The key question here is, what do I need to practice or learn to get better at playing my 3 string, slide guitar(s)?
 
Here is a little background...
 
I am 54 and I have never fully learned to play an instrument in my life.  I say never fully learned because I have dabbled with different instruments, a recorder (when I was VERY young), the piano and the harmonica (because my sister bought me one).  Nothing ever truly captured my attention until I stumbled across the idea of building cigar box guitars. 
 
 
After building the first one I was hooked and have continuously been building them for just over a year now (trying to get better with each new build).  I am now able to build, what I believe are, some decent sounding guitars, however my ability to play them is weak at best.  I really want to learn to play them decently.  After all, what is the point of all this guitar building if I can't play them well enough to show them off!??
 
 
Naturally I have gone to YouTube and found a great number of videos but this method feels hit and miss at best.  I am interested in finding a good process for learning to play a 3 string, Slide guitar (I will learn to use frets later :)  ).
 
 
Now the main question...
 
 
I am looking for a process that has you starting out practicing something simple, and when you are able to do that well, you move on to.. which leads to you being able to do... and so on until you are able to play with a decent amount of competence. 
 
So I am reaching out here to find out what others have done to go from complete novice to having the ability to play with a decent level of competence.  What videos did you watch, what things did you read, what things did you do, such as practicing the blues scale, that will then lead to being able to play X, Y or Z songs? 
 
What things do I need to learn in order to have a good understanding of how to play (for example, do I need to learn the "TAB" system, etc...)?
 
ANY help will be appreciated!

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It sounds like you would feel a lot more comfortable with a structured learning program from a pro teacher. I know Justin Johnson has courses and there are at least half a dozen more who offer books/lessons to take you from raw beginner to someone who is able to play at least a dozen or more songs with reasonable competence.

You are accustomed to checking for lessons on tips on YouTube. I suggest if you want to keep learning for free you just concentrate on all the beginner level lessons. Keep going back to these until you can do these with no problems.

Once you've gotten all the beginner slide guitar lessons under control, you should start working on the beginner cbg lessons with chords. You're going to have to know the 1,4 and 5 chord progressions which are the backbone of blues songs, as well as being able to play the chords. That of course entails being able to change chords quickly and be able to take your movable chord shapes and go up and down the neck smoothly and cleanly with them.

I've been learning for about a year and a half, and my progress has been slow because of not putting enough time into practicing and learning. I've devoted most of my free time to building, but like you I have wanted to get good enough on a 3-string to be able to show off my builds by playing them.

Bottom line is you just have to put in the time to learn the music knowledge as well as additional time for learning all the most-important chord shapes and be able to go to whatever chord you need without fumbling and play it cleanly. The good thing is it isn't rocket science, you just have to put in the hours.

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