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Loog Guitar Kit Loog Guitar Kit

Larry was 10 years of age when he got his first guitar. He was so determined to learn how to play, even though it required some stretching of his hands across the fretboard, not to mention the cuts and blisters to his finger tips. Many kids, especially younger ones, give up because of the pain. But Larry kept practicing, even when his finger tips were bleeding.

Guitar Perfect for a younger Child – Loog Guitar

Pro Electric Loog

Mini Loog

In 2011, Rafael Atijas, a self-described amateur guitarist, designed the Loog Guitar especially for younger children so they can have fun while learning to play without all the pain.

The Loog comes in mini acoustic  like the little one on the left and the pro electric.

Upon first sight, you might think they are toys, but don’t be fooled. 

They are constructed out of real wood. It tunes, plays and sounds just like the bigger guitars. It is not a downsized-replica of a regular guitar. 

Atijas’s goal was to design a guitar that was comfortable, safe, and fun for small kids to learn on. The body comes in fun shapes with rounded corners or square. Their signature feature is “3 strings.”

Why does the Loog Guitar have 3 strings instead of 6?

If you are a guitarist, I can hear you now, “3 strings?? You can’t play a guitar with 3 strings.”

Because of the design and the three strings, the younger child can start playing right from the start. The Loog is easier for a younger child to tune, play, and hear the notes. The narrow neck makes it easier for little hands to form the chords.

The best part is that it is not painful, no finger welts or cuts, no stretching the little hands to fit around the neck.  So, it’s fun from the start!!!

The first three strings of the Loog are the same as the first three strings on a bigger guitars making the fingering the same. Therefore, it’s much easier for them to graduate to a 6-string when they are ready.

For more information from an instructor about the Loog, check out this YouTube video.

The Loog guitar grows with your child

The Loog’s design allows the guitar to grow with the child. As the child grows just swap out the short neck with a longer, wider neck, without the need to buy a whole new guitar.
To make it even better, every part of the Loog is interchangeable with other Loog models. So, you can exchange a rectangular shaped body for the triangular body. And, instead of buy a whole new kit, you can get just the body. Sweet!!

In fact, every part of the Loog Guitar is interchangeable (check out the kit). The parts are compatible with all other models of the Loog.

The kit includes an app with video lessons, a tuner, and flashcards. With the Loog app, kids can begin playing their favorite songs right from day one. A songbook is also included so they can learn to play real songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and more.

The Loog designers believe that building the guitar is an important part of understanding and loving the instrument. Helping to build the instrument gives the child a deeper connection with the instrument. 

Other Options For An Older Child

Tenor Guitar

A four string Tenor Guitar is another option for an older child. The four strings are easier to learn than a six-string… but just as much fun.

The Tenor Guitar is a ¾ sized guitar that is as easy to play as a ukulele. It is also as versatile as a regular electric guitar, only smaller. A few years ago the Tenor was primarily played in traditional jazz bands. But, today, the tenor seems to be played in any type of music.

Ukulele

Another option for an older child is a ukulele. Many of the pictures you see of kids with a four string guitar, it is really a ukulele.

The most obvious difference between the ukulele and the guitar is the size. The ukulele is 35% to 50% smaller than the standard acoustic guitar. The difference in size between the guitar and ukulele affects the volume, tone, and playability.

Again, the ukulele only have 4 strings as compared to the 6 strings of a guitar. As with the Loog, the ukulele is considered an easier instrument to learn. On both the Loog and the ukulele, there are a variety of simple one- and two-finger chords available to play. This gives the beginner an easier learning path to the guitar or other stringed instruments.

The standard ukulele is tuned differently and the chord fingerings are different. There are larger ukuleles which four strings tuned like a guitar. For more information on tuning  check out Ukulelebuddy.com.

Best Guitar Methods for Beginners

Best Guitar Methods: Image-by-Valéria-Rodrigues-Valéria-from-Pixabay

Many “wanna be” guitarists think it looks easy and they can learn it on their own and many do. But developing the best guitar methods requires good instruction which can also cut the learning time.

Many guitarists who are self-taught often develop bad habits that have to later be unlearned. Once it’s a habit, any habit, it’s difficult to shake off or change.

