As a new player, delving into the world of guitar is an exciting prospect indeed. Thinking about all the songs you want to learn, developing your technique, conquering music theory, and building your awesome guitar rig.
But with there being just so many areas and topics within the guitar space, where’s a good place to start?
Well, even though eventually you’ll have to muscle your way through everything. There are some areas that, if tackled and mastered early on, will make your journey and progression on the guitar much smoother and more efficient.
So we’ve prepared 3 areas on the guitar that are going to benefit you greatly as a beginner, which will help you get off on the right foot and fast-track you to guitar mastery.
Memorize the fretboard
At first glance, the fretboard can look very intimidating. With lots of strings, so many frets, and no clues how anything relates to each other.
Wrapping your head around and de-mystifying the fretboard by learning the position of every note is one of the best ways to start truly understanding the instrument. It’s going to help you in all facets of playing, from learning other people’s songs as well as writing your own, and putting all those early music theory concepts to practice instead of just having them sit in your head.
Learn how to find which key a song is in
Being able to identify the key of a song is an often underappreciated skill, but as you start to make your way through early theory concepts such as chords and scales, you’ll want to be able to use that knowledge to both learn and understand how many of your own favorite songs are put together and played.
As your ear develops you might be able to tell that a song is in a minor or major key, but without being able to identify its tonal center you could easily get lost fumbling your way around chords in all different keys. It’s going to speed up both the process and your confidence on the instrument tremendously.
It’s also a good opportunity to get you used to other commonly used ideas such as the circle of fifths, scale degrees, and relative major/minor. Because as the complexity of the song increases, it might actually modulate (change key) midway through a song, in which case this skill becomes even more valuable!
Memorize the major scale
The major scale is the single most important scale in music and is one that if, as a beginner, you can get into your system early is really going to give you that solid foundation in which to push into other musical areas such as modes or chord construction.
One of the reasons so many guitarists skip learning scales early on, or make their way through a few minor pentatonic box shapes and call it a day is because learning scales on the guitar is difficult. Its layout is considerably less intuitive than a piano requiring that extra bit of effort to really digest and apply the theory onto the guitar.
So taking the time to really cement those fundamentals is going to pay you back massively by giving you a solid and complete foundation on which to pursue your musical journey. It’s going to give you the confidence to play and communicate with other musicians much better too.
For its importance and how reluctant some people are to delve into scales so early on, the major scale is not that difficult. For starters, it has no accidentals (that is to say, sharps or flats) which makes it exceptionally easy to memorize and apply to the guitar. And it’s going to have a knock-on effect when it comes to learning things such as chord construction, songwriting, and the modes. So don’t be shy! Jump in and conquer the major scale.
Don’t get overwhelmed
The world of guitar is big, there are a lot of things to learn and it’s going to take time. It’s important that you stay motivated and not get too overwhelmed when tackling these difficult topics.
Take it slowly using the provided guides and remember that these are all puzzle pieces of a larger picture. So make sure you’re having fun along the way. It’s going to take some time, but the sooner you get started the sooner you’ll have these concepts mastered!