hands and prefer a small-bodied guitar (my two acoustics are a Taylor GS Mini and a Fender Alkaline Trio).  Do check with your Dr. in case you have an old break or soft tissue tear in your wrist (my husband walked around with a broken wrist for 15 years and was told he had arthritis, tendonitis, and every other
"itis" before eventually ending up with a bone graft in the fracture).  However, your weakness might be in the flexors and extensors of your forearm (the muscles that flex and extend the wrist and hand).  If your doctor approves, you might try some overhand and underhand wrist curls with light hand weights (say, 3 lbs.) and start with one or two sets of 8 and try to work up to 3 or 4 sets of 10 or 12 over several weeks or more. (Listen to your body - stop if you feel pain - and find the proper technique for wrist curls online). 

A website that you might enjoy is justinguitar.com  He covers all sorts of techniques AND has songs for every level.
ENJOY!

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Glad you're enjoying the site and members' input.  Good luck with your arm/wrist/hand strengthening (probably most of us are somewhat acquainted with old "Arthur") and your guitar activities! :-)

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I have no experience with electrics, but as far as acoustics go I found that a shorter scale length with a wide nut works best for me.  My first git was a "dread".  It was a big body, long scale length (25.5inch) and 1 11/16 inch nut.  I still have it and play it occasionally.  But since then, I bought a Grand Concert (smaller body), shorter scale length (approx 24.5 inch) and wider nut (1 3/4 inch).  This smaller guitar addresses a few things for my old, stubby/chubby, arthritic fingers.  The smaller body makes it easier to hold comfortably.  The shorter scale length means lower string tension for whatever tuning you need;  shorter strings mean less tension for a given frequency which means less finger force.  Also, the shorter scale length has less distance between frets to reduce the "stretch" necessary to play chords over multiple frets.  The wider nut along with the shorter scale puts more space between the strings for the chubbier, less agile fingers.  A lot of electrics are short scale, but have very narrow nut widths (1 5/8 inch) to make them "faster" for the lead/solo players.  Just the opinion of an ex-engineer that over investigates things!

Keep It Fun!!

KEEPING IT FUN, Dean

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