A few years ago, you either learned on your own with the help of books and watching others play on movies or videos. But today is totally different. You now have your choice of online lessons and apps to help you learn.

Now, it’s a matter of choice. Who has the best lesson? Who has the best price? Where can you get the most help? I support TrueFire for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that they emphasize technique, first and foremost.s

Back To Guitar Lessons

One of the major problems people have with learning an instrument, but especially guitars, is patience. All of the books, videos, and online lessons emphasize taking it slow and thoroughly learn the basics to establish the best guitar methods.

No matter what you are trying to learn, be it an instrument, how to write, or anything else, learning the basics gives you the building blocks to continue and, possibly, be really good.

Many novice guitar players want to start shredding solos right from the start. Trust me, it won’t happen. Learn the basics.

Watch any really good guitarist. Style doesn’t matter. They all have the best guitar methods. They have put in the time and effort to learn the basics.

Best Guitar Methods: Image by Armando Maldonado from Pixabay

Good Ratings

When dealing with any company, local or online, I go by their ratings. I started supporting another company, which I won’t name, but they made it very difficult to quit. One review I read stated that the information received in the first lesson was not helpful.

All of my purchases from TrueFire have met or exceeded my expectations. The beginning lesson in all learning paths, or playing style, is free.

I wasn’t sure when they said it was free. How many times have you gone to order something online that says it’s free, but you have to enter your credit card number or when you get to the bottom line there is shipping & handling.

I started to order something the other day that was touted as being free. When I got to the bottom line shipping & handling was around $40. What’s up with that?

Tips for Developing the Best Guitar Methods

Image by Ryan McGuire from PixabayHow to toughen up your fingers.

Yes, your fingers and wrist are going to hurt when you start playing. The higher the action on the guitar, the more pressure it takes to press down the strings. Just about any guitar can have the action adjusted. Take your guitar to a local music shop and have them adjust it.

Adjust your grip on the neck of the guitar. Pressing the strings against the fretboard is hard work and it does make your fingers sore and your wrist ache. As you continue to play it will get better. But here are some tips:

  1. Most beginners press down on the strings too hard. Relax your fingers. Don’t press down so hard. Just make sure the string firmly contacts the fret.
  2. Don’t play with wet fingers.
  3. Hook your thumb over the top of the fretboard to get leverage. This causes you to press the strings more with the flat pad of your finger, rather than your fingertips.
  4. As your fingers toughen up, move your thumb to the back of the neck. This causes you to press the strings with your fingertips, which is more accurate, but harder at first.
  5. Keep your fingernails trimmed. It’s much easier to develop calluses with short nails. Long nails also make it more difficult to get good sound.
  6. Don’t bite, pick, or shave off your hard-earned calluses.
  7. Soak your fingertips in apple cider vinegar for about 30 seconds before and after
  8. Get the right strings. When you’re first learning, light gauge strings are easier to play than medium or heavy gauge. The light strings will cause less soreness. Lightly icing your fingertips before and after playing can also ease the soreness. Topical ointments containing benzocaine, such as toothache cream, can also be applied before and after playing.

Some guitarists use a spot of super glue on their fingertips as a makeshift callus, until they develop their own. If you develop a cut or split in your finger apply New-Skin or some other liquid bandage to seal up the cut until it heals.

Supposedly, Eric Clapton suggests “rubbing your fingertips with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol three times a day for a week or two for beginning guitarists or someone who hasn’t played for a while. Supposedly, this dries out the skins and helps the calluses to develop quicker.”

Your body position

Get a good strap and practice standing.  Yes, it’s harder at first, but when you sit you tend to slouch over the guitar looking at your fingers. If you do this consistently, it will become one of those bad habits you have to break. Always practice standing.

Take it slow

As we mentioned earlier, take it slow. Learn the basics, the best guitar methods. Don’t focus on trying to play fast. Good technique requires accurate fingering, hitting the right notes every time. Be precise with your fingering. The speed will come when you have everything else in place. You won’t have to develop speed it will happen all by itself.

Correct Fingering

Always focus on correct fingering. Don’t try to develop new moves. Stick to the tried and true fingering methods, which will lead to the best guitar methods.

