Learning to play a musical instrument helps to boost your confidence. A guitar is one such musical instrument that automatically ups your cool quotient and keeps you, as well as the people around you entertained. Playing the guitar is a great way to unwind at the end of the day. It can also help you align your focus if you find yourself stressed with study or work. Key to becoming a proficient guitarist is to stay dedicated and keep bettering yourself… and of course, play every day!
To ease you into the learning process, we have listed the top five tips for guitar beginners.
Select the right guitar
There are so many types of guitars available in the market. For a beginner, it can be a daunting task to search for the right option. One of the easiest ways to overcome the problem with guitar selection is, to begin with, some homework. Read reviews online about which brands have been recommended. This research will help guide your choice as you will know what you should be looking for as a beginner.
You can also choose to enlist the help of a friend who is already into playing the guitar. You can also ask the sales assistant at the store to help you select an appropriate guitar for a beginner. While you are at the store, you can try a number of guitars and see which one you connect with the most. Avoid investing in an expensive guitar right at the beginning. Since you are a beginner, you are likely to find it difficult to tune the guitar by ear. Therefore you may also want to consider investing in a tuner as well.
Acoustic Guitar or Electric Guitar
As a beginner, learning with a wrong guitar is likely to make the learning process difficult and can ruin your experience. It would be a great idea to determine what type of guitar you wish to learn how to play. Should you choose an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar? This choice is best guided by your musical preferences. For instance, if you have a liking for the hard rock genre, you will want to learn how to play an electric guitar.
However, many people like to begin their learning journey with an acoustic guitar. The reason being, skills that are learned while playing an acoustic guitar are easily transferrable when playing an electric guitar. Since you are a beginner, it does not make sense to invest in an expensive guitar. An acoustic guitar is comparatively cost effective. It also offers easy portability and can be played even in open spaces where there is no electric connection.
The joy of playing an electric guitar can be truly experienced when you dial up the amp. However, most neighbors would likely raise an objection if you crank up the amp. Besides, it can lead to conflicts with your family members as well. Investing in an electric guitar and not being able to crank up the amp is quite similar to owning a top of the line sports car and not being able to drive it.
Modern amps feature a headphone input that allows you to play without causing disturbance to anyone but the experience simply isn’t the same. You may also want to bear in mind that as a beginner, you are likely not to sound good. The amp can ruthlessly magnify your shortcomings and cause demotivation.
Setting up the guitar
If you have purchased your guitar online or at a store, chances are that it has not been set up properly. Correctly setting up a guitar betters its playability. The setting up process includes straightening the guitar neck, raising or lowering action, adjusting its intonation, etc. If you are unsure how to set it up by yourself, you may want to seek help from an experienced guitarist or a professional musician.
Guitar learners unite
If you choose not to take guitar learning classes and learn on your own that is okay. However, you must ensure you take time out to meet up fellow learners (regardless of their stage of learning) and play the guitar together. Playing the guitar with other people is extremely crucial for learning. While jamming with other musicians, there is a lot of sharing of knowledge which can prove to be very useful for learning the growth of each guitarist involved. You will be able to overcome your fear (if any) of playing in front of an audience. Jamming sessions are also a great way to build confidence.
Be easy on yourself
You cannot expect yourself to be able to play like an expert within weeks or months. Getting there will take time. Try to understand music theory first. Learning to read music will go a long way. Learn the basics about your guitar – harmonics, guitar chords, and scales. Understand how you must hold the guitar properly while playing it, when you are seated and when standing. Learn about its care and maintenance. It is quite easy to succumb to giving up when you find yourself not making progress. Key to getting better is to stay dedicated and devote sufficient time for regular practice.
Attempting to perfect a complex song right at the beginning is likely to leave you disappointed. Select a simple song when you start. You will find yourself making much more progress in lesser time than you expected, with a simple number. As you progress, gradually incorporate experimenting with various techniques. Get creative with your renditions and enjoy the learning process.
Research has shown that learning a musical instrument can help alleviate stress and is great for mental health. Learning to play the guitar will help you get more creative. However, you must ensure you practice regularly. You also need to make sure that you choose a guitar from the best guitar brands. In order to play the guitar better, besides putting in practice, you must also exercise your finger. There are exercises that are designed to help improve the playing technique help you achieve a clear and clean, sound while playing the guitar. These exercises also help build stamina and strength in your hands.
Joe is a friend and contributing Author to Lifein12keys.com. He lives in Longwood, Florida with his wife Bethanne and sons Patrick and Joe Jr.