In this video, I’ll show you some alternative instruments that will help you learn the basics of playing guitar. These 5 non-guitar instruments are great for beginners and even experienced players who want to learn something new.
★ What kind of guitar player are you? How should you practice? Take the quiz today: https://tonypolecastro.com/
★ Get the show: https://tonypolecastro.com/get-acoustic-tuesday
★ FOLLOW on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tac.guitar/
If you’ve been struggling to learn how to play guitar, then I recommend learning some of the basics on these other instruments. These five non-guitar instruments can really help you get your fingers and ears in shape without ever touching a guitar!
From the humble mandolin to the harmonica, I’ll highlight what I’ve learned from each of these instruments.
My hope is that you can walk away from this episode feeling inspired and excited to learn a new instrument — all in the hopes of finding fun, focus, and progress on your guitar journey!
In addition to seeing which 5 non-guitar instruments can help you learn guitar, I want to tell you about C.J. from within the TAC Family and how he’s finding progress on his guitar journey.
Finally, I’ll introduce you to Sierra Hull’s new YouTube release, Eli West’s new album, and Jeremy Garrett’s Circles album as well.
As always, you can catch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
I have an electric Bass and have learned the bass clef and play it about once a week. I also got a nice harmonica for Christmas
Tony, while the vast majority of us have to pause to take a breath, there is a technique called “circle breathing” that once mastered allows one to play infinitely! Kenny G on the saxophone is just one example. My trumpet professor from many years ago could do that on the trumpet and it really freaked me out! Anyway, I do agree that the “pausing” of the harmonica while breathing is definitely a good thing to incorporate into our playing. I think it was Eric Clapton who said that the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves 🙂
That’s how throat singing works. Check out Suitcase Junket
and you can breathe in and out while playing the harp. In fact breathing in is used more on cross harp.
Tony, Great instrument comparison today. I personally found my ukulele has helped me a great deal in rhythm, easy but different chording, recognizing the 1, 4,5, chording and related minor chording. I found some of the chord changes a little easier on the uke which inspired me to practice the same changes on the guitar. For instance the C,F G changes on the ukulele came easier and more fluidly for me and therefore gave me good positive feedback. Thanks!!!
I play an played hand drUms for any Years
Mandolin, Harmonica, violin.
THANKS FOR YOUR INFORMITIVE APPROACH AND ENGAGING STYLE. I’M 61 AND HAVE BEEN REVISITING ACOUSTIC GUITAR LATLEY. SOMETIMES I AMAZE MYSELF. I USE A PICKLESS FINGER METHOD THAT IS A BIT WIERD BUT ORGANIC. YOUR 10 MINUTE RULE REALLY HITS HOME FOR ME. THANKS TONE..GREG
I’m disappointed that you didn’t include the ukulele in this show. Smaller instrument that teaches muscle memory. The ukulele has gone beyond Island music. I see bluegrass, country riffs, boogies and an unlimited type of music. This has helped my guitar playing.
I have been doing a little playing on Uke. It tunes at least the first three strings are tuned to the guitar at the 5th fret. So I can see those same notes and transfer chords at the 5th fret. Also strumming is different and useful to guitar
Wow Tony, Great show.
It’s as if I watched this 2 years ago. After playing guitar for a few months, I picked up a Mandolin and a harmonica key of C. Now I have a fiddle, a round and square neck resonators and a harmonica key of G. You’re spot on. All these instruments let me see things about the guitar that I hadn’t seen before. The reso’s are you fault Tony. Thanks for turning me on to them. 😊
I dabbled with the cello for a few months but you have suffer for that instrument. Tuning pegs and C ribs are evil.
Piano, harmonica and mandolin. All have influenced how a play guitar, but more importantly as a live music performer.
I play guitar,, mandolin, bass and harmonica so far. I have also fiddled with Ukulele with both the traditional (high G-string) and low-G configurations. In the traditional tuning, it was easy to make some very fast runs using the right hand finger-picking and less movement on the fretboard. With the high-G string, I kinda get how the 5th banjo string works. And I have thought about getting a banjo (though I really think piano should be my next instrument).
Acoustic drums. Helps with keeping time and they’re just fun.
I have picked up quite a few instruments that I could get a tune out of in about 30 mins. Knowing what I know about violin, it is the one instrument I would not attempt without a teacher from the very beginning. Find a classical violin teacher to start.