Use a metronome

Image by 955169 from PixabayFrom the beginning, your very first exercise, use a click track or metronome so you develop a good sense of rhythm and timing. When you first start, take it slow. You can adjust the speed on the metronome. The idea is to get used to playing with a steady tempo. Remember, good guitar technique comes first then tempo.

 

Disciplined Practice

Make sure you practice some every day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Pick up your guitar and practice the last lesson. The calluses won’t develop if your practice is haphazard.  Set up a regular practice time. Develop a good practice habit.

not about how long or how hard you practice. The key is “how” you practice. TrueFire offers “Smart Practice” which is a step-by-step practice system just for guitarists. The system is designed so you get the biggest payoff for the time you invest in your practice.

Practice

TrueFire Video viewsIt doesn’t matter whether you are trying to learn to play guitar, piano, or learn something totally different, such as baseball. We all know we have to practice. The problem is that we really don’t know how to practice correctly.

Many who try to learn guitar on their own think that just picking up the guitar and strumming, trying to pick out the melody of our favorite song is practice, or having friends over to jam is practice. Wrong!!!

TrueFire lessons use Soundslice interactive Tab, go to their site for a full demo. The video gives you three views which you can slow down or speed up to facilitate maximum learning. The video lessons make it much easier to see what you are to practice and follow the instructor.

K. Anders Ericsson has researched what it takes to reach a high level of expertise in a skill. He states that practice is deliberate and not inherently enjoyable.

To become a good guitarist or to develop any skill, you must do the work and realize that the enjoyment will follow.

Make up your mind that you will do whatever it takes to practice correctly. Quit just doodling around when it’s time to practice. Yes, at first your fingers are going to hurt, but keep in mind that it’s not going to last forever. Use some of the techniques above to ease the pain so you can work through it. Tips for Beginning Guitarists.

Setting Goals

Image by Dena Warfield Smart Goal SettingNo matter what you are doing or attempting to do, setting goals, especially Smart Goals, will help you achieve your desired results quicker and in an organized fashion. Goals will help you do activities that are specifically designed to improve your performance.

Before going any further, look at where you want to go as a musician, and specifically, as a guitarist.

Many people, when they are attempting to learn something new, like playing the guitar, learn bits and pieces assuming that it will all magically come together at some future date.

How do you know what you should be studying and practicing if you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do with it? If you don’t have a firm goal or path you will end up frustrated.

In any new endeavor, your goals must include both long term and short term goals. It’s best to set your long term goals first then work backward to include all the steps necessary to achieve your long term goal. This will give you the items that you need to work on NOW.

Inventory Lists

Included in setting goals you need to take an inventory of your skill set and where you are in the present.

Productivity guru David Allen in his “Getting Things Done” lectures states that you need to take an inventory, which he calls a “Brain Dump”, of everything you already know is required in order to achieve your goal.

What You Know

To start, create a list of everything you know, in this case, about playing the guitar. Divide this list into sections: scales, chords, arpeggios, songs, exercises, fingerpicking styles, licks, tuning your guitar, and bits and pieces. This list will include everything you’ve worked on or doodled around with or have a “some-what” knowledge of.

You need to be able to play all of the exercises listed above without looking at a tablature sheet or stopping to remember or starting over.

What You Are Learning

This list will change as you learn new skills. Enter everything that you are currently working on goes into this list. You will move these skills to “What You Know” and add more from “What You Need to Know.”

What You Need To Know

List all the things from your short-term goal list. As you come across things you want or need to learn add them to this list. This list will also continually change as you progress down your learning path.

One of the most important things is that you take the information out of your head and put it on paper so you have a better and more workable list.

Once your goals are on paper, proceed to develop an actual practice schedule.

Motivation

Image by 🎄Merry Christmas 🎄 from PixabayAre you really motivated to do the work necessary to achieve your goals? Remember, as mentioned above, practice isn’t just doodling around and “playing” with your guitar. If you are serious about achieving your goals, about developing good guitar technique, you have to be motivated to practice correctly.

Remember, anyone you have ever admired for their skill at playing any musical instrument or any other skill, have “put in the time, effort, and discipline to learn and execute basic skills and then apply them to build their performance mastery.” Anything worth having is worth working for.

As you achieve each incremental goal, your confidence, and the sheer joy of making it happen will not only be personally rewarding but will also inspire greater accomplishments.

