Switching From Learning Guitar to Piano


Staff member
  • #1
I've been playing guitar consistently for about four years now. I've gotten somewhat decent at playing a few things, but I wouldn't say I'm good by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not sure what the problem is. My fingers? My age? My learning ability? I practice using Guitar Tricks and have an awesome guitar (Martin Road Series DRS2). I really don't know.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very decent when it comes to playing a few different styles, but I honestly don't think I'm where I should be by this point. I would never play in front of anyone because I would only embarrass myself. I've recently begun practicing daily in two 15 minute sessions as opposed to the one half hour session. I read that breaking the practice sessions down into multiple ones throughout the day can help. But honestly, sometimes I wonder why I'm playing guitar at all. I used to feel this way when I was learning how to fly airplanes. After 35 hours, I asked myself why I was learning in the first place. A hobby? To go places? I never answered that question, so I quit. With me, I need a goal or a reason to do things. I don't just do them for nothing at all.

So here I am, semi-decent at playing guitar, wondering if I should quit. A few days ago, I emailed a friend who also plays, asking him if he would like to purchase my guitar from me. At the time, I decided that I'd like to go ahead with learning how to play the piano instead. It seems easier and I don't want to be trying to learn how to do something for the rest of my life that I'll never be good at. I'd like to learn how to actually be good at something. I feel as though I can do that with the piano because in all honesty, it's not the learning that's stopping me, it's the fact that sometimes my fingers can't do what's required on the strings. It's mechanical. When it comes to piano, you don't need to bend and twist the fingers like you do with guitar. It's like a man who has huge hands and thick fingers trying to learn how to play the violin. No, don't do it. Learn the tuba instead. You're built for the tuba.

Anyway, I offered for my friend to buy me the Yamaha YPG535 grand piano keyboard and I would give him the guitar. It's a really good keyboard and it costs around $550. My guitar sells for $650 used, so I thought that would be a win/win for both of us. Apparently, my friend, while interested in my guitar, can't swing the funds right now.

Learning this, I decided to continue on with my playing, but to switch tracks a bit. Through Guitar Tricks, I've located some lessons on fingerpicking, or otherwise known as fingerstyle. This is a very pretty sound style of guitar playing that I've always wanted to learn. I figure that if I can focus my efforts on just one style, I may be able to get somewhere. I really don't want to quit playing this instrument, so I'll need to get a grip on my motivations to stay moving forward. And the best part is, fingerstyle playing isn't terribly difficult. Within just one week of playing twice per day, I feel excellent and that I've gotten somewhere. I really do.

I have a lot invested into learning this instrument and I don't want to throw it all away. Last night, I decided that in the future, when I get the extra cash, I'll buy the keyboard as well. I already know that I want to use Playground Sessions as a learning aid, so it's all set. I'll do both. For an hour a day, I'll learn how to play the guitar as well as the piano. Two 15 minute sessions for each. That would be pretty awesome.

Are you trying to learn how to play an instrument? Have you ever wanted to quit? What do you do to stay motivated? I do rather well in that department because I'm very committed and methodical, but sometimes, I just wish that I could succeed faster.
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Staff member
  • #2
I watched a fairly long video today that was put out by Tony Polecastro of Tony's Acoustic Challenge and I must say, I was pretty impressed. I was actually just searching around for courses that focused primarily on fingerpicking and bumped into him. Tony is pretty big on YouTube and I've been seeing him around for years, so I figured I'd take his eight question quiz to get to his price list. Before taking the quiz, I couldn't, for the life of me, find out anything about his course. He's got a pretty serious marketing thing going on and to be honest, I think it would have been a lot faster to just advertise his prices without making me watch a 45 minute video first. But I get marketing and how the "sales funnel" works. It's very effective and in this case, it did its job well.

His course focuses on five new lessons per week. They take about 15 minutes per lesson and they cover five different areas. I can't remember what they are right now. Oh wait, here they are: technique, licks, soloing and scales, rhythm guitar, and chord transitions and keys. So basically, you rotate around those five topics weekly. I like the approach, but I'm not sure I'm going to join up right now. At least I have his prices, which are:

Quarterly @ $29 per month ($87)
Yearly @ $16 per month ($197)
Lifetime @ $599

It seems like a very guided course, which is what I'm looking for. What I'm bumping into is not having the direction I seek. I follow "tracks" sometimes, but those quickly turn into segments that are way over my head, so I turn around to look for another track that's easier. It's sort of a habit of mine. With Tony's TAC method, you rotate around these five areas so you don't get bored and so you continue to have fun. His ratings are very solid and it seems like everyone likes what he offers. As long as it's guided, I'll seriously consider the program in the future. I'll need to look into it more though. For now, I'll stick with learning my fingerstyle on Guitar Tricks. I'm just not sure how much fingerstyle content they've got on the site. I searched around and there seems to be a little bit, but overall, not that much. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Tony focuses primarily on acoustic guitar strumming, flat picking, and fingerpicking. This is really all I need. Much of Guitar Tricks' content is of little interested to me because I don't play the electric guitar. So Rock and Blues and some other stuff isn't really what I need to learn. I play the acoustic, so that's where I want to be.

Anyway, I'll keep this thread updated with what I decide to do. And if you have any information on Tony Polecastro and his program, please let me know. He seems like a very good guy. Smart. That's for sure.