Learning how to play guitar is a fantastic but often difficult experience. Here are some essential pointers to help you on your way.
Whether you have just bought yourself a guitar, or if it has been gathering dust in the corner of a room and you want to give it another crack of the whip, there are some fundamental guidelines that can be followed to accelerate your learning. Some people find
learning the guitar much easier than others, but it is universally agreed that it is anything but an easy procedure to see through, but then again, you never do stop learning the guitar.
1. First thing’s first, get a guitar that you are totally comfortable with. If you go into a music
store take your time, explore and get a feel for the guitar you think will be yours. After all, you will be spending a lot of time with it.
2. For beginners, learn some of the most common chords. Try A, C, D, Dm, E, Em, F and G. Eight chords may seem daunting at first, but, given enough practice (and it will not take long) you will know them by memory pretty quickly. And yes, it is normal for your fingertips to blister initially. You may also find it difficult to position your fingers strategically on the fret board to meet the demands of certain chords, but just keep practising and your fingers will adapt in time.
3. Ditch the generic manual, and, unless you find a guitar tutor that teaches you the music you want to play, ditch him/her too. It is often overlooked, but learning the songs from bands you enjoy, and listen to, can be crucial to your learning. Now, if your favourite artist is Eric Clapton, don’t feel so downhearted if you can’t play ‘Classical Gas’ just yet! Though, you can definitely work towards that type of track in time. Some of the most popular songs from The Beatles, Oasis, and Greenday are relatively easy to play. For example, Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’ is well known for being novice-friendly.
4. Practise as much as you can. Simply, the more you practice, the better you will become. Try to put aside one hour a day for your guitar practise. If you do this, you will see your skill set soar. It cannot be stressed how important this is! As reported by the NME on 5 January 2008, referring back to his days of learning, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello said, “When I learned that one hour a day caused me to become a better player, I thought, ‘Well, what about two hours a day? Oh look how I’m improving at four hours a day!’, to the obsessive-compulsive lengths of playing eight hours a day”.
5. Focus on areas of your technique that need improvement. You may excel in certain departments ahead of others. For example, you may find strumming much easier to plucking. But remember, never neglect any part of your play at the same time, otherwise it will suffer. Maintain your consistency across the board and deal with obstacles when they arise. It is an enormous sense of achievement once you overcome a problem with your play. And you will meet problems, everybody does! But when you master them, your technique will be that much better for it. Indeed, when you finally master that track that has been driving you crazy for the past two weeks, you can rightfully feel elated.
6. Learn to be patient. A guitar needs time. It will reward you if you put in the effort. From learning new chords to developing the rhythm of your strumming, you will often need a considerable amount of patience.
7. Make sure you have access to all the resources and tools that you need. Any decent music store should have tools for acoustic and electric guitars: plectrums, guitar capos, tuners, artist chord books, electric guitar pedals and amps. You may also want to check out some tablature websites, which are great for finding individual guitar tabs.
8. Practise some more. Honestly, if you are serious about learning guitar, the more time you put in to the instrument, the more you will get out of it.
9. Enjoy yourself! That’s what it’s all about. Play alone, jam with your friends, play your favourite songs and have a good time.
If you follow these guidelines you should see substantial, steady progress soon. Becoming accomplished really depends on how committed you are. If you want it enough, go out and get it!