If you are motivated and really want to achieve your goals, you will set aside the time and disciple to do the work. Find a practice routine, such as Smart Practice from TrueFire or a practice routine from your teacher. Then, discipline yourself to do the work necessary to achieve your goals.

by Dena Warfield

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A Guide for Beginning Musicians

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
A Beginning Musician
Beginning Musicians - Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

Maggie’s first lesson was how to tune the guitar. A tuner had come with the guitar, so she thought it was no big deal.

She worked through the lesson and got it perfectly in tune according to the tuner, Something went wrong….

As with any journey, whether it’s cross-country, an international trip, or a trek into the wonderful world of music, you need to set your goals then create a plan to achieve them. 

You may think that planning just to play an instrument isn’t important, but it is. Benjamin Franklin said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

One of the major problems people have with learning an instrument, but especially guitars, is patience. All of the books, videos, and online lessons emphasize taking it slow and thoroughly learn the basics to establish good guitar techniques.

If You Want Something Bad Enough...

We all have things we think we’d like to do or have. We set goals and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t, and often, it doesn’t really matter. And if a goal does come to pass it may not be life-changing… 

Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument or do something so bad you could feel it? Think back to when you first had the desire to play a guitar or piano or another instrument. Taking a guitar off the rack… It was heavier than he had imagined…

Practice Makes Progress; Not Perfect

Learning something new is often fraught with frustration. If you’ve ever tried to learn how to play an instrument like the guitar or piano, you have experienced frustration when you practice but don’t seem to make any progress… 

Losing Motivation To Practice

Do you seem to be losing motivation to practice your guitar? In your guitar practice, if you are trying to practice too many things, each item gets less and less of your attention. Then, it’s not long before you have no motivation to practice the guitar or any other instrument.

How To Practice Guitar

Are you beginning to lose motivation because it is so hard? Did you know that everyone faces the same challenge? When we are learning something new it takes time, it’s often frustrating. When we get frustrated it often takes longer to become the guitar player that you’ve been dreaming about.

Think back to when you first had the desire to play. Remember when you went to the music store for the first time. You picked up a guitar off the rack. It was a little heavier than you had imagined.

You may have been really young, maybe 4 or 5, or maybe closer to 10, like I was. Or have just retired and want something to do during your golden years. No matter your age. A new adventure is about to begin, like moving to a new city with places to explore, new experiences to enjoy. Your new adventure as a guitarist is about to begin.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. But, why do we keep making that same mistake over and over again?
It’s become a habit.

As Dr. Caroline Leaf stated in her podcast “Why We Keep Making The Same Mistakes + Tips to Break Bad Habits,” we keep making the same mistakes because we are not learning from our mistakes. She goes on to say that our minds were designed to self-regulate our thoughts. It is up to each individual to observe, analyze, and change thoughts that are not beneficial.

All Music Things Smart Practice

Having problems practicing?

The answer is really very simple. It’s not just how long you practice. Or how hard you practice. Or even what you practice. It’s how you practice. Vince Lombardi said it best, ”Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” TrueFire’s Director of Education, Jeff Scheetz calls it Smart Practice and he’s designed a step-by-step guitar practice routine just for guitarists.

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Thinking back to when I was about nine years old. I would watch guitar players wishing I had a guitar. I thought if I asked my mom, I might have a chance of getting one.

As I watched The Green Valley Mountain Boys, a local TV show starring REM WALL and several others who worked at the Gibson factory down the street in Kalamazoo, I said, “Mom, mom, come here. Come see Billy. Isn’t he good?”

“He’s just a kid,” she said. “He can’t be much older than you.”

“See. That’s why I need a guitar. I’m behind already. Could I get one for Christmas?”

She paused, “It’s only January. It’s a long time until Christmas. But, I saw a guitar in the second-hand store. Stop in and see how much it is.”

I looked at the clock on the wall… 4:00 pm. I had 30 minutes to get there. I ran for the door, hopped on my bike, headed for the store. I pulled up in front, dropped my bike, and reached for the doorknob just as the lady approached with a key in her hand.

I stepped inside.

“We’re closing,” she said.

“Please, do you still have the guitar?”

