There are 3 reasons why you are here.
- You’ve just bought a new guitar! Woohoo!
- You’ve finally dusted the guitar that was hiding in some corner of your room.
- You are looking to get one in the near future.
No matter what the reason, 10 points to you for taking the first step towards learning the mighty guitar! Whether it be an acoustic or an electric one, the first few hours of learning the instrument is crucial. This is where guitar playability comes into greater significance. Some say acoustic guitars are best for beginners, but we cannot deny that most of us decided to learn the guitar after seeing someone we admire shred or make melodic solos and rhythms. With the hundreds of electric guitar options on MusicCritic, it is easier now than ever to choose the right one to start with.
Assuming you already have a guitar with a fresh set of strings on and ready to go, here are a few guitar accessories you should consider buying before you start off!
- Plectrum (Guitar Picks) – Unless you are into finger picking style.
- Capo – Used on the neck of a guitar to shorten the playable length of the strings, hence raising the pitch.
- Tuner – As a guitar player, you need to learn how to tune your guitar. No worries if you don’t want to go through the trouble of finding one at the store. Alternatives can be found on websites online too like the one here. Apps like – PitchLab Lite are great to carry around on the phone.
- Metronome – Audible beats or click sounds at regular intervals that the you can set in beats per minute (BPM). Musicians use the device to practice playing to a regular pulse. Timing is everything.
- Strap – Cause standing and playing is much more fun than holding on to your guitar in an awkward position.
- Extra Sets of Strings – A guitarist’s savior. You never know when these will come handy.
Learn the Guitar Anatomy
Before you learned to drive a car, you were taught about all the knobs, buttons, and gears. Same goes with learning how to play the guitar. Before you can start playing, you need to know where everything is and what everything does. From the bridge to the headstock, take some time to get to know the guitar.
Reading Tabs, Chords and Notations
This is where a ton of you will probably back out. Reading tabs and chords are actually very simple. What you’re looking at is actually a diagram of exactly what strings to press, and with which fingers.
Take your time to figure out the system in the beginning! Once you understand it, you’ll be learning songs in no time.
A great trick to learning how to play guitar and play chords is to learn simple songs. By learning a cover, you get more familiar with reading chords, and you practice transitioning between chords.
Learn a few basic chords and you could play hundreds of pop hits! Don’t believe me? Check out this compilation by the Axis of Awesome.
Ultimate-guitar.com is probably the best site for learning songs with tabs and chords. Be it learning the leads or rhythm parts for songs, this is the go-to website for any beginner. As you get better, try focusing on building your technical knowledge with scales and arpeggios.
Free Online Guitar Courses
One of the most convenient ways to learn your instrument is the INTERNET. This doesn’t mean you shun Personal Music Tutors and Books. But if you’ve tried your luck with them and have nothing going right for you, this might be the way to go.
Coursera has this amazing 6 week course on ‘Introduction to Guitar’ taught by Thaddeus Hogarth who is an Associate Professor with Berklee. You can enroll yourself into the course for free. However, you will have to pay a small fee if you want a certificate of completion. You can check the link here.
For everything else, Google and Youtube are your best friends! Search for absolutely anything from tuning your guitar to holding your guitar picks and learning to play a particular songs.
For example, learn how to attach strings like the one below.
Final things to keep in mind!
- Your fingers are going to hurt and you will get hand cramps. Every guitarist goes through that. Give it a few weeks, you are just getting adjusted to playing the instrument.
- It’s going to take time. So enjoy the process.
- Practice is more important than the gears you have. A bad guitarist won’t be able to play a song decently with amazing equipment, but a great guitarist can make the best melodies with a terrible guitar.
- Be open to jamming with new musicians. There is atleast one thing you can pick up from a fellow musician. ALWAYS.
- Embrace all genres and styles, each of them will teach you some new technique to play with.
- Most importantly – Do it because you WANT to do it!
All the best with your new and exciting journey with your guitar!