I play piano and organ and I find both are incredibly helpful when I’m trying to understand the fretboard. Knowing chord theory, how chords are built, and inversions translates very well to guitar. Also, being able to read both bass and treble clef is also invaluable. In fact, I love the way you score your tabs because the treble clef line really helps me with timing. I miss that when I use sites that don’t have it.
Mandolin became my primary instrument after not playing any instrument for many years. Playing single note, melodic lines on mandolin was almost as if I had never stopped playing, but holding down chords on guitar was just too difficult until after a few years of playing mandolin. In the interval I started playing 5 string viola. Although very unfamiliar (despite tuning similarity to mandolin), viola was less frustrating than resuming guitar because everything was new, steady progress instead of trying to regain skills.
Hea Tony, great subject. I have been playing drums & harmonica since the 60s. and i do believe what you said about space with the harp.And i do believe that my drumming has definetly help my guitar timing. I belive any other tool you put in your toolbox will always be used at sometime. Loved that shootout last week. Your friend Guy B. in Champabay Fl.
I have played flute for over 50 years…including years ago in a band.
From playing the cello for many years, the concept of muscle memory is very important in learning to play in tune on a
stringed instrument without frets. As I begin learning the guitar, I apply this concept of not looking at strings or frets
but developing a muscle memory for finger placement.
Hey Tony! I know i’m a little “late for supper” (Jerry Tune) on this but just wanted to throw this out there. i saw so many GD shows starting in 73 that its really hard to think of a favorite song & what show but one that comes to mind is from the Englishtown NJ show that included the New Riders ,Marshall Tucker & The Dead 9-3-77. The “Eyes of the world” probably my Favorite GD song was as hot as the weather that day. The other mention i have is from the acoustic Jerry world. Old & in the way, a bluegrass band consisting of Jerry on Banjo, David Grisman on mandolin, Vassar Clements on Fiddle, John Kahn on stand up bass & Peter Rowan on guitar is a must listen to bluegrass fans. Keep up the great work!!!
Hey, just listened to the Tuesday acoustic show. I joined TAC because after twenty years of not playing guitar with any commitment, I needed some regiment but still needed to have fun. So in addition to guitar, I have also played around with 5-string banjo. I’m hoping that will help me when I get to the figure picking lessons. I also played some pedal steel guitar. It’s easier on my arthritic hands than regular guitar but waaaay more challenging over all. They are all fun to play.
I learned to play some tunes on the harmonica when I was 11. I got a 5 string banjo for Christmas when I was 14, and I took lessons for 2 years. I picked up the guitar when I was 16, and two years later, I got a mandolin. So, you can imagine how tickled I was with this episode. While it’s been over 35 years since I played all of these instruments, I managed to keep playing the guitar. It’s a wonderful discovery to learn that I was doing things that helped my guitar playing.
I have a tenor ukulele that I tune D G B E. I base my chords on the second fret “D” shape, which is a shape that I seldom used while playing guitar. It has also introduced me to playing with fewer strings on guitar. Not all chords need to have 5 or 6 strings utilised. I know, it is obvious, but it made it more practical for me.
Here is my story about another instrument helping me with my Guitar Journey.
in 2012 i suffered a stroke. During my reassessment of my skills after the stroke I was disheartened to learn that didn’t remember anything about the guitar. I would try to remember it on my own but, nothing worked. Not even the awesomeness of Youtube.
I went into a session with my doctor and I told him how depressed I was at not being able to play my beloved guitar. He said, what other instrument would you like to learn? I must admit to steering away from stringed instruments so, I said drums. I purchased a drum set and went about teaching myself how to play drums.
About a month into my new journey as the next Ringo, I was working on the Beatles “The End” After finishing Ringo’s solo I got curious. I grabbed my trusty Epiphone Casino and went through the guitar solos of Paul, George, and John. Everything was there. Chords, notes, bass lines. I could do it all again. MAGICALLY.
That would be a great ending to my story but, that experience is helping me now. In October 2020 I tripped and I willmy arm in three places. The worst part of that break was the ball at the end of my humerous bone. The healing time of that break is at least six months. I am going to blow past that six month deadline next week. It’s not going to be healed by then.
I haven’t been able to get my arm around any of the guitars i own so playing guitar has been impossible. Instead of being discouraged by what I couldn’t do I focused on what I can do. I am working with a mandolin to help with my rehab.
Making music is essential to my being. How I do that is dependant on what I can do today. Not what I could do yesterday or what I will be able to do tomorrow.