“Yes, come on in. I’ll show it to you.”

I picked it up, cradling it in my arms like I had seen others do, and started to strum.

“It’s really out of tune,” the lady said.

I didn’t care. I kept strumming.

“Young man, young man.”

I looked up.

“If you want to play it, you’ll have to buy it. It’s $5.00”

I put it down and reached into my pocket and pulled out $2.75. “This is what I’ve got.”

“Well, you need $2.25 more. But this will hold it until you get the rest,” she said scrapping the coins into the drawer.

“What do you mean, hold it?”

“I won’t sell it to anyone else. Bring me the rest of the money and it’s yours.”

“Thank you,” I said running out the door. I didn’t think to give her my name.

“Mom, mom,” I said running in the backdoor. “Do you have $2.25? She put the guitar on hold. All I need is $2.25. Please, mom.”

“Well, I’ll give you $.50 on Saturday if you’ll do the dishes every night for the next 5 days.”

I looked at the floor shuffling my feet. I would still need $1.75. Tears began to form in my eyes.

“Go ask the neighbors if you can mow their yards or help with something else. You can earn the rest,” she said. “Check at school. Mr. Allen might have something you could do in the music room.”

I managed to get several jobs lined up. I worked hard to get the rest of the money. Mr. Allen, the music teacher, seemed so impressed that I would work to earn the money that he gave me a little extra. He even told me to bring the guitar to him and he’d help me. It took me four weeks to earn the rest of the money.

The day finally came. I didn’t ride my bike to school because I was going straight to the second-hand store to get my guitar.

I walked in and laid the money on the counter.

“Very good, I knew you’d come back with the money,” she said walking into the back room reappearing with my guitar.

She handed it to me. I brushed off the dust and cradled it in my arms. It was mine.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It didn’t come with a case.”

But, I didn’t really hear her. I didn’t even notice the long walk home. I had it. I had my guitar. I had borrowed a guitar music book from the library. It was on my bed waiting for us. The old upright piano in the dining room was in tune enough to tune the guitar like the book said, I thought.

I went straight to my room. I didn’t want to see any of my brothers or sisters. I wanted to be alone with my guitar. I sat on the bed with it in my lap and opened the music book to the first song. I placed my fingers on the strings as the book showed. I went from one fingering pattern to the next until my mother called bedtime. I had played through dinner and didn’t even notice.

“I look at your fingers,” she said as she walked into my room. “They’re bleeding.”

I stopped and looked down. “Mom, they’re not bleeding, they’re just red when I held the strings down.”  I hadn’t even noticed the welts on my fingertips from the guitar strings.

I carried it to school the next day where it waited in my locker.

After school, I took it to Mr. Allen. I waited until he was finished with another student then walked up to him handing him my guitar.

Image by MegLearner from Pixabay“You got it, alright. Let me see it,” he said almost as excited as I had been. As he turned it every which way looking at it, his excitement seemed to fade finally saying, “You can learn the fingering on this guitar, but it’s not going to be good for much else. See this,” he said running his finger around the bottom side of the body of the guitar. “This crack can’t be fixed. It will never really sound very good. I should be able to tune, but it will be hard to play. Let me see your left hand. See your fingertips? That’s because it is made with the strings too high off the fretboard.”

Mr. Allen tuned it and showed me how to tune the first string then tune the other five by tuning the next string to the one you just tuned.

My walk home took a little longer than usual as I thought about my guitar. I wasn’t going to give up. I just couldn’t. Over the next few months, I continued to work as hard as I had the first day. I was going to learn how to play and that was that! I learned about seven chords and I had a good rhythm in my strumming. I took my guitar to YMCA summer camp and was able to play some campfire songs.

Christmas morning finally arrived. I stumbled out to the living room with the rest of the family. I hadn’t seen anything under the tree with my name on it. As I sat on the floor watching the other kids open presents my mom walked out with a brand new guitar case containing a new Gibson LG-1 Sunburst Acoustic Guitar. I was in heaven!

“I know you were disappointed that there wasn’t a present for you under the tree, but I couldn’t wrap this. Will this do?” she said handing the guitar case to me.

Don’t get stuck with an old clunker as I did. Find out how to get your Best-First-Guitar.

by Dena Warfield.

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